Established in 1822, St. Peter’s Episcopal Church has played an important part in the life of Washington and the Diocese of East Carolina. The church facility sits at the corner of Main and Bonner.
In its formative years, St. Peter’s used the “free church” along with the Methodists, Presbyterians, and Baptists. In 1824 St. Peter’s erected a frame church on the grounds facing Main Street. That church burned in 1864 (as an indirect result of Union occupation of Washington). From that church, the crystal chandelier, the baptismal font, and several side chairs survive.
The present church, a Gothic Revival brick building with lancet windows dominated by an off-center, 4-stage tower, was begun in 1867 and completed in 1873. It was laid out to face the east. Bishop Thomas Atkinson consecrated the church in December, 1875.
St. Peter’s sits in an historic churchyard bordered by stately oaks and marked by plantings of rare trees. The sanctuary, chapel, parish hall, day school, and offices occupy the church building. In the churchyard is the grave of Col. James Bonner, founder of the town of Washington. The outdoor chapel and herb garden offers a place for quiet contemplation and meditation. The walls of this outdoor chapel hold tablets naming those whose ashes have been buried in the churchyard.
The church has an active ministry to the Hispanic population of Beaufort County. It also has an outstanding day school where children may receive an early Christian education.
St. Peter’s serves a congregation of 644 active members. Its vision statement is, “As disciples of Jesus Christ: Reaching out in compassion and equipping for ministry.”
A detailed history of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church is recorded in On This Rock, a history of the church written and published in connection with the celebration of St. Peter’s 175th year. This history is available in the church office, as well as in local libraries.
Copyright © 2023 Saint Peter's Episcopal Church - All Rights Reserved.