St. Barnabas Episcopal Church was founded on April 23, 1975 by retirees who settled in Borrego Springs as part-time residents.
For the first 10 years the St Barnabas community did not have a house of worship to call its own. As Frances Brainerd wrote on the first 20 years of our history:
"April 23, 1975 the first 11 committed members met at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Edward Fletcher III... On June 11, 1975 the first service in a church was the Holy Eucharist, celebrated on St. Barnabas day, in the Methodist Community Church at the invitation of the Reverend Albert E. Jansen, pastor... In April of 1976, at the invitation of Father Lawrence Gatt, worship in St. Richard's Catholic Church began."
St. Richard's was our temporary home until 1986 when our present beautiful mission style church was built. Designed by architect Robson C. Chambers (1919-1999), who was a member of the congregation, the church became a Parish in 2001. There is a connecting Parish Hall, with a fireplace, where many events take place such as Bible studies, Cursillo, receptions, coffee hour and is available for community group meetings. We have a connecting kitchen to the Parish Hall where many fine goodies are prepared for our events. The grounds are kept with the desert landscaping. We are very proud of our Labyrinth which was completed in 2002 and prayer garden and palapa.
* ROBSON C. CHAMBERS (USC class of 1941), of Borrego Springs, Calif.; died June 18, 1999, at the age of 80. A career as an architect began during World War II, when Chambers, then in the U.S. Marine Corps, helped design Camp Pendleton in Oceanside, Calif. After the war, he established an architectural firm in Palm Springs, Calif., with the late Albert Frey.
In addition to many residences, they designed the Palm Springs City Hall as well as the former Tramway gas station with its massive flying and angular roof which is now home to the Palm Springs Visitor Center. It greets motorists entering Palm Springs from the east, and is near the entrance to the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway.
Chambers was later appointed campus architect for UC Santa Barbara. Upon retiring, Chambers moved to Borrego Springs, where he designed many residences, as well as the Episcopal Church, of which he and his wife, Helen, were active members.