St. Elizabeth’s History
On May 31, 1888 the General Assembly of the State of Rhode Island passed an act allowing the Canonchet Chapel Society to be incorporated for the purpose of establishing and maintaining public worship in the village of Canonchet in the town of Hopkinton. The Canonchet Chapel Society also received five thousand dollars to create their church.
In 1889, the Canonchet Chapel was built. It was a 1-story , late Victorian meetinghouse with a square belfry and a spire.
The Canonchet Chapel was not used by any organized religion and it was used as a community house.
The Hurricane of 1938 knocked the Canonchet Chapel off its foundation and caused some structural damage. The chapel was getting little use at the time and finally some neighbors of the chapel moved it back onto its foundation and restored the building to its useful state.
Not long after this the Rev. John H. Wright, who was the Vicar of the Calvary Episcopal Church in Arcadia, found Canonchet Chapel. The Episcopal Diocese of Rhode Island was looking to establish another Episcopal Church in southwest Rhode Island. The Rev. Wright convinced them that Canonchet Chapel was the perfect fit. Therefore in 1939, the chapel was accepted into the Diocese of Rhode Island as an organized mission.
The chapel was formally named St. Elizabeth’s and on June 11, 1939, the Rt. Rev. Granville G. Bennett, Suffragan Bishop of Rhode Island, administered the first service of Confirmation and on June 18, 1939 St. Elizabeth’s was dedicated to the Glory of God.
The horse barn was eventually converted into a parish hall for Sunday School and parish functions. The church was able to purchase additional land in the late 1960’s and then in 1972, they were able to put in a new parish hall. It designed to include kitchen facilities, a sacristy, an organ room, a parish office and a vicar’s office and of course a place for parish functions. In addition, 1976 a new paved parking lot was put in to accommodate the growing parish.
During the 1940’s and 1950’s, St. Elizabeth’s had to share priests with other churches. Beginning in the 1960’s, the church has enough congregants to have its own priest. Father Bedrosian came in 1965 and served at St. Elizabeth’s until 1983.
After Father Bedrosian came Father Gary Lemery who was with the church from 1983 to 1987. Father Lemery helped to add the parking lot across the street and start our fair booth at the Washington County Fair.
Father Edmonds was our next priest who served from 1987 to 1993 with Deacon Hallenbeck.
Father Bob Cummings was at St. Elizabeth’s from 1994 to 2008. He and his wife Sunny created all of the stained glass windows at St. Elizabeth’s.
Father Richard Morgan served from 2008 to 2012 when Father Richard Schweinsburg became the priest at St. Elizabeth’s. He served with Deacon Christine Burton and was at the church from 2012 to 2018.
Finally, our current priest is Father Edward Beaudreau who began his tenure in August of 2018.