All Saints, Syracuse, Rev. Larry Biller and Bishop Little, 15 Jul 20121 2019-08-24T18:42:05-07:00 John David Beatty 85388be94808daa88b6f1a0c89beb70cd0fac252 32716 1 All Saints, Syracuse, Rev. Larry Biller and Bishop Little, 15 Jul 2012 plain 2019-08-24T18:42:05-07:00 John David Beatty 85388be94808daa88b6f1a0c89beb70cd0fac252
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All Saints Episcopal Church, Syracuse (formerly All Saints Chapel, Wawasee)
In 1905, Bishop John Hazen White engaged in a dispute with the vestry of Trinity Episcopal Church, Michigan City, over his liturgical style. In anger and frustration, he began spending his summers at Vawter Park along the south shore of Lake Wawasee, renting a cottage from Charles A. Sudlow. Finding no church in the area, he conducted Episcopal services on the cottage lawn and drew visitors from around the lake to worship. As the rift at Michigan City began to deepen, White reported to the diocesan convention that he spent his winters at Howe Military School and his summers at Wawasee, where he began to conduct open air services for summer lake dwellers. The response to these services was so enthusiastic that in 1907, he made plans to build a chapel beside the lake. With the financial help of Mr. and Mrs. Judson and Joseph Lilly, he purchased a cottage as his summer residence, which he called Bishopcroft.
White then gave consideration to building the chapel. Using money from the diocesan Emergency Fund, he purchased the land, and then using additional funds given by the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, he received $1,000 per year for five years with an additional $5,000 borrowed from the Capital National Bank of Indianapolis. Construction began immediately, and the building was consecrated on 7 July 1907. The chapel, called All Saints, was a rectangular, utilitarian structure with simple windows and pews and a small sacristy behind the altar. By 1917, when White had declared Michigan City's view of its cathedral an "empty illusion" and moved to South Bend, he continued to spend his summers at Wawasee and presided at services in the chapel. He inaugurated the Wawasee Conference, held in July at the South Shore Inn, where members of the diocesan family could worship and take classes.
After White's death, his successors, Campbell Gray and Reginald Mallett, also enjoyed the chapel and summer house, with the latter spending a great deal of time there. Members of other parishes would take turns worshiping and having picnics on the grounds. In the 1940s, Bishop White's daughter, Mrs. Doubleday, presented Mallett with several lots on the lake that had belonged to the White family. These gifts gave the diocese a permanent foothold at the lake.
In 1966, All Saints became an official mission of the diocese, the same year that the Wawasee Episcopal Center was established. The Rev. David Hyndman served as vicar. Youth camps were held regularly in the summer, and the site remained an informal gathering place for the diocese. By the 1980s, however, the house and church had grown increasingly derelict in condition.
In 1991, during the episcopate of Bishop Francis C. Gray and after years of planning, the diocese determined to demolish both the house and chapel and construct a new, modern church, called All Saints Syracuse, along with a large, multi-bedroom center called the Episcopal Retreat Center. The Center became available for vestry retreats and other special occasions for members of the diocese. Bishop Gray also oversaw the return of a chalice and paten back to Trinity, Michigan City, after Bishop White had removed them without permission and placed them at Wawasee. Since 2006, the parish has been under the care of the Rev. Larry Biller, who was previously its senior warden.
David Lee Hyndman, 1966-1991
Mark Thompson, 1992-1995
Linda M. Hughes, 1995-1999
Martin Brownlee Lavengood, 2000-2003
Larry Biller, 2006-
Bibliography: Robert J. Center, Our Heritage: A History of the First Seventy-five Years of the Diocese of Northern Indiana (South Bend: Diocese of Northern Indiana, 1973).
Parish Register of All Saints Chapel, 1907-1945
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Edward Stuart Little II, Seventh Bishop
Edward Stuart Little, the seventh bishop of the Diocese of Northern Indiana, held office at a time of intense changes in the national church. An outstanding preacher, he brought an evangelical zeal for the Gospel that ushered in a new leadership style for the diocese. As Linda Buskirk has written, Bishop Little personified "the lighthouse on the diocesan seal" and "delivered powerful messages that illuminate priorities for Christ centered living and ministry."
Little was born in New York City on 29 January 1947, the son of a nominally Episcopalian father and Jewish mother. He grew up agnostic and attended school in Manhattan and Norwalk, Connecticut. He received his Bachelor's degree from the University of Southern California in 1968. He credits a college class on the Bible as literature as bringing about his conversion to Christianity and his joining the Episcopal Church. The same year of his graduation he married Sylvia Gardner at Palm Desert, California. They had two children: Gregory and Sharon.
After deciding to enter the Episcopal priesthood, Little received a Master of Divinity degree from Seabury-Western Theological Seminary in 1971 and was ordained a deacon and priest that same year in the Diocese of Chicago. He served as a curate in two parishes: St. Matthew's Evanston and St. Michael's, Anaheim, California, before becoming vicar of St. Joseph's Episcopal Church in Buena Park, California. When that church achieved parish status, he became its first rector. Little became rector of All Saints Church in Bakersfield, California, in 1986, and from here he was elected bishop on the first ballot on 5 November 1999.
Little was consecrated bishop at a ceremony in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart at Notre Dame on 30 April 2000, with Bishops Gray and Sheridan, his two predecessors, among the consecrators. His sixteen-year episcopate that followed might best be understood as defined by three distinct eras: The Mission and Evangelism era lasting from 2000 to 2003; the Reconciliation Era from 2003 to 2007, and the Congregational Development Era from 2007 to 2016.
The initial focus of Little's tenure was mission and evangelism. At the time of his seating as bishop, he articulated four core values for the diocese that he hoped would guide it during his episcopate:
1. A passion for the Gospel of Jesus Christ
2. A heart for the lost.
3. A willingness to do whatever it takes.
4. A commitment to one another.
Taking a strongly evangelical and Jesus-centered view of ministry, one of his early actions was to hold a Rally for Mission and Evangelism at Goshen College in 2001 with Bishop Charles Jenkins of Louisiana as the keynote speaker. About 700 attended, and Little intended it as an inspirational kick-off for getting church-goers to invite others to church and help the diocese grow. Bishop Sheridan, the diocese's last tradition Anglo-Catholic bishop, also took part, even though the approaches of the two men to ministry differed significantly.
The second era, Reconciliation, began in 2003, when Gene Robinson, an openly gay priest living in a same-sex relationship, was elected and consecrated Bishop of New Hampshire with the General Convention's consent. The election had occurred against the backdrop at the national level of a church rent by internal divisions over issues of sexuality and same-sex marriage. Robinson's election caused a firestorm within some congregations of the diocese and at the national level, it prompted many conservative Anglicans to leave the Episcopal Church and form the Anglican Church in North America. The election of Katharine Jefferts-Schori as Presiding Bishop in 2006 prompted three dioceses, Quincy, Fort Worth, and San Joaquin, to leave the Episcopal Church. While Little opposed same-sex marriage and forbid them from occurring in the diocese, he remained within the Episcopal fold. As a compromise, he would eventually allow same-sex couples to marry outside the diocese and permit priests in the diocese to perform those rites. He reached out to liberals, even befriending Bishop Robinson, and agreed to provide pastoral care to some congregations who had opposed Robinson's election. Within the diocese, a number of parishes experienced losses as members left the church, but other parishes strongly affirmed gay rights and differed with the bishop's stand on same-sex marriages.
The third era of Little's episcopate, the Congregational Development era, began in 2007. Attendance trends in parishes throughout the diocese followed those of the national church as membership in many parishes decreased and in some, dwindled. Little sought to infuse them with new life through dynamic preaching and encouraging people to tell their own faith stories. He had inherited his first Canon to the Ordinary, David Seger, from his predecessor and acknowledged to Seger his appreciation for the continuity and knowledge he brought with his ministry. After Seger's retirement in 2007, Little called the Rev. SuzeAnne Silla as the new canon, blessing her extensive experience in congregational development with the Diocesan Congregational Development Institute (DCDI). The purpose of DCDI was to give clergy and laity across the diocese more confidence and skill in problem solving, visioning for the future, and conflict management. About 20 congregations took part, and it had the side-benefit of bringing leaders from different parishes together and fostering inter-parish relationships.
In 2013, Little articulated five imperatives for the diocese in using DCDI: Focus on Jesus; Think Biblically; Proclaim Good News; Feed people who are hungry; and Mentor young people. As the vision played out, some parishes began offering bilingual services while others sought new ways of meeting the needs of their communities.
One of the challenges faced by Little's episcopate was the dwindling membership of certain parishes and their inability to support a priest. Many priests were necessarily bi-vocational to support themselves, but the problem of clergy shortage became particularly acute in the Calumet area of the diocese, where some parishes were floundering and in danger of closing. A major success story was the Calumet Episcopal Ministry Partnership (CEMP), which first formed in 2010. Three congregations, St. Barnabas-in-the-Dunes, St. Paul's Munster, and St. Timothy's Griffith, came together in dialogue, and what emerged was a vision of one church in three locations, all sharing the same full-time priest. The program proved successful, and not only was a full-time priest, the Rev. Michael Dwyer, ordained in 2012 for the post, but three other part-time priests also signed on. In June 2015, St. Christopher's Crown Point joined the partnership, followed by two others, St. Stephen's Hobart and St. Augustine Gary, under Little's successor, Bishop Douglas Sparks.
Bishop Little announced his retirement effective 30 June 2016 and served as a consecrator of his successor. He and his wife Sylvia continued to live in Indiana and take up residence in Mishawaka. As his greatest overall goal, Little has said: "When I became bishop, I committed myself to helping the diocese become increasingly Christocentric; to helping every man, woman, and child in the diocese to speak openly of their relationship with Jesus; and to helping parishes to see the world beyond their doors as their mission field." The core values were the guiding principles of his tenure.
Source: Email message of Bishop Edward Little, August 2019.
Holy Eucharist and Ordination of Edward Stuart Little II ...18 March 2000
Pastoral Letter on Same Sex Marriage, 2012