Two reasons to celebrate at St. Peter’s
Upper Island Cove church honours dual milestones in 2015
St. Peter’s Anglican Church in Upper Island Cove may not look like a church that’s been around for over 100 years.
Five years ago, a new metal roof was installed, and there have been other little jobs completed to keep the old church in good shape for hosting services.
“People support a restoration fund well here, and there’s al- ways something you’ve got to do,” said Rev. Bill Strong, the church’s rector.
In 2015, St. Peter’s is celebrating two notable milestones. It ‘s been 200 years since construction began on the original church, which was located near the intersection of Noel’s Road and Church Hill Road. This year also coincides with the 125th anniversary of the current church’s construction.
“There’s a great sense of family here in Upper Island Cove,” Strong recently told The Compass, seated in his office located in the church’s basement.
The original church was consecrated in 1820, and as years passed, it became too small to meet the needs of a growing congregation. In 1890, Right Rev. Llewellyn Jones, Bishop of Newfoundland, laid the first cornerstone for the new church, and Aaron Drover laid the first board with help from his grandson Mose.
Strong feels there is a great sense of tradition in Upper Island Cove, and with that comes a need to be aware of the challenges churches like St. Peter’s now face.
“We’re trying to encourage people to take more responsibility for their faith out of their relationship with God and out of a sense of duty to traditions past. Our goal for this anniversary is simple — we just want to have more people in the pew at the end of the year than we do at present.”
The church has maintained a longstanding relationship with its neighbour across the street, St. Peter’s Elementary, even though the days of denominational education are long past.
The local Anglican Church Assistants’ Association (ACAA) holds a weekly card game at the school. The Church Lads Brigade also meets in the school, and Strong volunteers with the school’s breakfast program. If an emergency requires students to vacate the school, they can seek shelter in the church.
Morning and evening services at the church are still well attended, according to Strong. At capacity, it can seat 600. It rarely manages to fill every pew, but a special celebratory service in January to honour the two anniversaries did attract 250 attendees. About 180 people attended a banquet that followed the church service.
The church plans to hold special events throughout the year to honour its anniversaries. Among them, the ACAA will serve fish and brewis on March 13.
St. Peter’s Anglican Church is the subject of two anniversaries this year. It’s been 125 years since construction started on the church, and 200 since its predecessor was built in Upper Island Cove.
Associate priest Arch Young and Rev. Bill Strong look after services at St. Peter’s Anglican Church.