St. Dunstan’s originated as a mission church. Like so many congregations with humble origins, its members met in borrowed community facilities, sitting on folding metal chairs in the company of a buzzing Coke machine. It was 1955.
The fledgling church was named for St. Dunstan, so honored because Dunstan was an illuminator, musician and silversmith-jewelry maker, and Carmel Valley is noted as a center for the arts. It remained a mission church for the next 14 years, when it became self-sufficient. The exciting prospect of building a church for St. Dunstan’s became a reality when construction began in 1962. In the years since, the campus has expanded to include multi-purpose spaces, offices, a kitchen, a Montessori school and playground, a columbarium, and a labyrinth. The crown jewel of the sanctuary was set with the 2015 installation of Opus 94, a magnificent pipe organ designed and built especially for St. Dunstan’s.
St. Dunstan’s is older than the diocese to which it belongs. The Diocese of El Camino Real was part of the Diocese of California until 1980. It is named after the Spanish colonial road that ran from Mexico City to Oregon. The Episcopal Diocese of El Camino Real is as vibrant and diverse as the region it serves. The diocese spans 42 congregations across five counties: Santa Clara, San Benito, Santa Cruz, Monterey, and San Luis Obispo. (Learn more at realepiscopal.org)