Who We Are
St. Michael’s Episcopal Church is a large, thriving 68-year-old parish located in our capital city. We were founded in the rich tradition of liturgy, music and service to God’s world.
St. Michael’s welcomes all. Our mission is “Go Forth with God,” which we do especially through worship, children’s and youth ministries, adult education, mission and outreach. Ours is one of the area’s finest choral music programs, involving more than 150 singers of all ages. Our children’s Christian Education program — the core of which are our two children’s chapels — bursts with energy each Sunday morning.
Our congregation is a blend of founding families and newcomers, life-long Episcopalians and those new to the Episcopal Church. We are the spiritual home of young-adult and mid-life singles, families with toddlers, teens and college students, as well as many active seniors in the prime of life.
St. Michael’s provides lifelong discipleship for all, through worship and education, Bible and book studies, and opportunities for mission work, both within the community and beyond. We are called to build community in Christ’s name.
It’s all here at St. Michael’s.
St. Michael’s Episcopal Church was established as a mission church in 1950 by a group of parishioners from three downtown Raleigh churches, on 4.5 acres of donated land in the heart of Raleigh. They cleared the land and painted two donated World War II barracks red, so St. Michael’s became known as “The Little Red Church in the Woods.”
The first service was held in the Little Red Church on Sept. 10, 1950. The Little Red Church grew quickly. In 1955, charter member Leif Vaaland, a Raleigh architect, designed the soaring nave where we worship today. The first service was held in the new nave on Christmas Eve 1956.
Since that time, St. Michael’s has been under the direction of four rectors: The Rev. James Dunbar Beckwith, the Rev. Lawrence K. Brown, the Rev. G. Kenneth G. Henry, and our current rector, the Rev. Samuel Gregory Jones, who was called to St. Michael’s in May of 2004.
Our parish has undergone much growth since her first days as the Little Red Church. Our expanded campus includes the St. Michael’s Parish Day School, a columbarium and a state-of-the-art Nichols & Simpson pipe organ.
The warmth and beauty of our church are the products of a simple, but awe-inspiring design rendered in native North Carolina materials and illuminated by 28 dramatic stained-glass windows. The structure is a contemporary expression of a French Colonial church with an adjoining parish hall. Worshipers entering the church inevitably have their eyes drawn upward to the great arches of yellow pine that support the nave and chancel – each representing one of the disciples – and to the gilded cross above the altar. These dramatic features, combined with the beauty of the colorful windows and the warmth of the surrounding brick and wood, inspire all who enter to "kneel in prayer."
The graceful stained glass windows were designed by Raleigh artist Mary Patricia Stumpf, in collaboration with parishioner Harriet T. Hill and Dr. Charlotte Brown, Architectural historian and Director of the Visual Arts Center at North Carolina State University. The windows employ seasonal colors and Christian symbols to illustrate the Episcopal Church liturgical calendar. They were installed in 1987. The dramatic Angel Windows that rise above the west narthex doors were added in 1998.
• In 2006, we added memorial bells to the bell tower.
• In 2010, we completed a North Transept adjacent to the nave, with additional educational and music space below.
• In 2011, we installed a Nichols & Simpson instrument customed-designed to fit our expanded worship space.
St. Michael’s enjoys grounds that are among the prettiest in midtown Raleigh. Our campus includes several quiet, hidden gardens allowing for peaceful reflection, as well as a labyrinth open at any time for parishioners or those passing by.
The columbarium in our memorial garden was established in the 1970s. We offer perpetual care for those interned in our midst.
If you’d like to secure a space in our columbarium, contact Lee Hayden.