Serving Salem since 1733

Our Story

Serving Salem for nearly 300 years...

Though the first presence of an Anglican worshipping community in Salem, then Naumkeag, originated in the early 1620s, St. Peter's Church was established on St. Peter's Day, June 29th, 1733, on land given by Phillip English and was built by parishioners and their slaves.

The present church, which is constructed of Cape Ann granite, is our second church building and replaced the original yellow wooden church exactly 100 years later, on June 29th, 1833. The former church was razed to make room for a larger, more substantial building suitable for our growing community and for Bishop Alexander Viets Griswold, who then served as our rector and bishop diocesan.

St. Peter's had Salem's first bell - our 1740 English bell still graces our bell tower today and is the oldest church bell in the United States - and Salem's first organ, in 1743, amid a sea of Puritanism that looked upon such advances with great dismay.

The St Peter's-San Pedro Church community has a very long history that intersects with colonial America, the 1692 witch hysteria, the American Revolution, Slavery, the Oxford Movement, the Civil War and on through both World Wars and into the twenty-first century.

Expanding the vision...

With such a long history - soon to reach 300 years - St Peter's-San Pedro has touched many lives across the centuries. Thanks to the work of visionary Black scholars, preachers and writers, and to their long-uttered call for an end to racism and discrimination in the United States, the people of St Peter's-San Pedro are becoming deeply aware of our parish's complicity in the Slave Trade that so flourished here in Salem for so long.  African slaves helped build our first church building, were owned by at least the first two rectors at St. Peter's, and were segregated in the West balcony during worship services in the 1700s and early 1800s.

The intentional, difficult and holy effort to research our complicity in the Slave Trade through our historic archive has begun here at St. Peter's as we work together with our Black brothers and sisters, community members and civic leaders to dismantle racism and construct an antiracist present and future in this church, community and country.

Your prayers and support as we endeavor to confess the sins of the distant and recent past are most needed and appreciated. God help us as we strive to make reconciliation and reparations to Blacks in America,  and to repair the breach in Christ's name.  

Where we are headed...

Today, St Peter's-San Pedro is a vibrant, diverse and welcoming church that is deeply committed to the Gospel of Jesus and his call to love our neighbors as ourselves. As a bilingual and multicultural church in the center of Salem, we strive to welcome all in Christ's name and to respect and support one another's journeys of faith.

Fully engaged in the community we serve, we support those in need through our free Winter Coat Closet, Mamás Unidas Diaper & Young Mother's Outreach, Laundry Love, Meals at Lifebridge Shelter, and direct financial assistance to those in crisis, including over $28,000 in emergency assistance last year alone.  We are also striving simultaneously to eliminate our fossil fuel consumption and ensure that our real estate assets are dedicated to missional use and impact.

Our bilingual Sunday School meets monthly on the last Sunday of the month at 10:30am, and children form a central part of our liturgies by bringing new life and energy to our congregation.  

Interested in learning more about our long history? Join us on one of our historic tours or upcoming historic presentations. Curious about our worship or what kind of community of faith we are? Worship with us! All are most welcome and encouraged to join us as we praise our God and proclaim the Gospel of his risen Son!

Be a part of our story...

Join us every Sunday as we gather for the Holy Eucharist at 9:00 am in English and 12:30 pm in Spanish.  
On the last Sunday of every month we worship in one bilingual Holy Eucharist at 10:30am.