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History

A mission of All Saints Church, Winter Park, Florida, The Rt. Rev. Henry Louttit and led by the Holy Spirit, embarked on the project establishing a parochial mission. On October 14, 1956 Father Frank M. Brunton, priest-in-charge, conducted the first service of the new mission in the auditorium of Lakemont Elementary School with 39 people.

The new mission church accepted a donation of property in the subdivision of Tanglewood from the developer and had employed Francis H. Emerson, AIA to draw plans for a combination parish hall/church. June 30, 1957 The Rev. Christopher Breese Young became Vicar.

Construction began in 1958 and services were held in the new building by the end of the summer. Plans were Then drawn for a classroom building. In September 1959 construction began to provide space not only for Sunday School, but also for a parish kindergarten known as St. Richard’s Academy. This was later changed to Bishop John D. Wing Academy to honor a former bishop of South Florida.

At the Diocesan Convention in May 1960, the Mission of St. Richard’s was granted parish status with Fr. Chris Young its first rector. Shortly thereafter on July 1, 1960, Fr. Young resigned to join the Chaplain’s Corps of the United States Navy. The Rev. Hollis Buchanan was installed as Rector. Rectors that followed were: The Very Rev. Barry Howe, Dean of St. Peter’s Cathedral in St. Petersburg, Florida in October 1978, The Rev. Jonathan B. Coffey, Jr. in 1983, The Rev. Grayson B. Garvin in September 1989, The Rev. Kevin A. Wyld in April 1999, The Rev. Thomas A. Downs in October 2004 and The Rev Alison P. Harrity in July 2011.

Clergy who have served during the transitions have included the following: The Rev. Ronald Brokaw, Priest-in-Charge from September 30 through July 1, 1978; The Rev. Watson Nieman, M.D. retired, served as Interim Rector and as assistant to Fathers Coffey and Garvin. Also during that time the Very Rev. Osborne Littleford, Dean Emeritus, Cathedral Church of St. Luke, Orlando served as Interim from January through September 1989. The Rev. Richard J. Bowman was Interim Rector prior to Fr. Kevin Wyld, the Rev. Dr. Thomas A. Downs was rector from 2004 to 2010. Subsequently, the Rev. Canon Robert J. Vanderau became priest in charge.

Florence Biller was the first woman ordained to the perpetual diaconate in our Diocese; Rebecca (Becky) Wilson was the first woman to serve on a vestry in 1967 and Peggy Gordon held the position of Senior Warden for the first time in the Diocese of Central Florida. Marion Thullbery joined the staff while she was a seminary student and was ordained to the transitional diaconate and the priesthood, becoming the first woman priest ordained in this diocese.

In March 1967 plans were begun for a new church. Schweitzer Associates, Architects were selected to develop a master site plan. Mr. Nils Schweitzer, President of the AIA Committee on Church Architecture and an Episcopalian and former student of Frank Lloyd Wright, designed St. Richard’s as it stands today.

The first service in the new church was held on Ash Wednesday, February 24, 1971.

The history of the music program reflects the dedication and talent of this parish from the first acquisition of a second hand piano to the recent memorial gift of a harpsichord. Mrs. Hazel Somerville was the first fulltime organist and choirmaster. Later Mrs. Ginny Koepkey joined the staff followed by Dr. Bradford Gee as director of our music program. Mr. Robert Miller, assisted part time by Mr. Fred Selph, became organist and choirmaster following Dr. Gee, and then Mr. Geoffrey A. Shoffstall and now Dr. Carl MaultsBy.  Our Visser Roland Pipe Organ, the handbell ringers, the youth and adult choirs augment the ministry of the music director.

The banners in the church are representative of the varied gifts of the congregation as they adorn the walls designed by Betty Wolfe, Cathedral Church of St. Luke, and the needlework artistry of Mary Nan Johnson, Della Smith and Carolyn Abdalla add to the beauty of the hangings. The beautiful needlepoint kneelers were designed under the guidance of Mrs. Martha Ellis and completed by various ladies of the church.

The Lady Chapel was placed in the northeastern corner of the sanctuary in 1993 as a memorial to Christopher and Mark Lightbown. This area provides an intimate worship space for weekday and special services.

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