St. Peter’s is proud to be the oldest Episcopal parish in New Jersey. Historic records show that the first service was held in 1685. Our first rector arrived from England in 1698. In our history we have had twenty-six rectors, only four since 1914. Our royal charter was received in 1718, the same year as the city of Perth Amboy received its charter. The parish owns a complete set of Queen Anne Communion silver, one of fourteen sent by the Queen to the established Anglican churches in the colonies in about 1706. The communion service is still used today on Christmas, Easter and the Fourth of July.
Leaders of the colony of East Jersey, including William Franklin, the Royal Governor (and son of Benjamin) worshiped here. During the Revolution the citizens of the town were divided in their sympathies. Perth Amboy was occupied by both sides as the conflict raged. The church building was used as a barracks and even as a stable.
The churchyard surrounding the present church building (second on this site, built in the 1850’s) contains many gravestones that predate the American Revolution. Thomas Mundy Peterson, the first black voter under the fifteenth amendment to the U.S. Constitution, was a parishioner and is buried in the churchyard.
A major renovation to the present building was needed after explosions at a government munitions plant across Raritan Bay in Morgan in 1918 caused significant damage to ceilings, walls and windows. The resulting interior is largely as it is seen today, with the addition of a freestanding altar in 1981.
In the early 1960’s excavation was done under the church building to stabilize the foundation and create a full basement. During the excavation, bones were discovered that turned out to be the remains of European servants of Mr. Gordon, who deeded the property to the church. The bones currently reside in the state museum where they are being studied by a forensic anthropologist.
In the late 1990’s the parish undertook a major capital campaign to raise matching funds for a New Jersey Historic Preservation Grant. (The site is on the National Register of Historic Places). These funds were used, in part, to replace the church building’s slate roof.
In 2010, on the occasion of our 325th anniversary, we have been named a Jubilee Center.
On August 10, 2011, St. Peter’s made more history with a Service of Repentance and Reconciliation memorializing people of African descent, mostly slaves and servants, who were buried in the graveyard without recognition.