The cross on St. Peter's

Saint Peter's Anglican Church
Comox, BC, Canada

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A Brief History of St. Peter's

The parish of Comox originally included the whole of the Comox Valley, including Comox, Sandwick and Courtenay. Initially services were located at St. Andrew's Mission at Sandwick. The district became a parish officially in 1871, with the Reverend Jules Xavier as the first minister.

The first St. Peter's Church building on the present site was built in 1891 and completed in 1893. Land for the new church had been donated by Mr. W.R. Robb, with the understanding that it be built immediately, at a cost of approximately two thousand dollars. A donation to the building fund in the name of Dunsmuir is believed to be from Robert Dunsmuir of Cumberland, Nanaimo and Victoria. The church was completed at a cost of $2218, and was consecrated on June 10, 1891, with Jules Willemar as the first incumbent.

The geographical definition of St. Peter's parish was centred on the Town of Comox, but over the first 48 years, it was gradually expanded to include Point Holmes, Kye Bay, Little River and Seal Bay. By 1939, the parishioners decided that a larger and more modern building was needed. The final service in the old church was held May 21, 1939, and demolition begun.

The foundation for the present St. Peter's Anglican Church in Comox was laid on the original site. The cornerstone was formally placed on September 3, 1939, and the first service in the new church took place just over two months later, on November 12. The building was officially consecrated on December 11, 1939. The bell, the white cross on the roof, and the font are all preserved from the original church.

When more room was needed, a hall was built in the 1950s and named after Canon Arthur Corker. The hall has served the parish and the community well over the years. Again more space was needed, so the hall was extended at the rear of the building in 1965. It was named after a prominent Comox citizen and churchman, George Henry Ellis. This wing now houses the church library, as well as a pleasant "fireside lounge".

St. Peter's rectory was built at the beginning of the 20th century, and provided a home for successive rectors and their families until the 1980s. Since that time, the former rectory has provided office space for the rector and secretary, meeting rooms for the parish council and committees, and Sunday school classrooms. The Africa Community Technical Services (ACTS) office now occupies two rooms on the upper floor. ACTS is active in organizing projects for rural water supply, agriculture and community health in east Africa.

For several decades, members of St. Peter's have been considering a variety of options for redevelopment of the church facilities. A major step forward took place during the first half of 2008, when a complete interior renovation of the church building was undertaken and completed. The next phase, under consideration, is the addition of a new entrance and foyer on the west (street side) of the church building. We look forward in the hope that the Spirit will lead us in this project for a renewed place of worship.

Rectors of St. Peter's