St. Peter’s Church began its spiritual journey in September, 1864. Our founding rector was Father Giles Alexander Easton, who a few months earlier had led the first Episcopal service in Redwood City in a room at the first county courthouse. Father Easton named our congregation after St. Peter’s Church in Smyrna, Delaware, where he had been baptized and confirmed.
St. Peter’s was the second church organized in Redwood City and the second congregation in Redwood City to construct a church building. In 1867 St. Peter’s built the “Little Red Church,” which was a familiar downtown landmark for six decades.
As Redwood City’s population expanded in the early 20th century, the parish moved to its present location on Clinton Street between Broadway and Brewster Streets, where in 1925 we built a parish hall that served as both church and meeting space for many years.
The present sanctuary was built next to the parish hall in 1952, and as the postwar Baby Boom reached its peak, classrooms and offices were added to complete the plant that stands today.
Nowadays Baby Boomers are contemplating retirement, but the buildings and grounds of St. Peter’s continue to serve the young people of Redwood City in a variety of ways. Our tenants include a Montessori preschool and the Ragazzi Boys Choir… and our own very active youth group.
St. Peter’s Church has responded to the changing needs of a changing city with two consistent “character traits:” leadership and welcome. Among our founding parishioners were many of the people who helped shape the Bay Area in its early days: government officials, doctors, business owners. But our doors were open to everyone in the young town… and they still are.
Redwood City has changed dramatically since the days of the Little Red Church. The railroad turned the town from a logging port into a suburb, and the explosive growth of Silicon Valley turned the suburb into a home for many technology companies… and a hometown for more and more people who work at those companies.
Dramatic change has brought dramatic challenges. Silicon Valley’s engine of wealth has enriched some, but has left many more families facing a skyrocketing cost of living, job insecurity, and increased income inequality.
Today our parishioners come from all walks of life. Some remember a smaller, quieter town; some have never known Redwood City when it wasn’t being transformed by the digital revolution. Some of our young people expect to see cars that drive themselves; some of our older parishioners look back fondly on the days when hats and white gloves were de rigeur.
Our congregation has served Redwood City in many ways since 1864. One of our most active ministries in recent years has been guiding young people to contribute to those in need in our community. We’ve delivered loads of supplies and hundreds of backpacks and uniforms to local schools, and we’ve served many meals and filled countless Hope Bags for the homeless.
Our congregation is as diverse as the community around us, and we cherish that diversity. For 150 years we’ve welcomed our neighbors and visitors. Our history has been a spiritual journey… and you’re welcome here if your spiritual journey leads you to us.
Our connection to Peter Williams Cassey
Our 2014 documentary, “Conversations on the Journey,” contains this chapter on the history of St. Peter’s…