Church History

  • Line Drawing 11922 St. Mary's began with local Episcopalians worshipping in various buildings.
  • 1928 Formally organized as a Mission in the Diocese of Chicago named St. Mary's-by-the-lake.
  • 1934 first resident Vicar, the Rev. Edwin B. Thayer arrived.
  • 1947 Diocese of Chicago acquired the five-acre site in the Crystal Lake. The property included a redbrick house, built in 1859, which became the center for church services and meetings, and also living quarters for the Vicar.
  • After a few years, the church purchased a three-car garage nearby on Oriole Trail, which the members renovated to create “The Little Church.” That left the Gates House to serve only as the vicarage.
  • 1957 congregation broke ground on the property for a new church building.
  • 1958 first complete service was held on Sunday, September 21.
  • 1960 tenth Vicar, the Rev. Marx Jones, arrived.
  • 1966 Mission of St.-Mary’s-by-the-Lake was received as a Parish by the Diocese of Chicago and took the name St. Mary’s Episcopal Church. Father Jones thus became our first Rector. He still worships with us each Sunday.
  • 1964 new rectory was built.
  • 1972 Gates house was renamed the Rev. Kenneth W. Tarpley House in honor of a much-loved Deacon of the Parish.
  • 1976 Rev. William N. Hoelzel ("Fr. Bill") became our second Rector and served the Parish faithfully for 31 years.
  • 1984 construction of a new wing with classrooms, offices, and a Great Hall.
  • 1990 beautiful Churchyard for the interment of parishioners’ cremains.
  • 2007 Rev. William N. Hoelzel retires and St. Mary's is served by two Interim Rectors
  • 2009 Rev, John Chip Graves becomes our third Rector before leaving in 2012 to relocate closer to family.
  • 2012 our present Interim Rector, the Rev. John C. Fleming (“Fr. Jack”) joined us.

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