Our little church at the corner of Burke Drive and Huntley Road has an interesting history. It began way back in February 1891 at St. James’ Church at the corner of Spring and Swan Streets. (photo, right)
Dr. Charles H. Smith, the Rector of St. James’ Church helped to organize what was then called the Walden Avenue Mission. This was located in an upper room in Burgard’s Hall at Bailey and Walden Avenues.
In 1893 the congregation of the Mission was able to purchase land and erect a church of their own at Bailey Avenue and Hazel Place. They took the name St. Stephen’s Church.
Because of a population change, the old St. James’ church at Spring and Swan Streets closed and was sold in 1937. The same problem of a changing neighborhood faced the congregation of St. Stephen’s Parish.
In 1948, land was purchased for one dollar at the present location on Huntley & Burke. A new building was erected by Backus, Crane and Love Architects. The (New) Saint James’ Episcopal Church was dedicated on December 18, 1949. The congregation decided on this name because St. Stephen’s Parish (the Mission) was originally founded by the Old St. James’ Parish. The Altar from St. Stephen’s Church is now the chapel altar in our church.
On January 1, 1974, St. James’ Church merged with St. Clement’s Church. The resulting parish was renamed St. Michael and All Angels.
The first pastor of St. Michael and All Angels was the Rev. W. Howard Wilson. He was succeeded by the Rev. Bruce Griffith (from St. Clements’). The Reverend Joseph C. Dedde was rector of the church from 1977 until his retirement in 2001, and was replaced by the Rev. Roger G. Grist, who was installed by Bishop J. Michael Garrison in September of 2002. Father Grist moved to Ft. Worth, Texas, in October of 2004, and the Reverend Charles Wheeler then came onboard until his retirement in December of 2008.
Father John A. Marshall (Fr. Jack) joined our parish in the latter part of 2009. In 2018, Father Jack moved to St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Orchard Park. Father Issac I. Ihiasota served as our priest in charge for one year then went back to his former parish in Niagara Falls, NY.
Our current Priest in Charge, the Rev. Jason Miller, started with us in October 2020. Pastor Jason came to us from St. Paul’s Cathedral in downtown Buffalo.