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Gethsemane Episcopal Church, Marion
The first service of the Episcopal Church in Marion occurred when the Rev. Joseph S. Large of Trinity Episcopal Church, Fort Wayne, visited the town in 1850 and preached in the Presbyterian Church, reporting "a large congregation, responses good and chants well sung." In 1874, the Rev. Thomas R. Austin of St. James Church, Vincennes, preached in the evening at the courthouse and reported seven families. In 1881, the Rev. John Jacob Faude of Plymouth and the Rev. William Wirt Raymond of Goshen both conducted services during the year at the urging of Bishop Talbot.
Little happened for another three years until a group of Episcopalians began holding regular services under Raymond's leadership at the home of John Nelson Turner. On 9 April 1884, the congregants organized Gethsemane as a mission, and the following day Raymond celebrated the Eucharist in Turner's private library. The first baptism occurred in June of that year at the Grant County Courthouse. According to Rolland Whitson's Centennial History of Grant County, Bishop David Knickerbacker chose the name Gethsemane after his former parish in Minnesota. He arrived in Marion on 23 May 1884, and after conducting services in the Christian Church, organized the vestry of the new church, with Frank E. Forster becoming its warden and Fred Wilson helping to organize a Sunday school. A ladies' aid society was organized on 19 November 1884.
Services were held sporadically in the early years without a regular pastor. Raymond, who was still rector at Goshen, had charge of the mission but could only conduct services irregularly. A room was "fitted up for a chapel" in the Webster block on the east side of South Washington Street between Fifth and Sixth streets. On 28 July 1886, the vestry purchased a lot for $1,000 from the Wesleyan Methodist Church that also contained a small frame church building. One writer said it was "of no architecture and little worth." Nearly a year later on 17 July 1887, the Rev. William G. Woolford, a deacon who had served as a missionary at Warsaw and as an assistant in Lima, became the first resident minister. He stayed only two months but baptized eleven. He was followed by the Rev. George Davis Adams, who served from 1887 to 1890. During this period the church received a stone octagonal baptismal font that is till in use.
The discovery of large deposits of natural gas in the area in 1887 led to the rapid economic development of Marion and the influx of new members for the fledgling church, including many English immigrants. On 25 June 1890, the congregation broke ground for a sandstone church building at 9th and Washington streets at a cost of just over $6,000. Its Gothic Revival design by local Marion architect Arthur Labelle included a classic cruciform shape. The vestry had purchased land for the project from the trustees of the Wesleyan Methodist Church. The vestry called its first rector, the Rev. Lewis F. Cole, a former Civil War veteran and Maine native, to lead the building project. Cole raised $4,500 in subscriptions for the new building. Bishop Knickerbacker laid the cornerstone on 23 July 1890, and on 4 October 1891, the building was completed. Cole furnished it with pews and other fixtures purchased from a neighboring church, Webster's Chapel. The first service was held on 24 October 1891.
Cole had also given his time as chaplain of the local Soldiers' Home. He remained rector until 1893, when Bishop Knickerbacker named him archdeacon of the diocese. His successor, the Rev. James J. Purcell, arrived in November 1893. During this period, after several large donations from Miss Julia Norton and her brother Arthur, the parish constructed a rectory to house Purcell and his family. This building was poorly constructed and within a decade needed major repairs, which the vestry accomplished with a gift from the estate of Oliver H. P. Carey in 1904. Purcell also assumed charge of neighboring St. Paul's Episcopal Church is Gas City (founded in 1892), dividing his time between the two churches. He was succeeded by the Rev. Edward Pressey from England and later the Rev. George P. Torrence, who became diocesan archdeacon. During his rectorate, the remaining debt was paid off, allowing Bishop White to consecrate the church on 19 July 1902. The vestry decided to purchase a house north of the church property for use as a Parish House with money from the Mary A. Carey Fund. Torrence left for Lafayette in 1910 and was followed by the Rev. Howard Russell White, the son of Bishop White, who served two years until 1912. His successor, the Rev. Forrest B. B. Johnston, led the purchase of a Pilcher pipe organ for the church in 1913 at a cost of $1,800. Johnston also purchased Gethsemane's first Eucharistic vestments in 1927.
Gethsemane's congregation still had no place for hosting parish activities. In 1920, the vestry purchased a lot to the south of the church to build a different parish hall, selling the old rectory to help raise the $5,000 cost. After years of economic austerity resulting from the Great Depression, the town of Marion experienced an economic boom in the 1950s. In 1958, the old hall was demolished and a new one built under a design by Fort Wayne architect Lloyd Larimore that connected to the church. An extensive remodeling of the church took place in 1963 and again in 1994.
Because of its proximity to the Diocese of Indianapolis, Gethsemane was sometimes influenced by that diocese. In the late 1970s, after Bishop Craine had begun ordaining women priests, the Rev. Jacqueline Lantzer came to Gethsemane to preach at the invitation of the rector, the Rev. Bill Murphy. The sermon, according to one source, "wigged out the congregation" and led the parish to vote to officially not recognize the ordination of women. However, little more than two decades later in 1997, the attitude and leadership of the parish had changed sufficiently to call the Rev. Megan Traquair as rector. She had a successful pastorate and many years later was elected bishop of the Diocese of Northern California. The transformation reflected a generational change in leadership that affected changing attitudes in other parishes across the diocese.
In the 1990s and into the 2000s under the leadership of the Rev. James Warnock, Gethsemane began a period of significant outreach to its neighborhood. It purchased and refurbished an old Victorian house near the church. It also launched a program called the Lunch Box on the last two Sundays of each month. Members of the parish prepared meals for the poor in the neighborhood of the church. It also held neighborhood prayer walks and helped endow a children's fund for medical needs.
In 2006, Warnock became interested in reconciliation ministry. He traveled to Syria under the auspices of the International Center for Religion and Diplomacy and the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles to have face-to-face meetings with members of other faiths. The meetings continued the following year in Cyprus. Several parishioners attended conferences in Los Angeles on cultural and racial diversity in 2008 and 2009. Gethsemane began offering seminars on reconciliation in 2008, and the following year Bishop Little asked the parish's reconciliation team to work with clergy in the debate over the issue of same-sex marriage blessings and the Anglican Covenant. Gethsemane is also affiliated with the Community of the Cross of Nails, based in Coventry Cathedral in England which was destroyed during World War II.
William Wirt Raymond, 1885-1886
William Gillis Woolford, 1887
George Davis Adams, 1887-1890
Lewis Frank Cole, 1890-1893
James Johnstone Purcell, 1893-1895
Ernest Albert Pressey, 1896-1899
George Paull Torrence, 1900-1910
Howard Russell White, 1910-1912
Forrest Bowley Breckinridge Johnston, 1913-1931
Henry Lewis Ewan, 1931-1939
Sydney Hugh Croft, 1939-1942
Samuel Hanna Norman Elliott, 1942-1943
William Cockburn Russell Sheridan, 1944-1947
John E. Stevenson, 1947-1949
David Reid, 1949-1956
Robert J. Center, 1956-1963
Thomas Kreider Ray, 1964-1971
Steven Powers, 1972-1975
William McKee Murphy, 1976-1989
Ronny Dower, 1990-1994
Charles Hensel, 1994-1996
Megan McClure Traquair, 1997-2002
James Howard Warnock, 2002-2019
Mindy Bowne Hancock, 2020-
History of Gethsemane Episcopal Church, undated typescript, ca. 1960s.
Matthew Powers, "Gethsemane Episcopal Church," Marion Wiki, http://wikimarion.org/Gethsemane_Episcopal_Church
Rolland Lewis Whitson, Centennial History of Grant County, Indiana, 1812 to 1912 (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1914), 1: 617-618.
Parish Register, 1887-1905
Parish Register (Baptisms, Confirmations, Communicants, Burials), 1905-1958
Marriage Register, 1905-1958
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Walter Conrad Klein, Fourth Bishop
Walter Conrad Klein, fourth bishop of the Diocese of Northern Indiana, was born on 28 May 1904 in Brooklyn, New York. He graduated from Lehigh University and General Theological Seminary, receiving Bachelor's, Master's, and Doctoral degrees in theology. He later received a PhD in Semitic languages from Columbia University in 1940. Ordained to the priesthood in 1928 by Bishop Sheldon M. Griswold, Klein served on the staff of St. Mary the Virgin Episcopal Church in Manhattan and as curate of Grace Episcopal Church, Newark. He had brief stints as vicar of St. Augustine's Parish in Norristown, Pennsylvania, and as rector of St. Barnabas Parish in Haddington, Pennsylvania, before entering World War II as a U.S. Navy chaplain. He married Helene Rosentreter in 1935 and had two children, a daughter, Katherine, and a son, John.
Klein discerned early in his career that he had little interest in parish ministry. After the war, he had the opportunity to go to Jerusalem, serving two years as canon residentiary of St. George's Anglican Cathedral. There he researched several future books on the psalms and on Eastern Orthodox liturgy. From 1950 to 1959, Klein was Professor of Old Testament Literature and Languages at Seabury-Western Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois. Then in 1959, he became Dean of Nashotah House in Wisconsin, an office that brought him to the attention of the diocese. He had earned a reputation within the national church as a spiritual leader of parish retreats, was well-known for his books on spiritual development, and had visited Northern Indiana in 1955 to lead a Lenten Quiet Day for women.
The choice of Klein as fourth bishop was influenced in many ways by his Anglo-Catholic liturgical beliefs and the feeling that he would uphold the Catholic character of the diocese. Even so, many came to regard him as an unfortunate choice because he lacked the temperament to be a successful bishop. Introverted, serious, formal, occasionally cantankerous, aloof, and deeply intellectual, he had little ability to show personal warmth. Since he had never served as a rector, he possessed few if any pastoral skills. He disliked making parish visitations and avoided learning names of the laity he met. Clergy were never invited to his home and were also kept at a distance. One priest said of him as an aside to a colleague, "There by the grace of God goes a German U-Boat commander." He would sometimes arrive at parishes by taxi, fully vested and even in a cope. As Robert Center observed, Klein's sense of discipline "had the tendency to leave congregations feeling that the bishop's visitations were the fulfillment of duty rather than a chief pastor mingling delightedly with his flock."
It was Klein's practice to celebrate the first Mass of Easter on the evening of Holy Saturday, and he required all the clergy to attend. He followed the Mass with a large dinner with the result that all the clergy returned home in the early hours of the morning and were often exhausted on Easter morning.
With the Baby Boom generation fully underway, Klein took an interest in evangelism, capitalizing on the spirit that had motivated Bishop Mallett. The diocese commissioned the Summerfield Report in 1965, which made proposals for more effective work in the diocese. It recommended closing some missions and opening others. It also promoted the opening of the Wawasee Retreat Center, a proposal acted on swiftly with the opening of the center in 1966 under the ministry of the Rev. David Hyndman. It also recommended parish status for St. Anne's, Warsaw; Holy Trinity, South Bend; and St. Paul's, Gas City. Center criticized the report for having exaggerated expectations and for making proposals that had already been considered.
Klein was interested in finding intellectual solutions to complex problems, sometimes hastily. The Calumet area had always proved challenging to administer, so he decided to join with the Diocese of Chicago in a joint Pilot Program, headquartered at Christ Church, Gary, to develop a ministry program to serve people in the area that bordered the two dioceses. The plan included seeking ecumenical cooperation with leaders of other denominations, hoping to utilize interdiocesan resources for development and use existing buildings for missionary work. Missionary outreach to Spanish-speaking residents became a priority, and two priests, the Rev. Jose Irizarry of Puerto Rico and later the Rev. Aquilino Vinas of Cuba, reached out successfully to the Hispanic communities, but funding became a major factor that led to its suspension in 1969. As Center writes, "the Pilot Program was seen as but one among many programs in competition for time and money."
Wishing that the diocese had an endowment, Klein became interested in increasing stewardship across the diocese in 1965 and launched a program called Tithing Transforms. Despite his personal shortcomings at effective pastoral communication, the event proved successful. In 1967 the diocese approved a missions budget of $100,000, a 30% increase from the previous year. Even so, Klein himself often turned off individual donors with his cold demeanor and lack of skill at fundraising. Once, a gathering of wealthy business men was held in Fort Wayne with a bar for drinks. Men helped themselves without paying. When the bishop arrived, he upbraided the men for thinking that the diocese would underwrite the cost of the alcohol and demanded that they pay up. His words had been so caustic that they had the effect of leaving the men feeling humiliated with no incentive to give any money to a missionary cause. Some recalled that they had been prepared to write four-figure checks.
This lack of sensitivity on the part of the bishop carried over to the social issues of the 1960s. When Bishop John Pares Craine of Indianapolis was actively endorsing the civil rights movement and taking positions against the Vietnam War, Klein remained silent on these issues and did not perceive himself in any sense an agent for the social gospel. This silence was particularly felt in the largely African American parish of St. Augustine's, Gary, whose own membership had endured years of discrimination and had found little support from diocesan leadership.
Not all clergy agreed with the bishop's silence. At South Bend, Dean Robert Royster served on the board of the Urban League and was interested in improving race relations. At Trinity Fort Wayne, the Rev. George B. Wood, a former Urban League president, endorsed the ministry of Martin Luther King, attended a King speech, and supported integrated housing. Because he served as chaplain of the 82nd Airborne Division Association, however, he remained strongly in favor of the Vietnam War and assured that there would be no peace protests. The pro-war stand was also echoed at St. John the Evangelist, Elkhart, where its rector, the Rev. Carl Richardson, was active in the National Guard. At Gethsemane, Marion, however, the rector, the Rev. Timothy Riggs, gave an anti-war sermon.
The future Bishop William Sheridan, then rector of St. Thomas, Plymouth, explained the diocese this way in a 1999 letter to the historian Jason Lantzer: "The diocese [in the 1960s] was a typical Midwestern one - conservative. Its reaction to civil rights and Vietnam was Midwestern." In truth, however, the diocese had a national reputation as a "citadel of Anglo-Catholicism" and was more conservative than many other dioceses, even in the Midwest. Klein distrusted Presiding Bishop John Hines and believed him too liberal, both politically and theologically for the time.
Klein and the diocese were forced to address the racial situation when the Special General Convention II was held at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend in 1969. It was the first such special convention held by the national church since 1822. This time, the Diocese of Northern Indiana and the Diocese of Indianapolis were co-hosts with the expectation that the convention would serve as a forum for discussions on ecumenical relations with several churches. Klein seemed well adapted for this role, having written about ecumenism and developing a warm relationship with the leadership of the Polish National Catholic Church. Moreover, the meeting of Pope Paul VI and Michael Ramsey, Archbishop of Canterbury, had given many Anglo-Catholics the hope of greater Episcopal-Catholic cooperation. For the convention, Klein assumed chairmanship of the Arrangements Committee, and Dean Robert Royster of the Cathedral had taken on a large, full-time planning role for the convention. A controversial proposal, opposed by Klein, held that the convention would seat a variety of extra unelected delegates, including women and minority groups, to better reflect the changing social mood of the time.
On August 31, a group led by the Rev. Paul Washington and Muhammad Kenyatta, an official with the Black Economic Development Council, took the floor and demanded time to present their case to the convention. Kenyatta argued that the Episcopal Church had profited from decades of racism, and according to the Black Manifesto passed several months earlier, the church owed the African American community reparations from its support of slavery. The delegates agreed to give the Union of Black Clergy and Laity $200,000 for black community development. The delegation from Northern Indiana and several other dioceses had opposed the move, demanding that any contributions be specified and designated. While the reaction to the move in Northern Indiana was strongly unfavorable, it failed to win the support of even more moderate dioceses, who agreed with conservatives and voted against the payment of what they considered ransom. Many parishioners enacted a so-called "pocketbook boycott" by withholding pledges to the national church, greatly affecting its budget church and leading eventually to Presiding Bishop Hines's resignation. In Fort Wayne, Rev. George Wood hired plain-clothes police to sit in the congregation since he feared someone would take over the microphone of the parish. A more positive result from the proceedings was that a wider group of the church's leadership recognized that it needed to listen more closely to the demands of constituents and have more diversified leadership.
Perhaps the greatest accomplishment of Klein's episcopate was a restructuring program from 1966 to 1968 that cleared away many unnecessary committees and made the diocese operate more effectively as an entity. Under the leadership of Paul Philips, a Fort Wayne attorney, the Diocese of Northern Indiana became a single corporate structure, and the Board of Trustees was eliminated. The bishop became president of the corporation with the Diocesan Council serving as the board of directors, while the former "Bishop and Council" was disbanded. The Council would play a legislative role in any interim period between bishops but would not play an executive role. Operations were limited to the bishop and his cabinet. The Standing Committee, consisting of three priests and two laymen, continued to as the diocese's judicial function. In addition, the new program created five executive divisions: Administration, Development, Operations, Treasurer, and Chancellor (in charge of legal affairs). For the first time women were allowed to serve as delegates on committees, and the canons were amended to reflect the change. The restructuring plan was approved at the diocesan convention in 1968.
Klein announced his intention to retire in 1971, and unlike previous elections, a special convention now considered an array of candidates that had been gathered by a sub-committee of the Standing Committee. The Rev. William C. R. Sheridan, rector of St. Thomas Church, Plymouth, was chosen on the ninth ballot, and the Kleins retired to a quiet, private life in an apartment provided to them in La Porte. He died of cancer on 1 March 1980, and Sheridan would hail him as "the master of the spiritual life in nearly all its aspects" and "a strong tower of orthodoxy."
If Klein's episcopate was disappointing for those who desired the diocese to be more responsive to change, he nonetheless administered the diocese competently on a shoestring budget with only a secretary as support staff and no Canon to the Ordinary. A godly bishop with a cold veneer, he had a compassionate side that he kept deeply private, but it could be seen in the effort he made to visit priests in the hospital and in the detailed correspondence he maintained with some priests, sometimes over long periods. He was profoundly disappointed that no capital drive had occurred, that he had no staff, and that some parishes remained divided despite his best efforts at reconciliation. Yet the number of clergy in the diocese went from 52 to 63 and total giving increased significantly. His dislike of evangelicals and his unwillingness to diversify the diocese liturgically were perhaps major weaknesses. He told the Rev. Cory Randall, then on a veto interview for the rectorship of Trinity Fort Wayne, "I don't want any evangelicals in my diocese." Randall had replied, "If I found them, I would encourage them." He approved of Randall, thinking him tough enough to take him on. A strict conservative Anglo-Catholic to the end, his great accomplishment, he later said, was preserving the liturgical orthodoxy of the diocese at a time when the national church was undergoing significant change.
Interview with Bishop Walter Conrad Klein by Rev. Robert Center, 4 January 1971, Audio File
Order of the Consecration of the Very Reverend Walter C. Klein ... 29 June 1963