Reverend inspires peace before moving

The Rev. Harriet B. Linville believes that if you want peace, work for justice, and if you want justice, work for peace.

Her Christmas message is to find it in our hearts and actions to work for peace and justice. Her New Year’s wish is for everyone to discover the joy of belonging to a faith community.

“I believe God is always inviting us into relationships,” she said. “I hope everyone will find a faith community, no matter what faith or denomination. Join and get involved. It’s always been part of my life. Humans need to grow up in a family, a community. Being part of a community is very life-giving.”

After guiding her congregation at Morro Bay’s St. Peter’s Episcopal Church since February 1996, Linville retired in September.

“It’s time to be with my children in Oregon. They want me to be closer to them. I will miss the involvement in my parishioners’ lives. They invited me to be part of their family at weddings, births, baptisms and ultimately sickness and funerals.”

Linville was born in Mt. Clemens, Mich., and received her master’s degree in education at the University of Michigan. She moved to Hood River, Ore., where she stayed until she recognized a calling to the priesthood. She began her preparation in 1974 and finished her schooling and seminary in Berkeley with her two young children by her side.

“At first everyone agreed I’d been called to the priesthood, but there was still resistance, especially from good friends. But after serving for a time, I was accepted.”

In fact, her temporary assignment in Hermiston, Ore., became full-time when the parishioners did not want to let her leave. Episcopal leadership made an exception and allowed her the permanent position until her move to Morro Bay.

“St. Peter’s has always been involved in our community,” she said. “I enjoyed many ecumenical events with other pastors like the Easter Week celebrations, the Hunger Walk, Salvation Army, Sunrise Services and the Peace Pole. I also loved singing Christmas carols on John Baker’s fire truck and hosting the dancers and singers from Russia.”

The community hall continues to support the meetings of many nonprofits, including Alcoholics Anonymous, Morro Bay Historical Society, Quota Club, American Association of University Women, the San Luis Obispo Literacy Council and Meals on Wheels.

“It is the Episcopal Way,” she said, smiling.

Now retired, Linville says she plans to move to Oregon to be near family, ride her horse more, sing with a new group as wonderful as the Cuesta College Chorale, read and garden more, and visit family and friends in Michigan. For sure, the Rev. Harriet B. Linville will find her next faith community.

Reach Judy Salamacha at judysalamacha@gmail.com or 801-1422.