History of St. Richards's Episcopal Church
In 1956, the Reverend Paul Reeves, Rector of All Saint's Church, Winter Park, Florida, embarked on the project of establishing a parochial mission. Members of All Saint's whose homes were generally north and east of downtown Winter Park were invited to participate. 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. There were 39 persons present. By June 30, 1957 we had installed the Reverend Christopher B. Young as Vicar.
Construction began in the spring of 1958 and services were held in the new building by the end of the summer. At the Diocesan Convention in May, 1960, the Mission of St. Richard's was granted parish status with Fr. Chris Young as its first rector.
St. Richard's is recognized as first in many areas: Florence Biller was the first woman ordained to the perpetual diaconate in our Diocese; Rebecca 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 Thulberry joined the staff when she was a seminary student and was ordained the first transitional diaconate and the priesthood, becoming the first woman priest ordained in this diocese.
In March, 1967 plans were begun to build the new church, which is the current building. The first service was held on Ash Wednesday, February 24, 1971. The Lady Chapel was placed in the northeastern corner of the sanctuary in 1993.
St. Richard's Episcopal Church is truly the legacy of many dedicated Christians who had a vision for a new mission in Winter Park. The mission continues today.