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Holy Family Episcopal Church, Angola
Holy Family in Angola was formed as an unorganized mission in 1951. Bishop Reginald Mallett spent Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday there that year, conferred with many students of Tri-State College as well as townspeople, and held services in the local Methodist Church. About 35 attended the original service and meeting. The ministerial work was placed initially under the care of the Rev. Robert Murphy of Howe. Once the mission was organized formally in 1953, the congregation met in various spaces, including in a fire hall and a student activity building. For a time it also worshiped in a private house, where services were conducted in the living room while the Sunday school met in the kitchen. The pump organ was powered by an Electrolux vacuum cleaner. Later, Tri-State College offered space for worship. The Rev. Leo Maxwell Brown of Coldwater, Michigan, provided early leadership between 1952 and 1957. During the mid-1960s, Holy Family's vicar, George Minnix, served as chaplain to Tri-State College, while Theron Lansford, then a psychology professor, provided early lay leadership for its Canterbury Club. He would later become ordained and serve for many years as its vicar.
Holy Family's present building, its second, was constructed over a three-month span in 1966 and was located at 909 South Darling Street. The project came about after Bishop Klein announced a matching grant if the congregation could raise $4,500. Members compiled a cookbook that helped raise the necessary funds and then poured all of its energies into constructing the building. The grounds feature a memorial garden to parishioner Robert Hanna, and its bell tower is made of steel girders. The bell is dedicated to St. Gabriel. By the 1990s, it had about 50 members, drawing from Michigan and Ohio as well as Indiana.
Leo Maxwell Brown, 1952-1957
Allen Alfred Nield, 1957-1958
Hugh Crichton Edsall, 1961-1963
George Myers Minnix, 1964-1969
Donald Duane Dunn, 1969-1970
Cecil Richard Phelps, 1970-1974
Theron George Lansford, 1974-1980
Leo Maxwell Brown, 1980-1985
Philip Morgan, 1985-1986
Richard Logan Matthews, 1987-1992
Jeffrey Dean Lee, 1992-1994
John Philip Carver, 1994-1998
Samuel Nsengiyumva, 2000-2003
Theron George Lansford, 2005-2006
Michael Thomas Fulk, 2007-2016
Thomas Adamson, 2017-
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Douglas Everett Sparks, Eighth Bishop
Bishop Douglas Everett Sparks, the eighth bishop of the Diocese of Northern Indiana, is the current incumbent. Born on 8 January 1956, he studied Philosophy at St. Mary's Seminary College, graduating with a Bachelor's degree in 1980. Subsequently, he received a Master's degree from De Andreis Institute of Theology in 1984. Ordained a priest in the Roman Catholic Church in 1984, he served parishes in Missouri, Colorado, and Illinois. In 1989 he was received as a priest into the Episcopal Church, serving as rector of St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Whitewater, Wisconsin, from 1990 to 1995. He also married Dana Wirth and had three children: Christina, Graham, and Gavin.
Sparks later served at St. Matthias Church in Waukesha, Wisconsin, then went to New Zealand to become Dean of St. Paul's Cathedral in Wellington. On returning to the United States, he became rector of St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Rochester, Minnesota. From here he was elected bishop on 6 February 2016. He was consecrated at Trinity English Lutheran Church, Fort Wayne, on 25 June 2016 by Presiding Bishop Michael Curry.
Bishop Sparks has adopted a five-point plan of mission that will guide his episcopate:
1. Tell the Good News of the Kingdom.
2. Teach, Baptize, and Nurture new believers.
3. Tend to human need with loving service.
4. Transform unjust structures of society.
5. Treasure God's Creation and renew the Earth.
Bishop Sparks has reversed previous diocesan policy and approved same-sex marriages being performed in the diocese with the consent of individual parishes. He was personally present for the wedding of South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg to Chasten Glezman on 16 June 2018 in a ceremony at the Cathedral of St. James in South Bend. He has also formed a strong pastoral partnership with Bishop Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows of the Diocese of Indianapolis, marching for social justice issues, against gun violence, and in favor of greater acceptance of all marginalized groups in the Church. He is an "activist bishop" and comfortable in that role, but he is always careful to ground that advocacy in his faith.
On a national level, the Episcopal Church began an initiative under Presiding Bishop Michael Curry to become a "Beloved Community" to promote racial reconciliation. Part of that process involved studying and apologizing for sins committed against minority groups throughout its history. During his sabbatical in 2022, Bishop Sparks walked the Potawatomi Trail of Death, traveling on foot from Plymouth, Indiana, to Kansas. He left an account of his pilgrimage. It symbolized the work of the Diocese of Northern Indiana to account for acts of racism in its past.
Episcopal News Service:
Consecration of Bishop Douglas Sparks, 25 June 2016, Trinity English Lutheran Church, Fort Wayne