The History of St. Michael and All Angels Parish

On August 18, 1954, with the support of the Vestry of the Church of the Good Shepherd, twenty-four communicants signed a petition requesting that a Mission be established in South Lake Charles. The 1955 Convention of the Diocese of Louisiana, under the leadership of Bishop Girault Jones, approved the petition for such a mission, St. Michael & All Angels, thus fulfilling the dream of the late Bishop Iverson Noland when he was Rector of Good Shepherd. The women of the Church of the Good Shepherd provided funds to purchase the property for the Mission.

Bishop Jones appointed the Rev. Robert L. Crandall as priest-in-charge of St. Michael's and the Rev. Harold R. Bott, our Vicar. Father Bott assisted Father Crandall at the first Eucharist of the newly forming Mission on St. Michael & All Angels' Day, September 24, 1954, at Fire Station #7, and later services were held in a Quonset hut on the McNeese campus which served as the Student Union. Bishop Jones laid the cornerstone for the church on August 21, 1955, and the first service in the new building was held on St. Michael's Day, 1955. Projected cost for the new building was $36,000 and the budget for the year was $3,242.25. The church was dedicated by Bishop Noland on November 2, 1955.

St. Michael & All Angels grew rapidly under the leadership of Father Bott, becoming a fully self-supporting Parish in 1956. The Rev. Ralph Masters accepted the call to be the second rector of St. Michael's in 1966. The Rev. Charles S. Womelsdorf came next in August of 1988. In July 1991, the Rev. Dr. Peter Cook became the fourth rector to serve the St. Michael's congregation. Father Cook's retired in May 2014, and the Rev. Deborah Heathcock was the interim rector until the Rev. Seth Donald was installed as the fifth rector in June 2016.

In 2002, St. Michael's unveiled a new look. Gone was the signature A-frame design and a beautiful gothic structure emerged, complete with a new parish hall, renovated sanctuary, new offices, and a bell tower.  In 2017 our playground was moved, leaving room for a new fountain and paved courtyard to be installed. Even with these major renovations, the heart of St. Michael's remains its people.

The people of St. Michael's have grown in the Spirit and in their stewardship over the years. In addition to the many ministries of service within the life of our Parish, our people have become noted for their involvement on the life of the larger community of Lake Charles, and in the Church beyond the Parish level. The clergy and lay leaders of the Parish have a history of making our facilities available to many civic groups and healing organizations, and our parishioners have become personally involved in community service and the wider mission of the church throughout the world.

As we have been deeply blessed by God in our common history, so we seek to be a blessing in this part of God's vineyard as our future unfold.


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