April 26: Robert Hunt, Priest and First Chaplain at Jamestown, 1607
April 26, 2011 18 Comments
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Robert Hunt was born in England around 1568. He was a parish priest in Reculver, Kent, beginning in 1594, and in 1604 became vicar of Heathﬁeld Parish in the Diocese of Chichester.
In 1607, Hunt accompanied Captain John Smith and the Jamestown colonists, serving as their priest and chaplain. The ﬁrst celebration of the Holy Eucharist recorded in North America took place on May 24, 1607, and Hunt is believed to have presided. Captain Smith’s diary notes another celebration of the Holy Eucharist on June 21, 1607, and Hunt is more clearly indicated as the presiding priest.
In Captain Smith’s journal, the following tribute to Robert Hunt and his ministry may be found: “He was an honest, religious and courageous divine. He preferred the service of God in so good a voyage to every thought of ease at home. He endured every privation, yet none ever heard him repine. During his life our factions were oft healed and our great extremities so comforted that they seemed easy in comparison with what we endured after his memorable death. We all received from him the Holy Communion as a pledge of reconciliation for we all loved him for his exceeding goodness.”
Hunt died sometime prior to April 10, 1608. A memorial has been erected by the National Park Service in Historic Jamestown.
I Almighty God, we bless thy Name for the life and witness of Robert Hunt, ﬁrst chaplain to the Jamestown colony, whose community knew him as an honest, religious and courageous divine who, in his short life, endured great hardships without complaint. Help us, like him, to work for reconciliation and healing wherever we may be placed; through Jesus Christ thy Son, who with thee and the Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
II Almighty God, we bless your Name for the life and witness of Robert Hunt, ﬁrst chaplain to the Jamestown colony, whose community knew him as an honest, religious and courageous divine who, in his short life, endured great hardships without complaint. Help us, like him, to work for reconciliation and healing wherever we may be placed; through Jesus Christ your Son, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
1 Timothy 6:11–16
Preface of a Saint (2)
From Holy, Women, Holy Men: Celebrating the Saints © 2010 by The Church Pension Fund. Used by permission.
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We invite your reflections about this commemoration and its suitability for the official calendar and worship of The Episcopal Church. How did this person’s life witness to the Gospel? How does this person inspire us in Christian life today?
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