On May 14, 1926, St. Michael the Archangel Orthodox Church was organized at the first parochial meeting under the leadership of Mr. John Hotra, the initial organizer, with 69 parishioners present. An unanimous call was extended to the Reverend Father John Rusin, who was appointed by His Eminence, Archbishop Adam. Rev. Rusin had served his First Holy Divine Liturgy in the St. Michael's Brotherhood Hall, 6541 Dennis Street, on Sunday, April 4, 1926. Under the pastoral leadership and guidance of the Reverend Father John Rusin, the newly organized parish began to flourish and its membership grew rapidly. Through the efforts of Father Rusin and the wonderful cooperation of the enthusiastic members, many repairs and alterations were made to both the church and the rectory. A beautiful Iconostas was purchased and installed in the church during the pastorate of the Reverend Father Walter Shymansky. On April 17, 1966, the church was destroyed by fire. Church services were held at Dennis Hall until the services of St. Thomas Albanian Orthodox Church were engaged. Services continued there until completion of the new church on 4.1 acres of land in Redford Township. The new church was completed by and dedicated on December 7, 1968. In 1975, after the appointment of Fr. Michael E. Barna as parish priest, many accomplishments took place. Through the leadership and with the efforts of the Church Council and parishioners, many fund raising projects were instituted and the church mortgage of $75,000 was satisfied in three years. In 2004, Right Reverend Mitered Archpriest Michael Barna was officially retired as Rector of the parish. Bishop Mercurius, Administrator of the Patriarchal parishes of the Russian Orthodox Church in the USA, appointed Very Reverend Arshpriest Timothy M. Barna as the new Rector.
Projects accomplished by the parish include:
1979 - Stained glass windows, designed by Willet Stained Glass Windows of Philadelphia, PA, were installed in the church
1988 - Icons were written in the sanctuary commemorating the Millenium of Christianity in Russia; and an elevator and air conditioning were installed.
1992 - A Cultural Center and religious classrooms were built and completed.
1998 - A granite sign was purchased and installed in front of the church; Icons on the ceiling were started.
2000 - Writing of Icons on the side walls was started.
2003 - Parish members voted to add on an addition to the rectory for Fr. Michael and Matushka Jane Barna.
2004 - The Church Cultural Center roof was re-shingled.
2005 - The parish agreed to resurface the parking lot. We called it our 'St. Jude Project' because we turned to St. Jude, the saint of lost causes for help, and he heard us! In less than a month we collected $22,000!
2007 - Research and a Fund Raising Campaign began for cupolas for our church roof. After many meetings and debates, Campbellville Industries of Kentucky was contracted to build and install four new cupolas representing the four Evangelists.
2008 - In July, restoration and gold leafing of the orginal cupola on the roof of St. Michael's was done by Ivan and Marina Moroz, Alpine Technique/Preserver & Restorer Specialists, from Philadelphia.
2009 - April 2nd, many parishioners watched as the cupolas were hoisted on the church roof. The Fund Raising Campaign raised $85,946. The project will be completed in the future when the new cupolas are also gold leafed.
2008/2009 - The front steps of the church were completely torn out and redone in the fall of 2008. In 2009, porcelain tiles added the finishing touch over the foundation.
2009 - November 8th, a new icon of "Christ Blessing the Children" which was donated by the youth of the parish through fund raising projects, and with the help of parishioners and friends, was blessed.
2010 - July 10 & 11th - Celebration of Fr. Michael and Matushka Jane's 60 Years Serving the Orthodox Christian Church . On Saturday, July 10th a Pontifical Divine Liturgy was served with His Eminence Archbishop Justinian and many visiting clergy. This was followed by a Celebration Dinner in the evening. On Sunday, July 11th, another pontifical Divine Liturgy was served with Archbishop Justinian and the visiting clergy; followed by a brunch in the church cultural center. 2010 - A Landscaping Project was also accomplished putting landscaping beds around the church on the north, south and east sides. The Cultural Center landscaping was also improved.
2011 - A collapsed sewer pipe, which led to a back-up of about a foot of water in the church basement and the rectory basement , as well as elevator problems, had to be addressed. The total cost of this disaster cost the parish over $75,000. Bonds, totaling $65,000, were sold and many fund raising projects were held to raise the money needed to correct this problem.
2013 - In November a new roof was put on the church building and the link to the hall at a cost of $45,000.
2015 - In June Stefan's Banquets contracted with us to use our hall for his banquet services. In October the parking lot was sealed.
2016 - A set of 12 white altar server robes was purchased. An annonimous donor also purchased a set of 12 green altar server robes.
The mighty guns of the U.S.S. Colorado (BB-45) blasted through the war-mist that clung over the South Pacific Island of bloody Tinian, where Marines fought desperately to maintain their beachhead against the Japanese defenders. Below decks, in one of the battlewagon's magazine compartments, Petty Officer Michael Barna - Reading High Graduate '37, Reading Pennsylvania, - directed the crew feeding powder to big guns. The air reeked pungently with the acrid smell of gunsmoke and it was sweating hot in the close quarters. The crew reached the end of the powder supply. The petty officer signaled the men topside, where the air was clean and fresh and where they could watch the rest of the action. Barna scrambled up the ladder behind them. Halfway up he remembered something that he had left behind in the compartment. . . a crucifix given to him by his father, a Russian Orthodox priest in Reading, Pennsylvania. Only several nights before, the sailor had had a dream about his father. He had dreamed his father came to visit him. His father was dressed in black -- mourning black. In the strange dream the priest ignored his son to shake hands with one of his son's closest friends in the magazine crew. The dream left Barna with an eerie feeling. Barna scrambled down the ladder to get his crucifix. As he picked it up, a series of blasts rent the ship. A Japanese bombardment hit the valiant Colorado in 22 places. The men above deck were killed. Among the dead lay the magazine crew -- and Barna's friend. The mystic wartime experience many years ago shaped the life of the sailor-son of the Russian Orthodox Priest. "It brought me close to the Lord and made me think'" he said. Discharged after three and a half years in the United States Navy, he decided to follow in the footsteps of his father, the Rev. Elias Barna. Following the ordination of Fr. Barna on July 2, 1950, this gold crucifix and chain was placed around his neck. He was given the privilege to continue to wear this cross along with his two other jeweled crosses by Patriarch Pimen because of its special significance. The cross was originally a gift to his father from the church in Benld, Illinois, which was Fr. Michael's birthplace. Inscribed on the back of the cross are the words "For good memory Fr. Elias Barna from congregation of Holy Assumption Church and Choir, Benld, Illinois, May 30, 1924." Fr. Michael gave the cross to his two sons when they went in the Armed Forces. Michael, Jr. when he went into the U.S. Army and Timothy when he went into the U.S. Airforce. The cross was given for their protection and safe return. When they both returned, the cross was given back to their father who wore the cross at every Divine Liturgy with his two other jeweled crosses.