After World War II, San Diego burst with development to accommodate the new population that came here for war-factory work and in military service. Point Loma, with sweeping views of San Diego Bay and the Pacific Ocean, was a popular site for new housing. A forward-thinking resident thought it was time to establish an Episcopal parish. Gladys Gauss personally canvassed the neighborhoods to identify other Episcopalians who went to the downtown church (now St. Paul’s Cathedral), a small older parish in the adjoining beach community of Ocean Beach and to other denominations in the area.
After writing letters to the presiding bishop of the Los Angeles Diocese in 1946, the ambitious lady complied with requirements to charter a mission parish. Her primary goals were to provide a Christian education for children and the sacrament of baptism. With the help of active and retired clergy, the mission was established in a dance studio, with altar implements and prayer books donated by other parishes.
The Reverend Frederick Hammond was the first vicar in November 1948 who steered the new congregation into parish status. The land was acquired at a prominent intersection in mid-Point Loma to house a surplus chapel moved in 1949 from a decommissioned army camp nearby. It served as the sanctuary until the present church was built in 1969. Meanwhile, the open areas around the church were developed to house the post-war population surge. Young families were moving in with favorable GI and VA financing. All Souls built a parish hall, then a Sunday school-administration building by the end of the 1950s.
The parish flourished as “low church” under the leadership of Rev. Larry Pearson who guided the building of the new sanctuary before he retired. Over 66 years, All Souls' has called seven rectors, two interim associate rectors and two retired priests serving during a transition. One rector was a woman, and three other women were ordained here and served as associate rectors until called.
Catalina and Chatsworth ca 1960
OTHER SPECIAL MOMENTS FROM OUR PAST
Sunday School/Admininstration Building dedication 1957
(from left: Spencer Peters, Fred Conrad, Larry Pearson)
The Bishop of Myra (a.k.a. Pierce Pontyz) started visiting All Souls' parish during Advent. This tradition has continued for decades.
This photo of the Very Rev. James E. Carroll, snapped on the morning of the royal visit in 1983, represents a milestone in our collective history. Dean Carroll is holding the new 1979 Book of Common Prayer that he gave to Her Majesty the Queen.
On August 3, 1980, the Parish Gospel Book was presented to the parish in memory of Dennis Denmark Nelson II by the surviving members of "The Golden Thirteen", the first African-American Commissioned & Warrant Officers in the U.S. Navy.
In 1998, the parish celebrated a jubilee that brought together dignitaries such as Glenn Allison, Fred Hammond, Linda Bell, Richard Lief, (then rector) Ann Miner-Pearson, and Larry Pearson.
Two members of All Souls’ served from 2001 - 2011 as missionaries in Maseno, Kenya. The Rector and several parishioners visited, and also established a non-profit to support a number of ministries: a hospital, an Episcopal seminary, a relief program for AIDS orphans, and a farmers co-operative. The parish served as a conduit to securely send funds to those ministries from churches across the U.S., and also funded meals for students in Nairobi. A notable achievement of this association was an ongoing project, successful in field trials, to eradicate the parasitic weed, Striga, which decimates corn crops throughout sub-Saharan Africa.
WHO ARE WE NOW?
When calling our eighth rector, The Rev. Joseph Dirbas, All Souls' developed a Parish Survey to help identify who we are as a parish.