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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
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Church of the Holy Trinity, South Bend
In 1911, after Bishop John Hazen White had left Michigan City and moved to South Bend, he began to take an interest in the inclusion of immigrant groups within the Episcopal Church who were not traditionally part of the Anglican Communion. A group of Hungarian immigrants approached him about being included in the diocese, and after consulting with the Standing Committee, the bishop consented to their request. A former Catholic priest, the Rev. Victor von Kubinyi, a Hungarian count and godson of the Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria, applied for ordination as an Episcopalian. White delayed action for nine months to test Kubinyi's resolve before admitting him to the priesthood. Afterward, in 1913, 84 Hungarian families signed a petition to organize an Episcopal mission, which was immediately organized as the Trinity Hungarian Mission. Church minutes would be kept in Hungarian through 1948. The parish opened with 350 members, and White confirmed a class of 28 in the first year. Kubinyi requested permission to translate the 1892 prayerbook into Hungarian, and the Rev. John MacKenzie of Howe Military School and William Leonard, Bishop of Ohio, offered financial help. Kubinyi helped organize a variety of parish groups and assisted parishioners in becoming citizens.
The congregation met initially in a National Guard Armory building until Kubinyi raised the funds to erect a prefabricated church structure made by the Mershon and Morley Company of Saginaw, Michigan. The building, located at West Colfax Avenue and Elm Street, was dedicated by Bishop White on Christmas Eve, 1914. The congregation remained poor, however, and Bishop White supplied it with candlesticks, vestments, and a chalice. Many of the congregation were without jobs and had no money to support either the church or themselves. During the severe winter of 1914-15, Mary May White of St. James, South Bend, helped raise money for food, while a wealthy philanthropist in Indianapolis donated money for Christmas gifts for the children. The church building later caught fire.
Against the backdrop of this hardscrabble beginning, fissures developed by 1918 between White and Kubinyi, and the priest resigned. Kubinyi then denounced the ministry of the Episcopal Church in a public document, leaving some members understandably demoralized. White wrote to the Rev. Edwin E. Smith, asking that he take charge of the mission. A bachelor and late vocational priest, Smith maintained the services of the church ably into the 1920s. He organized large dinner-dances with Hungarian food as local fundraisers. He could not speak Hungarian, so the services were led in English with the hymns in Hungarian.
In 1938, Bishop Campbell Gray appointed the Rev. Harold G. Kappes as the new vicar. Although not a Hungarian, Kappes worked hard to learn the language, and he inaugurated a Grape Harvest Festival, which included dances in traditional dress. The church building had fallen into disrepair by this date and was condemned by the city. A new building campaign was launched in 1940, but post-war inflation left only enough to build a church edifice without a rectory or parish hall. Ground was broken for the new building at the corner of Prast Boulevard and North Olive Street on 11 July 1948, and in October, the cornerstone was laid by Bishop Mallett after the congregation had marched ceremonially from the old church. The building has an A-frame design, inspired by the abbey church at Three Rivers, Michigan, where Kappes had studied for his vocation. The new building was dedicated at Easter, 1950.
In 1955, for unknown reasons, Bishop Mallett removed Kappes abruptly as vicar. He was replaced by the Rev. James Halfhil, who served until 1961 when he was forced to resign for reasons of health. His successor, the Rev. James Moore, served until 1968 when he left after domestic issues. The Rev. William Hibbert arrived and had a successful ministry, during which he worked with youth and chartered a Boy Scouts troop, earning him recognition for his efforts from the Presiding Bishop. In 1970, the mission was admitted formally as a parish and the following year was renamed the Church of the Holy Trinity. Hibbert served until 1984 before leaving for Indianapolis. The Rev. Bradley McCormick served as interim rector until the election of the Rev. Jack Bliven in 1985. Lay ministry expanded and new windows were installed before Bliven was forced to resign on account if poor health in 1989. He died a year later.
The Rev. Paul Bradshaw served as interim until the Rev. Tina Velthuizen was called as rector in 1991. She was the first female priest to serve in the diocese and arrived as a result of the parishioners petitioning Bishop Gray specifically for a woman priest. Gray had initially said he would only approve a woman priest if she were raised up in the diocese, but he decided to change that policy and approved Velthuizen, who came from the Diocese of Western Michigan. A few parishioners left the parish on her arrival, but many returned and accepted her ministry after getting to know her. She would prove a popular priest. During her rectorate, the parish created a community garden. After suffering from a long illness, she announced her retirement in 2014.
The parish is currently led by the Rev. Terri Bays, who also serves the diocese as Missioner for Transitions and Governance.
Victor Alexander von Kubinyi, 1913-1918
Edwin Ellsworth Smith, 1919-1939
Harold George Kappes, 1939-1956
James Halphill, 1956-1960
Reginald Mallett II, 1961-1963
James G. Greer, 1963-1968
William Chattin Hibbert, 1968-1984
J. Bradley McCormick, 1984
Jack C. Bliven, 1984-1989
Paul Bradshaw, 1990
Teunis "Tina" Velthuizen, 1991-2014
Terri Bays, 2014-