In 1943, an Episcopal congregation was formed in the City of Hialeah, Florida, and was initially named The Church of the Epiphany. This name was changed early on because of the confusion that occurred when it was realized that another local church had the same name. The congregation voted to change the Church’s name to St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church. The church building was located on N. W. 57th Avenue and 12th Street in Hialeah. The building was two stories high with the sanctuary located on the second floor. A large parish hall, a kitchen, and the Sunday school classrooms were located on the first level. The church was situated on a campus of approximately three acres of land.
Partly as a result of the heavy influx of Spanish-speaking residents into the City of Hialeah in the years that followed, a portion of the congregation moved to Miami Lakes; initially this portion or the “new” St. Margaret’s, met at the Miami Lakes Congregational Church, and eventually rented space in a local elementary school. The original Church or “old” St. Margaret’s in Hialeah became a Spanish-speaking Episcopal parish and was renamed La Divina Providencia. Land was subsequently purchased in Miami Lakes and a new building for St. Margaret’s was erected. The first celebration of Holy Eucharist in the new sanctuary was performed on Palm Sunday in 1983, several rectors served St. Margaret’s until 1988, when the Rev. Harold Elsner (R.I.P.) was called to the parish.
Father Elsner served at St. Margaret’s faithfully and well until his retirement in 1998. In talking with many parishioners who were present during Father Elsner tenure, it became evident that he was held in high leadership, Father Elsner brought many other talents to this growing community. He built by hand the altar that stands today at the front of St. Margaret’s. He was by all accounts a “one-man-show,” handling both the spiritual complexities and needs on people’s lives while at the same time repairing and maintaining much of the physical plant with his varied mechanical skills.
In 1993, a long-time parishioner of St. Margaret’s, Thomas G. Packham, died and bequeathed to St. Margaret’s a large sum of money that not only satisfied the mortgage on the Church building but also provided for a capital improvement fund. During the next three years, the growth of St. Margaret’s congregation to the point that plans for an additional building were formulated. The Diocese of Southeast Florida awarded St. Margaret a grant, and ground was broken in November 1996 for new building that would house classrooms, a kitchen, a multi-purpose activity room, and an office for a church-based preschool. Father Elsner was closely associated with the design and subsequent construction of the building, which was completed in early 1998. The parish hall was inaugurated on May 10, 1998.