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History of Island Religion


The Sanibel Historical Museum and Village will host its second Twilight Talk of the season, “God and Sanibel: The History of Religion on the Island,” on April 5 at 7 p.m. at The Community House, at 2173 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel.

Sanibel theologian and conservationist Dr. Ran Niehoff will be the featured speaker.  He will examine the universal questions of meaning, along with the history of various religious groups on Sanibel and Captiva.  Video footage and still photographs illustrating the history of religion on the islands will supplement Niehoff’s talk.

Like all island history, the story of religion on Sanibel-Captiva is filled with stories.  The first church, built on the beach at Casa Ybel, was the Rev. Barnes’ Church of the Four Gospels.  It was destroyed by the 1910 hurricane, and salvaged pews are still in residence at the Sanibel Community Church.  While St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church is known today for its Noah’s Ark, the congregation was founded with a strong sense of social justice.  More compelling history comes from the formation of Captiva’s Chapel by the Sea, along with heartbreaking early stories of its little cemetery.

Niehoff has taught classes on the stewardship of creation — the intersection of ecology and theology.  Currently, he teaches in the BIG ARTS Winter Academy and writes a column for a local magazine.

Tickets are $15 and may be purchased in advance by calling 239-472-4648 or at the door.

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