St.Andrews Anglican Church, Island Harbor, Anguilla
by Tyrone Hodge
Back in the early fifties, there were only two Anglican Churches on Anguilla, St. Mary's in the Valley and St.Augustine's in East End. All of the residents from neighboring villages had to make the long journey to attend mass at St. Augustine's.
The parish priest at the time was the late Rev. Richard D. Canning, who saw the need for another church and that is how St. Andrews came to be. The land on which the church is built was donated by my grand father, the late Joseph B. Hodge and the person most responsible for getting the church built was my late father Walter G. Hodge.
There are many wonderful stories about people making personal sacrifices in order to get the church built. Many people, craftsmen and labourers alike worked for weeks on end without getting paid, my dad included. Many was the time that Father Canning used his meagre salary to keep things going. The villagers would gather stone and gravel from wherever they could. You could wake up one morning and find that the rock wall which encircled your property had disappeared overnight.
People took risks to get the job done. I remember one such story, that of my late uncle Bertie Hodge who was standing on scaffolding about a good twenty to twenty five feet up when the thing gave way and he had to hold on for dear life to the ring beam until help could get there.
Another time someone was crushing stones with a sledge hammer when a stone shattered and the pieces flew in all directions, one of them shattering my dad's glasses that he wore at the time.
Great courage was displayed by all, especially Father Canning, the merchants in the Valley, CCRey and Company, Albert Lake and I'm sure I'm leaving out a few. The real stars of this production though, are not the principle players, but the village of Island Harbor who saw the need for this church, and who rose to the occasion.
This was really life imitating art as in the great Sidney Poitier movie "Lilies in the Field." There are a lot more stories that I can tell, but my brothers and cousins would not appreciate my doing so. I have pictures of the church and will try to find them and post one or two.
Reply by Nori: Tyrone, I laughed and cried at such a heart-warming story. I sure would love to see all the photos you have of the building of St. Andrews. I'm sure everyone else would, too. Thank you so much for taking the time to share this piece of Anguilla history! Nori. :-)