St. Peter's by the Sea
About St. Peter's by the Sea
St. Peter's by the Sea, located on the Shore Road in Cape Neddick, was consecrated in 1898 as the realization of the dream of a Philadelphia couple who translated their love for their favorite summer area into a legacy of stone which to this day serves as a landmark for fisherman out to sea.
The church was built by Nannie Dunlap Conarroe in memory of her husband, George Mecum Conarroe, who died in 1896. The Conarroes first stayed at the Cliff House when they came to the southern Maine coast in the 1880's. In 1890 they moved into their house named Cragmere on Shore Road. They had talked about building a summer chapel on land nearby referred to as Christian Hill, where open air church services had been held fairly frequently since 1850.
Ground was broken for the church and the cornerstone was laid in September 1897. Construction began at once. Charles M. Burns of Philadelphia was the architect, and Edward B. Blaisbell of York was the contractor. Native stone was used with wood in the H.H. Richardson Romanesque style. Sidney D. Winn of Cape Neddick, a master stone mason, was head mason on the project. Mrs. Conarroe also arranged for the Ogunquit Memorial Library to be build on Shore Road in nearby Ogunquit Village in the same style. The library was opened to the public in June 1898.
St. Peter's by the Sea was consecrated on July 12, by the Rt. Rev. Henry Adams Neely. Summer services have been held there continuously ever since.
From 1962 to 1992, the Rt. Rev. William H. Marmion, retired bishop of the Diocese of Southwestern Virginia, was minister in charge, and his brother, the Rt. Rev. C. Gresham Marmion, retired bishop of the Diocese of Kentucky, was his associate during those years.
Since 1992 several retired bishops and other members of the clergy have conducted services from early June through the middle of September and resided in the oceanside rectory, Marmion House. The church is very popular for weddings, and many brides and grooms revisit. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in August, 1999.
St. Peter's Guild holds a hospitality hour at the rectory overlooking the ocean after the 10 a.m. service for refreshments and fellowship. All are invited. The Guild also sponsors a picnic in July, a brunch inn August, and an "Au Revoir" party in September.
St. Peter's by the Sea was incorporated in the State of Maine in 1927.