ABOUT ST. MICHAEL
Just four years after Calvary moved to 41st street (1886) the St. Michael and All Angels Home for Crippled Colored Children was founded by Mrs. Pauline Henry at 43rd and Wallace Streets.
Within two years, a chapel was added to the home because Mrs. Henry realized that an Episcopal Chapel was needed to serve the spiritual needs of the community, thus the oldest African American congregation in the Diocese of Pennsylvania was founded. Only St. Thomas and Crucifixion are older.
The dedicated priest of Calvary, Father Hutchinson, continued as rector until 1896 when he returned to Ireland, his place of birth and died in 1898 in England.
The Reverend Jesse Higgins succeeded Reverend Hutchinson, serving form 1896-1899. During his rectorship members of the Bonnell family presented the stone Parish Hall to the church in memory of their kinsman, the Reverend Charles R. Bonnell, the third rector of Calvary.
The Reverend Walter Biddle Lowry became rector in 1900 and served until 1901.
For several years previously, Father Alden Welling had served St. Michael and All Angels as Vicar where he trained worshippers in the Anglo-Catholic form of worship was installed and Calvary became known as a "stronghold of High Churchmanship."
Even as the turn of the century it seemed Calvary and St. Michael, only a few blocks apart, were beginning to gradually come together. Mr. Henry R. Dowdy, a member of Calvary’s vestry for many years, was sent to St. Michael on a mission at the request of the rector.
Father Lutz was another early vicar of St. Michael. The chapel came alive when Father J. DeCosta Harewood, the first African American Priest to serve its members, became its Shepherd. The community followed Father Hardwood and great spiritual progress was made. After five years, Father Harewood was called to another parish and he was succeeded by Father Arthur Goff-Coombs in 1920. This faithful priest served the people of St. Michael until his health failed and he was called to his eternal reward in 1923.
Ag Calvary, Father Charles l. Steel was called in 1910 and faithfully ministered until 1936. The Reverend John Quincy Martin was called to the "Living Monument" the same year and served until 1945.
America was drawn into World War II during this era and about fifty members of Calvary marched off to war. Father Martin also served his country as a naval chaplain. The Reverend Kenneth R. Forbes came to Calvary as interim rector, ministering until 1945.
After Father Coombs' passing, the Chapel of St. Michael endured several years of trial and struggle until the Chapel's foster mother, St. Mark's parish assigned Reverend John A. Howell to be the priest in charge. During his nine years tenure, he presented 200 persons for confirmation and baptized an equal number. He resigned in 1937 because of age.
In 1939 the troubled financial situation of the Chapel was brightened when the men of the Chapel prevailed upon the rector and vestry of St. Mark's parish to call a young priest, the Reverend Thomas W.S. Logan to the Chapel. This was approved by the Bishop and Father Logan began his ministry at St. Michael on January 1, 1940.
By the end of Father Logan's first year all bills were paid. The overpowering cry was that the Chapel would become a self governing and financially sound parish. Under Father Logan's leadership the successful Contingent Find Drive was launched headed by Harold L. Pilgrim, Sr. Dr. Lemuel T. Sewell and Ernest Scott, Esq., also assumed leadership roles in the effort. The Chapel petitioned the Diocese for parish status and in May 5, 1945 Father Logan became the first and only rector of St. Michael and All Angel. The membership of the new parish increased from 100 to more than 400 under Father Logan's untiring efforts.
Calvary was suffering a loss of membership due to the rapidly changing racial makeup of the community. A few African Americans joined the parish but most newcomers preferred St. Michael. The Vestry of Calvary voted to invite Father Logan and the Congregation of St. Michael to merge with them with Father Logan as the new rector. St. Michael accepted and the merger took place on September 9, 1945.