Upcoming Twilight Talk Explores History of Religion on Sanibel

provided to The Santiva Chronicle

The Sanibel Historical Village will present its second Twilight Talk at 7 p.m. April 5 The Sanibel Community House, 2173 Periwinkle Way. The topic is “God and Sanibel: The History of Religion on the Island.” From the indigenous Calusa to the diverse church groups on Sanibel today, islanders have always contemplated the questions of human existence.

Like all island history, the story of religion on Sanibel and Captiva is filled with fascinating stories. The first church, built on the beach at Casa Ybel, was Rev. Barnes’ majestic Church of the Four Gospels. It was destroyed by the 1910 hurricane, and salvaged pews are still in residence at Sanibel Community Church.

Church of the Four Gospels

While St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church is known today for its legendary “Noah’s Ark” thrift shop, that congregation was founded with a strong sense of social justice. More compelling history comes from the unique formation of Captiva’s Chapel by the Sea, along with heartbreaking early stories of its little cemetery.

Noted Sanibel theologian/conservationist, Dr. Ran Niehoff, will be the featured speaker for this talk. In the past, Niehoff has taught classes on the stewardship of creation — the intersection of ecology and theology. Currently he teaches in the Winter Academy of BIG ARTS and writes a column in the local magazine, Times of the Islands.

His Twilight Talk will examine the universal questions of meaning along with the unique history of various religious groups on Sanibel and Captiva. Supplementing his talk will be video footage and still photographs illustrating the rich history of religion on the islands.

The cost is $15 per person, and reservations can be made in advance by calling 239-472-4648 or can be purchased at the door.

The Sanibel Historical Museum and Village is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. Full guided tours take place at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. depending on docent availability, and advance reservations are not required. There is no additional fee for these tours.

The Sanibel Historical Village is located at 950 Dunlop Road (next to BIG ARTS) and there is handicap access. Admission is $10 for adults over 18. Members and children are free. The village has handicap access to all but one building, the tiny Post Office. For more information, call (239) 472-4648 during museum hours or visit the museum’s website.

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