St. Andrew (Exuma)

The first missionary of any kind to be sent to Exuma was William Twyning who was sent there by the Society of the Propagation of the Gospel (S.P.G.) in 1787. The majority of white persons were loyalist refugees and their slaves whom from Exuma held out hopes of material prosperity and success.

In 1792 an Act of the Legislature created the Harbour of Exuma into a town. The town was called George Town in honour of the British monarch of the same name. On June 17th, 1792 in a letter to the S.P.G., Mr. William Gordon reported that a few gentlemen in the Harbour of Exuma had subscribed about 100 guineas towards building a Church at Exuma.

December 22nd, 1802, the new church in the Harbour of George Town was dedicated. The church was where Reverend Daniel Warner Rose took the negroes into the Parish church of Exuma to worship for the first time. By 1847 there was no church left in George Town so it is assumed that it fell to ruins. In 1865, under the leadership of Father Samuel Minns, Bahamian born, the second church was built. Father Minns was followed by Father Walter Sylvester Page, a deacon, in October 1874. The modern parish of St. Andrew’s is the result of the foundation which he laid and labored to maintain in the face of many obstacles and limitations. Father Page began the third St. Andrew’s Church which we know today. The church was opened for public worship on Palm Sunday, March 28th, 1885. It was consecrated by Bishop Edward Churton, the fourth Bishop of the Diocese, on December 18th 1887. Father Page also built the Rectory on the Hill. The Hill on which the church is situated is called Kitt’s Hill.

Father Page was succeeded by Father M.J. Bywater (1887-1891). About 1888, a parcel of land with a house upon it was purchased to be used as a church. It was vested in the Incorporated Trustees of the Church at England in the Bahamas. It was really only a wattle plaster structure with a thatch-palm roof. This church was destroyed by a hurricane in 1899 under the Rectorship of Father C.A.L. Strombom. St. John the Baptist was rebuilt by Father Stephen Lloyd. It was consecrated by the Fifth Bishop of Nassau, Henry Norris Churton, on February 16, 1903.

At the Pond (Williams Town), the church services were held in a room which was shared with the Dissenters. The work had been neglected for some time as Mr. Young, the Catechist, had gone as a Magistrate to Rum Cay. Upon his return, Mr. Young and two others formed a committee for church work. The people at the Pond were anxious and willing to have a church of their own but they were extremely poor. However, they offered to provide labour, stones, lime and other materials. In 1888 a building was erected by Mr. Gamlen for the use of any denomination of Christians who might desire it. The place was used exclusively by the Church of England, although not furnished as a church with altar and other Liturgical appointments. In 1889, it was still so used, and the original donor expressed a wish that the building should be secured to the church. Father Lloyd rebuilt and enlarged a church at the Pond in 1893. Destroyed by the hurricane in 1926, it was not rebuilt until 1932. The present St. Mary Magdalene Church in Williams Town was rebuilt by Father Keith Cartwright and consecrated on July 20th, 1986 by the Eleventh Bishop of Nassau and the Bahamas, The Right Reverend Michael Eldon.

At Harts (Harts, and Steventon/Stephenstone though considered one settlement are really separate entities) there was a day school operated and funded by the church but Father Bywater found out that the people were unable to join in the services at church due to illiteracy. The Reverend William Henry Strombom, S.P.G. Missionary of Exuma, reported on April 13th, 1848, the completion of a small chapel, on a piece of land granted by Margaret Clarke. This was the first St. Margaret’s Church, Harts. It was still standing in 1889. The second St. Margaret’s was consecrated by Bishop Edward Churton on March 1, 1897. The first St. Margaret’s was vested in the Lord Bishop of Jamaica, Audrey George Spencer, on April 23, 1850; the Bahamas then being a part of the Jamaican Diocese.

Due to the unrelenting efforts of Mr. Passy Lloyd, a church was established in Rolleville. In April/May 1910, the Sixth Bishop of Nassau, the right Reverend Wilfred Bird Hornby, opened the new but incomplete church. Unfortunately, there is no consecration date for St. Michael and All Angels Church, Rolleville.

The church of St. Christopher in The Ferry of Little Exuma seems to have been built for the Fritzgerald family during the Rectorship of Father Hannah A. Marshall in 1941. In the beginning this family worshipped in their own home when it was impossible to get to Williams Town. Eventually a small chapel was constructed on their private property. St. Christopher’s still stands to this day but the few family members who remain at The Ferry often worship at St. Mary Magdalene Church in Williams Town.

The Church of the Holy Innocents, Ragged Island was rebuilt and renovated in 1990. The original church was built under the Rectorship of Father Floyd and was consecrated by Bishop Henry Norris Churton on February 24th, 1900.

During Father J.C.G. Wood’s time (1907-1912), six acolytes began attending the altar and burning candles on the altar was introduced.

Father Herbert W. Devall (1912-1928) introduced the Angelus. He had the church bell ring for the Angelus 3 times daily – 6 a.m., 12 noon and 6 p.m. He also built the Lady’s Chapel of St. Andrew in George Town.

On Sunday, July 2nd, 1935, Father Hannah A. Marshall arrived. The first Catechists’ Conference in the history of this Parish was held a short time after his arrival. It was a three-day conference and the Catechists got to know each other for the first time. He was the first priest to have a car in this Parish.

Father Foster Pestaina (1952-55) got tile for the floor of the Lady’s Chapel, St. Andrew, George Town, and laid it himself.

Father William Thompson (1959-1961) arrived as the Priest-in-Charge of the Parish. He introduced the envelope system to the Parish.

Father Glendon Brant arrived in 1964. He held the first Vestry meeting in the Parish.

In the mid-60’s transportation was getting better. Little Exuma was connected to Great Exuma by a bridge, and it was possible for a priest to travel the whole island.

Father Kirkley Sands (1973-74) set as his first job to have all the churches and other buildings repaired. Some repairs were done.

Father Delano Archer (1976-1983) arrived and re-organized the Vestry according to the rules of the Diocese and set his goal to make the parish self-supporting. In a very short time this was accomplished, but his greatest ambition was to have a Community Center in George Town, which he started before his departure.

Father Keith Cartwright (1984-1992) completed the restoration by adding Sacristy, Sanctuary, St. Mary’s Chapel, Porch and Bell Tower to St. Andrew’s Church. He built the new St. Mary Magdalene’s Church and completed the construction of St. Andrew’s Community Center.

Father Mario Conliffe (2004-2011) did work on all churches throughout the Parish and facilitated the school’s growth to senior high school status.

Father Ethan Ferguson (2012-2021) did extensive renovations of St. John’s Church, St. Andrew’s Community Center, St. Michael’s Church, St. Margaret’s Community Center, St. Mary’s Church, expanded and modernized the Parish’s Administrative offices, renovated Parish’s Rectory, facilitated parish debt cancellation, grew the Parish’s budget by one hundred percent, led capital campaign to save St. Andrew’s School, completed renovation and revitalization of school’s campus, established Parish scholarship fund for primary, secondary and tertiary education, and two postulants sent to seminary.

The Parish of St. Andrew has had many Missionaries and Priests, many buildings destroyed and rebuilt but since its birth has stood firmly and faithfully rooted in Christ.

Education has always been a part of the Anglican Church. Records state that there was a time when a day school was attached to all the Anglican Churches in Exuma, except for St. Christopher’s in The Ferry. As time went on, the church schools were replaced by public schools.

In 1983, St. Andrew’s Kindergarten School was established.

In 1995, the Primary School was added.

In 2002, the Middle School was added.

Almost 40 years in and St. Andrew’s Anglican School can boost of its progression from Kindergarten to Grade 12!


Five congregations make up the Parish:

St. Michael and All Angels, Rolleville

St. Margaret, Harts

St. John the Baptist, Moss Town

The Historic St. Andrew’s Parish Church, George Town

St. Mary Magdalene, Williams Town


Distance between:

St. Michael and All Angels Church – St. Margaret Church: 5 Miles

St. Margaret Church – St. John the Baptist: 8 Miles

St. John the Baptist – St. Andrew’s Church: 8 Miles

St. Andrew’s Church – St. Magdalene Church: 17 Miles


Missionary Priests

1778-1788                   William Twyning

1789-1794                   William Gordon

1796-1797                   William Huntridge Moore

1799                            William Neesh


Parish Priests & Rectors

1802-1804                   Daniel Warner Rose (1st Church built/established the Parish of St. Andrew)

1838                            Charles Neale

1847-1848                   William Henry Strombom

1849-1863                   Samuel Minns (1st Bahamian priest – 2nd Church built)

1874-1887                   Walter Sylvester Page (3rd Church built)

1888-1891                   M. J. Bywater

1893-1901                   Stephen Lloyd

1902-1903                   C. A. L. Strombom (son of William Henry Strombom, former parish priest)

1907-1912                   J.C.G. Wood

1912-1928                   Herbert W. Devall (Longest serving priest of the 20th century)

1932-1934                   William Victor Ruston

1935-1943                   Hannah A Marshall (went on to become Dean of Christ Church Cathedral)

1944-1945                   Roger Geffen

1945-1946                   Carle William Bothe

1946-1947                   Donald Cameron Stuart

1947-1951                   Burket Kniveton

1951-1952                   Lloyd Vernon George

1952-1955                   Foster B. Pestaina (went on to become Dean of Christ Church Cathedral)

1956-1959                   Burket Kniveton

1959-1961                   William Edward Thompson

1962-1963                   Irwin Vincent McSweeney

1964-1973                   Glendon Brant

1973-1974                   Kirkley Sands

1974-1976                   Peter Grist

1976-1983                   Calvin Luther Delano Archer (parish was organized and became self-supporting)

1983-1984                   Derek Antonio Martin

1984-1992                   Keith Nathaniel Cartwright

1992-1997                   Stephen Davies

1997-1998                   Peter Scott

1998-1999                   Samuel Sturrup

1999-2004                   Mark Kendall

2004-2011                   Mario Conliffe

2012-2021                   Ethan P. J. Ferguson (longest serving rector in modern history/21st century)

2021-Current              Chitan R. D. Thompson


Assistant Curates

2005-2010                   Willish Nottage-Johnson

2010-2018                   Paulette Cartwright (Rector Pro-tem – January 2012 – June 2012)

2018-2019                   Eric A. A. Miller

2019-2022                   Welcott A. Bain


Sons of the Parish

Fr. Milton Cooper

Fr. Samuel Sturrup

The Very Rev’d Harry Bain

Fr. Dwight Bowe

Mr. Howard Bethel Jr.

Mr. Rondeno Rolle

St. Andrew (Exuma)
George Town Exuma P.O. Box EX-29093
The Bahamas