Parish History

History is a set of stories we tell in order to understand better

who we are and the world we're now in - Rowan Williams

In July 1886 the nascent Anglican/Episcopal congregation in the Ontario Colony petitioned the Bishop of California, the Right Reverend W.J. Kip, asking for the establishment of an Episcopal Mission to be known as Christ Church. Sometime later that year the Bishop approved the petition. In its early years the congregation was served by a variety of visiting clergy, most regularly by the Reverend J. D. H. Brown, who was also serving at the new mission in Pomona. From 1891 until December 1895 there was a succession of three Vicars, until the Reverend Richard H. Gushée was called as Vicar, and then, in 1896 when the mission became a parish, became the Rector. Fr. Gushée served as Rector until his retirement in 1935, and was Emeritus until his death in 1943. 

Fr. Gushée with acolytes
The old church building on Euclid Avenue

Fr. Gushée hailed from Cambridge, Massachusetts, where his father, the Reverend Dr. Edward Gushée, had founded St. Phillip's Parish in the late 19th century. Both father and son were strongly influenced by the Oxford Movement, which along with reforms in Cambridge (England) became known as the Anglo-Catholic Revival. The Revival intended to restore a more Catholic nature within the Church of England, in spirituality, liturgy, and outreach. These in time spread more widely within the Anglican Communion as in the case of the Gushées.

Fr. John G. Mills outside the church on Euclid Avenue (c. 1950)
Fr. Jon Hart Olson

The parish church was located on Euclid Avenue in the heart of the city of Ontario until 1960, when it was moved to its present site on San Antonio Avenue, which had been established as a day school in the mid-1950's by the Reverend Evan Williams. In 1965 the Reverend Canon Jon Hart Olson was called to be Rector. His tenure lasted until 1993. During many of these years he was also Dean of Bloy House, the seminary for the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles on the campus of the Claremont School of Theology. An accomplished liturgiologist, Fr. Olson built upon the long Anglo-Catholic tradition of the parish, drawing from a variety of resources, ancient and contemporary, to craft services of beauty, coherence and depth. 

Read Fr. Gianluigi's notes about Anglo-catholicism here.

Rev. Can. Jon Olson  with  Rev. Can. Joanna Satorius (1994)
Dedication of the present building on San Antonio Avenue (1961)

Our most recent Rector, the Reverend Richard Rubin was called in 1995. Fr. Rubin served the parish on a 3/4-time basis, and was a partner in a family-owned cabinetmaking business. He retired  in 2017. During his tenure, the solar panels were installed, the library and the offices were completely restored and refurbished, and the memorial garden was created. The parish was last served by the Reverend Gianluigi Gugliermetto, who was ordained by Bishop Jon Bruno of the Diocese of Los Angeles at Christ Church Parish in 2016.  

Fr. Rubin installing solar panels (year 2002)

Longtime parishioner Sue Mansfield prepared detailed notes about the history of our parish.

Top of page: the procession of Corpus Christi at the old church on Euclid Avenue