Saint Giles Episcopal Church

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St. Giles' Episcopal Church
Chapel at Saint Mary’s College of California
Location 1928 Saint Mary’s Road
Moraga, California
Denomination Episcopal
Dedication St. Giles
Parish St. Giles’
Deanery Contra Costa
Diocese California
The Rt. Rev. Marc Handley Andrus, Bishop
Province VIII
Priest(s) The Rev. Justin R. Cannon

Saint Giles Episcopal Church is an Episcopal parish located in Moraga, California and part of the Episcopal Diocese of California. The Reverend Justin Cannon is the current priest-in-charge and Bishop Marc Andrus the overseeing bishop. The community currently worships in the chapel at Saint Mary's College of California.


In June 1961, the Right Reverend G. Richard Millard, then Suffragan Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of California, met with a group of Episcopalians to form an Episcopal mission in Orinda, California. Bishop James Pike, the fifth bishop of Episcopal Diocese of California, recommended the name St. Giles for the community because, “… it was more Anglican and sufficiently distinctive so that no one would think the mission was anything but an Episcopal church.”[1] On June 8, 1961, the papers were signed and St. Giles’ Mission was born. A vicarage was then built on the newly purchased land.

A church building, however, was never built on that property, giving rise to St. Giles’ recognition as a church “without walls of its own,” a phrase the community still uses to describe itself.[2] The church held its worship services in Inland Valley School in Orinda, California and shortly thereafter moved to Camino Pablo School in Moraga. Saint Giles sold the original vicarage and land in 1972 and used the proceeds to enter into a joint venture with Moraga Valley Presbyterian Church, where St. Giles held worship services for ten years.

In 1982, the Diocese of California made an arrangement with Saint Mary's College of California, approved by the Papal Nuncio, which allowed for St. Giles to worship in the chapel at St. Mary's College. St. Giles became financially self-supporting in 1988 and became recognized as a parish in 1995. Saint Giles continues to worship in the chapel at Saint Mary’s College and engages in regular ecumenical dialogue with the students, faculty, staff, and Lasallian brothers who live and work at the college.


Saint Giles’ primary worship service is a celebration of the Holy Eucharist, held Sunday mornings at 9:00am. In addition to this service, the community holds services on high feast days including Christmas Eve, Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday. Other rites celebrated throughout the year include baptism, confirmation, matrimony, funerals and memorial services.

Each year, on the Sunday closest to Saint Giles’ Feast Day, the congregation holds an outdoor Eucharist at Moraga Commons and on the Sunday closest to St. Francis’ Feast Day, the congregation holds a blessing of the animals which draws people from throughout the local community.[3]

List of Clergy[edit]

  1. Rev. William J. Frankhuizen, vicar 1961
  2. Rev. James H. Kirchhoffer, vicar 1961 – 1967
  3. Rev. G. William Beale, vicar 1967 – 1969
  4. Revs. Russell C. Moore and T. C. Yao, co-vicars 1969 - 1980
  5. Rev. Lois Pinneo, rector 1980 – 1999
  6. Rev. Rob McCann, interim rector 1999 – 2001
  7. Rev. Duane Sisson, rector 2001 – 2010
  8. Rev. Teri Gilmore, interim rector 2010-2011
  9. Rev. Justin R. Cannon, priest-in-charge 2012 – present[4]


  1. ^ St. Giles Website - History. Accessed Feb 3, 2013
  2. ^ St. Giles Homepage Accessed Feb 3, 2013
  3. ^ Lamorinda Weekly Animals Blessed at SMC. Accessed Feb 3, 2013
  4. ^ Lamorinda Weekly St. Giles' New Priest Explores Modern Issues and Looks to the Future. Accessed Feb 3, 2013

External links[edit]