The journey at Saint Michael's and All Angels began on January 17, 1954 when our founders gathered to lay plans for establishing an Episcopalian presence in Noblesville, Indiana. Two additional meetings resulted in a location for Services, a petition to the Diocese to establish a church and a name. A vote was taken and St. Michael's was chosen as the name for this new Episcopal Church. Church lore recounts that this name was chosen because the first two acolytes to serve our parish were both named Michael. At the time of the vote, various members were closely associated with a St. Michael's Church in England. Both facts probably contributed to the name we claim today.
On January 31, 1954, a service of Morning Prayer was held in a rented facility at the Christian Science Society Building. Seventeen parishioners were in attendance. On Valentine's Day 1954, Bishop R.A. Kerchoffer traveled to Noblesville to celebrate the first Holy Communion at St. Michael's. The Bishop returned on March 19th and accepted the petition by St. Michael's to become a Mission Church in the Diocese of Indianapolis. Our walk had begun.
The intervening years saw growth in both our community and our church. In October 1956, we purchased the Christian Science Society Building. The first service held in our own building occurred on September 2, 1956. Known around town as “the little Church on Cherry Street," it was truly that. Within a year we had to grow, constructing a new Chapel in a vacant lot next to the Church. St. Michael’s would serve Noblesville from this location for the next 20 years. In 1974, The Reverend David Purvis became our Vicar. The congregation had grown to the point that we had outgrown the chapel and we began considering meeting in a larger building.
We did move. In September 1976, we broke ground for our current location in South Harbour. The following Maundy Thursday, despite the fact the building had not been finished, we celebrated Holy Communion in our new Parish home. Enthusiasm and attendance grew, and in June of 1978, St. Michael's staged our first Strawberry Festival on church property, with great success. Then, in October, we dedicated and consecrated our new facility.
We were still in "Mission Status," but were growing so much that we approached the Diocese, asking to be released from our Mission status. In 1987, after a long period of prayer and application for release, we became a Parish with a rector . . . St. Michael's was on its own. Father David Purvis served as Vicar, and then as Rector of St. Michael's for 23 years. Then, in 1997, Father Purvis accepted a call to serve a Parish in Florida.
On the departure of Father Purvis, St. Michael's welcomed The Very Reverend Roger Gray, retired Dean of Christ Church Cathedral, as our interim Rector. Dean Gray offered a number of initiatives, such as moving our Strawberry Festival from church property to the town square in Noblesville. That move alone highlighted St. Michael's active involvement in our community. He also initiated the Parish giving all profits from the Strawberry Festival to our outreach programs.
In September 1998, Reverend Dr. Thomas Tirman was installed as our second Rector. In 2001, our newly remodeled Chapel was re-dedicated to St. Michael's. In 2004, our standing as the oldest Episcopal Church in Hamilton County was highlighted by our 50th anniversary celebration. Our programs and services continued to grow.
In January 2006, Father Tirman resigned as our Rector. Father Al McClure answered our call assuming duties as part-time interim priest, as our Search Committee worked to find us a new Rector.
On November 1, 2007, the Reverend Doctor Lee Schaefer joined us at St. Michael's Episcopal Church as our Rector. During his tenure, the congregation has grown significantly and has started a third service -- a family-oriented, contemporary worship at 9:30AM. The "Oxygen" (O2) service was created and is being led musically by Steven Murphy, our Music Director. This service has proven to be a growth-center for the church. Building changes include a new kitchen to accommodate church functions and dinners, an enlarged and remodeled narthex, a large outdoor meeting/picnic shelter, new playground equipment, and a canopy over the front entry. Program changes include a revamped Christian Education program, a popular Vacation Bible School, and a monthly Commission Night. New groups include Daughters of the King, Mothers of Preschoolers, and Women's Fellowship Supper Group.
Father Lee serves as our Rector to this day. Continued growth is expected in attendance, facilities, program development, and discipleship opportunities.