ABOVE PHOTO: December 16, 1956 photo of parishioners at St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in College Park. Pictured to the right of the far left pine tree are Jean Snellings, Fr. Crumbly, man with pipe against entry Charles Rowe, to the left of the middle pine tree Virginia Bryan, two further right; Gloria Siddall, next pine tree June and Dave Hedrick, Jim Atwill, Walter Dun Rick, Nancy Snellings, Bill Middlebrook, Jack Van Horn, first left of the right most pine tree Sara Murphy (plaid dress), Jim Snellings, Robert Musmer, Sr.
When Robin Murphy helped found St. Michael’s Church in 1948, men signed the charter and women taught Sunday School. Today women are bishops and Mrs. Murphy herself has led the church as Senior Warden.
The important work she started of organizing a Sunday School program for St. Michael’s Church in College Park has blossomed into several ordained ministers getting their Christian leadership foundation at the church.
Orlando native Reverend Michael Basden, who grew up at St. Michael’s, now serves as Rector of Trinity-by- the-Cove Episcopal Church. As Mrs. Murphy notes in this September 5, 2012 oral history interview, St. Michael’s Church has a tradition of nurturing leaders.
From Mayor Glenda Hood to Christian Service Center President Virginia Bryan to leading Sentinel writers: Ormund Powers, Dan Tracy and Harry Straight, all have received the blessings of St. Michael’s as a foundation for bringing good works to our community.
Inspiring leadership and service to God and neighbor, St. Michael’s Church, the small Episcopal church which started in Duckworth’s Garage on Edgewater Drive is today a paradigm of church and community life.
ABOVE: Founding members of Saint Michael’s Episcopal Church in College Park are pictured in this 1960s church photo: Ginny Brewster, Robin Murphy, and Charlie Rowe. Ginny Brewster was the first Altar Guild Directress for St. Michael’s Church. Robin Murphy started the Sunday School program at St. Michael’s and later served in the vestry as Senior Warden. Rowe Hall at St. Michael’s Church is named after Charlie Rowe.
Regarding the transition of women to church leaders, Mrs. Murphy says, “Well, I think it’s a wonderful thing. Of course, we now have women who have their vocations in the church and St. Michael’s has had some wonderful people who have done that.”
When asked about her life of service in the church Mrs. Murphy, mother of five, reflects: It has meant everything to me. The friendships there. And there are other, you know, it’s a community out there. The Methodist Church and the Baptist Church and St. Charles around the corner. It’s a good feeling. They all have a little different outlook on things but it’s the same direction.
LISTEN Part I (13:49) Saint Michael’s Episcopal Church Oral History Interview – Robin Murphy
LISTEN Part II (3:51) Saint Michael’s Episcopal Church Oral History Interview – Robin Murphy
LISTEN Part III (11:59) Saint Michael’s Episcopal Church Oral History Interview – Robin Murphy
For enhanced perspective on the history of women in the church by decade see the Episcopal Women’s History Project.
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