St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church is located on approximately an acre of land on the border of the campus of the University of Rhode Island. St. Augustine’s was begotten in 1954 in the minds of the diocesan College Work Commission, of the Bishop–the Right Reverend John Seville Higgins—and of the archdeacon—the Very Reverend William Kite. We have two main buildings consisting of the church and rectory. The original section of the church, Canterbury House, was consecrated in 1956 with the chapel of St. Augustine on the upper level and Chapel Hall consisting of a kitchenette and conference room in the lower level.
By 1983, more space was needed, and a new church building was constructed adjacent to and attached to Canterbury House. The handicapped accessible sanctuary is on the upper level and is a post and beam design. Many of the current parishioners have fond memories of staining the beams and pounding nails during the construction period. Below the sanctuary is Canterbury Hall offering a large meeting space for pot luck dinners, sales, church school, and a meeting space for groups such as AA. This addition allowed the original upper level to be used as office space and a Godly Play room. In the early 1990s, a campaign drive and a grant provided funds to renovate Chapel Hall with a new kitchen and meeting room.
Built in 1960, the rectory is a raised ranch offering approximately 1,800 square feet of living space. It offers a large living room with fireplace and large windows overlooking the back yard, a fully-appliance galley kitchen and dining area, laundry/utility room, 4 bedrooms, and one and a half baths. The grounds around the house and church have numerous flower beds and an extensive lawn area, with some of the outer edges of the property left in their natural state. A memorial garden is located on the east side of a small stream which runs through the property.
The heart of our home is the sanctuary which seats about 130 people. The simple post and beam design with large clear windows offers a peaceful area for reflection and prayer. The free-standing altar and chairs provide flexibility in seating arrangement. For example, during Advent we face our furniture toward the east.
Like any home, our buildings must be maintained and we are grateful for the generosity of both time and pledges from our parishioners. We hire a cleaning service, and our junior warden has been busy with many updates and repairs to both the rectory and the church.