A Detailed History of Christ the King

Our parish was established to more effectively serve the pastoral needs of the Roman Catholic members of the Word of God, a charismatic covenant community in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The Parish grew out of monthly, and later weekly, Masses that were held for the Catholic members of the Word of God community for many years. In 1981, Bishop Kenneth Povish, in concert with the Catholic leaders of the Word of God, began what was then called the Catholic Fellowship of the Word of God. One of the purposes for this fellowship was to serve as a model for ecumenical cooperation involving three other churches of different theological traditions.

To oversee this Catholic Fellowship, the bishop created the Vicariate of the Word of God and appointed Fr. Robert Lunsford, then the Pastor of St. Thomas in Ann Arbor, as the first vicar. He was subsequently succeeded as vicar by Fr. Phil Dupuis, then the Pastor of St. Mary’s in Chelsea.

The first weekly Sunday Mass that was open to all was celebrated on Pentecost 1981, which is considered our anniversary. The Catholic Fellowship of the Word of God was comprised of about 1800 members, including families, single men and women, and groups of men and women who had chosen to remain single in order to dedicate themselves in a special way to God and His service. The Catholic Fellowship, an integral part of the Word of God, provided sacramental and educational services for its members. The Fellowship was administered by the Catholic Coordinators of the Word of God and received the sacramental ministry of its chaplains.

The first chaplain of the Catholic Fellowship was Fr. Dave Tickerhoof, TOR, from the Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio. Fr. Dave served in that capacity until later in 1981 when Fr. Frank McGrath, a priest of the Diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut, became chaplain. In 1983, Fr. Pat Egan, a priest from the Archdiocese of London, England, became assistant chaplain. Fr. Ed Fride, a priest from the Diocese of Memphis, Tennessee, came to Christ the King in 1989.

In May 1986, Bishop Povish changed the status of the Catholic Fellowship to that of a Lay Association of the Faithful. The Lay Association continued under the same governing body: the Catholic Coordinators of the Word of God and the vicar appointed by the bishop. At that time our name was changed from the Catholic Fellowship of the Word of God to the Christ the King Catholic Association.

We continued as a Lay Association until November 1991, when, at the request of the Coordinators of the Word of God, the administrative linkage of the four fellowships with the Word of God was dissolved. At that time, the Bishop changed our status to that of a personal parish of the Diocese of Lansing and gave us a new name: Christ the King Catholic Center. He also dissolved the Vicariate for the Word of God and placed the complete responsibility for the administration of the Parish in the hands of Fr. Frank McGrath, whom Bishop Povish appointed as pastoral administrator of Christ the King. Membership in the Parish was at first limited to current or former members of the Word of God or the newly-formed Washtenaw Covenant Community (now the Word of Life Community). Later, responding to Fr. Ed Fride and the Parish Advisory Council, the bishop removed that restriction. After the restriction was removed, membership in the Parish was open to anyone who wished to join. Christ the King then expanded the schedule of its sacramental offerings and began all the other functions which constitute normal parish life, such as parish commissions, expanded educational programs, etc.

In November 1992, Father Frank was called by his bishop to return to Bridgeport and Father Pat was called by his bishop to return to London. Fr. Ed Fride was then appointed pastoral administrator and was assisted by Deacon Dan Foley.

On April 2, 1997, Bishop Carl Mengeling canonically established Christ the King with full parish status and, on November 16, 1997, installed Fr. Ed Fride as the first Pastor.

Until August 1996, we lived a ‘nomadic’ existence, moving from one facility to another for Masses and parish meetings. On that date, we moved into a more permanent home in the newly-built activities center of Spiritus Sanctus Academy, located adjacent to the property of Domino’s Farms, the corporate headquarters of Domino’s Pizza.

Our first Church was dedicated on June 24, 2001. In 2005, we acquired the former Spiritus Sanctus Academy adjacent to the Church, which became our Parish Center.

As a personal parish, we are not bound by geography. Our identity is taken from the charismatic spirituality of our people. Most of our current members have been active participants in the Charismatic Renewal, including some who were instrumental in helping to share this current movement of the Holy Spirit with Catholics and other Christians around the world.

Fr. Ed is assisted by Deacons Dan Foley, Gerry Holowicki, John Ozog, Larry Randolph, Lou Russello, and Wayne Slomiany.

We currently have more than 2800 parishioners (900+ family units).