Of all of the churches on Long Island, two stand out for their architecture and beauty – St. Paul’s Church and St. Peter’s Church. Both were built by Monsignor Jerome Hawes during the early 20th century and both look almost identical. St. Paul’s was constructed when Monsignor Hawes was an Anglican and St. Peter’s when he converted to Catholicism.
Known as the twin churches for their strikingly similar construction – both have twin towers and are painted white and blue – St Paul’s and St Peter’s are also located in Clarence Town. Clarence Town, located near the ocean, serves as a port for the island. During my childhood visits to Long Island, I had never visited either church.
During one fateful visit, I was determined to climb one of the towers of St. Paul’s. We, my then love interest and I, made the long drive from Deadman’s Cay to Clarence Town with relative ease that day. The sun was beating down on us hard that morning but there was a light breeze.
As we arrived at the church, I noticed that it was larger than I had thought.
“This is going to be interesting,” I said.
I walked up the long steps to the main door, which was a bright blue and pulled it open. The church was empty. I looked over and saw the door leading to the tower. I opened it and looked up at a spiral staircase. It stretched for what seemed an eternity.
We started climbing, moving up and up until we arrived at a small window.
“Just a few more to go,” I thought.
Up we went on this old staircase, reminiscent from the stairs seen in Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo. Finally, we made it to the top. From the perch of St. Paul’s tower, the entire settlement of Clarence Town became visible. A 360 degree view of the island.
Most of the view is blue, clear skies and clear waters. I spend a few minutes gazing out, watching cars move around and sailors anchor at the local marina. I snap a few pictures and savor the wind that just started blowing.
What an unexpected day.