January 16th, 2013, San Andrés, Colombia
Having grown up in a Baptist church and having been all over as a tourist visiting churches of other denominations that are of historical interest — I was quite taken with, for once in my life, visiting a Baptist church that is a historically significant tourist attraction.
Baptists aren’t flashy people — they don’t put gold or statues in their churches. Stained glass, if present, is more often coloured glass than imagery. No surprise that Baptist churches aren’t tourist destinations.
However, the First Baptist Church in San Andrés is worth a visit. It is the oldest church in San Andrés, architecturally interesting and provides a wonderful view of the island.
It looks like a structure from New England.
Across the front, they have pictures of the ministers from 1844: a mixture of black and white; native born and from abroad; English surnames mostly with a few Spanish ones.
Here’s the gallery. Pretty but plain pews. And the floor is sloped, not tiered.
From the gallery, we made our ascent to the bell tower. After 10 months at sea level, I’d quite forgotten that I’m afraid of heights. Oops! ‘Pretended I was made of sterner stuff (and wittered a bit) and carried on for the view.
I was expecting some sort of viewing platform at the bell tower — but no, there was just the bell, and room for a person and a half.
The church is already on a hill and the steeple is the highest lookout point on the island. It was a lovely day, so the views were great.
The roof construction was interesting: it was so steep. We wondered if it was for a purpose or just style.
Perhaps this space keeps the sanctuary cool by drawing heat up from below.
And we conclude with some good advice. We saw these signs at several places around the island.