St Peter’s Anglican Church was designed in 1851 by famed architect Kivas Tully and then built in 1854 – complete with steeple. Many years later it now has a bell tower instead of a steeple and has had many additions but the main building is badly in need of a new roof, ceiling and other repairs – total estimated cost is $3M. The state of the roof is bad enough that the Church itself has been closed since February 2018 with services held in the Parish Hall. The congregation wants to “re-align itself to meet the needs of the local community” although that’s not a new idea. I know that in 2018, Les Amis concerts planned to have concerts there. The nearby Trinity United Church has been a venue for multiple concerts and other events for some years and the move by the Anglican Church is welcome. But first they need to find the money to pay for the necessary repairs.
Although the Church is a place of worship and the size of most congregations (including Anglicans) is dropping across Canada, the church has two other attributes:
- It’s a part of Cobourg’s heritage with great architecture
- The members of the Church already provide community services and the church would provide a magnificent event venue.
In looking for funds, the congregation says this:
As an Anglican congregation, we recognize that our church is changing and needs to re-align itself to meet the needs of the local community. We have a beautiful building which remains empty for six and a half days of the week, and we have local community organizations such as Habitat for Humanity Northumberland and several social service agencies which have identified the need to come together to provide services in one central location.
With our large Parish Hall, we already provide space for a thriving Seniors’ club, as well as AA meetings, Boy Scouts, a pre-school for 40 children, and community groups for disadvantaged people. Volunteers prepare meals in our commercial kitchen, providing approximately eighty low-income and homeless people with a nutritious home-made dinner every Thursday night, as well as lunch twice a week.
….. As a congregation, we recognize the need to revitalize and repurpose our buildings so that identified sectors of our community (e.g. seniors, youth, marginalized groups) may find a space that meets their own spiritual and physical needs.
Work required and estimated costs
- Replace or Repair – $1.8M
- Bell Tower Brick work – $200K
- Interior upgrades – $1M
- Improve Insulation & add air-condtioning
- Upgrade Electrical and IT
- Upgrade flooring
- Studies on the above – $200K (already spent)
In their information package, the Church says:
The three million dollars noted above would complete all the work, including legal work on the boundaries of the various components of the property. A Project Manager will be hired to oversee the entire project which could generate 25 to 30 or more person years of employment to augment economic growth post Covid-19.
Sources of Funds
- A grant from the National Trust for $2M – application submitted but approval pending.
- St. Peter’s estimates it could raise $1,000,000
- Investments $300,000
- The Diocese of Toronto $300,000
- Local and congregational fund-raising $400,000
The National Trust has asked the Federal Government for $200M for shovel ready heritage projects as part of Covid-19 recovery – the $2M would come from that. Money for this specific program has not yet been announced although about $500M for “Cultural, Heritage and Sport Organizations” has been provided.
We are currently in the process of updating our building condition report, and working with consultants on plans to make St. Peter’s sustainable with our community partners and to achieve long-term financial stability.
St. Peter’s Church is truly a national treasure: from hosting Royalty and Canadian Victoria Cross winners, and being the garrison church of the Royal Marines of Canada, to serving nearly one hundred home-cooked meals every Thursday night during a pandemic. We are strong in our faith and in our future.
The Church’s property also includes affordable Housing units, a “dilapidated rectory” and a small cemetery. It will certainly be interesting to see if the grant will be provided.
Here are some more photos of the Church.
- List of designs by Kivas Tully In Cobourg, they are St. Peter’s, Victoria Hall and “Sidbrooke”.
- National Trust Canada