Concise Lexicon of Christianity

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The First English-Speaking Service in America

Of the following groups of people, which was the first to hold an English-language church service in the western hemisphere?

No, not Christopher Columbus and his crew.
Of the people in this list, Columbus and his crew were indeed the first to arrive in the western hemisphere. However, they didn’t speak English..
No, not the pilgrims in Massachusetts.
While the pilgrims spoke English and worshipped in English, they didn’t arrive in Massachusetts until 1620, thirteen years after Jamestown was founded in Virginia.
No, not the troops in the fort at St. Augustine, Florida.
St. Augustine was founded in 1565 and probably had church services before the other permanent settlement in this list, the troops were Spanish. If anything, the church services were in Latin, because they were Roman Catholics.
No, not William Penn and the Quakers in Pennsylvania.
The Quakers did hold their services in English, but they arrived later than the pilgrims in Massachusetts or the settlers in Jamestown, Virginia. William Penn wasn’t even born until 1644, 24 years after the founding of the Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts and 37 years after the founding of Jamestown in Virginia.
Yes! The settlers of Jamestown, Virginia.
This is correct! Virginia was founded by loyal members of the Church of England, and in fact, the Church of England was Virginia’s official state church until Thomas Jefferson pushed through a law to disestablish it. The settlers landed at Jamestown in 1607 and held their church service using the Book of Common Prayer, which was in English. So they held the first English-language church service in the western hemisphere.

After the Revolutionary War, the Church of Virginia became the Episcopal Church.