Parish History

All Saints in 1960

On April 7, 1957, a group of Episcopalians in east Montgomery met for worship in the Gold Room of the Montgomery Fair, a department store then located in the Eastbrook Shopping Center.  With the guidance of the Rev. Thomas Thrasher of the Church of the Ascension, plans were made to start an Episcopal mission in this part of the city.  The Rev. Frank Persons, curate of the Church of the Ascension, served as vicar of the new church and began holding regular services in the Gold Room beginning on July 2, 1957. The following week, the Suffragan of Alabama, Bishop George Murray, celebrated Holy Communion there.  The new church received permission from Alabama's Diocesan Bishop Carpenter to call the mission church All Saints later that year. On January 19, 1958, All Saints’ Church began holding Sunday services in the Romeo and Juliet Kindergarten in Eastbrook; in May of that year, the congregation received permission to hold services at the Capitol Heights Community Center on Federal Drive.

     The Rev. John W. Phillips, an ordained deacon, became the first permanent vicar of All Saints' and conducted his first service on June 19, 1960.  One month later, July 19, 1960, a ground-breaking ceremony was held on the recently acquired property located at 645 Coliseum Boulevard.  The first service in the new building was performed by the Rev. Phillips on February 19, 1961.  Bishop Carpenter ordained the Rev. John Phillips priest on June 17, 1961.  The Rev. John Phillips served All Saints’ until he was called to a church in Florida in 1967.

     The Rev. Albert S. (Bert) Newton came to All Saints' and held his first service here on January 19, 1968.  In 1976, the Rev. Edwin R. (Nick) Carter was named priest associate.  Nick had served as chaplain to Gen. George Patton in WWII. During Fr. Newton’s tenure, a renovation of the second floor of the church building was completed in 1980, and an addition to the building, begun in March 1981, was completed in January 1982.  The twenty-fifth anniversary of All Saints' Church was held the same year.  A new pipe organ was dedicated on November 1, 1987.  After serving more than 27 years as Rector of All Saints’ church, the Rev. Albert S. Newton retired; he conducted his last service in the church on September 3, 1995.

     The Rev. John Cruse became interim rector of All Saints' Church on September 10, 1995.  At this time, the vestry instituted a search for a permanent priest.  The Rev. John Cruse completed his service as interim rector on August 25, 1996.

     The Rev. James E. (Jim) Wallace, was called as rector September 1, 1996.  During his tenure, a fenced playground and a children's chapel have been installed.  In 2001, All Saints’ achieved more than $100,000 in pledged giving for the first time in its history.  In addition, a Shrove Tuesday Mardi Gras party was inaugurated with some church members forming a Dixieland jazz band for the event. 

     After Hurricane Katrina, several members of All Saints’ have made three trips to the Gulf Coast to aid in restoring and rebuilding homes.  The congregation’s increased outreach program has included support of the local Renascence House and donations of numerous altar hangings and liturgical candles to the companion Diocese of Haiti, as well as a large monetary donation to dig a new well there. We also donated a small pickup truck to the Diocese of Louisiana for use in Katrina Relief operations.  More recently, All Saints’ has partnered with the Hale County Revitalization Organization in West Alabama  to reach out to those affected by the tragic Alabama tornado outbreak of April 2011.

            After Fr. Wallace was called to be rector of a parish in Chattanooga, the Rev. Matthew Grunfeld joined All Saints’ as Priest-in-Charge in September 2011.  Under his leadership, All Saints’ seeks to build on the past and to look toward God’s future in Alabama’s capital city.