History

Handwritten account of Calvary’s history, written by Eliza Boston in 1900, annotated in the Parish Register 1903 and here transcribed by Carol Walker, parish archivist, September 2014

Parish Register, Volume I, Page 7

The first service of the Protestant Episcopal Church was held in Santa Cruz, on Sunday May 11th 1862 by Rev. Dr. Ver Mehr.

The second service was held on Sunday May 10th 1863 by Rev. C.B. Wyatt, Rector of Trinity Church, San Francisco.

The Rev. C.F. Loop, a Missionary appointed by the Board of Missions Domestic, New York City, arrived in Santa Cruz and began regular services in the Court house, July 5th 1863.

On Easter Monday [March 28th] 1864 Calvary Parish was formally organized and the Rev. C.F. Loop was elected Rector.

On St. Peter’s Day June 29th 1864 the corner stone of the Church Edifice was laid by the Rector assisted by the Rev. D.D. Chapin, of San José, and the Rev. Mr. Easton of San Mateo.

The first service was held in the new Church Edifice [unfinished] on January 8th 1865.

On Sunday October 27th 1867 the debt of $675 having been paid, the Church was solemnly consecrated to the worship and Service of Almighty God, by the Rt. Rev. Wm. I. Kip D.D. Bishop of California, assisted by the Rector and the Rev. A.L. Brewer of San Mateo.

On September 4th 1868 the Rector Rev. C.F. Loop sent his resignation to the Vestry of Calvary Church, which was accepted and also notified the Standing Committee, the Bishop being absent from the Diocese.

During its first 100 years, Calvary Church continued to grow and reach out, not only to the city of Santa Cruz, but also to Episcopalians in the surrounding area. The clergy and laity of Calvary were largely responsible for creating and sustaining missionary work in the surrounding areas of Santa Cruz County, especially in helping to establish the present Episcopal churches at Ben Lomond, Aptos and Scotts Valley. In recent years Calvary Church has continued this practice by being a leader in the organization of the Faith Community Shelter, helping to expand the program to other churches in Santa Cruz and Aptos.

More recently:

In 2015, Calvary Church celebrated the 150th Anniversary of the first service held at the church with the play Lincoln’s Eulogy written by parishioner Dana Bagshaw. This play told the story of how Calvary was involved in the Santa Cruz community in response to the death of President Abraham Lincoln. While parishioners prepared for the first service at Calvary Church to be held Easter Sunday, April 16, 1865, the news arrived that President Lincoln had been assassinated. The floral decorations were removed, and emblems of mourning were hung in the chancel. On April 19, the then-rector Rev. Loop held a special service in honor of the slain president. Accounts in the church records say he was a personal friend of Abraham Lincoln, and his address to the congregation was so eloquent that the City Fathers of Santa Cruz asked him to repeat it publicly the following week. Calvary’s involvement in the community began here, at its inception.