May 24, 2006
Springs Chapel To Celebrate 125 Years
By August, just in time for the 125th anniversary celebration, the hydrangeas at St. Peter's Chapel in Springs will be in lush, vibrant bloom. For the last several weeks a small cadre of volunteers has been working to spruce up the rustic house of worship for this weekend, when it re-opens for summer services.
|ndependent / Jessica Mackin
A historic jewel nestled deep in Springs on Old Stone Highway, St. Peter's Chapel is sustained through the efforts of volunteers. (click for larger version)|
St. Peter's operates under the auspices of St. Luke's Episcopal Church in East Hampton Village. According to Reverend Darwin Price, St. Peter's was built in 1881, and operated by the Eastern Chapel Association. Worship was ecumenical in nature. Jonathan Miller donated the land and sadly, the very first service at the Old Stone Highway locale was the funeral for his 11-year-old daughter, Katie.
St. Peter's became associated with St. Luke's during the ministry of Reverend Oscar Treder, who presided over the congregation from 1907 to 1916. During that time the name was changed from Eastern Chapel to St. Luke's, Rev. Price explained.
Years ago, church school classes were held at the chapel after school on weekdays. There are some congregants who still remember attending classes there, Rev. Price informed. He dubbed Winnie Denton, 97, "the grand dame of the place." In recent years, the quaint edifice has hosted community meetings and Saturday evening services throughout the summer.
Volunteers have kept the chapel going, the reverend said. With fundraising and elbow grease, in recent years they've replaced the roof, refurbished the bell tower, and spiffed up the bell.
Robert Budd helms the volunteer corps. Saturday morning saw him polishing the ancient anchor on the lawn outside the chapel, while Marilyn Johnson and Teresa Schurr worked inside cleaning. Paul Harry applied primer to the white stucco exterior and the congregation's lay assistant Peter Hanke dug in to planting.
Hampton Rustic, which is overseeing the landscaping at the Amagansett Square, donated almost 20 hydrangea bushes as well as sod. Hanke, who is living nearby, has been watching the work and noticed landscapers pulling out the bushes in preparation for replacements. He asked for the donation, and partners Matt Stengel, Eric Engstrom, and Donald Wansor happily made the offering. Also on the top of the volunteers' thank-you list is contractor Robert Biondo, who donated and installed an expensive fire door and local students, who have periodically come out for clean up and gardening days at the site.
Budd has been attending St. Luke's since the '60s. He noted that many of the Chapel's congregants are now elderly, meaning the volunteer pool is quite small. Still, they manage to ready the chapel before Memorial Day, and attend services each Saturday evening. A potluck supper held each week after services "encourages a lot of fellowship," Budd said. To expand support, Budd hopes to promote the cozy chapel as a place to hold small weddings. Also, he said with a twinkle in his eye, the Saturday services are ideal "for anyone who likes to tee off early on Sundays."