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St. James Episcopal Church, Goshen
The roots of an Episcopal Church in Goshen, Elkhart County, began in the mid 1850s when the Rev. Albert Bingham, missionary at St. Mark's in Lima (Howe), Indiana, made occasional visits to the town to preach. Bishop Upfold commended Bingham's work, but the missionary died in 1858, just as his efforts were beginning to bear fruit. On March 29, 1859, the Rev. William H. Stoy of Lima, Indiana, held a meeting in the office of George Howell in which they agreeing on the terms for the formation of a new church. Thirty men signed the agreement. Nearly a month later on Easter Monday, 25 April 1859, Stoy led the formal establishment of the new church, called St. James, and the congregation elected George Wadleigh as senior warden and Henry Pearce, junior warden. The vestry requested the Rev. Henry M. Thompson of Bristol to preach every other Sunday, beginning on 11 July 1859, and in November it secured the use of the Swedenborgian Meeting House for these services.
In 1860, the vestry called the Rev. Colley A. Foster to be its first resident rector. Under his leadership, the vestry drew up plans for a church edifice to be built at 105 South Sixth Street, with a lot purchased for $850. The plans progressed, and Foster laid the cornerstone on 22 August 1860. The building was completed at a cost of $5,000 in 1861, with Bishop Upfold consecrating it on 4 December 1862. The bishop waived the usual rule of not consecrating when a parish was in debt because of the "prosperous condition of the parish," according to a newspaper article. Pew renting became the principal way of supporting the church, and the practice remained in place from 1862 to 1887, when it was abandoned for a pledge card system.
Even so, St. James suffered perennially from cash shortages, and there was much instability in its early leadership. Foster resigned in 1864 and was succeeded by several rectors of short duration, including Samuel D. Pulford from 1864 to 1867; Robert C. Wall from 1867 to 1869; J. Edmund Wildman from 1869 to 1870; Richard Totten from 1870 to 1871; Thomas W. Mitchell from 1872 to 1874; and James L. Boxer (priest-in-charge) from 1877 to 1878.
During the rectorate of the Rev. William Wirt Raymond, the interior of the church was finally finished and decorated in 1882 at a cost of $2,000. Plans for a chapel were adopted in October 1886. The following year parishioner James Latta donated land for a rectory, and in 1900, a pipe organ was installed. Milton Latta, an architect, donated and designed Latta Hall, an addition to the church.
In 1898, under the leadership of the Rev. Elias Boudinot Stockton, the parish celebrated a solemn Te Deum "in commemoration of Almighty God's mercies and blessings vouchsafed during the War with Spain to the Army and Navy of the United States." However, Stockton resigned the following year, and an additional succession of rectors followed with short tenures. During the 1940s, Dom Leo Patterson, a Benedictine monk stationed at Valparaiso, provided services during World War II and brought some stability.
The Rev. Bruce Mosier, a successful and popular priest, began serving Goshen in 1944 as a deacon. Born in Bristol, Indiana, in 1903, he had studied privately for Holy Orders under Bishop Mallett while also working for the Elkhart Truth newspaper as a linotype operator. Upon his ordination in 1946, he had worked briefly as an assistant priest at St. John's Elkhart, and later in 1950 became the founding priest-in-charge of St. Anne's Warsaw. In 1948, he requested to be assigned again to Goshen, and Mallett had replied, "I'll send you to Goshen, Mosier, but when you're ready to close it, be sure to mail me the key." But Mosier proved the bishop wrong, having a successful rectorate and putting the parish on a strong footing. An article in The Beacon in 1956 hailed Mosier's efforts to make $8,000 worth of repairs and to revitalize the parish's sense of spirituality. Under his leadership a parish hall was added in 1965. He retired in 1968 as its rector emeritus but continued to remain active in the diocese as a popular interim priest. In retirement he authored three short memoirs about life in Bristol.
St. James endured the 1970s and 1980s with declining membership. In 1993, the rector, the Rev. Carl Bell, a strong Anglo-Catholic, attempted to withdraw the congregation from the Episcopal Church. The church was deeply divided over his leadership, and he resigned at Bishop Gray's request. Since 2007 the congregation has been led ably by the Rev. Larry Biller.
Meliss Challoner Howarth and Ruth Fidler Coggan, comps., Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America, Northern Indiana Diocese, Goshen, Indiana, St. James Parish Register, Volume 1 (Goshen: The Authors, 1969).
Parish Register, Book 1, 1860-1892
Parish Register, Book 3, 1899-1928
Parish Register, Book 4, 1929-1956
Colley Alexander Foster, 1860-1864
Samuel Decater Pulford, 1864-1867
Robert Carter Wall, 1867-1869
Joseph Edmund Wildman, 1869-1870
Richard Totten, 1870-1871
Thomas W. Mitchell, 1872-1874
James Langhorne Boxer, 1877-1878
William Wirt Raymond, 1880-1885
Sherwood Rosevelt, 1886-1889
James Banks Mead, 1889-1892
Charles Tullidge Stout, 1893-1898
Elias Boudinot Stockton, 1898-1899
Frederic William Goodman, 1900-1901
Edgar Morris Thompson, 1901-1904
Frederic Welham, 1904-1905
Edward Lemuel Roland, 1906-1914
Louis Thibou Scofield, 1914-1916
Duncan Weeks, 1917-1924
Albert Linnell Schrock, 1924-1935
Ernest William Scully, 1935-1938
Harvey Livermore Woolverton, 1939-1941
Dom Leo Kenneth Douglas Patterson, 1941-1944
Bruce Bickel Mosier, 1944-1945
Gail Colyer Brittain, 1945-1946
John C. R. Peterson, 1946
William Karl Rehfeld, 1947
Bruce Bickel Mosier, 1948-1968
James Gossett Greer, 1969-1973
Robert J. M. Goode, 1973-1981
Mark Woodbridge Brown, 1981-1983
Daren Keith Williams, 1983-1986
Richard S. Bradford, 1986-1991
Carl W. Bell, 1992-1993
Martin Brownlee Lavengood, 1994-1998
James Nicholas Lodwick (int.), 1999-2000
Errol Montgomery, 2001-2006
Larry Biller, 2007-2021
Robert Armidon, 2021-
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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