Located on the scenic New Jersey shore, St. Peter’s-at-the-Light Episcopal Church is nestled on the northern tip of LBI in the quaint fishing borough of Barnegat Light, under the sweeping beam of the “Old Barney” Lighthouse. Originally constructed at the behest of ship builder Benjamin Archer in 1890 as a chapel for visitors to the Oceanic Hotel, the building was sold to the Episcopal Diocese of New Jersey in 1937 and designated a summer chapel. St. Peter’s was closed in 1946 for several years, but was reopened in 1955 by Bishop Banyard at the urging of Fr. Henry Beck and William Doughty. By the late 1980's services at St. Peter’s were conducted year round, and the church achieved Mission status in 1992. To further contribute to the ministry at St. Peter’s, the construction of a Parish House was completed in 1992. With its large kitchen, meeting hall, modern restrooms, and office, this wonderful facility provides space to host meetings, classes, and community suppers.
St. Peter’s continues to grow and serve the Lord in outreach to the community and to the world. That same diligence and devotion of the priests and men and women of the past who have “written” the history of St. Peter’s are very much at work today! In 2004, St. Peter’s took a daring leap of faith and called Fr. Donald Turner as its first on-site priest. The following year a new vicarage was built next to the church for the priest and his family.
A magnificent triptych, depicting the life of St. Peter, graces the east wall behind the altar. Its panels, three-dimensional carvings and Renaissance-style paintings, portray scenes in the life of St. Peter, interspersed with flora and fauna of Long Beach Island. This exquisite work of art was created around 1957 by the late Lewis Carr of Barnegat Light, a consummate craftsman, who excelled in a variety of media. He was commissioned by Diocesan Bishop Alfred Banyard to paint the triptych and execute its carvings for the reopening of St. Peter’s Church. Mr. Carr painted the sanctuary red to represent the throne of God, with a blue ceiling to represent Heaven, setting it apart from the Nave which represents earth. The gold-stenciled designs of the cross and the keys to the Kingdom are symbols of St. Peter. The two side panels illustrate scenes from the life of St. Peter. Note that Mr. Carr has incorporated various images of local interest, including the lighthouse, St. Peter's Church, as well as the island flora and fauna, seagulls and shells. The center panel features our Lord as Christ Triumphant ~ Christ the King. The Lord is garbed in a green chasuble, representing everlasting life, woven with a pomegranate design - a symbol of Resurrection; the red lining notes his sacrifice. In the Lord's hand is the chalice and host, representing the Body and Blood. Surrounding the throne of God are four Archangels.
The spectacularly beautiful stain glass memorial windows were installed in the 1970’s. The first was the St. Peter window, dedicated to the memory of Lewis Carr. Other windows quickly followed in memory of individuals and families who had loved and worshipped here.
In addition to St. Peter, these gem-like windows portray the Virgin and Child, St. Cecilia, St. Francis, St. Dorothea, St. Andrew, and John the Apostle. Among the symbols they bear, many are associated with the Christian church, as well as with the New Jersey coast environment.
Also adorning this historic and artistic edifice are many relief carved-oak furnishings, rich with religious symbols and a nautical flavor, by local artist Tom Martie. These, as well as the church's natural wood interior, stain glass windows and triptych calls to each heart to worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.