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St. Andrew Anglican Parish, Couva History
The Parish of St. Andrew, Couva Trinidad is believed to be one of the oldest settlements embarked upon by the Anglican Church in Trinidad and Tobago. Records show that as early as April 1823, Thomas Fowell Buxton, Parliamentary leader of the Abolitionist Movement proposed to allow Sundays for religious instruction of slaves. This process led to the establishment of the Anglican Church in Couva. In 1824 Trinidad was under the Dicoese of Barbados with Bishop W. H. Coleridge as Diocesan head. In 1825 Bishop Coleridge came to Trinidad hoping to visit the Parish because of bad weather conditions that prevailed.
In 1841 the church in Couva was built and licensedfor divine worship by the Bishop. However, it was not consecrated. The new Bishop Parry made to visit Trinidad on 28th April, 1843 and on 5th May he consecrated St. Andrew’s Anglican Church. The Couva church was even then described as a ‘very excellent church,’ because it was spacious and attractive. Its congregation then comprised of a few converted ex-slaves from scattered areas throughtout Couva, Anglicans from the environs and persons from tthe Southern area.
In 1844 Ecclesiastical Ordinance divided the island into parishes and Couva was alloted to the Parish of St. Andrew. Under this Ordinance St. Andrew and St. Philip in Savonetta were constituted as the rectory of the United Parish of St. Andrew and St. Philip.
St. Sylvan became an outpost of St. Andrew in 1867. On 26th January a corner stone was laid for that church. The building was consecrated in January 1917. This present building was consecrated in 1904.
St. Aulban Church, a landmark in the Tortuga community, was consecrated on April 3rd, 1902. This will be now replaced by our ultramodern Retreat Centre with chapel soon to be built.
St. Philip was opened before consecration on 30th November, 1889. That structure was destroyed by hurricane Alma 1974. The church was rebuilt on the site 1996 and service began again there in 1998. St. Philip is one of our growing communities.
The St. Andrew Church was gradually evolving into a “Mother Church” in the district, this term is still used and demanded by some today. However, because of the power of language and potential to both empower and demean, it maybe wise to consider congregations at St. Andrew(Couva), St. Sylvan(Carapichaima), St. Philip(Pheonix Park) and St. Alban(Tortuga). This respects sovereignty, but also allows for growth.
The Parish church maintains its prestine position at the crossroads of the Rector, our Assitant Curate, Wardens, Vestry and members of the Parish family of St. Andrew give glory to GOD, and pay tribute to the many Bishops, Clergy, and laity who have contributed unselfishly to its development. We pay a special tribute to the late Canon Everest Hall, former Rector whose vision went beyond his time. His foresight and determination allow us to now benefit from a new legacy as part of the resources of our Diocese. We register the presence of the Couva Shopping Complex, a growing modern shopping convenience centre now owned by the Anglican Church. May GOD continue to use us in a powerful way to his glory. cl 01/07.
Sources: Archivist Diocese of Trinidad and Tobago Ms. Verena Siblal ‘Bachelor of Arts Degree History Thesis’ UWI 2005-2006. History of The Anglican Church In Couva.