FRIENDS

The Friends of St Peter’s Church

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Patron: HRH the Duke of York

Registered Charity No: 775

 

The Friends of St Peter’s Church, established in 2005 under the Royal patronage of HRH The Duke of York KCVO, ADC, is dedicated to the preservation and promotion of St Peter’s for the benefit of future generations of Bermudians and the many thousands of visitors who every year make their way up the famous steps of St Peter’s.

 

“Historic buildings are a proud and significant part of our, and every, nation’s heritage. They are an irreplaceable element of the collective memory of local communities…They contribute both to our sense of identity and to that regional distinctiveness which is so valuable and so vulnerable.”

 

J Stevens, Past Chairman

English Heritage

 

It is recognized that many people see the church in the community as an integral part of their environment, even if they do not attend services on a regular basis. Current membership stands at around 100. Members of the Friends come from outside the church community as well as within, and through various fund-raising projects and donations have raised over $60,000.

The Friends meet once a month, except during the very hot summer months.   They also host several functions throughout the year and a produce a newsletter which keeps members informed of all projects and events. 

 

 In addition, the Friends arrange two annual services:

February

Commemorative Service for Midshipman Sutherland Dale

 

Midshipman Richard Sutherland Dale United States Navy, aged 20, died in Bermuda of wounds received while serving on USS President, one of the last Naval casualties of the War of 1812-1815, between the United Kingdom and the United States of America. Although the peace treaty had been signed in Europe on 24 December 1814, it took over a month for this news to reach North America. 

 

Midshipman Dale was brought to St George’s where he was given the best of care but died of his wounds after a month. Midshipman Dale’s parents, Commodore Richard Dale and his wife Dorothea, were very touched by the kindness St Georgians had shown to their son and his tombstone in St Peter’s churchyard is inscribed:  “This stone records the tribute of his parents’ gratitude to those inhabitants of St. George's whose generous and tender sympathy prompted the kindest attentions to their son while living and honoring him when dead."  

 

Following the service, there usually a dinner with guest speaker and small auction to raise funds for the Friends.   For details of this event, see News & Events.

April

Commemorative Service for Pilot James Darrell

 

James “Jemmy” Darrell was born in April 1749.  Aged 46, Jemmy Darrell and two other slaves helped the Royal Navy chart all the waters around Bermuda. With his knowledge of the channels into and around these islands, in 1795 Darrell piloted Admiral Murray’s flagship, the 74-gun HMS Resolution, safely to its mooring in what is now known as Murray’s  Anchorage, near Tobacco Bay, St George’s. The Admiral was so impressed with the pilot’s skill that he recommended that Darrell and the other two slaves be granted their freedom.  They were appointed the first King’s pilots for Bermuda.

 

Darrell was also the first known black person to purchase a house.   As a free man of colour, he challenged laws that imposed new restrictions on free blacks and slaves, and also petitioned against proposals that would have led to a drop in income for King’s pilots.

 

See Worship for dates and details of both these services.

The Work of the Friends

Achievements so far:

 

Restoration in 2009 of the original 1814 clock in the church tower.

 

During 2010 and 2011, the transformation of the church vestry into a showcase of church treasures which include two historic bibles - a 1640 King James and a 1594 Geneva Bible - and a custom fitted safe containing a fantastic collection of sacred silver, some dating back to 1625.   This was achieved with the help of a generous donation from Butterfield Bank.

 

Thanks to a generous gift from the St George’s Rotary Club, the stabilization and repair of some of the burial vaults in the historic churchyard dating back several hundred years.  Bermuda weather is notoriously corrosive and has taken its toll on many of these structures.

In 2012, the year of St Peter’s 400th anniversary:

Conservation of the six brass candelabra which hold over 60 candles, the oldest chandelier dating back to the late 1700’s.

 

Rector’s Board inscribed with the names of all rectors of the church from 1612.

 

400th Anniversary Art Exhibition in conjunction with Masterworks Art Museum.

 

Restoration of the 1640 King James Bible with a generous donation from Mr and Mr Norman Roberts of St George’s.

 

 

In 2014 the refurbishment of the church’s 30 year old 900 pipe organ.  Bermuda’s weather is notoriously corrosive and 10 large pipes were collapsing under their own weight.  This was a major undertaking and the total cost of the project was $29,000.   A special organ fund has been receiving donations for which we are very grateful but more money is needed so do please consider a contribution.

 

Restoration of lettering on some of the wall memorials in St Peter’s, thanks to Friend Louis Mowbray.

 

Production of this website in part sponsored by the Friends and we are very grateful to Ann Spurling and Gillian Outerbridge for the majority of the photographs.

 

Currently underway:

 

Thanks to a special donation The Friends have commissioned archaeologist Brent Fortenberry PhD to write a book about the history of the church.  The publication will be sponsored by the Bermuda National Museum. Since 2008 Brent and his team have been exploring the archaeological and architectural significance of the site of St Peter’s.

How You Can Help

 

Become a Member

THANK YOU FRIENDS!

Annual Subscription Rates:

Individual

$25

Family

$50

Benefactor

$100, $250, $500

Corporate

$1,000

Our Contact Details

For more information about The Friends of St Peter’s Church and how you can be part of this important work, please contact The Friends at:

Phone

 

Church Office E-mail

 

Postal Address

+1 (441) 297-2459

 

office@stpeters.bm

 

The Friends of St Peter’s

P O Box GE 85
St George’s GE BX
Bermuda

 

OTHER WAYS TO SUPPORT THE FRIENDS

  Lend a Helping Hand!

Volunteer Greeters

St Peter’s Church relies on its team of volunteer greeters to welcome visitors throughout the year.  Their time and dedication cannot be praised highly enough. Currently, they welcome over 60,000 visitors each year.

 

Volunteer greeters are present Monday-Saturday to welcome visitors and answer questions. No particular skills are needed but you can expect to deal with many different questions and situations. Resources are always to hand regarding the history of the church and there is plenty of support for our volunteers.  

 

This is purely a tourism focused activity and a volunteer’s religious persuasion is not relevant to the activity. It is an opportunity to:

 

Contribute to the church’s commitment to welcome all who enter its doors

 

Help to promote the Town of St George’s as a UNESCO World Heritage Site

 

Learn about Bermuda’s history through the lens of St Peter’s

 

Meet people and make new friends

How much time would you need to give?

 

Most volunteer greeters work all year round and come into the church for one session weekly or fortnightly. 

 

Session Times

 

Monday-Saturday:

 

11.00am - 1.00pm

 or

1.00pm - 3.00pm

 

Churchyard Stewards

The 400 year old historic churchyard requires TLC.  Weeding, light pruning, digging over the flower beds, pruning the roses and raking away general garden rubbish - these jobs always need doing from October through to May when it’s cool enough to work comfortably outside.   We have the tools, we just need the hands.