__ChurchHistory

St. Michael’s By-the-Sea Episcopal Church is the oldest, and was for many years the only church in Carlsbad. It was established by families of the early English settlers in the area and consecrated by the Rt. Rev. William Nichols, Bishop of California. Our historic chapel, Old St. Michael’s, built in 1894, is one of the four oldest buildings in the village. St. Michael’s is the only church in the diocese to have both the old and the new church on the same property in use for services. The Daily Offices and Holy Eucharist are held in the chapel as are other special services throughout the year, including weddings and funerals.

The first vicar, the Reverend William Jacob, came to Oceanside from Iowa. He founded and served as vicar of eight missions in the area, traveling by horse and buggy to Oceanside, Escondido, Encinitas, Del Mar, Fallbrook, Murrieta, and San Luis Rey. Vicars served St. Michael’s along with other churches in the area until 1953 when a full time vicar, Fr. John Lockerby, was appointed. Parish status was achieved in 1973 and Fr. W. Aaron Driver became the first rector.

The chapel was not always on this spot.  This gothic style, white frame structure was originally built at Lincoln and Oak Streets.  In 1959, it was carefully moved to this site and has been designated an historical landmark.  The Parish Hall, built in 1928, was also moved onto the site.

On September 27, 1959, the new church building of rose beige concrete block was dedicated by The Rt. Rev. Francis Bloy, Bishop of Los Angeles. It was designed by the architectural firm Frey and Chambers of Palm Springs. The design was modern for its day, deviating from the traditional cruciform shape, yet retaining the traditional liturgical expression of the parish. It was constructed with no square corners for acoustical reasons. The exposed ceiling beams are of Douglas fir. A triangular bell tower consisting of two bells adorns the southern angle of the building and calls the faithful to worship. The smaller, California Mission bell, inscribed with Junipero Serra, was used from 1931-1956. The larger bell was cast in 1887 by Meneely and Company New York, and was used as a fire bell in a film shot in Philadelphia. It was brought to Carlsbad and used on a ranch to call in ranch hands before moving to St. Michael’s in 1959.

The spacious sanctuary displays a stained glass window behind the high altar depicting St. Michael the Archangel fighting the dragon with his sword raised high in triumph. The Holy Angels window on the epistle side of the church displays representatives of the rest of the heavenly host. On the gospel side of the church are windows depicting St. Andrew, St. Augustine of Canterbury and St. Joseph of Arimathea, all selected because of their association with the Church of England and our Anglican Heritage. The glass was designed by Wallis-Wiley Studios of Pasadena. The altar is of Italian white marble with a mosaic on the front that is imbedded with Brazilian diamonds, opals, and amethysts that were donated by parishioners. The hand sculpted Christus Rex which hangs above the altar is from Italy as are the hand carved Stations of the Cross.

The Lady altar is adorned with votive candles and a statue of Our Lady of Walsingham, a replica of the original at the shrine in Walsingham, also known as “England’s Nazareth.” It provides an historic Anglican focus on the devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and the healing ministry that is associated with our Mary altar.

In 1965, the Christian Education building was built and furnished in the memory of Jesse T. Boyd. A second story was added in 1993. The building is used for both education and administration.

St. Michael’s has three organs. The 21-rank Casavant organ was installed in 1972. To accommodate the growth of the music program, the organ was expanded to include a Phoenix Digital Organ, the console of which controls both the pipes and the electronics. In the old chapel there are two organs, a Wick’s Pipe and a Miller Reed.

Chronology of St. Michael’s

Some key dates in the history of the mission and parish of St. Michael’s:

  • 1894: the original St. Michael’s church is established as the first house of worship in Carlsbad.
  • 1928: the first parish hall is built.
  • 1953: Rev. John Lockerby is appointed as the first full-time vicar of the parish.
  • 1959: The original church is relocated to its present location, and construction of the new church begins.
  • 1959: Dedication of the new church building by the Rt. Rev. Francis Bloy, Bishop of Los Angeles.
  • 1965: The Christian Education building was built and furnished by Sally Boyd in the memory of her husband, Jesse T. Boyd.
  • 1972: A 21-rank Casavant organ pipe organ is installed in the main sanctuary as a gift of Dorothy and Irwin Kelley.
  • 1973: The mission becomes a parish of the Diocese of Los Angeles. The last vicar, Rev. W. Aaron Driver, becomes the first rector of St. Michael’s.
  • 1973: St. Michael’s becomes a part of the new the Diocese of San Diego, formed from the Diocese of Los Angeles.
  • 1977: The church building is consecrated by the Rt. Rev. Robert Wolterstorff, first Bishop of San Diego.
  • 1981: The church purchases the remainder of the Carlsbad Boulevard frontage extending to Beech Avenue.
  • 1982: Completion of the parish hall expansion adds a library and conference room.
  • 1993: Dedication of the expanded, two-story Boyd Hall.
  • 1994: St. Michael’s observes a year-long celebration of the parish centennial.
  • 1997: Completion of St. Nicholas Playground.
  • 1997: A refurbished Wicks Pipe Organ is installed in the chapel.
  • 1998: The Betty Ramsay Rose Garden along with the Celtic Cross  is dedicated.
  • 2005: The Statue of Our Lady of Walsingham, given in memory of Pam Miller, was blessed and dedicated.

Clergy of St. Michael’s

Vicars

The Rev. W. E. Jacob

1894-1897, 1911-1913

The Rev. E. Walters

1898-1901

The Rev. C. C. Paine

1902-1903

The Rev. Mr. Walker

1903

The Rev. A. L. Hall

1903

The Rev. S. H. Woodford

1903-1907

The Rev. Canon E. J. H. VanDeerlin

1907-1908

The Rev. A. C. Dodd

1909-1910, 1925-1927

The Rev. Canon E. Daniel

1913

The Rev. P. H. Hickman

1914-1925

The Rev. F. C. Miller

1927-1930

The Rev. G. C. Gardner

1930-1932

The Rev. Horace Wood

1932-1933

The Rev. Arthur Reasoner

1933-1937

The Rev. David Graham

1937-1939

The Rev. F. D. Graves

1939-1940, 1942-1948

The Rev. E. McNair

1940-1942

The Rev L. S. Mann

1948-1949

The Rev. A. R. Hill

1949

The Rev. Canon R. Mcl. Key

1949-1952

The Rev. G. L. Potter

1952-1953

The Rev. John Lockerby

1953-1958

The Rev. Andrew Milstead

1958-1967

The Rev. W. Aaron Driver

1967-1973

Rectors

The Rev. W. Aaron Driver

1973-1978

The Rev. Douglas E. Woodridge

1979-1996

The Rev. W. Neal Moquin

1996-2010

The Rev. Doran B. Stambaugh

2013-

Priests-in-Charge

The Rev. Doran B. Stambaugh

2010-2013

Curates

The Rev. W. Neal Moquin

1980-1986

The Rev. Matthew B. McKay

1986-1989

The Rev. Christopher P. Kelley

1989-1993

The Rev. Robert N. Landback

1993-1996

The Rev. W. Crews Giles

1997-1998

The Rev. Vern L. Walter

1999-2005

The Rev. Doran B. Stambaugh

2005-2010

The Rev. Matthew A. Canter

2011-2012

Deacons

The Rev. Fred Wood

1999-2011