At the end of World War II, the Right Reverend Harry Tunis Moore, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas, pursued his war-delayed dream of establishing a new Episcopal parish for the growing area then referred to as "North Dallas." A small group of individuals were ready to form the new mission and met for their first worship service on a hot August Sunday in 1945 in a Boy Scout hut located on the grounds of the University Park YMCA. Several months later, on the Feast Day of Saint Michael and All Angels, the group, which by then had become several hundred persons, executed the charter and formed Saint Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church.
We have celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of this inauspicious beginning. In these our first five decades, so many things have changed! Saint Michael has grown to become the largest Episcopal parish in the United States, serving more than 5,000 communicants in North Dallas (which is a much different and wider area than our founders then knew by that name!), the Park Cities, and surrounding areas. We have been led by six rectors and by other gifted priests, many of whom have gone on to lead other parishes as rectors or other dioceses as bishops.
Our physical facilities have also changed over our fifty year history. After temporary homes in the Boy Scout hut and later at the Fondren Library Auditorium on the Southern Methodist University campus, our founders built a Gothic stone structure, which we now call the Saint Michael Chapel, on land they bought on the northern edge of University Park. Several years later, they added a two-story church-school building for the Sunday morning Christian Education programs and for The Saint Michael School (which was founded in 1950). Over the intervening years, we have expanded our campus to meet the needs of new ministries and increasing attendance. The Spreading Our Wings building project increased our space to approximately 150,000 square feet of renovated and newly constructed facilities to support the parish's ministries into the next century.
Today, Saint Michael and All Angels is located within Dallas's inner loop, and the land to the immediate north and east of our campus is filled with high-rise office towers and retail shops. The new residential areas that Bishop Moore sought to serve are now well established and shaded with mature trees. Some of the families that live on the streets around the church are the children and grandchildren of the generation that founded our parish.
Although we are now much larger and have far better physical facilities, we believe that people are drawn to the parish for the same reasons that brought those first parishioners to the Boy Scout hut. People come to Saint Michael and All Angels to worship God in the dignified beauty of the liturgy and the music. They come seeking the sacraments and Christian Education for their children and for themselves. They come to be comforted and reconciled and to be inspired to live out their baptismal vows in service to God and neighbor. They come to hear an expression of the Christian faith that does not require them to disengage the minds God gave them. They come to find supportive Christian friends who are loyal companions and who will stand by them in sorrow and in joy.