Ministry: Past, Present and Future…
~ Past ~
History relates that in 1854, Sylvester Walker, owner of the Walker
Tavern, helped form a committee dedicated to the building of a
church to serve a congregation that had been meeting in people’s
homes since the early 1840’s. William Blackmar, who had already
given land for a cemetery, said that he would donate hilltop land for
one church for the neighborhood. To cause no hard feelings, he
proposed that the first person to supply bricks for the new church
would be able to choose the denomination.
Alonzo Smith quickly hurried home, and drove his team of horses to
Jackson. He awoke the brick merchant and just as the sun was rising
over the Irish Hills, arrived at the hilltop place where the new
church would stand. By his quick action he earned the right to name
the church and he proclaimed that the church on the hill would
always be “Episcopal.” St. Michael’s cornerstone was laid in 1855
and the church was consecrated in 1858. The Rev. William
Narcissus Lyster, an Irish missionary who it is said gave the name
“Irish Hills” to this area, was the first rector, and served the
congregation from 1843 to 1870.
St. Michael’s is one of the oldest churches in Lower Michigan, and
is registered as a State Historical Site.
~ Present ~
St. Michael’s is an Episcopal Church embracing Total Ministry.
We believe that as baptized Christians, we are all empowered
through the sacrament of Baptism to use the gifts and skills for
ministry that God has given to each of us. Total Ministry (also
known as “Shared Ministry” or “Baptismal Ministry”) provides
members of a congregation an opportunity to identify, develop, and
use their gifts both within the congregation and out in the world in
which we live our day to day lives.
Every member of our congregation is invited and encouraged to use
their unique set of gifts to carry out the ministries to which God has
called them. St. Michael's currently has five people on the Ministry
Support Team (MST) for our congregation. The MST currently has
two priests, two deacons, and one person commissioned in the
ministries of pastoral care and preaching. These members have
fulfilled all requirements of the Episcopal Church for their ordained
or commissioned ministries. Our Ministry Support Team is not here
to "do" ministry for us. They are here to support us as we do
Though this seems to be a new and different way of being the
Church, New Testament scripture tells us that it's really a very old
and, in fact, the very first way of being the Church. The earliest form
of ministry was to gather together as the "Body of Christ," share
bread and wine "in remembrance of me" as was Jesus' charge, and
to go out into the world "to do the work God has given us to do."
Sadly, as years went on, the Church became an institution with a
separation of orders with the ordained doing the ministry while
congregations became mere observers.
Joyfully we’re returning to basics where all the baptized are
empowered for ministry and we all are carrying out the ministries of
priest, deacon, music, healing, care giving, teaching, preaching,
hospitality, stewardship and whatever wonderful gifts God has
chosen to implant in our St. Michael’s congregation.
~ Future ~
Total Ministry is a continuous process of gift identification,
discernment and education. While all members are encouraged to
use their gifts for ministry, those who show particular gifts for
leadership may enter an educational process which could eventually
lead to them being grafted onto the Ministry Support Team. They are
then responsible to support and assist in developing the ministry of
all the members of the congregation.
As a Total Ministry congregation we no longer have to be a people
gathered around a minister. We are privileged to be a ministering
people, engaging the gifts God has given to us for the welfare of our
church and our community.
Thanks be to God for the gift of Total Ministry!
St Michael and All Angel’s
2018 Outreach / Mission
We are proud to support the following organizations!
Hospice of Lenawee
Catherine Cobb Domestic Violence Center-Adrian
Associated Charities of Lenawee County
St. Peter's Episcopal Church-Hillsdale
Brooklyn Food Pantry
Daily Bread Soup Kitchen
Lenawee County Mission
Thanksgiving and Christmas Baskets
YA-YA (Youth and Young Adult Ministries)
The Record-Diocesan Newspaper
Alternative for Girls
Opportunity Resource Fund
Crossroads Soup Kitchen
Canterbury House - U of M Campus
National & World
Episcopal Relief & Development (ERD)
For more information on St. Michael's and the surrounding area please
click on the link below.
Michigan Historical Sites