Annual Green Hill service to be broadcast Aug. 23

Old Green Hill Church.

The digital world is coming to Wicomico County’s oldest church building, Green Hill Church, built in 1733.

For the first time ever, this year’s Green Hill Sunday service at Old Green Hill Church will be broadcast to the public on the Internet, because of Covid-19 restrictions.

Green Hill Church is situated on the banks of the Wicomico River, 10 miles downriver from Salisbury.

An annual Green Hill Church Sunday service is a tradition that began over 150 years ago when the local Episcopal churches in Wicomico County began making an annual pilgrimage to their mother church in late August for a joint service and picnic afterwards on the church grounds.

This year, because of the pandemic, the tradition takes a new twist, since the faithful will be participating in the service at 10 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 23, via a broadcast on Old Green Hill Church’s Facebook page.

The Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Easton, the Right Rev. Santosh Marray, will preach and preside at the service in the church, with limited clergy and lay representatives participating from the five Episcopal churches in Wicomico County: St. Alban’s and St. Peter’s in Salisbury, St. Mary’s in Tyaskin, St. Paul’s in Hebron and St. Philip’s in Quantico. Everyone else will be watching the video broadcast.

“Before, only those who made the trek out to the church this one time out of the year for Green Hill Sunday could see and participate in a service in this historic church,” said the Rev. David Michaud, Chair of the Green Hill Church Committee, a committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Easton, and Rector of St. Peter’s Church in Salisbury.

“This year, because of the pandemic, we are unable to open the church to in-person worship, but we are making the service available to the world to watch, either via livestream or a video recording,” Michaud said. “Now people who could never make it down to Green Hill Church that day can experience the beauty and history of the service this year.”

Green Hill Church was constructed in 1733 in Green Hill Town to serve the Anglican, or Church of England, congregation of Stepney Parish, one of the 30 original parishes established in the Province of Maryland.

The Parish included lands on both sides of the Wicomico River and stretched northeast to parts of Lower Delaware. After the Revolutionary War the church became part of the Protestant Episcopal Church, but gradually went into decline and was largely abandoned by the mid-1800s.

In the early 1850s, repairs were made under the direction of the Rev. William Augustus White and the first annual pilgrimage to the historic church was made under his leadership.  A major restoration project was begun in 1885 and upon its completion, Bishop Adams consecrated the church as St. Bartholomew’s. Ever since Green Hill Sunday has been held on the Sunday closest to St. Bartholomew’s feast day on Aug. 24.

This year Green Hill Sunday will be celebrated on Sunday, Aug. 23, with the livestream of the service beginning at 10 a.m. 

Green Hill Church has been called “one of the outstanding architectural survivals from the eighteenth century remaining on the Lower Shore.” Restoration of this historical gem is on-going today, overseen by the Green Hill Church Committee.

To access the worship service online, go to Green Hill Church’s Facebook page at facebook.com/OldGreenHillChurch. The service will begin at 10 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 23, on the Facebook page. PAC 14 is simulcasting the broadcast on cable and St. Peter’s is simulcasting the service on its website: www.stpeterschurch.net .

Tax-deductible donations for the preservation of Green Hill Church may be sent to Green Hill Church, PO Box 173, Quantico, MD 21856; or give online at: dioceseofeaston.org

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