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Bruton Celebrates 300 Years

Adapted from a Bruton Parish Church announcement

Bruton Parish Church of Williamsburg, Virginia, will celebrate the 300th anniversary of its building with internationally known guest preachers, musical performances, an educational series, and a compelling community outreach project.

Commemorations are scheduled for 15 months, beginning in October and running through December 2015.

The opening celebration occurs October 26, when the Rt. Rev. Richard Chartres, Bishop of London, preaches at Bruton, located on Duke of Gloucester Street in the Historic Area of Williamsburg. Other guest preachers include Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori on April 12, 2015, and the Rt. Rev. Michael Curry, Bishop of North Carolina, at the final celebration on December 6, 2015.

The parish was formed in 1674, when three smaller parishes joined together. A church has existed in the vicinity since the 1630s. Bruton’s current building was completed in 1715.

Bruton is a parish of 2,000 members with four services celebrated on Sundays. The church offers more than 100 candlelight concerts a year, welcomes more than 100,000 visitors, and has donated more than $2 million from Bruton Parish Shop proceeds to local, national, and international charitable organizations.

Parish celebrations will include commissioned anthems. The first concert will be the performance October 26 of commissioned hymns composed by the winners of a competition for college students.

An educational series will include these speakers and topics:

  • October 2: The Rev. Francis H. Wade, former interim dean of the Washington National Cathedral and former rector of St. Alban’s Parish, on “After 300 Years, What’s Next: Trends, Problems, and Opportunities.”
  • October 9: Nikos Pappas, assistant professor of musicology at the University of Alabama, on sacred music in colonial Virginia.
  • October 16: Christopher Grasso, president of the College of William & Mary, on the unification of church and state and its influence on colonial life.

An exhibit of historical artifacts relating to Bruton Parish will be displayed in the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg, opening on Thanksgiving Day in November.

As a lasting memorial of the anniversary, Bruton parishioners will help build a Habitat for Humanity house.

Bruton parishioners are stitching a new set of needlepoint kneelers for the church, depicting the church building and other images important to the parish.

Many items commemorating the anniversary will be for sale online and in the Bruton Parish Shop.

Image by Ron Cogswell, via Flickr

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