The Parish of Holy Trinity and St Peter’s, Ilfracombe

History of St Peter’s

Worship at Saint Peter’s

St Peter’s was first conceived at the end of the 19th Century as a means of accommodating the growing resident population and the influx of visitors. Although a “daughter church” of Holy Trinity, St Peter’s has always had a distinctive Anglo-Catholic style of worship and, today, offers something unique in our area.

The 19th Century Oxford Movement sought to restore “the beauty of holiness” to everyday worship and to engage the senses as well as the minds and hearts of God’s people in their worship. Here is colour and movement to delight the eye; incense (the sweet perfume which reminded the people of God of their prayers rising to His presence) which engages our sense of smell; we taste in receiving the sacrament; we touch in manual gestures and exchanging the peace; we hear God’s Word and sing his praise.

Anglo-Catholic worship focuses on the Eucharist (Holy Communion or the Mass). In this service we join with our brothers and sisters throughout the Christian Church in the great Sacrament in which Jesus commanded us to “Do this in remembrance of me”.

This focus is important as we offer our whole selves to God, engage with His teaching, and support one another but, most importantly, we are sent out in the power of the Holy Spirit to serve all God’s people. It’s worth remembering that Anglo-Catholic churches were deliberately founded in areas of great deprivation with the intention of serving and giving dignity to the poor.

Here we also explore other forms of worship, principally through our monthly Alternate services, using the Celtic and Taizé traditions to provide a short time of reflection. Stations of the Cross and the Easter Vigil and First Mass are also part of our distinctive worship.

Today, St Peter’s seeks to make itself a centre for the community and is available for a wide variety of functions and events. Our strap line is “A Heart for the Community” and we open our doors and our hearts to all as a welcoming, joyful, inclusive, prayerful congregation.

A word about Mary!

At the end of our Sunday Mass we join together in the words of the Angelus, the “Hail Mary”. We do this in order to reflect on Mary’s great service to the world when she said “Yes” to God and bore His Son for our Salvation.

This ancient hymn of the Church is entirely based on scripture. It helps to remind us all of our debt to Mary and to encourage our own aspiration to serve God in the way He is calling us. Importantly, this is not worship of Mary; it is celebrating her response to God.