My full name is Robin Grant Jordan. My mother named me Robin because she liked the name. Robin is a diminutive of Robert, which is derived from the Anglo-Saxon name Hrothbheort, or Bright Fame.
Robin is a popular name in English folklore—Robin Good Fellow, or Puck, the mischievous sprite of William Shakespeare’s play, Mid-Summer Night’s Dream, and Robin Hood, the legendary outlaw of Sherwood Forest, bane of the Sheriff of Nottingham and friend of the poor and downtrodden. Robin and Hobbin is a country term for a hobby or hobgoblin, a mischievous imp or bogy or bogey. The latter is derived from the Welsh bwg, or ghost.
Robin or Hobbin is also a term for a small horse or pony or a hobbyhorse, a wicker horse for a Morris dance. Traditional Morris-dancing includes characters from the Robin Hood legend—Robin Hood, Maid Marion, Little John, and Friar Tuck. The púca sometimes takes the form of a small horse or pony.
My mother also named me Grant because one of her grandmothers was a Scotswoman, and the clan to which she belonged was the Grants. The Grants’ ancestral land is located in Strathspey, east of Loch Ness.
I was born in Royston in Hertfordshire, England, on the Feast of St. Barnabas the Apostle, on June 11, 1948. I was baptized by the Rev. Humphrey R. Humphreys at St. Mary the Virgin (Church of England) in Therfield, England, six days before Christmas, on December 19, 1948. It snowed the night before and snow covered the churchyard. My mother’s cousin Alan Sweetman was my godfather. I still have The Book of Common Prayer that he gave my mother for me when I was older. It is bound in leather and fits in the palm of my hand. On the flyleaf Alan wrote “To Robin, on the occasion of his christening, December 19th, 1948, from Alan.”
The first church I attended was St. Nicholas' (Church of England) in Stevenidge, in Hertfordshire, England.
The first church that I remember was St. Peter's, also in Stevenidge. St. Peter’s was mission church launched to serve the New Town on the outskirts of Stevenidge. The church first met in a Nissen hut. The congregation sat on folding wooden chairs that were apt to collapse with a loud crash, startling the babies in the congregation and making them cry. In 1954 a multipurpose building was built. Enormous screens closed off the chancel and allowed the nave (which had a stage at the west end) to be used as a hall for community use.
My mother, my older brother and I lived with my mother’s parents. My mother had married an American serviceman who was stationed in England after the War. After my older brother was born, they had moved to the United States. My father had abused my mother and she had left my father. This had happened before I was born. Her younger sister who had also married an American serviceman and lived in the United States had helped her to return to England, my older brother in tow and pregnant with me.
My parents never divorced. My father was Roman Catholic and my mother was Church of England. In those days the Church of England did not sanction divorce except in cases of adultery. Cruelty was not grounds for divorce.
My family was living at Five House near Therfield when I was born. They moved to The Brook when I was still a baby and then to New Town outside of Stevenidge when I was two or three years old.
The first school I attended was St. Nicholas Church of England Elementary and Primary School in Stevenidge. My mother was a teacher on the staff of the school. The school uniform was a maroon blazer, grey shorts or skirt, and a maroon and dark blue cap. The blazer had a dark blue badge on the pocket with a crosier, a mitre, three bags of gold and a cross embroidered on the badge in gold. The school day began with assembly, which included a Bible lesson and prayers from The Book of Common Prayer. We sang gospel songs from the Moody and Sankey songbook, accompanied by a teacher on the piano. The headmaster who was a Church of England minister gave a short address. Our play equipment included landing nets and ammunition boxes. We climbed the landing nets and built forts and houses with the ammunition boxes.
We were surrounded by reminders of the War in the 1950s—pillboxes overgrown with weeds, tank traps and washed-up mines cordoned off with barbed wire at the beach, and upturned helmets used as flowerpots. A number of the highways had formerly been runways for bombers and fighter planes. Nissan and Quonset huts were ubiquitous. War-time rationing had not completely ended.
My grandfather retired when I was five or six years old, bought a cottage and some adjoining land on edge of the Great Common in the village of Iccleshalt St. Andrew’s in Suffolk, England, and took up farming. The cottage was named Rosecott after all the wild dog roses growing in the hedgerows surrounding the common. My grandfather grew wheat in the two fields that he bought with the cottage. We had an apple orchard, a flock of chickens, a large vegetable garden, a Jersey milk cow, and a flock of geese. We kept the geese in the pound on the common. We also had no electricity, no running water, and no telephone. Our primary source of water was a well in the front garden from which we drew water by a bucket tied to a rope. We purified our drinking water with Halazone tablets and then boiled it. We took baths in a galvanized metal tub, heating the water in a copper. We cooked on a coal range and a paraffin stove. We used Primus mantle lanterns and small weighted oil lamps for illumination. We had an early battery-operated portable wireless, or radio, that was the size of a small suitcase and on which we listened to BBC and Radio Luxemburg broadcasts. We made our own butter and cheese and stored the apples on a bed of straw in the front shed. My grandfather sold the rounds of cheese in the open-air market at Bungay.
My older brother and I roamed the common and the woods and fields on its edges. We found curlew nests on the common and caught roach, sticklebacks, and tadpoles in the ponds. We gathered hazelnuts from the hedgerows lining the country lanes. We picked mushrooms in a neighboring farmer’s field. We bicycled with our mother to Lowestoft and camped on the cliffs overlooking the English Channel. We went boating at Southwold and after dark watched the phosphorescent jellyfish floating in the water of the harbour. We went home happily munching fish and chips bought at a local chipper, sprinkled with malt vinegar and salt, and wrapped in newspaper.
The four years that my family lived in Iccleshalt St. Andrew’s, we attended the parish church.
My mother, my older brother, and I cycled five miles every day to the nearby village of Rumborough where my mother was the headmistress of the village school. She and another teacher taught six grades in two classrooms. Our lessons included a Bible lesson as English schoolteachers gave religious instruction in English village schools in the 1950s. I still have a composition book in which I wrote down the first stanza of my favorite hymn, Percy Dearmer’s “Jesus, good above all others,” in lead pencil, and then decorated the page with hearts and crosses in color pencil. We sung in our morning assembly hymns from Songs of Praise, which Dearmer edited. My mother led the singing and the other teacher played the piano. The tune for “Jesus, good above all others” is Quem Pastores.
My mother had received her training at Hockerill Teachers’ College, jointly operated by the Dioceses of Chelmsford and St. Albans. Her training had included daily chapel services and courses on the Old Testament and the New Testament. My mother had received a bishop’s certificate in Old Testament studies. She would have earned one in New Testament studies except the professor was a former missionary to a South American Indian tribe and adopted a very patronizing attitude toward his students.
My mother began and ended each school day with prayers from The Book of Common Prayer. She dismissed her pupils with the Collect for Aid against All Perils.
Lighten our darkness, we beseech thee, O Lord; and by thy great mercy defend us from all perils and dangers of this night; for the love of thy only Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.My mother took me out of Iccleshalt St. Andrew’s Village School because I was not learning to read, and enrolled me as a pupil at Rumborough Village School where she could keep an eye on me. My mother as the head mistress had a cottage next to the school, and we stayed at the cottage on occasion, especially when the snow was very heavy and closed the road to Iccleshalt St. Andrew’s. My mother did make use of the garden in front of the cottage, growing sweet peas and strawberries. During recess I would crawl through a hole in the hedge and help myself to the strawberries in the garden.
One of my favorite past times was to explore the country lanes on my bicycle and visit the parish churches in the surrounding villages like Iccleshalt St. John’s.
In the 1950s parish churches were left unlocked. I was attracted by the stillness and the quiet of the empty churches, hallowed by centuries of prayer, as well as the opportunity to climb the church towers and overlook the beautiful sun-drenched countryside of Seely Suffolk—Holy Suffolk—so called for its numerous churches.
When I visited Rumborough’s parish church, the door was stuck and I never saw the interior.
One thing that I remember from my childhood was my grandparents’ great love of hymns. They knew many hymns by heart and would sing them as they went about their daily activities. My grandmother’s favorite hymn was Charles Wesley’s “Jesu, Lover of My Soul,” sung to Aberystwyth.
My grandfather played the organ and piano. He had also played the violin in his youth. He had played the organ at a Wesleyan Congregationalist church and taught the young men’s Bible class when he was a young man. He always kept his Bible next to his bed.
My grandmother’s father was a schoolmaster. His practice was to attend both Church and Chapel with his family. He had pupils in both the local Church of England parish church and the local Non-Conformist chapel. In this way he not only had contact with the families of his pupils but he set a good example for his pupils. He lost his voice from the shock of diving into the icy water of a canal or river to rescue a boy who had fallen into the water, and was unable to teach for a number of years until he recovered his voice.
Our entire family, including my grandparents, immigrated to the United States when I was ten years old. We crossed the Atlantic aboard a cargo ship that also carried passengers. We sailed from Liverpool and disembarked in New Orleans.
My grandfather who had come out of retirement went to work as an accountant for a New Orleans insurance agency. For three years we lived across the Mississippi River from New Orleans on what is called the West Bank. We eventually purchased two acres of land about thirty-five miles north of New Orleans, across Lake Pontchartrain. My grandfather built a house on the property on weekends, and we moved to what is known as the North Shore. I was enrolled in Abita Grammar School and my older brother in Mandeville Junior High School since we lived on the boundary between two school districts. On his daily commute to New Orleans on the Greyhound Bus my grandfather met a parishioner of Christ Church (Episcopal) in Covington, Louisiana. My family began attending Christ Church.
The church was a picturesque white wood-framed, clapboard building that had been constructed by slaves in 1846 and consecrated by Bishop Leonidas Polk in 1847. It was the oldest surviving Episcopal church building in St. Tammany Parish. Bishop Polk later became a Confederate general in the American Civil War and was killed by a cannonball that struck him in the stomach.
The church had large clear glass windows, three on each side, that were mounted on pivots so that they could be tilted to allow a breeze to blow through the interior of the building on hot summer days. The building’s acoustics were excellent, both for reading and singing. There was only one aisle running down the center of the church. This aisle was flanked by "horse stall pews," each with its own door or gate. This door or gate was apt to swing open or shut with a loud crash, drawing attention to any late arriver trying to sneak into the service after it had started. The box pews were narrow and kneeling in them was uncomfortable. In the late 1880s a bell tower and shallow chancel had been added to the building.
In the 1960s Christ Church had Holy Communion only on the first and third Sundays of the month. The church had Morning Prayer on the remaining Sundays. The rector and his wife had been missionaries in the Philippines. They had been interned in a Japanese prisoner of war camp during World War II. The rector and my grandfather had a common passion: poultry. The rector raised prize-winning Silver Gray Banties. He would give his chickens to my grandfather when he retired.
Unlike the other young people I did not attend Sunday School. I preferred to listen to the sermon. I read Bernard Ramms’ Protestant Biblical Interpretation: A Textbook of Hermeneutics in high school. The father of one of my friends had sparked in me an interest in what the Bible actually says as opposed to what others say the Bible says. He was a Jehovah’s Witness and had attempted to convince me of his sect’s interpretation of the Bible. The only time I set foot in a Sunday School classroom was to teach a Sunday School class of fourth graders. One of the Walton sisters who were pillars of the church offered to pay my seminary tuition and other expenses if I were to seek to be admitted a candidate for holy orders.
I was confirmed by Bishop Girault Jones at Christ Church on February 28, 1965. I was presented by The Rev. Carl H. Stolley Jr. I was admitted to the Holy Communion on the same date.
I graduated from Covington High School with honours on May 25, 1966. My favorite subjects were English, History, Latin, and Speech. I took three years of Latin and would have taken a fourth year if my high school had offered a fourth year. I was the president of the Latin Club. I was also the Junior Class president. I took two years of Speech and was a member of my high school’s debating team.
I graduated from Southeastern Louisiana College, now Southeastern Louisiana University, with honours in the spring of 1970. I was awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Sociology. In my final year at college I was elected to the Pi Gamma Mu National Social Science Honor Society.
After a brief stint in the US Air Force I returned to Southeastern to work toward a Bachelor of Education degree in Social Studies and English and Teacher’s Certification in Secondary Education. I was a few hours short of completing my degree requirements when failing grades in two night courses—Eighteenth Century English Literature and Tests and Measurements, inadequate finances, and mounting student loan debt prompted me to seek full time employment.
Instead of following in the footsteps of my great grandfather and my mother and becoming a teacher, I followed in the footsteps of another relative in an earlier generation. She was one of the first social workers in the City of London. For twenty-seven years I worked for the State of Louisiana, one year in a federally-funded substance abuse program, two years in the non-public assistance food stamp program, and twenty-four years in child welfare services—foster care, child protection investigations, and family services. I took early retirement at the age of fifty-five.
I was licensed a Lay Reader for the Diocese of Louisiana on May 25, 1985. I was one of the last Lay Readers that were licensed under the old diocesan canon: applicants for the office of Lay Reader were required, even though they might not be assigned pastoral or administrative responsibility in a congregation without an ordained minister, to be trained and examined and found competent in the Holy Scriptures, their contents, and background; The Book of Common Prayer and Hymnal; Church history; the Church’s doctrine as set forth in the Creeds and the Catechism; the conduct of public worship; the use of the voice; parish administration; appropriate canons, and pastoral care. After they were licensed, they were expected to continue their studies and to report annually to the bishop on their progress.
I served as a Lay Reader for seventeen years and was involved in a number of teaching and worship ministries. I was senior Lay Reader at St. Michael’s in Mandeville, Louisiana for fifteen years. On May 12, 2002 the rector demanded my resignation due to my open sympathy for the Anglican Mission in North America. On May 20, 2002 I tendered my resignation. Although I did not formally terminate my membership in St. Michael’s or transfer my membership to another church, I was subsequently dropped from the parish membership rolls.
Since May 2002 I have been involved in various ways in six new church plants at different stages in their development in five different denominations. They include an unsuccessful AMiA church plant, a successful United Methodist plant, and two successful Southern Baptist plants. For two years I served as a Boy Scout troop committee member and chaplain.
Hurricane Katrina and the high cost of living in its aftermath forced me to leave Louisiana and relocate to western Kentucky. I now live on the outskirts of Murray, Kentucky, a small university town, near the Kentucky-Tennessee border.
Since I am retired, I have a lot of time on my hands. I devote a good part of my time to writing. The Living Church and Cross+Way have published a number of my articles. In 2004 I launched the Anglicans Ablaze web log as an Internet ministry to North American Anglicans primarily to keep them abreast of developments in the North American and global Anglican communities, to offer commentary on these developments, and to draw their attention to informative articles on church planting, evangelism, small group ministry, and other subjects, and to other useful resources.
I have been pursuing a number of other projects. I have compiled a conservative contemporary English revision of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer and a similar revision of the 1956 Free Church of England Prayer Book. I also prepared a service book that attempts to comply with the nebulous standard for doctrine and worship of the Anglican Church in North America’s Fundamental Declarations.
My latest Prayer Book project involves a North American version of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer with explanatory notes and alternative and additional services and forms.
My other interests include (but are not limited to) American, Canadian, English, Gallican, Irish, and Scottish folk lore, music, mythology, and tradition; a cappello singing; Baroque chamber music; bicycling; bird watching; Blue Grass music; bread baking; calligraphy; camping; candle-making; canoeing; Celtic Christianity; children’s and young adult literature; Chinese and Japanese folk lore and music, mythology, poetry, and vegetarian cooking; Church history; church music; church planting; creative anachronism; culinary and medicinal herbs and their uses; English and Scottish country dancing; evangelism; English and Welsh village churches; hiking; home cells and other small groups; kayaking; kite flying; megaliths and standing stones; Mid-Summer Day and Mid-Summer Eve customs and traditions; miso- and tofu-making; Morris dancing and Mummers; Neolithic Britain, Europe, and Ireland; outdoor Dutch oven cookery; preaching; puppets and puppetry; rural church ministry; serpents, shawms, and other Medieval musical instruments; small churches; Southern Harmony shaped-note singing; story-telling; vegan cooking and nutrition; walking; water color painting; West Gallery music; and wildflower photography.
Until 2006 I identified with the AMiA, now the Anglican Mission. In 2006 the AMiA and the Prayer Book Society USA produced Services of The Book of Common Prayer of 1662 in Contemporary English. It was supposed to be contemporary English versions of the 1662 services. It fell far short of the mark. In 2008 the AMiA and the Prayer Book Society USA produced An Anglican Prayer Book. It contained elements taken from the 1662 Prayer Book, the 1928 American Prayer Book, the 1928 Proposed English Prayer Book, and the 1962 Canadian Prayer Book and combined them in a service book that was much more Anglo-Catholic in tone than the four Prayer Books from which these elements were taken. More recently, I have learned that the AMiA Canonical Charter and the Canons of its sponsoring church, the Anglican Church of Rwanda, incorporate language, norms, principles, and theology from the Roman Catholic Church’s Code of Canon Law. In its Canons the Anglican Church of Rwanda has adopted the dogmas of the Council of Trent.
I am not presently affiliated with any existing Anglican body in or outside of North America.
Among the reasons that I am presently involved in the Journey, a Southern Baptist church targeted at university students and young adults is my own experiences and those of my youngest niece, her friends, and fellow students in university. It is a critical time in young people’s lives. They can grow closer to God or away from Him. There are a lot of pressures from professors as well as peers to discount the need for God in their lives and to discard their Christian beliefs and values if they are Christians.
The Episcopal campus ministry at my own university was a great disappointment. The Baptists, Lutherans, Methodists, and Roman Catholics had very active campus ministries. Their student centers were open seven days a week from early in the morning to late in the evening. They offered a place for commuter students like myself to go between classes away from the noise and cigarette smoke of the university student union as well as to meet other Christian students and to form friendships. They also provided a variety of activities and programs designed to help young Christians grow in their faith. All the Episcopal Church offered Episcopal students was Holy Communion and free supper every Wednesday evening. The Episcopal student center was locked the rest of the week.
I began sojourning with the Journey when it was a 10-month old new church plant. In 2002 I had come to the realization that God had given me a passion for church planting and had wired me as a pioneer, not a settler. The Episcopal Church and St. Michael’s were not the denomination and the church where I could pursue that interest or carryout the ministry for which God had designed me. When I first moved to Murray, I looked for a new church plant in the area in which I might become involved. God led me to the Journey, which not only offered the opportunity to gain more hands-on experience in church planting but also small group ministry. The Journey was also in a much earlier stage of development than the two previous new church plants in which I was involved and was targeted at a ministry focus group for which I had a particular concern.
For those who may be curious why I have never sought ordination, it is not that I have not tried. Very early in his pastorate I discussed with the first and only vicar of St. Michael’s and the parish’s only rector my desire to be admitted a candidate for holy orders. He did not counsel me to persevere in my intentions. His response was that to be an Episcopal priest, I would have to be “very much a church rat.” He did not explain what he meant. The rector of Christ Church, when I consulted with him, had been much more encouraging.
During the fifteen years I worked with the vicar, then rector of St. Michael’s, he did not offer to appoint a discernment committee for me. He appointed discernment committees for five other St. Michael’s members and recommended them to the bishop for admission as a postulant. They included at least one whom I had helped to prepare for the Lay Reader examinations. The last time I discussed with him my desire to explore new ministry opportunities, he had just returned from a trip to England during the course of which he had visited a number of English cathedrals and had been impressed by the solemn processions led by a verger with his wand, which began cathedral services. His response was to tell me about his trip and how he wanted to establish the office of verger at St. Michael’s. He offered me this ceremonial position.
He knew that I was committed to St. Michael’s. I had served on the steering committee for the Mandeville Mission that eventually became St. Michael’s and had been a member of the church planting team that launched St. Michael’s, serving as the worship leader on the church planting team and chairing the mission’s worship committee. I had been a member of the selection committee that interviewed him before he was appointed vicar of St. Michael’s. I had not taken sides in the church fight over his leadership, which had cost St. Michael’s most of the vestry, the music director, the choir, and one third of the member households, including almost all of the people who had pioneered the church.
He knew that I was knowledgeable. He often referred people to me with questions on Church history, the Prayer Book, church music, or even theology that he could not answer.
He also knew that I was qualified. When I planned and officiated at services in his absence while on vacation and preached the sermon, he received good reports from the congregation on my conduct of public worship and my preaching.
For eight years I had collaborated with the music director in the planning of the music of the church services, which included selecting the music for the services, determining its use in the services, finding and suggesting new music, researching copyright holders, obtaining reprint permission, and preparing music inserts for the service bulletin. This was done at the request of the music director whom I had recruited for the position. He had hired her and then left her to struggle on the best that she could without any guidance. While she was a competent musician and had the musical judgment, she did not have the liturgical and pastoral judgment needed to plan the music for the services. He had decided in seminary that he would leave the music to the music director because his professor had criticized his selection of music for chapel services. He took little interest in the music for the services beyond that there was music and most of the congregation was content with what music there was. St. Michael’s greatly benefited from our eight- year collaboration. Next to the warm, friendly atmosphere the music was listed as a major reason that newcomers were attracted to St. Michael’s.
I had taught successful classes on the services of The Book of Common Prayer and the principle of Christian worship and Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians. I had conducted a service of Morning Prayer for commuters and other early risers on weekday mornings and had given a series of lectures on the history of the Prayer Book on Wednesday evenings as a part of the church’s observance of Lent. I had served as a member of the Vestry, a member of the Building Committee, and a member of the Evangelism and Outreach Committee. I had served as a member of steering committee for the midweek service and as initial leader of the service.
When I was not serving as a Lay Reader on Sunday morning, I sung in the choir as I had at Christ Church. I acted as a precentor, or song leader, and led pre-service congregational rehearsals and taught new hymns to the congregation.
I had been coordinator for a number of worship ministries—Lay Readers, Lectors, Junior Lectors, and Lay Eucharistic Ministers. I had organized and coordinated an intercessory prayer ministry, and had planned and officiated at special Good Friday liturgies.
I had also conducted window screen surveys of various areas of St. Tammany Parish to size up church planting potential of these areas for the dean of the North Shore Deanery, which was responsible for planting new churches in the parish. I discovered that I had a knack for identifying buildings that would make good meeting places for a new church. I would spot a likely building and sure enough a new church would occupy it in less than a year.
The only reason that I can think that he never offered to appoint a discernment committee for me was that he set great store in what he called being “a team player,” in other words, deferring to the judgment of the parish priest in all matters and unquestioningly following his lead. He came from a Roman Catholic background. When he was a teenager, he had attended a junior seminary for the formation of older boys for the Roman Catholic priesthood. We not only had theological differences but also and more importantly we had philosophical differences. His philosophy of life and ministry was “If it aint broke, don’t fix it” and “leave well enough alone.” Mine was “there is always room for improvement” and “what is worth doing is worth doing well.” I was constantly pestering him with ideas and suggestions, which he took as criticism of how he was doing things.
One of the first things he did as the new vicar of St. Michael’s to begin regularly preaching a sermon in which he told the members of the congregation that if they were not happy with how things were done at St. Michael’s, he would help them to find a new church. He was not going to change things to suit them. They could take St. Michael’s as they found it or go elsewhere.
In my open support of the AMiA, which at that time had more to do with the failure of the Decade of Evangelism, the Episcopal Church’s distaste for evangelism, and my own disappointment in the deanery clergy’s and my own immediate pastor’s lack of enthusiasm for church planting than anything else, I gave him a ready excuse to rid himself of a long-standing irritant and the last of the church’s old guard who might have proved an obstacle to his vision for the parish’s future, which was to move the church in a more Anglo-Catholic direction and to eventually build a new sanctuary.
Since I left St. Michael’s, the rector has indeed moved the church in a more Anglo-Catholic direction and converted the large multipurpose room which served as a sanctuary and a parish hall into a permanent sanctuary with icons of angels on the walls flanking the chancel platform, a large painting of Jesus and two angels on the wall behind the altar, stained-glass sun catchers in the windows, banks of votive candles, pews and kneelers, and a statue of the Blessed Virgin at the front entrance to the sanctuary. The Stations of the Cross line the front walk and a garden with a fountain and a statue of an angel has been laid out behind the sanctuary. The church has built a new parish hall instead of a new sanctuary. One might think that St. Michael’s was a traditional Anglo-Catholic church save for the removal of the communion rail. The interior of the sanctuary now looks like the interior of a modern Roman Catholic church. Behind the garden with its fountain and angel statue is a massive octagonal concrete slab on which is painted the Chartres labyrinth, which marks St. Michael’s as a contemporary Episcopal church.
I eventually concluded that God did not intend for me to become an ordained minister in the Episcopal Church. Otherwise, he would have opened doors for me. The year after I resigned as senior Lay Reader of St. Michael’s, Gene Robinson was elected, confirmed, and consecrated an Episcopal bishop. God had led me to choose a different path from that of the Episcopal Church.
Addendum: Sometime after 2007 St. Michael's reverted to the status of a mission of the diocese, the rector stepped down, and a priest in charge was appointed in his place. I do not know the story behind St. Michael's loss of parish status. Its long-time rector and former vicar is now the priest in charge of a smaller church in the diocese, which to my knowledge has been a mission of the diocese for the 139 years of its existence.