Music Events

Tercentenary Organ Recital Series

“Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and cannot remain silent.” —Victor Hugo

We cordially invite you to join us for a distinguished series of organ recitals at historic St. Michael’s Church. Built in 1714, the church is home to the 22-stop 1975 Charles Fisk (Opus 69) mechanical action organ, and it enjoys an acoustical space that is ideal for organ music.

Our artists have chosen programs that range from the 18th-century tradition of Bach and his contemporaries to works by living composers. A suggested donation of $10 may be made at the door. Subscriptions to support all five recitals may be purchased for $50. A reception follows each recital in the Parish Hall. All are welcome.

September 22, 2013

Dr. Douglas R. Major

November 17, 2013

Bálint Karosi, Boston MA

January 19, 2014

Barbara Bruns, Andover MA

March 16, 2014

Nancy Granert, Boston MA

May 18, 2014

Bill Crane, Portland OR

Worship Services

Celebrations and Services

A birthday is a time to celebrate, and we have much to celebrate over 300 years as a worship community. It is also a time to look ahead to the next 300 years! We have planned a series of celebrations and services that both celebrate the past, welcome the present, and look forward to the future. Some events are purely secular; others are religious in nature as befits a parish church. We will honor 300 years of Anglican liturgy and music with services using different editions of the Book Of Common Prayer (BCP), giving a fascinating glimpse into services of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. All will include music at the 10 a.m. service. All events will be held at the church unless otherwise noted, are open to the public and all are welcome to join us.

October 19, 2013

Tercentenary Celebration & Capital Campaign Kick-Off ● Dinner and addresses by Sarah Bates, Co-chair, Tercentenary Capital Campaign; The Right Rev. Gayle E. Harris, Suffragan Bishop of Massachusetts; Robert L. Howie, Jr., Chair, Tercentenary Committee; Barbara S. Miller, Co-chair, Tercentenary Capital Campaign; and the Rev. Andrew J. Stoessel, Rector, St. Michael’s Church. Event held at the Corinthian Yacht Club, Marblehead

November 17, 2013

“The Order for the Administration of the Lord’s Supper, or Holy Communion”Historical service using the 1662 Book of Common Prayer for use by the Church of England (as used at St. Michael’s prior to the American Revolution).

February 9, 2014

“The Order for the Administration of the Lord’s Supper, or Holy Communion”Historical service using the 1789 Book of Common Prayer, first to be adopted by the American Episcopal Church of the Church of England Book of Common Prayer (as used at St. Michael’s after the American Revolution).

May 4, 2014

Ecumenical Covenant Exchange ServiceThe Marblehead Ministerial Association’s Covenant originated almost 25 years ago following an incident of vandalism and desecration at Temple Emanuel and at the Jewish Community Center. The Covenant was written and signed as the 13 member organizations (the congregations and leaders of Marblehead’s religious denominations) to honor and uphold the U.S. Constitution and freedom of worship, and to stand united as communities of faith in opposition to all forms of bigotry, racism and intolerance.

Every year, the framed Covenant documents have been passed from one congregation to another, symbolizing and reaffirming the Association’s purpose. As is customary, the Covenant Service is presented within the context of a worship service conducted by the hosting congregation. In 2014, the Covenant will be transferred to St. Michael’s. Light refreshments will be provided after the service.

May 18, 2014

“The Order for the Administration of the Lord’s Supper, or Holy Communion”Historical service using the 1928 Book of Common Prayer (as used at St. Michael’s prior to the adoption of the 1979 Book of Common Prayer)

June 6, 2014

St. Michael’s Church Open HouseChurch tours provided by members of the Historic Church Committee, from the crypt to the belfry and everything in between.

July 3-6, 2014

Tercentenary Lobster Roll LuncheonFor more than 25 years, St.
Michael’s has organized a lobster roll luncheon on the parish lawn as part of the annual Marblehead Arts Festival, welcoming one and all to food and refreshments during the iconic event. What is significant is that 100% of all the profits made from the luncheon are given away to more than a dozen local charities and mission-based organizations near and far that help those in need. It is estimated over the years that the parish’s signature annual outreach event has raised more than $400,000 for worthy causes, helping change peoples’ lives for the better.

Please join us and be part of the fun and the cause!

September 2, 2014

“St. Michael’s Church Day” in the Town of MarbleheadThe Marblehead Board of Selectman will declare this date “St. Michael’s Church Day” in recognition of the 300th anniversary of the erecting of a “handsom chuurch” on September 2, 1714.

September 28, 2014

The Feast of St. Michael and All Angels, Tercentenary Anniversary Service, and featuring the Right Rev. and Right Honourable Richard J. C. Chartres, 132nd Bishop of LondonThe service will also feature the parish’s choir, guest musicians, and the premier performance of a complete musical setting of the liturgy, a commission awarded by the parish to St. Michael’s internationally renowned musical director Dr. Douglas R. Major.

We expect this special service—which will be recorded for posterity—to fill the church and parish hall and we recommend
that parishioners, guests and the public—all are welcome—to
come early to guarantee a seat. We are planning a outside
procession around the block and back as part of the
celebration, and a wonderful birthday party with a very special

October 12, 2014

Celebration and Blessing of Tercentenary Capital ProjectsOn this date, we will celebrate and have blessed (celebrant TBA) our capital campaign construction projects, including the universal access to the church, the remodeling throughout the Parish Hall, and the repairs and additions to the historic church itself, including the steeple.

December 4, 2014

Tercentenary Christmas Tree Lighting & CarolingCome join the
2nd annual lighting of the giant spruce tree—the largest lit tree in town—and Christmas carol singing with help from St. Michael’s choir. The church’s famous hot cocoa and chili-in-a-bag will be available for all.

March 30, 2015

Fourth Century ServiceSt. Michael’s is a liturgically centered parish where worship is at the heart of everything we do. The Book of Common Prayer (BCP) has been central to this rich liturgical tradition, as has music, since the eighteenth century. While we look back on the 1662, 1789, and 1928 BCP rites, on this occasion we will experience what a worship service might become in St. Michael’s fourth century.

Lecture Series Overview

Tercentenary Lecture Series

We will bring together scholars, noted historians, friends and the general public for an historical symposium as well as a series of about six talks focusing on the history and future of St. Michael’s. We will start with Marblehead social history in the early eighteenth century.

Other topics include the church’s architecture—English and Dutch antecedents, similarities and differences with New England meetinghouses and other Anglican colonial churches, and changes over time. Other talks will be on the social and religious context for the formation and development of St. Michael’s in Marblehead and our relationships to other religious organizations in town. The series will also include talks that look at the future of the Episcopal Church. All events will be held at St. Michael’s Church unless otherwise noted.

February 26, 2014

Judy Anderson, social and cultural historian, “Marblehead: 1714

March 16, 2014

Robert Booth, social historian, “Who Filled the Pews in St. Michael’s Church: 1714-1750?

April 30, 2014

Edward O. Nilsson, architect, “The Architecture of St. Michael’s: English & Dutch Antecedents

May 10, 2014

Frances Harrell, Robert L. Howie, Jr., Douglas R. Major, Edward O. Nilsson, the Rev. Andrew J. Stoessel, Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts Parish Historians Society Annual Meeting

June 7, 2014

Stuart P. Feld, Donald R. Friary, David D. Hall, Robert L. Howie, Jr., Carl Lounsbury, Christopher P. Magra, Louis P. Nelson et al, “Building a Handsome Church: St. Michael’s Church, Marblehead, 1714, A Tercentenary Symposium,” Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Massachusetts

November 9, 2014

The Very Rev. Dr. Katherine H. Ragsdale, President and Dean, Episcopal Divinity School, “Disrupting the Inspirational Imagination: A Seminary for the 21st Century”

January 11, 2015

The Right Rev. Dr. Ian T. Douglas, Bishop of Connecticut, “Whither the National Church–Revisited: Changing Mission Structures of the Episcopal Church”

About St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, Marblehead

In 1714, a group of benefactors and subscribers, sea captains, and Marblehead donors sent a letter to their most generous benefactor, Col. Francis Nicholson, describing the steps they had made to organize and to erect a “Handsome Church” for followers of the Church of England in Marblehead. The next year the Marblehead parish had its first Church of England priest sent over by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts (SPG or SPGFP). St. Michael’s is the oldest Episcopal Church in New England still standing on its original site and worshiping in its original building. In 2014, the Church will celebrate its 300th anniversary.

The original square church was expanded by one third in 1728 with a new roof, but includes its original cross-vaulted ceiling. The “reredos” (the painted board behind the altar containing the Ten Commandments, the Lord’s Prayer and the Creed) also dates to 1714. The chandelier was given to St. Michael’s in 1732 by John Elbridge, Esq., Collector of the Port of Bristol, England. In 1793 the 50-foot steeple was removed from the top of the bell tower. The building was substantially renovated in 1833 with pointed-arch clear windows, slip pews, and the pulpit and altar gathered together on the north wall. In 1888, the large stained glass windows were installed by Redding & Baird under direction of the Rector, the Rev. John L. Egbert. The 1974 C.B. Fisk organ, housed in a restored 1833 case, is a significant addition to St. Michael’s rich liturgical tradition.
Our long history has great significance not only because of what our congregations have witnessed throughout many generations, but also because of the continual renewal of seeking and engaging in God’s grace. MG_0577.jpg