A 72-year milestone
It is a time of celebration again as the years have gone by in almost a”blink of an eye”and the Church of the Holy Spirit Anglican Parish, the mission project established in the Chippingham area, celebrates 72 years.
For many Chippingham area residents life would never be the same without the beacon of light found in the Anglican church affectionately called the”The Little Lipstick Church”in its formative years many decades ago, and on Sunday, January 9, the popular community church will ring in 72 years of dedication to God and service to the Chippingham community with a special 8:30 a.m. mass that will be followed by a family-oriented potluck brunch. This celebration will be the first one for the church’s newly appointed rector, Father Peter A.G. Scott who started his leadership on August 1, 2010.
Father Scott, a well-travelled priest, who has previously ministered as an assistant rector at parishes like St. Barnabas, Holy Cross, St. Matthews and also served in multiple parishes on North Long Island, North Andros and Exuma and as chaplin at St. John’s College says he is happy to be a part of his most recent church home at this point in its history.
Four months into his newest appointment, Fr. Scott says he has lots of ideas he wants to implement at his new church community which he says mostly involve engaging in more community service and physical renovation of the church. One of the first things on the rector’s agenda is to improve the church’s appearance and involvement in the community.
He has lots of plans, to return the church to its full potential, including reorganizing many of their current ministries and”breathing” new life and love to them. He also hopes to encourage more members, current and past, old and young, to return and be more involved in the church’s activities once again.
The priest has already started on the road to bringing the church back to its full potential with little things like a paint job and completing the wall around the parish’s parking lot. The priest has also started an evangelism program for the Ardastra Gardens housing area, and says he’s in the process of reorganizing many of their current ministries and bringing new life and love to them.
“In 2011 we have even more planned,” said Fr. Scott.”We want to firstly find our lapsed members and get them back in the church. We also want to get more involved in the community by joining forces with the area’s Urban Renewal program and starting a neighborhood youth band that will bring together kids from our church as well as St. Michael’s Methodist church and kids in the neighborhood. We are also looking to reestablish a relationship with BASH[Bahamas Association for Social Health]so that we can overall just be more helpful and loving.
“The church has been a beacon in the community for 72 years and has drawn people toward the Lord throughout the years. Originally this church was built to answer the needs of the people of this area who previously had to attend churches farther away like St. Mary’s(the Virgin)and because of its proximity[the Church of the Holy Spirit Anglican Parish]thrived for many years.[With]some changes, the primary one being that many members of the church have moved away from the Chippingham area and may now attend other churches we must now refocus, double our efforts and continue to do more for our community so that we can uphold the rich history of this area and the church.”
The Church of the Holy Spirit, located on Howard Street, was the brainchild of the late Canon Edward G. Holmes, rector of Saint Mary the Virgin Church. At the time there was a need for an Anglican Church in Chippingham where persons who usually worshipped at St. Mary’s Church, could attend. This was around 1938, a time when few persons owned cars and getting to church required walking quite a distance. Howard Chipman offered property to the late Bishop Roscoe Sheddon for the erection of a church. Alma Sands, a longtime employee of Canon Holmes owned property adjacent to the site given–she exchanged it for another piece located on Dunmore Avenue, Chippingham, so that there would be a larger plot of land for the church. Once the land was secured, Canon Holmes pursued his plans to build a church. It was to be a mission of the parish of St. Mary the Virgin. He recalled that the church was built within a year at a cost of 60 pounds and that the contractor was Edward Dillet. At the time, the new mission church, named the Church of the Holy Spirit was nicknamed”The Little Lipstick Church”by Canon Holmes as it was painted white with red trim. It was dedicated on January 1, 1939.
In the early 1950s a donation was given by Shirley Oakes to have a sacristy added to the building. The expansion was said to cost approximately$500. In the years 1975 to 1976 the building was expanded to the north and south. Further expansions and renovations were carried out under then rector, the late Fr. Dunstan Burrows. Fernley Palmer was the contractor for this work. During Fr. Burrows’tenure, Oakes donated the twostained glass windows located on either side of the altar. The northern window was dedicated to the memory of Allord K. Lowenstein and the southern one to the memory of her brother, William Pitt Oakes. The expansions and renovations were dedicated on July 9 1978.
Under the late Father Patrick Simeon Johnson, a former rector, plans to install stained glass windows throughout the church began. The windows were installed while Rev’d. James Moultrie, who succeeded him, was the rector.
Under the rectorship of Canon Harry W. Ward, two years ago, a number of improvements designed to enhance the worship and learning environment were carried out. These included the modernization of the communication system which involves the use of mounted LCD’s. Other changes to modernize the church include the air-conditioning of the parish and the rectory in 1994. Over a period of time, the property between the church and Providence Avenue was purchased. The last transaction was closed in 2005.
Elizabeth”Betty”Sweeting, 73, one of the few members of the church who was there from the early days and still attends has fond memories of the early church.
“I was born across from Holy Spirit in a little yellow house. Back then most people in this area used to go to either St. Mary’s or St. Agnes. I personally was christened and confirmed in St. Agnes since Holy Spirit was only a mission church back then. But we grew into a church with Fr. Holmes. I remember having great pleasure attending Sunday school because there were so many of us and we all went together. We didn’t have school during the service like we do now but at three in the afternoon instead. Church was also much friendlier back then too. The people who attended 7 a.m. and 10 a.m. services met once a month when the services were combined at 8:30 every second Sunday in a month. We got to know each other because of that.”
As Fr. Scott looks to revive the historic church he says he foresees the church continuing to be the center of the community and its members doing more than they ever have done to the keep the community alive and active.
“There is a lot to be done and 72 years may have come and[will go]but there is still so much to be accomplished and it may take many more years, but this is a good parish and it will continue to do so much as time goes on,” says Fr. Scott.