The last edition of All Saints’ Magazine brought you a well-documented history of the beginning of Santa Lucia Mission. In 1956 the Big Sur property was purchased, as Elizabeth Barrett said, “to be used as a camp center, for retreats and conferences, and for the Santa Lucia chapel.”
The reality of Santa Lucia today presents a picture of continuity and of challenge. There are a few parishioners who come each summer to camp and we still have our annual summer church barbecue here. Over the last fifty years, Big Sur has slowly become one of our nation’s top tourist destinations. Most of those tourists pass by during the months of April through October, before the winter rains make the roads here either dangerous or impassable.
During the rest of the year, the descendants of the original settlers’ families have been joined by artists, writers, musicians, and families of Mexican migrants who largely work in the many tourist establishments. Handfuls of both fiercely independent souls and homeless people add to the mix of those who call Big Sur home.
We are the only Protestant church on this whole stretch of Big Sur. Our little outdoor chapel is well known to locals, who often come here to have private conversations with God. Recently a vacationer at a local motel came to sit quietly in the chapel after an early morning phone call from the East Coast, informing her of the death of a close relative. From time to time flowers or branches of trees arranged as a cross, or even lost items like credit cards and personal calendars, are left on the altar, either as an offering or a safe place to leave them.
As our mission in Big Sur continues to develop, we will bring you news of outreach to the local community to provide food, as well as Christian education and summer programs for local children. We will offer some peeks into the hidden, unhurried, friendly, yet invisible lives of those of us who are graced with the opportunity to live in this part of God’s earthly kingdom.
Stay tuned for more news about Santa Lucia Day on December 13.