History of St Michael's in Concord continued

By 1946 the intrepid congregation had purchased the cottage from Dr. Neufeld, and he donated the adjacent piece of land (on which the church now stands) on Bonifacio.  In January 1947, they called Fr. Wickham as their first vicar, and began to build a parish hall. And in November 1948, they held the first service in the new building.  Sometime later two wings were added for additional space and the parish hall was complete.

In 1955, the church bought additional property for a parking lot – and in that same year became a parish of the Diocese.  Their rector, Father Daunton broke ground for a new church to serve their growing congregation in 1956 and in April 1957 they laid the cornerstone.  The dedication was at St. Michael’s Day in September 1957 – 56 years ago today.

In 1961 the growing congregation added the church school building, and in 1965 Fr. Daunton left St. Michael’s, answering a call to Los Altos, and the church called Fr. Stanley.  Under his leadership, the first ordination to the priesthood (for Fr. Williams the assistant) was celebrated in 1969. Forty years ago, on St. Michael’s Day in 1973, the church was dedicated and began the process of bringing in the beautiful faceted glass windows that we see today.  From the fall of 1973 to the winter of 1979, St. Michael’s raised funds, approved designs, and saw the installation of the nave windows, the choir windows, the creation and trinity doors, the resurrection window, the covenant windows (at the back of the nave) and the narthex windows and front doors to the church.  In 1980 after the windows were completed and installed, Father Stanley retired.

In the company of the angels depicted in those stained glass windows, the church of St. Michael has seen great joys and great suffering… but has never been abandoned.  St. Michael’s has reached out in many ways since the time of building the church, parish hall and education building, and the installation of these beautiful windows.  It has opened a preschool which has served hundreds of children and their families in the past 30 years. For 15 years (from 1993 to 2008) it offered a hot lunch five days a week to any who came through the doors – between 100 to 200 people each day!  Supported by volunteers and a small staff from Loaves and Fishes, the people of St. Michael’s turned out, changed the use of their parish hall, and welcomed those most in need into their midst. After the end of the war in Vietnam, many church sponsored families into the United States as they fled their own country – and St. Michael’s was one of these. 

Over the years, St. Julia’s Guild and the ECW collected for the United Thank Offering, made quilts and other gifts for those who were homebound and in convalescent hospitals… the men’s group cooked thousands of pancakes to support the work of the church, Carl Courtney and Jane Jett started a Liturgical Art Team in 1995, later joined by Ron Finch, which provided beautiful hangings   Bonnie and Jerry Cahill have used their tremendous gifts to practically singlehandedly organize and facilitate Open Mic nights for a couple of summers.. Joyce Pricco has brought us Opera in the Nave on St Michael's Festival Weekend, as well as her deep faith and great devotion to our music program. And several years ago, the Grant Street Players came to St. Michael’s, and with the help of their champion Keith Coppage have become a central part of our ministry.

A church has many small groups and ministries which are often overlooked – the altar guild, the acolytes, chalice bearers, lay readers, the choir, the welcoming committee, votive candle ministry, Sunday school and adult education teachers, nursery volunteers, Carolyn Demler who volunteers for all the administrative work she can do! And those who care for the facilities and grounds, the vestry/bishop’s committee, and the hospitality team of St. Martha’s Guild.   All are accompanied by angels as they seek to serve the church.