A Brief History
All Saints’ Episcopal Church can trace its origins to 1910 in the meetings of a small group of Episcopalians at the Pine Inn each Sunday. By 1912 the little group had grown strong enough to purchase a permanent location and build a beautiful small carpenter gothic church on Monte Verde, just south of Ocean Avenue. As the congregation grew through the next decades it became increasingly obvious that a larger building was needed to accommodate the burgeoning congregation and its many ministries. After World War II a spirit of hope and renewal energized the congregation to raise the funds to purchase land and commission the design for a new church campus from renowned architect Charles Symonds, A.I.A. As part of the fund raising, the old church building was sold to the city of Carmel and became the City Hall, which it remains to this day.
The new church campus on Dolores and 9th was dedicated by Bishop Block in the winter of 1951, assisted by the then rector, Rev. Alfred Seccombe. The design for the new church featured a predominantly native redwood interior with soaring beams and an organically integrated use of local Carmel materials in a contemporary structure honoring its environment and history. The altar and accompanying panels were designed and sculpted from rare woods by Alec Miller. The magnificent stained glass windows were designed by the San Francisco firm of Harold Cummings and featured the natural tones of the Carmel environment to complement the indigenous materials of the nave.
The church continued to grow and thrive and provide its ministries to the town of Carmel and the Monterey peninsula. The outreach programs helping the homeless and feeding the poor flourished and the children’s ministry grew. Under the next rector, Rev. Angus Dunn, All Saints’ expanded those ministries to support the founding of St. Dunstan’s Mission in Carmel Valley in 1955 and St. Matthias Mission in Seaside in 1956. In 1958 then rector, Rev. David Hill, became a founding Trustee of the now prestigious York School. By 1959 the church also established a camp ground and outdoor chapel on the river in Big Sur. By the early 1960s, the church had founded a small day school which, as enrollment blossomed, soon became All Saints’ Episcopal Day School in Carmel Valley.
As the congregation grew, a meeting hall and a church school wing were added to the campus and extensive gardens were planted. By 1958 All Saints had also purchased a rectory adjacent to the church. A lovely baptistery donated by the Firestone family was added in 1968.
The new church attracted many musicians due to its excellent acoustics and majestic building. The annual Carmel Bach Festival holds several concerts in the acoustically brilliant church as does the Monterey Symphony. Chamber concerts are frequently held to packed attendance. The splendid musical offerings and the lush gardens continue to reflect All Saints’ core value of appreciating God’s abundant gifts of beauty.
As the 100th anniversary of All Saints’ approached, a new rector was called, Rev. Richard Matters. After eight years, Rev. Matters retired and in 2016 the Vestry called Rev. Amber Sturgess to serve as Priest-in Charge; on January 5, 2019, Rev. Amber was instituted as Rector. All Saints’ continues to be a dedicated community, faithfully serving the surrounding areas with food bank donations, daily distribution of food packages, monthly dinners for homeless men, weekly Centering Prayer meetings, two rich Sunday services, and weekday morning prayer. Its ministries are active and the flourishing gardens are a blessing to the community. All Saints’ is truly “A sacred Space for Spiritual Transformation in Christ.”