Founded in 1891, St. Mary’s is a community of curious, faithful people who delight in the goodness of creation, celebrate the bonds of love and affection between neighbors, and share the good news of God’s love for the world. We seek to support the flourishing of individuals and families through five core practices: worshiping weekly, praying daily, learning constantly, serving joyfully, and living generously. With vibrant offerings for children, youth and families, thriving Young Adult and LGBT groups, and a deep commitment to community engagement, St. Mary’s seeks to live into the important questions of faith through common prayer and inter-generational life.
We welcome you warmly and hope you will join us as we journey together in God’s grace. Whoever you are, there is a place for you here.
Get to know the clergy and staff of St. Mary the Virgin Episcopal Church! “And we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and … In August 1888, Miss Florence Gay began a Sunday School for five children in a home in San Francisco’s Cow Hollow district, then a pasture where dairy cows grazed lazily among the chaparral. A…
Get to know the clergy and staff of St. Mary the Virgin Episcopal Church!
“And we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and …
In August 1888, Miss Florence Gay began a Sunday School for five children in a home in San Francisco’s Cow Hollow district, then a pasture where dairy cows grazed lazily among the chaparral. A…
Vicki Turk, Accountant email: [email protected] – Phone: 415.921.3665 x316 Office hours, Monday, Tuesday and Thursday
Meet the Vestry members for 2021. If you want to contact the vestry, email [email protected].
COMMUNITY MINISTRIES (aka Service)
- Vestry Liaison(s): Cynthia Harper/Rebecca Peacock
- Staff Leader: The Rev. Deacon Tim Smith
- Lay Leaders: Margaret Stafford
- Vestry Liaison(s): Ava Eichler
- Staff Leader: Natalie Hala, Verger and Liturgist/Ashley Ryan
- Lay Leaders: Natalie Hala
- Vestry Liaison: Will Long/Gloria Galindo
- Staff Leaders: Marguerite Judson, Nancy Clark (Sunday School), Mike Stafford (Youth Group)
- Vestry Liaison: Nancy Clothier
- Staff Leader: Marguerite Judson
- Lay Leader: Molly Irwin
- Vestry Liaison: Sheila Santangelo
- Staff Leader: David Erickson/Marguerite Judson
- Lay Leaders: Josie McGann/David Crosson
- Vestry Liaison: Steven Gamboa
- Staff Leader: Marguerite Judson
- Lay Leaders: Amy & Christian Cebrian and Olivia & Steven Gamboa
- Vestry Liaison: Pledge Campaign: Matt Spitzer
- Staff Leader: David Erickson
- Lay Leader: Jim Griffith
BUILDINGS AND GROUNDS
- Vestry Liaison: Lauren MacDonald
- Staff Leader: Manny Gabiana
- Lay Leader:
- Vestry Liaisons: John Adair
- Staff Leader: David Erickson
- Finance Committee - Lay Leader: John Adair/Matt Spitzer
- Budget Committee - Lay Leader: John Adair
- Legacy and Endowment Board - Lay Leader: John Adair
- Mary Magdalene Scholarship Fund and Awards - Lay Leader: Ruth Tatum
“And we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.” Romans 5:2b-5
“I will not leave you orphaned, I am coming to you.” John 3:8
I heard it said once, “if you want to make God laugh, tell Her your plans!” I don’t believe any of us could have planned for what 2020 had in store for us, and the plans we had for 2020 quickly became obsolete. The challenges surrounding the uncertainty in so many areas in our lives are jarring and stressing. From where is our Hope to come?
As followers of Jesus Christ, we know that our Hope comes from God. Throughout the Holy Scriptures we read time and time again of God’s unfailing guidance and protection towards God’s people. Jesus promises several times that He will be with us, always. The Holy Spirit rushes into our hearts and into our world. We are not left alone, orphaned, but rather even in these trying and uncertain times God is with us, transforming us into instruments of Grace for the world.
St. Mary’s seeks to be a beacon of Hope and the Holy Spirit in the world. For those who call St. Mary’s their spiritual home, it is a place to receive God’s grace and to know others in that Grace. It is a bedrock in our lives.
St. Mary’s is also the place from where we go forth and bear Christ into the world. As Christ’s body, we are called to remember and embody Christ’s hope and the Holy Spirit’s presence. We are called to be people who know and embody the fullness of God’s vision for the world, especially in times like these when that vision seems so far off.
Why we Pledge - by Rev. Heather and Rev. David Erickson
St. Mary’s needs your partnership in continuing to offer and manifest Hope and the Holy Spirit. Each year we ask you to prayerfully consider supporting God’s mission at St. Mary’s by making a meaningful financial pledge to the annual budget. This year is no different, but the circumstances we are in make your partnership that much more important.
This city and our world need Hope right now. As followers of Christ, the Holy Spirit lives in our hearts, and we are the ones with the responsibility to share it with the world. This is only possible through your financial support and partnership. Please join us in proclaiming God’s abundant vision to the world by making a meaningful financial pledge to St. Mary’s 2021 annual appeal. St Mary’s needs you to be a part of this great call on our lives.
We will get through this together, and it will take all of us committing our time and our finances so that God’s Good News may truly be good news to us and to the world. Thank you for your partnership and support!
Grace and Peace,
Rev. David Erickson, Rector
In August 1888, Miss Florence Gay began a Sunday School for five children in a home in San Francisco’s Cow Hollow district, then a pasture where dairy cows grazed lazily among the chaparral. As the school grew, Episcopal clergy began to visit, to instruct and to baptize the children. Soon the expanding effort came under the care of St. Luke’s Church, which sent the Rev. William Bolton, in March 1890, to take charge of the new mission possibility developing in this expanding part of town.
With 54 families and 75 Sunday School children, the new congregation had, by December 1890, moved from a home to a vacant grocery store, to a political meeting hall (called the Republican Wigwam) and raised $1500 toward building a church. In April 1891, St. Mary the Virgin became the ninth parish of the Episcopal Church in San Francisco. Father Bolton persuaded Frank Pixley, publisher and editor of the Argonaut, a nationally known newspaper and owner of considerable property in Cow Hollow, to donate a corner lot for the church building. Frank and his wife Amelia also donated the altar painting, a copy of “Asunto Mistico” by G. Cignaroli. The first services in our present church were held on October 4, 1891. An English expatriate, Father Bolton launched a firmly “high church” Anglo-Catholic parish. As the San Francisco Chronicle described it: “the ceremonials will be exceedingly elaborate of the most ritualistic order ever seen in California.”
The view circa 1893 from Vallejo and Scott Streets toward Fort Mason. The Italianate Victorian in the lower left foreground is the Casebolt House, still standing on Pierce Street. The Church of St. Mary the Virgin is at the corner of Union and Steiner Streets. The Pixley estate occupies the entire wooded block bounded by Green, Steiner, Union and Fillmore Streets. The roof of the Pixley mansion is just visible, surrounded by trees.
Our history is full of ups and downs. We survived the 1906 earthquake and fire very well (Look for our picture in “Denial of Disaster.” a book about the 1906 earthquake published in 1989). We almost did not survive two decades of failed leadership when rector after rector stayed less than a year and membership dwindled while the neighborhood was growing. We lost parish status and became a mission of the diocese in 1918. A turning point came in the early 1920s when Amelia Pixley’s heirs issued a new deed, lifting her restrictions for “high church” ceremonies only. With a change in style of worship to “broad church,” St. Mary’s began to attract neighbors who started to attend. As the style of worship changed, we got back on our ministerial and financial feet. Resurrection ensued. By 1940 we were a parish again.
A great deal of change came with the Rev. Keppel Hill, who was rector from 1948 to 1966. The church’s interior was reversed, placing the altar at the Steiner Street end, and the entrance off Union Street in the newly-created courtyard. The south (chapel) section was added, with the offices above it. Also, the house on Steiner Street next to the church was purchased and named Pixley House. The fresco mural scenes in the courtyard from the life of St. Mary were inspired by a dream of Fr. Hill’s, and created by artists Lucienne Bloch and Stephen Dimitroff in 1966.
View with entrance on Union Street with Lych Gate
The Rev. Richard Fowler came to St. Mary’s in 1966 and retired in January 1999. During his almost 33 years, the parish flourished. Membership, outreach programs, worship services, and the buildings all expanded. In the church, the altar was moved away from the wall so the Eucharist could be celebrated facing the congregation; the 1979 Prayer Book was promptly introduced and later the 1982 Hymnal. Three Sunday morning services were expanded to include a fourth, innovative worship service on Sunday afternoon. Three choirs: children’s, youth, and adult formed the foundation for a music ministry augmented by a concert series.
Lay ministry thrived with preaching, healing ministers, and sacraments taken to the home-bound. We initiated equal ministerial opportunities for women, both lay and ordained. The parish sponsored many men and women for ordination. We demonstrated a deep commitment to outreach, acting as primary contributors of time and money to create the Episcopal Sanctuary for the Homeless, and founding the ecumenical Ministry to Nursing Homes, among other efforts. An active Youth Group started ministry to the children of the parish following their confirmation. The Sunday School, with a curriculum tailored to offer lessons from preschool to confirmation, drew many new families. Its popularity served as one reason for a major expansion of the premises, harking back to the days of Miss Gay’s Sunday School when the children originally led the parish into being. In 1997 we moved out of our buildings for nine months, for a thorough renovation of the Parish Hall, renamed Fowler Hall, and Pixley House. At the same time, improvements were made to the church. With the completion of our reconstruction, we were able to expand our ministries and programs. Fowler Hall’s remodeled space allowed us to house several day programs for children. We also were able to welcome back five Alcoholics Anonymous groups which had started meeting at St. Mary’s in the 1970’s.
Nativity Scene as part of St. Mary’s Mural
A new era began for our Cow Hollow church in the year 2000 when the Rev. Dr. Jason Parkin was called as Rector. Father Parkin brought new energy and vision to the parish and enhanced the strong tradition of lay leadership that had seen us through the interim period of the rector’s search. His liturgical, homiletic and musical skills greatly enriched our worship at St. Mary’s. The addition of the five members of the Parkin family to our parish community underscored the traditional role of St. Mary the Virgin as a family-oriented church. Plans were set in motion to fund the purchase and renovation of a permanent Rectory to accommodate the family.
After Jason arrived, the interim appointment of The Rev. Beth Hansen as Associate Rector was made permanent with a special focus on pastoral care and counseling. Those areas were further strengthened by the calling of our first Deacon, newly-ordained Deacon Everett Powell, a parishioner of St. Mary’s. Several years later, another newly-ordained St. Mary’s Deacon, Nancy Bryan, joined Everett in her home parish.
St. Mary’s Lych Gate today
St. Mary’s continued to play an important role in the outreach activities in the Diocese of California. Notably, parishioners provided leadership in establishing the Canon Barcus Community House – named after the late Associate Rector of St. Mary’s who led the early diocesan efforts to house the homeless. The Canon Barcus Community House provides housing and services for forty-eight homeless families in San Francisco. In 2001, Bishop William E. Swing recognized the contributions of St. Mary’s by naming us the “Parish of the Year.”
In 2004, the church staff was augmented by the addition of two part-time posts, a Youth Group Leader and a Nursery Coordinator, and the parish was able to retire its remaining debt. The following year, a special Search Committee was established to find a new priest to preside at the Sunday afternoon Unplugged service and provide support for the parish’s outreach services.The Rev. Jennifer Hornbeck was called, and the addition of the responsibility for the Youth Ministry transformed the position to a full-time commitment. Jennifer was made Associate Rector and the Rev. Beth Hansen became the Senior Associate Rector.
After two years of work by a devoted planning committee, the St. Mary’s Columbarium was dedicated in 2007, and it marked the completion of the Mary Meditation Garden. The small garden behind the church provides parishioners and visitors with a tranquil refuge with a statue of Mary and her child and a bench on which to meditate or pray.
The year 2009 was marked by the retirement of Michael Secour (Organist and Choirmaster) and Catherine Secour (Children’s Choir Director) after more than three decades of devoted service to St. Mary the Virgin. We were fortunate to be able to call Chip Grant as our Director of Music, and Steve Repasky as our Associate Director of Music, Organist and Youth Choir Director. A new Children’s Choir Director was selected. A Handbell Choir was formed and gave a number of performances in the church. In addition to a rich program of music offerings at the 9:00, 11:00 and 5:30 Eucharists, St. Mary’s music ministry includes a series of Candlelight Concerts and a variety of other special performances during the autumn, winter and spring. Today, Director of Music Eric Choate and Music Associate Marla Perkins continue stewardship of music at St. Mary's, building upon the work of those who have laid the foundation for a vital music ministry.
In 2012, the parish called the Rev. Scott E. Richardson to be our Rector. He served through the end of 2015. The Episcopal Church of St. Mary the Virgin continued to grow in God’s grace under the leadership of our vestry and interim clergy until August 2017 when the Rev. David Erickson answered the vestry’s call to become the current rector of our parish.
From the San Francisco Chronicle, Sunday, April 4, 2021.
Easter services return to Bay Area by reservation - worshipers 'thrilled to be back'
.......by Sam Whiting
“We have not met in person since the lockdown,” said St. Mary the Virgin usher Linda Logemann, “and everybody is thrilled to be back.”
At the entry gate each attendee was given a hand bell, and at the end of the service, they rang them along with the church bells. Their chiming just before 11 a.m. could be heard all the way up the hill at St. Vincent de Paul.
Reserve Space at St. Mary's The facilities are closed due to COVID 19. We will allow reservations when we are back in the church and offices.