History of St. Peter’s

Closely allied to a new church in East Deering was the Grand Trunk Railway which had its principal roundhouse in East Deeering and employed a large number of the Church of England people who found themselves without the ministrations of the church in the immediate neighborhood.  The Right Reverend Robert Codman, Bishop of Maine, recognized their need and in December 1912, called the Reverend Phillip Schuyler to St. Peter’s Church of Portland.  Canon Schuyler established two missions in the area: St. Alban’s then north Portland; and St. Peter’s in East Deering.

Services of the Church were held regularly in Ilsley Hall.  A good sized church school developed; a Women’s Guid was organized; Holy Baptism was admininistered for the first time in the mission on September 7, 1913; and on the following Whitsunday, May 31, 1914, Bishop Codman confirmed a classs of seven candidates.  Early in the next year, January 24, 1915, the formal organization of the mission was accomplished, and it was agreed that the mission would be named St. Peter’s.

Officers elected at that meeting were: Warden John Gifford, Clerk Thomas Fowler, Treasurer Charles Wood-Leigh.  Executive Committee:  George Hogan, Thomas Bean, Frank Evans, Sydney St. Felix Thaxter, Edward Gail, Mrs. Lealand Philbrook, Miss Priscilla Wells, and Miss Dorothy Smith.

The following three years witnessed enthusiastic growth.  There were 100 communicants working determinedly to build on land already purchased at the corner of Washington Avenue nd Alton Street.  Bishop Codman died October 1915, and because Saint Peter’s was the last mission funded under his direction, the Diocesan Convention of 1916 designated St. Peter’s the Bishop Codman Memorial.”  Gifts for the building fund from both the Codman family and friends of the late Bishop made the erection of a church a reality within a very short time.

Ground was broken for the church building on July 10, 1918.  At a special open air service, the cornerstone was laid September 21, 1918, by the Right Reverend Benjamin Brewster.  The church was completed in the fall of 1919.  The first service, a service of dedication, was held October 3, 1919, with Bishop Brewster delivering the dedicatory address.

In 1925, two significant changes occurred at St. Peter’s.  The first was the resignation of Canon Schyler, a very popular priest.  The second was the removal of the Grand Trunk Railway shops from East Deering.  Some parishioners, employees of the railroad, left the community at this time.

In 1953 the sanctuary was refurbished, and in 1954 a rectory was constructed across Washington St. from the church.