Our church began its life in 1979 as the Mission of Chartwell-Milliken, under the leadership of the Rev. Rob Payton. He began with a rectory and the mandate to build an Anglican congregation north of Finch Avenue. It was clear from the outset that the recreation room of the rectory would be too small, so Rob arranged to use the music room at St. Marguerite Bourgeois Separate School for the inaugural service on March 4, 1979. That first service was attended by fourteen people.
The congregation grew quickly, and soon we had to move to the larger science room, then to the stage area and, finally, to the gymnasium. This growth in numbers continued, bringing us closer each year to realizing our dream of building a permanent home. We discussed a name for our church and St. Michael the Archangel was agreed upon. We are, in fact, named after Coventry Cathedral, a church with a history based on hope, reconciliation and community.
Finally, the time arrived to start planning our permanent home. Committees were struck. Anglicans in Mission provided the lion's share of the funding, Church Development offered advice and at last, we broke ground on Sunday, October 14, 1984. We moved into our new building on May 12, 1985 and Bishop Geoffrey Parke-Taylor came to consecrate our new building with full pomp and ceremony on May 28, 1985.
We had been in our new church building for a year when Rob announced that it was time for him to move to a new parish. We welcomed the Rev. Gordon King as our new incumbent and we moved into the next phase of community building. Unfortunately, Gord's health posed serious difficulty for him and he had to resign about a year later. That was a very challenging and difficult time for our parish and only strong lay leadership made it possible to keep forging ahead.
When the Rev. Elizabeth Hardy joined us on April 6, 1989, she had a rebuilding task ahead of her. Together, with a committed laity and by the grace of God, she was able to revitalize the original vision and strength of our church.
To be continued ...