Elmslie Memorial United Church, Grand Cayman Island
48 Harbour Drive
Georgetown, Grand Cayman Island
Type of Prayer Place
This lovely white church sits just across the street from the clear blue waters of the Caribbean. The current building was erected in 1922 by an architect who specialized in ship building and hence the roof is shaped like an upside down ship’s hull.
The congregation dates back to 1845 when a group of missionaries from Jamaica heading for Africa were shipwrecked on a nearby coral reef. When they discovered that there were no organized churches on the island, they sent out a call for clerical help, which was answered by Rev. Elmslie after whom the church is named.
The interior of the church is cool and shady in contrast to the relentless Caribbean sun outside. This effect of sanctuary is created by the dark woodwork ceiling and pews and the stained glass windows. The prominent focal point inside the church is a pair of stained glass windows behind the pulpit depicting the resurrection of Christ and his ascension. The side windows are opaque stained glass that can be cranked open to let in breezes.
How I used this place of prayer
I came in on a cruise ship and noticed the church steeple from our ship before disembarking, so I headed down around the harbor to find the chapel. I arrived early in the morning when the church was locked, but found a gardener who had opened the church doors at around 9 AM for visitors. I was very grateful to have this small oasis of sanctuary and quiet reflection and prayer after being on a very active vacation with mobs of other people. I especially enjoyed meditating on the stained glass windows up front and exploring the symbolism of the artwork. When I was visiting there was a long printed banner that had been hung across the two stained glass windows that read, “Lord, teach us to pray.” This further enhanced my feeling of being invited to pray and meditate in a place of prayer.
Hours of Operation & Admission Requirements
Contact Information / Sponsoring Organization
If you come via ship into the Georgetown cruise terminal turn right to walk down Harbor Street.
You will pass the Cayman Islands National museum, which is worth a visit in itself as it has an exhibit on the religious life of the islands in which Christianity has and still continues to play a vital part.
Wear good walking shoes and have drinking water available. When I visited there was no air conditioning inside the church, so visit early in the day before the heat rises.
Added by Karen Barber on August 7, 2013