Bath Moravian Church


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Bishop Peter Gubi

Moravian People

Bishop Peter Madsen Gubi, Ep. Fra., the eldest of six children, was born in Nederjerstal, South Jutland, Denmark, on the seventeenth of March, 1903. In the previous century, South Jutland had been occupied by Germany and the inhabitants had been virtually enslaved. They were forbidden to speak the Danish language and lessons at school were taught in German. Anyone caught speaking Danish was severely punished.

As the eldest son, Peter (or Peder as he was then known,) was expected to inherit the farm on which he was born, but until the age of eighteen, apart from milking cows by hand and ploughing a field with a horse, he showed little aptitude in that direction. It seems that he was bent on becoming a missionary from the age of ten, due to the influence of his Christian parents and also that of missionaries from abroad, who sometimes visited his home.

At the age of twenty his wishes were fulfilled. As a Lutheran, he had been confirmed at the age of fourteen, but the missionary outlet for the Lutheran Church in Denmark was through the Moravian Church at
Christiansfeld. After being interviewed there, he was recommended for admission to the Moravian college in Bristol, England, where he arrived in May 1923, speaking very little English. This was remedied by taking a crash course in English under the guidance of a tutor at the college who spoke German. This was the first time he had ever left Denmark.

After training for the ministry, he was ordained in
Christiansfeld, Denmark in 1926 by a German and a Norweigan Moravian Bishop. Although originally destined for East Africa, he was called to work in the West Indies, beginning as assistant minister at Spring Gardens, in the island of Antigua. In the following year he was married to Ethelind Maud Wybourne whom he had known briefly in Bristol and who had also been sent to Antigua as a deaconess.

In the following year they were called to the island of
St. Thomas where four of their five children were born (John, Peter, Dorothy and Frances). The youngest (Paul) was born in Antigua some years later. The Bishop also served in the islands of St. Croix, Barbados and St. Kitts on several occasions, as well as at Brockweir, a congregation in England, for a short time. For many years before his consecration as a Bishop, he served as the Provincial Treasurer of the Eastern West Indies, and at times, the Chairman of the Provincial Board.

Bishop and Mrs.Gubi retired from active service in the West Indies in 1967 after forty-one years ministering in several congregations, many of them on more than one occasion. They retired to the town of Westbury in Wiltshire, as their daughter, Frances, lived nearby in
Trowbridge, and their son, Paul, was serving as a Moravian Minister in Bath. Mrs. Gubi was originally from that area and still had sisters living nearby.

Son, Peter, also a Moravian Minister who had served mostly in the West Indies but who emigrated to England in 1975, also later served in Wiltshire at Swindon, Tytherton and Malmesbury. The Bishop and Mrs. Gubi maintained their membership at the Moravian Church on
Coronation Avenue, Bath, and the Bishop was able to conduct services in the Western District of the Moravian Church on a fairly regular basis, and in other parts of the British Province on occasion, until 1972 when his wife was disabled by a stroke. After a brief recovery, a second and more severe stroke, in 1974, left her completely helpless until her death in 1978.

In the following year the Bishop returned to
Antigua for a brief period but soon discovered that he was unable to cope as he had done in his younger days. After returning to England, his own health began to fail and he died in 1981, whilst staying with his daughter, Dorothy. Bishop Gubi and his wife were interred in the public cemetery in Westbury after cremation.

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