St Mary’s Episcopal Church was built in 1864 and served a dual purpose as a Church and a Boys School in the small fishing village of Cove Bay. In the 1890’s a new school was built, the Loirston Annexe, which was replaced by Loirston School in 1981. Charleston School opened in 1999. St Mary’s Church is now the last remaining public building of the old village. Aberdeen City Council has informed us the Church building is a B-Listed historic building.
The fishing village of Cove Bay was largely made up of imported English fishermen and their families, for whom the Episcopal faith was a central feature of life. St. Mary’s has served generations of Cove families, and has been an important part of the village’s life for over a century.
There was a strong connection from the very beginning to St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Torry. Often when there was no priest at St Mary’s, members would walk along the coastal path to St Peter’s for baptisms, confirmations, weddings or funerals. Many of our members still remember those days in the first half of the 20th century.
By the late 1990’s, through cultural changes and shifts in population, the congregation had dwindled to a handful of faithful members, and St. Mary’s building was in a sad state of disrepair.
In October 2003, it was agreed that Cove Congregational Church should share the building. Since then the physical church has seen on-going repairs, detailed below, and the spiritual Church has found new life. The two congregations, Episcopal and Congregational, have very different styles of worship but share many other aspects of the church’s life—fellowship meetings, fundraisers, decisions about the property. The “Shared” aspect of the church has gained strength recently with the appointment of an Ecumenical Pastoral Assistant, who serves as a minister to both congregations