Pondering for Saturday: August 17, 2019

The Remembrance of the Baptisms of Manteo, and Virginia Dare 1587 August 17

“As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water. What can stand in the way of my being baptized?”  (Acts 8:36)

  This is an Icon of the Episcopal Diocese of East Carolina

This is the history of how Baptism from the Church of England came to the Western Hemisphere. It is how God’s hand works on the planet God gave us, this earth, our fragile home.  This is a story about the development of the fetus of the Episcopal Church just over four hundred years ago.

“In the late sixteenth century, Sir Walter Raleigh established three colonies along the northeastern coast of what is now the state of North Carolina. In July 1587, the third and final settlement, consisting of 120 men, women, and children, under the leadership of John White, landed on Roanoke Island, near the present-day community of Nags Head.”  (Great Cloud of Witnesses for August 17)

While the icon shows them together, they were not, and certainly not baptized together. “On August 13, 1587, Manteo was baptized, the first recorded baptism of the Church of England in the American colonies and the first recorded baptism of a Native American person in the Church of England. On August 18, Governor White’s daughter Eleanor and her husband Ananias Dare celebrated the birth of their first child, Virginia. The first child born to English settlers on the North American continent, Virginia’s baptism on August 20 was the second recorded baptism in the Church of England in North America.”  (Great Cloud of Witnesses for August 17)

“Governor White returned to England in late August 1587 to obtain badly needed supplies. It was understood that if the colonists were forced to abandon the settlement in White’s absence, they would carve the name of their destination on a tree. If their departure were due to attack, a Maltese cross would be carved beneath. Delayed by events beyond his control, White was unable to return to the colony for three years. It was not until August 18, 1590, that White finally arrived at the site of the village. White found the word “Croatoan,” with no carved cross or other signs of distress, carved into a post of the fort. Little certainty surrounds the fate of the English settlers, who remain known to history as the “Lost Colony.” (Great Cloud of Witnesses for August 17)  And I might add, while they are lost, they are not forgotten.

While God’s hand is at work at all times in our lives, we too get lost to one another.  But we are not forgotten. What can stand in the way of anyone being baptized,for once done, it is eternal? 

So lets us ponder anew what the Almighty can do.  John+

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