190-year-old church needs urgent repairs

The St. Peter Anglican Church at Enterprise, Leguan, Region Three

THE St. Peter Anglican Church, one of the oldest places of worship on the island of Leguan, is 190 years old and is in need of urgent repairs.
Even in a ruined state, the church holds services twice every month and on special occasions on the Christian calendar.
At first glance, the landmark building appears to be an abandoned structure. Its doors were tightly locked; some of the windows were opened, some broken; the pews were dusty and look like old furniture; the roof is in a deplorable state and the exterior of the building,though it appears in good condition needs painting.
Just opposite the church, at left, is the bell tower, which appears to be abandoned years ago. The steps to the tower are out of place and there have been an appreciable buildup of dust in the tower.
The church,which is located in the village of Enterprise, was built in 1827 and boasts of tiled sanctuary, massive brickwork, asphalted floor, architectural rafters and windows portraying events in the life of the patron Saint Peter.
Saint Peter also named Simon, formally a fisherman, was a disciple of Christ who is recognised as the leader of the disciples in the early Christian church.
The church was first opened for service on December 9, 1827. According to the National Trust of Guyana, the structure was replaced by the present one on June 29, 1855.
Prior to the erection of the first church, services were held under a clump of bamboo trees.About 17 percent of the residents of the island are Christians.
On November 25, 1826, a meeting was held in the house of Captain Thierens of Plantation Vissailvalligheid. At this meeting it was decided that a church and parsonage should be built. A site was chosen on the front lands of Plantation Enterprise, Leguan. On December 9, 1827, the church was opened for service.
The church, which is built of bricks, was originally covered by a roof of wallaba shingles which was later replaced by metal roofing.
At the left of the North Western entrance stands the detached bell tower, surmounted by an octagonal brick spire. With this artistic design and leaning tower, St Peter’s Church is located on 10, 843 acres of land and is regarded as one of the finest brick structures constructed in Guyana.
Minister of Business and Tourism,Dominic Gaskin,on a recent visit to the island stressed the need for the restoration of the building;pointing out that it has the potential to be a useful tourism site.
He told the Government Information Agency (GINA) that the Draft Tourism Policy calls for the acceleration of plans for the delineation and upgrading of heritage trails/districts in Georgetown, Essequibo and Berbice.
GINA said within that framework, the Department of Tourism in the Ministry of Business intends to work closely with the National Trust of Guyana and other bodies to bring to prominence those aspects of the building’s heritage that have value as tourism attractions.
Visits to the site can be included in tourism tour packages, Minister Gaskin told GINA, pointing out that “… some form of restoration needs to take place on the building and surroundings.”