In 1902, the mission of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Jaffa began in a rented location. At this same time, Miss Constance Newton, a missionary of CMS from England built a school for boys and later a clinic. She also gave land in order to build the church. At the consecration of the church a copper plaque engraved with Miss Newton’s name was installed inside the church building.
In 1905, the first Arabic Synod in the Diocese of Jerusalem voted to reassign The Rev. Boutros Nasser from Birzeit to Jaffa, where he worked closely with Miss Newton and the mission. Fr. Nasser also had oversight of the parishes in Ramla, Lod, Gaza and Aboud. Miss Newton died in 1908 and in her will she donated the land across the street from the school to build the present church. The church building actually began after World War I in 1918 and was completed on March 22, 1921. The bell tower was completed later in 1942. The diocesan bishop at that time was The Rt. Rev. Rennie McInnes.
St. Peter’s closed in 1948 because of the war that followed the end of the British Mandate period. This conflict saw the expulsion of the resident Palestinian Christian congregation, including the family of retired Archbishop Suheil, whose father had been on the parish vestry. His family first fled to Lebanon, then to Jordan, before finally settling in the Rafidia area of Greater Nablus in the West Bank. St. Peter’s has remained closed ever since.
With the support of faithful partners, including descendants of former parishioners, our mission is to restore St. Peter’s Church, refocusing its ministry on service to the local Diplomatic Corps, many of whom are expat members of the Worldwide Anglican Communion. The parish will also have an outreach ministry to Seafarers through the ports of Jaffa and nearby Ashdod, Israel’s largest.
Watch here a video of then-Archbishop Suheil and the Archbishop of Canterbury visiting St. Peter’s in May of 2017:
Video of then-Archbishop Suheil and the Archbishop of Canterbury at St. Peter’s, Jaffa
St. Peter’s Restoration Project
The Diocese of Jerusalem is currently in the process of renovating St. Peter’s. Especially in view of the economic challenges springing from the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic and war in Ukraine, contributions towards this $300,000 project would be most welcome.
How to Donate
Please contact Mrs. Sawsan Batato, Diocesan Programs Development Officer at email@example.com, for information on how to contribute to this exciting reopening of Historic St. Peter’s.