St. Peter's Episcopal Church, Rome, Georgia


Less than 10 years after Rome was founded, 20 Episcopalians organized a church in 1844. Between 1849 and 1887, eight rectors led St. Peter’s. However, there have been only six rectors at St. Peter’s since 1887. Four of these served for a total of 101 years.

  • The Rev. Charles Buckner Hudgins became rector in January 1887 and served until 1914. He was responsible for the building of our present chapel and main church. The cornerstone was laid on St. Peter’s Day June 29, 1892. On Christmas Day 1892 the first service was held in the completed chapel. The church was completed in 1898. The first regular service was held at 11 o’clock on Christmas Day 1898. The church tower was completed in 1910.
  • The Rev. H. Fields Saumenig was rector for 26 years (1914-1940). He ably led the parish through World War I, the tinsel twenties, and the depression years.
  • The Rev. James L. Duncan was called to be rector in 1940, resigning in November 1945 to go to Winter Park, Florida. He later became the Bishop of Southeastern Florida.
  • The Rev. W. Russell Daniel came in March 1946. In the fall of 1952, the Willingham property at 103 East Fourth Avenue was purchased and used as a parish house. Today it serves as the church office. A new rectory at 305 East Fourth Avenue was completed in early 1955. Beginning about 1960, St. Peter’s helped establish the Church of the Transfiguration in West Rome. In 1963 the Irene Mathews Hight Memorial Parish House was completed; the assembly hall was named Daniel Hall in honor of the beloved rector.
  • The Rev. Robert A. Beeland III became rector July, 1964. Mrs. Tom (Margie) Harbin was the first woman to be elected to the vestry. In 1982, Mrs. Edward (Barbara) Hine became the first woman to be elected Senior Warden. The Rev. George Home was ordained at St. Peter’s on July 10, 1965. The Rev. Jim Yeary came to St. Peter’s as our first assistant in January 1970 and remained until December 1971. The Rev. Greg Frost came as an assistant in 1980 and the Rev. Janice Bracken in 1983. The former two were also ordained while at St. Peter’s.
  • The Rev. G. Donald Black served as rector from October 1986 through May 2000. The Rev. Brad Whitaker became assistant to the rector in June 1989 and was ordained at St. Peter’s in March 1990. The Rev. Brian Sullivan served as assistant to the rector from July 1997 through June 2000.
  • The Rev. Jim Yeary served as interim rector from June 2000 until January 2002.
  • The Rev. Roger Hoyt Ard became rector in January of 2002 until his retirement in March 2011. The Rev. Janice Bracken Wright served as Associate Rector under Fr. Ard.  The Rev. Greg Tallant was ordained at St. Peter’s on July 14, 2007.  Fr. Tallant left St. Peter’s February 1, 2012, to become Rector of Holy Trinity Parish, Decatur, GA.
  •  The Reverend John Foster Herring became Rector in August of 2012. In 2016, The Reverend Nikki Mathis joined the Clergy as an Associate Rector responsible for Children and Youth Ministries. St. Peter’s completed a major renovation of the church and chapel in 2016 to make the facilities more accessible for all as well as to renovate the buildings. The exterior bell tower was refurbished. In 2017, St. Peter’s completed a new Memorial Garden to the south side of the church. A Pet Memorial Garden was also added on a terrace above the Willingham House. In 2019, The Reverend Melissa L. Kean also joined the Clergy as an Associate Rector, replacing The Reverend Nikki Mathis who relocated to assume the position of Rector at St. Gregory’s in Athens, Georgia. The Reverend Kean is also responsible for Children and Youth Ministries.