First Baptist Church in San Andrés, Colombia

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.

First Baptist Church founded in 1844.

First Baptist Church founded in 1844. Yes, we’re still in Colombia.


We climbed to the gallery and looked down. The sanctuary has all the familiar components, including the baptistry at the front.

We climbed to the gallery and looked down. The sanctuary has all the familiar components, including the baptistry at the front.

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.

A view along the gallery.

A view along the gallery.

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.

These are the stairs that scared me and defeated Gayle.

These are the stairs that scared me and defeated Gayle.

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.

Jane under the church bell.

Jane under the church bell. The inscription says: “On this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

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.

View 1.

View 1.

View 2.

View 2.

The roof construction was interesting: it was so steep. We wondered if it was for a purpose or just style.

The steep church roof from the tower. This roof is _so_ steep -- were they expecting snow?

The steep church roof from the tower. This roof is _so_ steep — was the architect expecting snow?

Perhaps this space keeps the sanctuary cool by drawing heat up from below.

The roof from underneath.

The roof from underneath.

And we conclude with some good advice. We saw these signs at several places around the island.

Atone, confess, repent -- a good thing to do now and again.

However you like to phrase it: atone, confess, repent — a good thing to do now and again.

8 thoughts on “First Baptist Church in San Andrés, Colombia

    • Hi Matthew, Glad you liked the framing! Pete asked me to take that shot for you :) We’re still looking for that perfect island; but enjoying the search.

  1. Great report, nice pix! “Man walking to work comes across a boy with a box of doggies and a sign ‘Baptist puppies, $5.00’. A few days later as he walks to work he comes across a boy with a box of doggies and a sign ‘Methodist puppies, $5.00’. He stops to inquire “Say son, weren’t you hear a few days ago”? “Yes sir”. “Are these the same puppies?” “Yes sir” “What about the sign?” “Today they got their eyes open” :). (note: I was raised RLDS so have no dog in this race.)

  2. Could you please give me this church’s pastor name? or a telephone number or any kind of information to contact them? thank you for your answer.

    • Hi José,

      Sorry, I don’t have a name or phone number for you. But, it’s a small island. You could try sending a letter, simply addressed to “First Baptist Church, Isla San Andrés, Colombia” and see what happens.

      Best regards,
      Jane

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