provided to The Santiva Chronicle
St. Michael’s and All Angels Episcopal Church put finishing touches on its new office in August, and on Thursday, Dec. 9, dedicated the space along with the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Chamber of Commerce. The church first broke ground last December on the new office, designed by Sanibel architect Amy Nowacki and built by Helenbrook Homes.
“It replaces an office building that was across the parking lot,” said Rev. Bill Van Oss, St. Michael’s rector since July 2020. “The old office building had some water issues that could not be easily addressed. The new building has a very attractive entry area, gives us more offices, flexible work spaces and is fully up to code.”
The church, originally completed in 1961 and known for its stunning architectural design, was one of the first in Florida to be racially integrated and continues to strive for inclusivity, said Van Oss. The new office was made possible by a generous gift from Dr. Dick Schilling, a long-time member of St. Michael’s. One of Dr. Schilling’s daughters attended the ribbon cutting ceremony to represent the family.
“The new office will help us further our purpose and mission by providing a more functional and welcoming space to work and engage with parishioners and visitors,” said Van Oss. “It is also more accessible and energy efficient.”
The church meets the needs in the community by offering its facilities for use by various groups such as AA, musical groups, and service organizations. Furthermore, its Noah Ark’s Thrift Shop and reputation for high-quality music serve residents and visitors of all faiths.
“St. Michael’s has filled an important role in the island community that far exceeds its ministry mission,” said John Lai, chamber president and chief executive officer. “We are happy to celebrate this new milestone with the congregation.”
“We appreciate all that John Lai and the San-Cap Chamber do to keep the businesses and organization connected and preserving the beautiful environment of our island,” said Van Oss. “We are proud to be part of this community and have many members who are active in island organizations.”
ABOUT SANIBEL & CAPTIVA ISLANDS CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
The Sanibel & Captiva Islands Chamber of Commerce is dedicated to promoting the prosperity of its members and preserving the quality of life of our community. With more than 460 active Chamber members from both islands and businesses from Lee and Collier counties, the Chamber plays a key role in facilitating communication and cooperation between business, residents, and government to enhance the economic health of the islands. The Francis P. Bailey, Jr., Chamber Visitor Center is located at the entrance to Sanibel Island and welcomes tens of thousands of visitors each year. VISIT FLORIDA named the visitor center one of 13 official Florida Certified Tourism Information Centers in the state. It is open 365 days a year and provides comprehensive information about things to do, places to visit, and where to stay, shop, and dine. The chamber website sanibel-captiva.org receives more than 1.3 million website visits per year.
For more information about the chamber, visit sanibel-captiva.org or contact Landen Drake, communications and marketing manager, at 239-472-8255 or Landen@sanibel-captiva.org.