ST. PETER'S HISTORY


      St. Peter's has the distinction of being the first full blown Anglo-Catholic parish in the Diocese of Western Massachusetts. As early as 1869, meetings were held in the basement of the Central Street School where the idea of having a second Episcopal Church on the "hill" was conceived.  First organized as a mission of Christ Church Cathedral, the members began collecting money to build a church on the corner of King Street and Merrick Avenue in Springfield. On October 27, 1891, Bishop Brooks laid the cornerstone and in 1892 consecrated St. Peter's Mission Chapel.


        Membership grew making it necessary to replace the small church and on November 19, 1905, the cornerstone of the present church, at 45 Buckingham Street, was laid by Bishop Vinton.  During the summer of 1929, under Father Ferguson, the interior walls of the church was embellished with  fourteen foot murals in the fourteenth century Italian style art by Arthur Gordon Smith.


       There are memorial gifts of statues of St. Mary and St. Joseph and also a charred statue of Jesus Christ which survived  the fire that destroyed All Souls Chapel.  These  shrines are available   for anyone who wishes to pray or light a candle for special petitions


      St. Peter's engendered other mission, which eventually became parishes themselves; Church of the Epiphany in Wilbraham, St. Barnabus and All Saints in Springfield, and St. Andrews in Ludlow.  In the early 1960's while Father George Smith was Rector, St. Peter's welcomed the predominantly black congregation of St. Simons Mission after it was closed by the Diocese.  St. Peter's has been a multiracial parish from its inception. According to church records, black families were baptized at St. Peter's in 1895. As early as 1920, women shared in parish leadership, bearing witness to St. Paul's teaching that  "in Christ, there is no male nor female..."Galatians 3:18


      Today, membership is drawn primarily from the immediate neighborhood as well as throughout Springfield and the Pioneer Valley.  St. Peter's members continue to draw upon their faith through involvement in outreach to the wider community and welcoming any and all that wish to be a part of the St. Peter's family.