St. Peter, Quamichan turning 150

The Anglican Parish of St. Peter, Quamichan, is celebrating 150 years.

The Anglican Parish of St. Peter, Quamichan, is celebrating 150 years.

St. Peter, Quamichan has the distinction of being the oldest parish still operating on its original site in the Cowichan Valley.

It stands on a rocky knoll — a site that was chosen by Bishop George Hills in 1866. In January 1866, Rev. W.S. Reece became the first resident clergyman for an area from Mill Bay to Chemainus, including Saltspring Island. Construction of the log church began in late 1866, with the first service March 10, 1867.

Ten years later, this small church (45 seats) was demolished and the present early English style church rose to completion by February 1876, able to seat 100. On June 14, 1877, St. Peter, Quamichan was consecrated in front of 200 people, on a gala day with Bishop Hills and passengers from Victoria arriving on a chartered steamer. This is the church worshipped in today, with the exception of an 1893 west end addition and a 1930s addition to the vestry. The church now seats in excess of 150 worshippers.

The unique 10-ton granite rock, moved down Maple Bay Road by parishioners in 1919, stands outside the south door as a memorial to the many parishioners who were lost in two world wars.

One of this parish’s many glories is its historic cemetery. Sloping from the church to the meadow are graves dating from 1866, covered by a canopy of ancient oaks and fir trees, seasonally carpeted by many species of wildflowers.

There is also Crescent Homes, which consists of seven duplexes offering 14 units that house low income elderly citizens. This operates as a society separate from the church, but members of the society are the parishioners.

Anyone interested may join in a special anniversary celebration on Oct. 23. A service will be held at 9:30 a.m. in the church followed by a luncheon and program in the hall. Seating is limited for the luncheon, so those wishing to attend should RSVP the church office: 250-746-6262 or stpeterschurch@shaw.ca