The Church of St. Michael’s and All Angels was conceived as a mission church of St. John’s Church, Huntington, in 1871. The Rev. William Kirkus became its first Rector in 1876. Soon, ground was broken for “a larger stone edifice” to accommodate the expanding affluent white congregation near North Avenue and St. Paul Street. St. Michael’s held its first service in the new building on March 30, 1880.
Founded after the abolishment of slavery, St. Michael’s never faced the issue of slave worshippers as had earlier Episcopal churches. But segregation of housing was legal in Maryland when the parish was forming and its congregation reflected the surrounding affluent all-white neighborhoods. When Baltimore outlawed discrimination in housing in the 1960s, some neighborhoods began to diversify, but many whites fled to the suburbs. By the 1990s, St. Michael’s once large congregation of over 1,000 Sunday worshippers had largely vanished. The period between 1970 and 1990 was one of historic racial transformation for the church.
In 2000, St. Michael’s appointed its first rector of African descent, the Rev. Walter V. L. Eversley. By then, Sunday attendance averaged fewer than 20 people. Eversley began to build membership, programs, and activities, encouraging families and individuals of African descent to join the church. By 2006, only eight whites attended on a regular basis.
Since then, the church has continued to grow. Still a vital part of its community, St. Michael’s offers outreach services, programs for young people, and participates in diocesan activities. People of all races and ethnicities are welcome. Evolving from a predominantly white congregation in 1874 to one of predominantly African descent in 2014, St. Michael’s transformation is one of hope for continued growth and acceptance of all worshippers in faith.
Learn more: http://www.smaa-baltimore.com
Church of St. Michael and All Angels
2013 St. Paul Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21218