Our church, named for St. Hilary of Poitiers was created in Hesperia in 1988. We first met in the offices of Dr. Tibble, a dentist, on Fifth Avenue and Walnut Street.
The New Altar and Tabernacle - from Columba to Bernard to Hilary
The altar and tabernacle is made of English oak and hand carved by craftsman who were brought from England specifically for this task. It was the personal altar of the Right Reverend Joseph Horstfel Johnson, first bishop of the Los Angeles Diocese (1896-1928). When the Saint Columba chapel was built in 1934 as an addition to Cathedral of Saint Paul, Bishop Johnson donated the altar to the new chapel. It remained there until, after severe earthquake damage, the cathedral was razed in February, 1980.
The altar was then moved to temporary quarters in the diocesan offices on Fourth Street in Los Angeles. It was left sitting in the hallway. The Reverend Canon Harold G. Hultgren, upon hearing the remark, "I wish we could get this piece of junk out of the hallway", appeared with his truck the very next day. He loaded the altar and took it to his desert home in Lucerne Valley, California. It was placed in his Oratory by permission of then Bishop Robert Claffin Rusak (1974-1986) and dedicated to Saint Bernard of Clarvaux in 1980.
The altar remained there until March, 2005. Canon Hultgren and his wife, Margaret, moved to the Kensington Episcopal Home in Alhamba, California in the 1990's, making periodic trips back to Lucerne Valley. Eventually, health becoming an issue, it was apparent to the Hultgrens that their home and Oratory would have to be closed. He offered the altar and all of the contents of the Oratory to Saint Hilary's, in nearby Hesperia, California. Saint Bernard's Oratory was secularized and the altar, initially built against an east wall, was sent to a furniture restorer. They refinished it, added a back, and made it freestanding. The matching tabernacle, once part of the retable, also became freestanding. Both altar and tabernacle were installed at Saint Hilary's during the summer of 2005.
The altar and tabernacle was rededicated on Sunday, October 16, 2005 - this time to Hilary of Poiters. Also dedicated at that time were four new stained glass windows: Noah, King David, Gethsemane, and Saint Hilary's Shield, by Bishop Suffragan of Los Angeles, the Right Reverend Chester L. Talton.