The Church, Parish and People
FORWARD - St Peter's Church in Sydenham St is, notwithstanding its age, one of Whitstable's lesser-known sights. Despite lying just a stone's throw from busy Harbour St, there are many, including residents, who might have to think for a moment before being able to direct you to it. Those with the eyes - and the mind - to seek it out will find an unexpected architectural treasure and a small oasis of calm and beauty surrounded by its peaceful garden, tucked away from the hurly-burly of twenty-first century life, where the tenets of the Anglo-Catholic faith are practised and a warm welcome extended to both regular worshippers as well as to those who may be curious about either their own faith or simply what lies within the portals.
The origins of St Peter's began in the 1870s with a mission church to minister as a chapel-of-ease to those people living in the area near the harbour. As resources became available, a new building was gradually constructed, not reaching its final intended shape and size for over fifty years. Parochial status was achieved in 1935, and so now for nearly three-quarters of a century the "back-street" church has stood as a local landmark and constant witness to Christian activity in this busy town.
The first (unpublished) history of the church and its parish was written by the late David Shrubsall, sometime churchwarden, in 1985, and it was now felt that the time was propitious to revise it and bring it up to date. What follows here is therefore based on solid foundations, and will stand as a fitting memorial to a faithful servant of St Peter's.
The Feast of St Edward the Confessor, 2009
David Wright, M.A., Ph.D., F.S.G.