St. Peter's by-the-Sea
Episcopal Church
St. Peter's is fortunate to have several
lovely works of Christian art.  Of prime
interest, perhaps, is the
located in the nave.

For images and information about
other art, please go to
this page.
Army chapel transplanted to
Morro Bay at the corner of
2nd and E Streets.  This is
the view from E Street (now
Shasta Avenue) looking
1950:  Painting progresses;
the street remains unpaved.
Photo by Bill Morley
St. Peter's first
permanent home.  1951
Photo by Bill Morley
1951 Choir, Acolytes, Organist,
and Vicar:  Front row, l-r:  
Unidentified, Leon Carver;
second row:  Louise Parker,
Barbara Hutton, Alexis Carnes;
rear:  Alan Carnes, Lloyd Carver,
Dick Welch, Jesse Platt
The Rev. Wilfred Hodgkin, Vicar.
Photo by Bill Morley, chorister
Parish History
Forecasting a future of healthy growth for the Morro Bay area, Bishop Karl Block, in 1948, purchased a plot of land at the corner of
what was known as 2nd and E streets (now Driftwood street and Shasta Avenue).  On the property was an older 3-bedroom home
(which served as the vicarage until 1955).
Wilfred Hodgkin, a seminary student, was sent by the Bishop to Morro Bay to survey the town.  Hodgkin walked
all over Morro Bay (population 2,800 at the time) knocking on doors, and gathered a group of Episcopalians.

Worship services, under Hodgkin's leadership, began in an old school house on Main Street near 8th Street
(now Beach Street)..
The group very soon moved to a Quonset hut (belonging to the AmVets) situated behind the Creamery
Building (a soda fountain that also sold hand packed ice cream by the quart) at the South-east corner of 5th
Street (now Morro Bay Blvd) and C Street (now Monterey Ave).
The first Easter in
the converted army
In 1950 the first
wedding took place.
Doris Susbuer and
Bill Burroughs.
click on images for a larger version
In November 1951, The Reverend Hodgkin, then
about 32 years of age, accepted a call to St. Paul's
in Walnut Creek.  From there he was later called, to
Christ's Church in Alameda where he served the
balance of his ministry.

The Reverend Leonard Wood (retired), was put in
charge pending the assignment of a permanent
priest from the June graduation class of the
seminary.  The Reverend Wood was approximately
In June Transitional Deacon George Graydon, about 30, was
put in charge and soon became ordained as a priest.  He
remained until 1955 when he was called to Holy Innocents,
San Francisco.

The Reverend John Speers (35) served for a short period,
from February to August, 1955.  He became a chaplain in
the army.
1952:  Taken from the location of the current
Presbyterian Church.  The Vicarage is to the
left of the church.  The street is paved.
Photo by Bill Morley
In August, 1953, St.
Peter's celebrated the
first wedding of a
member of the
congregation.  Louise
Parker and Carl
Nearly five months passed without a priest-in-charge.  A not-too-large handful of congregants kept the church going under
Warden Ray Owen.
At Christmas, 1955, a retired priest,  
The Reverend
David Robertson, then
over eighty years old, was temporarily
assigned to serveSt. Peter's, and did
so until November, 1956.

Also in 1955, a new 3-bedroom house
at 474 Bernardo Avenue was
purchased to serve as a vicarage and
the old vicarage was converted to use
for Sunday School classes.
In 1959 the altar area was redisigned
by Betty Carlisle Pollock.  The new
area featured an open altar with a
large wooden Celtic cross suspended
above it.
In March, 1960, the Rev. Graham Lesser                       
(about 38) became vicar.  Almost a full year later, on
February 9, 1961 ,the church building was totally

Under the leadership of The Rev.
Lesser, Dr. Philip
Overmeyer, warden, and the building committee (William
Boehm, Ad Morosin, Eleanor Morley, Gertrude Bertarini,
and Mrs. Terry Custer-Gullett) the old vicarage was sold
and moved off the property (to 490 Bernardo Ave.), the
property was cleared, and  a new church and parish hall
were built.  The new buildings were dedicated by Bishop
James Pike in October, 1962.

At the
Ground Breaking for the new church, the first
spadeful was turned by
Lillian Roy (Morro Bay 1960
"Mother of the Year" and affectionately known as either
Mother Roy or Grandmother Roy by everyone in the
By 1949 Hodgkin had been ordained as a transitional Deacon, and then as a Priest, and the
congregation was meeting upstairs (above the Post Office and Payne's Variety Store) at the
North-east corner of 5th Street (Morro Bay Blvd) and C Street (Monterey Ave).

At about that time Bishop Block arranged for the purchase of an army chapel from Camp San Luis
Obispo.  The Reverend Hodgkin arranged for the cutting of the building into sections and moving it  
to the property in Morro Bay to be placed on the concrete foundation which had been prepared.  
This involved members of the congregation, a professional moving company, and the Highway
Patrol that overlooked some of the activity (such as the parishioners who sat atop the sections with
sticks to lift power lines as the load moved along the streets).  It has been reported (by Ann
Hodgkin) that an observing Highway Patrol officer found a nice bottle of whiskey on his front seat.
The temporary altar in
the AmVets quonset
hut.  The screen hides
the slot machines.

In November, 1956,  Deacon Richard
Engeseth (about 29 years of age)     
came to the church.  He was soon
ordained to the priesthood and served  
until January, 1960 when he went to
the Cathedral in Reno, Nevada.
The Rev. Lesser left in November, 1962.  The Rev. Charles Erickson was made vicar then.  He and his wife,Lenore, bought the
vicarage in September, 1975.  

In July, 1977, the last payment was made on the mortgage of the church buildings and on January 15, 1978 the Rev.
Erickson and the Right Rev. C. Kilmer Myers (then Bishop of California) burned the mortgage.

St. Peter's by-the-Sea became a parish in the Diocese of California.

The porch canopy was added and the
commemorative stained glass panels were added later.  An opportunity arose to purchase
two dwellings and a storage building that backed up to the parish property and fronted Napa Avenue.  Church members subscribed
to sufficient loans to purchase the property.

The Reverend Erickson retired and, after a search process, the parish called the Reverend Joseph Patronik who became the
second rector in January, 1992.  He served until March of 1994.

After a prolonged search with a lot of time devoted to determining the wishes of the parishoners, St. Peter's called the Reverend
Harriet B. Linville.  She commenced her service on February 25, 1996.  She served as rector fifteen years, until her retirement on
September 1, 2011.

At first there was a search for an interim rector; the vestry selected The Reverend Stephen Mills who served as interim from Advent
2011 to February 10, 2013.  During the time of his service a search committee conducted group interviews with parishioners and
then conducted an all-parish meeting.  They prepared a more elaborate profile than any previous and posted the search online.  
The Diocese was very helpful in navigating the process.  The vestry chose the Reverend
Sidney S. Symington to serve as rector.  
He began service March 10, 2013.

More to come
    St. Peter's by-the-Sea Episcopal Church                             Weekly Schedule:   Sunday                                    Wednesday                             The First Saturday of alternate months:
    545 Shasta Avenue                                                                                                       8:00 AM Holy Eucharist        10:00 AM  Holy Eucharist                 Service at the Prado Day Center
    Morro Bay, CA  93442                                                                                                  10:30 AM  Holy Eucharist                                                                              

    Phone  805-772-2368      Fax  805-772-5765