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Church hopes to save stained-glass window

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The stained-glass window, made by island artist Vivienne Gardner

The Anglican Church is on the hunt for a buyer to take over a disused church in St George’s.

St Peter’s West in Wellington Slip was forced to close last summer after the number of parishioners dropped to only a handful.

The distinctive yellow brick church is also looking for a new home for a stunning stained-glass window, made by island artist Vivienne Gardner, which overlooks the Mullet Bay playground.

Gillian Outerbridge, administrator for the Anglican Chapel of St George’s, said: “It’s another little piece of Bermuda’s history that could very easily disappear,”

“It’s also a piece of spiritual history too that means a lot to people who live in the Wellington Slip area.”

She added: “We are looking to find a new lease of life for the building, possibly as a church for another denomination or a nursery school or even a day care centre.

“The middle floor was used as a day care centre before, although we believe that further back in time it was a residential property.”

St Peter’s West was the heart of the vibrant and bustling Wellington Slip community in its heyday in the 1960s and 1970s.

Scores of children attended the church’s Sunday school and weekend services were regularly attended by a 100-strong congregation.

But earlier this summer as the number of parishioners fell to ten, the Anglican Parish of St George’s was forced to close its doors as a church after nearly six decades.

The premises became St Peter’s West Church in 1958, one of three in the Anglican Parish of St George’s alongside historic St Peter’s Church and the Chapel of Ease in St David’s.

The Reverend David Raths conducted the last service at the church before a small congregation in June.

Betty Smith, one of the congregation’s last members and a former treasurer, sub-warden and secretary of the St Peter’s West Church Guild, said: “It is sad that the church has closed, but I understand why it has happened.

“The congregation had dwindled to just ten members. Most of the members have passed away now.

“But back in the day it was the heart of the community. My children went there to Sunday school when they were two and three, and I’m 83 years old now.

“It was a special place for me and my family because it was the first Anglican Church in the neighbourhood.”

Ms Smith added: “We were always more like family than just a church, we did all sorts of family events including the pre-Christmas roast beef dinner. We all came together and we had so much fun in that building.”

Ms Outerbridge added: “We are looking at ways and means of saving the stained-glass window. It’s a beautiful piece of work and we would love to see it somewhere near to St Peter’s Church in the town.”