At St. Peter’s, our story is one of our greatest gifts. It’s a bittersweet story, a story of a community of people who have strived to follow Jesus in good times and difficult times. It’s a story about perseverance, valor, resilience, faith, hope, and love.
It began in 1908 when a small number of Japanese Anglican Christians formed the Japanese Mission of the Episcopal Church in Seattle. After meeting in houses for their first couple decades, in 1932, in the middle of the Great Depression, they pulled together the funds to purchase property on South King Street in Seattle and build a new church.
The St. Peter’s community continued to grow until the onset of World War II. In 1942, along with 120,000 other people of Japanese ancestry in the U.S.A, members of the congregation were forcibly incarcerated in desolate camps miles from home. For the next three years, the church remained closed, and St. Peter’s people found their faith in God and their country tested. Nevertheless, along with other Episcopalians in camp, they continued to be the church, worshiping together and persevering until the day when they could return home.
After the war, it became St. Peter’s mission to rebuild and reclaim damaged lives.The church became a refuge and a center for the whole community, offering comfort and support for members who had been painfully scarred by their wartime experiences and continuing racism.
The experience of exclusion that many in our congregation have faced in their lifetimes has formed us into a community that is serious about welcoming people from all walks of life. We will always cherish our Japanese American heritage, even as we continue to grow as multiracial, multigenerational community. Week after week, we come to be nourished by holy food and drink at God’s table, to find friendship, healing and wholeness, and then to be sent out as Jesus’ Body in the world.
To learn more about “Our Story,” we invite you to watch the “Justice Interrupted” video series released by the Diocese of Olympia after the 2017 Threads of Remembrance event at St. Peter’s Episcopal Parish.