Between Fifth Avenue in Corona del Mar and the county seat in Santa Ana one saw grassy hills, gullies, a small airport and vegetable farms growing peppers, lima beans, sugar beets and strawberries. Even in the early 1960s there were wranglers herding cattle just outside the chapel windows of St. Michael and All Angels parish mission, where Father Ed Allen conducted the first services in September 1961. Between 1950 and 1960 the population of Newport Beach more than doubled as it was transformed from a summer vacation community into a substantial city.
In early 1966 Fr. Allen announced his appointment as Episcopal chaplain at the new University of California, Irvine. The mission council’s search for a new vicar soon brought the Rev’d John Rogers Davis to southern California from Arizona.
Much that was new now came at once. The Irvine Company sold us the present 3.6 acres site and we held a groundbreaking ceremony on May 10, 1967. Saint Michael and All Angels was granted parish status and the first service in the completed sanctuary took place on Easter Eve, April 1968.
By 1973, St. Michael and All Angels counted 172 families in its membership and a relatively large Sunday school (115 registered students, and often 60 to 80 attending.) Attention focused on planning a parish center for education and fellowship activities that was completed in 1976.
After Father Davis retired, the Vestry called the Rev’d Peter Haynes, then serving as Episcopal campus minister at UC Berkeley. Father Haynes arrived at St. Michael and All Angels in time for Christmas celebrations in 1987 and had firmly established his imprint here by the time the new decade began. The parish celebrated its 25th anniversary in May 1992.
On “Celebration Sunday” January 2000, we began construction of an expanded parish center to support new programs for the parish and the larger community. One highlight during this period was a weekend workshop in 2003 when the Vestry brought noted theologian Marcus Borg to St. Michael and All Angels. Borg presented and took constructive feedback on the precepts he later published in The Heart of Christianity.
Meanwhile, two clergy whom we raised up at St. Michael and All Angels were elevated to the episcopacy. The Rt. Rev’d Dr. Edward J. Konieczny was elected the fifth bishop of The Episcopal Diocese of Oklahoma on May 5, 2007, and The Rt. Rev’d Diane Jardine Bruce was elected seventh bishop suffragan of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles on December 4, 2009, the first female bishop in diocesan history.
As St. Michael’s celebrated its 50 year anniversary in 2010, our continuing commitment focused on mission, Christian education, pastoral care and prayerful liturgy. We recognize how much we have in common while acknowledging and appreciating our many differences. Our “laughter and tears kiss each other,” as the Book of Proverbs says, and our faith keeps us very much alive.
Note: more below the gallery! Click images to enlarge.
St. Michael and All Angels Timeline
1960 The Rev’d Edward Powell Allen appointed vicar; first worship service held at Community Congregational Church in Corona del Mar; Mission Council organized
1963 Services moved to the chapel of St. James’ Parish Day School at Fifth Ave. and Marguerite, Corona del Mar
1966 Fr. Allen leaves to begin chaplaincy at the newly opened UC Irvine; The Rev’d Canon Douglas Stuart becomes locum tenens
1967 Construction of the sanctuary begins at Pacific View Drive and Marguerite; Rev’d John Rogers Davis called as vicar
1968 New sanctuary completed; St. Michael and All Angels incorporated as a parish; Fr. Davis elected rector
1972 Parish dedicated by the Rt. Rev’d Robert Rusack, suffragan bishop of Los Angeles.
1974 Abbot and Sieker pipe organ installed
1975 Deanery Ten’s refugee relocation program begins; St. Michael and All Angels sponsors Vietnamese families
1976 New parish center constructed with meeting and classroom space
1979 New version of the Book of Common Prayer formally adopted; Friends of Music organized
1982 Rose garden planted in front of the church; new hymnal adopted
1985 Good Shepherd memorial garden completed
1986 Fr. Davis retires; the Rev’d Gene Lindusky becomes locum tenens
1987 Vestry calls the Rev’d Peter Haynes as rector from his campus ministry at UC Berkeley
1991 Fr. Lindusky builds a new altar and ambo
1993 Parish Emergency Fund established
1995 Parish initiates annual Metric Ton of Food for Children of the Americas
1999 First parish pilgrimage to the Holy Land
2001 Parish center remodeled and enlarged
2007 Parish joins Anglican Communion Compass Rose Society
2010 Godly Play Sunday School inaugurated
2011 Second parish pilgrimage to the Holy Land
2012 Parish labyrinth dedicated
2013 Sanctuary of the church substantially refurbished with new floor tile and rugs
2015 Campus landscaping overhauled to California-friendly and water wise
2017 Fr. Haynes retires; the Rev’d Michael Seiler becomes locum tenens
2018 Vestry calls the Rev’d Michael Seiler as rector
2019 North Wing converted for use as a chapel
2020 Fr. Seiler retires; the Rev’d Susan Pinkerton becomes locum tenens