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St. John of the Cross Episcopal Church, Bristol, Indiana
St. John of the Cross Episcopal Church was founded in 1843 and originally called "St. John's." Its name was changed in the 1960s because there was another St. John's in Elkhart County, and Bishop Klein felt that the two similar names were confusing. St. John's is the only parish in the diocese founded almost entirely through the efforts of a lay woman, Ann Jennette (Burnham) Judson. Such a role for a woman was an unusual occurrence in the 1840s.
Ann Jennette Burnham was born in Auburn, New York, on 29 April 1807, the daughter of Captain John Burnham and wife Barbara (McCarty). Her father had been an officer in the Continental Army who was imprisoned by the British during the war and later became a sea captain. Jennette married Samuel Parsons Judson, a widower, in Batavia on 28 July 1833. Samuel Judson became interested in purchasing land in the West, and in 1834 settled with his wife in Elkhart County, where he laid out the town of Bristol. The couple was active on the Underground Railroad, helping fugitive slaves escape to Michigan. In 1847, a group of slave catchers from Kentucky broke down the front door of their home and seized a fugitive named Thomas Harris. When the Judsons confronted them, they were threatened with guns. The Judsons brought charges, and the men were imprisoned while Harris was freed and made a successful escape. In 1849, Samuel formed the Bristol California Mining and Trading Association and launched an expedition to the gold fields of California, dying en route near Fort Laramie of cholera.
During these years Mrs. Judson was determined to establish an Episcopal Church in Bristol, the first of its kind of any denomination in the town. The congregation was organized on 25 April 1843, and land was purchased under the names of her husband, along with Thomas Wheeler, Henry H. Fowler, and Edward A. Lansing as trustees. Plans were drawn up for a church, and Bishop Jackson Kemper arrived to lay the cornerstone on 29 December 1843. The Rev. Richard S. Adams, missionary at Mishawaka, conducted services every third Sunday beginning in July 1843, but he left in April 1846 and was succeeded by another missionary, the Rev. Benjamin Halsted, formerly of Fort Wayne.
Between 1845 and 1851, members of the congregation constructed the small wood-frame church slowly at what is now 601 East Vistula Street. Construction funds were surprisingly tight, and it took great effort to complete it. Mrs. Judson began reaching out for support and enlisted Bishop Kemper for help. After informing him of the planned organization of the parish in 1843, Kemper replied, "I rejoice at your perseverance and pray that it never flag. The divine Head of the Church, in His own good time, will help those efforts which are put forth to the glory of His Holy name."
Kemper wrote a letter of introduction for the fund raising effort in December 1843, and Albert Royce, a vestryman, managed to raise just $12.25. Undeterred, Mrs. Judson made a personal visit East the following year to meet with friends and solicit additional funds, but the building was still not finished in May 1848, when Kemper managed to conduct a service within its open frame. Mrs. Judson embarked on a second trip, and the bishop wrote her another letter of introduction: "The zeal of this lady for the House of God, and her anxiety to receive for her children and neighbors the sacred privileges of the Sanctuary, deserves the approbation and encouragement of all the well wishers of our beloved Zion." Bishop Samuel McCoskry of Michigan also wrote a letter, saying: "I know of no place in which the Church has greater claims upon Churchmen than at Bristol. There is no place of worship of any kind in it, and the possibility is that if Mrs. Judson is successful in her mission, the larger part of the population will be brought into the Church."
Mrs. Judson wrote later that she visited Buffalo and New York City, as well as other intermediate cities and towns. An unidentified priest, writing in the parish register, noted of Mrs. Judson's efforts: "It was new work to her experience, but, as results will show, not beyond her large and generous capacities. It was a work, too, brought with many disappointments and annoyances and must prove especially so to one of her refined sensibilities; all these things she was willing to endure for His sake, for whose honor and glory she was chiefly anxious to have a temple erected." In 1850, after a third trip east, she brought back $2,222, enough to finish the building and purchase a bell for $180.
Bishop George Upfold consecrated the building on 8 May 1851. The wood-frame building resembled a New England church, with painted wood sides and a simple steeple. St. John's first permanent rector, the Rev. Homer Wheeler, had arrived two years earlier in 1849, and since he had a family, he had insisted that the vestry provide him a parsonage near the church, where a cemetery (or "churchyard") was also located. Land was purchased and eventually a Greek Revival house was erected. Mrs. Judson left town about 1855 and lived for many years in New York. She returned in 1875 to see the church one last time and died a decade later in Chicago in the home of her daughter.
After the vestry bought and sold two different lots for the rectory, they constructed a more permanent building about 1875 during the rectorate of the Rev. Wellington Forgus. A series of rectors, all of relatively short duration, served the parish in the ensuing years until the arrival of the Rev. Henry Streeter and his family in 1907. He had formerly served at Gas City but left because of his growing deafness. He remained at his post as a resident priest for 10 years, and his hearing problems did not hamper his ministry. His family would remain members of the parish. During the 1950s, the Rev. Bruce Mosier served as a part-time priest, moving back and forth between St. James Goshen (where he served as its full-time rector) and Bristol. Mosier was a native of Bristol and had grown up as a member of St. John's.
The Rev. Donald D. Dunn arrived in 1966 and remained five years. An English professor, he taught at Ball State University during the week and conducted services on Sundays. During his successful rectorate, the parish expanded its classroom buildings, the money for which was given as a memorial to the Rev. Henry Streeter. The addition allowed room for a Sunday school that attracted many new families, including some from the Elkhart area. In 1980, during the rectorate of the Rev. John Henry Morgan, a resident priest, the parish was placed on the National Register of Historic Places and received a visit from Bishop Tinsley of Bristol, England.
In 1994, during the rectorate of the Rev. Shelby Scott, the church was renovated and enlarged, changing it in some respects from its original appearance but making it more accommodating for modern liturgy. Scott also led the parish on a mission trip to Honduras, prior to the renovation, where they built a church for a local congregation. In more recent times the parish has been served by two women, the Rev. Carol Fleming and the Rev. Jennifer Coe Fulton.
Richard Samuel Adams, 1843-1846
Benjamin Halsted, 1846-1848
Homer Wheeler, 1849-1853
Albert Bingham, 1855
Almon Gregory, 1858
William Henry Stoy, 1858-1859
Henry M. Thompson, 1859-1862
Joseph Adderly, 1863-1866
Henry M. Thompson, 1867-1871
Wellington Forgus, 1871-1876
Moses Clement Stanley, 1877-1881
Sherwood Rosevelt, 1881-1885
Joseph Gorton Miller, 1885-1888
Franklin White Adams, 1889
Charles Turner, 1889-1892
Sherwood Rosevelt, 1892
Walter Scott, 1894-1900
Addison Alvord Ewing, 1900-1901
Clarence Estelle Brandt, 1901-1907
Henry Stephen Streeter, 1907-1917
Elton Hoyt (deacon), 1919-1920
Edwin Ellsworth Smith, 1920-1921
Walter Jay Lockton, 1921-1933
Lawrence Cecil Ferguson, 1935-1937
Virgil Pierce Stewart, 1937-1939
Harvey Livermore Woolverton, 1939-1941
Dom Leo Kenneth Douglas Patterson, 1941-1945
John Peterson, 1945
Bruce Bickel Mosier, 1945-1948
Charles Ray Boswell, 1950-1951
Bruce Bickel Mosier, 1953-1965
Donald Duane Dunn, 1966-1971
Robert Manning Maxwell, 1971-1973
Hugh Steiner Hostetler (assistant) 1972-1973
Paul Menzies Ross, 1973-1976
William Evans Martin, 1976-1978
Richard Joseph Brown, 1978-1979
John Henry Morgan, 1979-1990
Shelby Hudson Scott, 1990-1996
Timothy Merle Ljunggren, 1997-2004
Richard Wineland, 2005-2010
Carol Fleming, 2011-2014
Jennifer Coe Fulton, 2014-
Ron Kaser, St. John's, Bristol: A Parish History. Bristol, Indiana: Bristol Banner Books, 1989.
Papers and Letters Concerning the Founding of St. John of the Cross Episcopal Church (formerly St. John's Episcopal Church), Bristol, Indiana, 1842-1855, Consisting Chiefly of the Papers of Mrs. Ann Jennette (Burnham) Judson (1807-1885). Fort Wayne: Allen County Public Library, undated.
Parish Register (History Baptisms, Confirmations, Marriages, Burials), 1843-1966
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St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Mishawaka
On April 20, 1837, two Michigan clergymen, the Rev. Charles B. Stout, rector of St. Stephen's Church in Edwardsburg and the Rev. Henry F. M. Whitesides of St. James Church in Constantine, went south into northern Indiana to do missionary work. They held an organizational meeting for an Episcopal church on the outskirts of Mishawaka in St. Joseph County and conducted services for thirteen people in a schoolhouse. St. Paul's Episcopal Church, the oldest formally organized parish in the Episcopal Diocese of Northern Indiana, began on that date.
No specific record exists of those on St. Paul's first vestry, but by 1842 the congregation purchased property at the corner of First and Spring streets and conveyed it to Hiram Doolittle, John H. Orr, J. E. Hollister, Samuel P. Knight, and Norman Eddy, who were listed as "vestry" and "wardens" of St. Paulʼs Church. A year later the church building that came to be known informally as the “Church on the Hill” was completed under the leadership of the Rev. Richard S. Adams and was consecrated in 1845 by Bishop Jackson Kemper. This frame church in Greek Revival style contained the first belfry bell in Mishawaka, which was cast in 1836. According to one source, the bell was later sold for junk when the church was sold in 1906. Church leaders brought the first organ reportedly from Saratoga Springs, New York, sometime before 1850. Later, they installed a Van Dinter pipe organ, manufactured in Mishawaka. This organ, operated by a hand air pump, was eventually moved to the new church, along with some of the stained glass windows. Finally, John T. Niles, the senior warden, embellished these original structures when he donated a rectory, begun in 1872 and completed in 1876.
The early years were not without difficulties. In 1883, members of the congregation called for the closure of the parish, since no vestry election had occurred for five or six years. Despite these challenges Bishop David Buel Knickerbacker sent the Rev. Augustine Prentiss of South Carolina to serve at St. Paulʼs, along with St. Johnʼs in Elkhart. No one even came to meet Prentiss when his train came to town, yet he had a full congregation at his first service on Sunday, March 9th, preaching on the “Duty of the Hour.” Prentiss revitalized the congregation, and by the time of Bishop Knickerbackerʼs visit on Sunday, July 15th, he had prepared sixteen persons for confirmation. In 1885, the bishop moved him to Indianapolis.
In October 1885, Rev. J. Gorton Miller, B.D., assumed charge of St. Paulʼs jointly with the missionary responsibility of St. Johnʼs, Bristol. The working organizations of the parish consisted of the Wardens and Vestry, a Ladies Society, and a Young Ladies Altar Guild. The women's organizations raised funds for current expenses, repairs, and improvements. In addition, Miller organized a Sunday School. At the beginning of Lent 1886, he had established the custom of celebrating the Holy Eucharist at every Sunday morning service, more frequently than was typical in the Episcopal Church at that time. Miller also introduced the use of Eucharistic vestments of plain white linen, wafer bread, the mixed chalice (a little water with the wine), and the custom of the eastward position of the altar.
On January 1, 1899, after the new diocese had been formed, Bishop John Hazen White sent the Rev. Hamilton D. B. MacNeil to take charge of St. Paulʼs. The parish was free of debt and financially independent at that time. During the next year, the vestry ordered extensive improvements to the building, including the installation of electrical lights, enlarging the choir, and setting a new altar, the gift of Mrs. J. A. Roper and Mrs. E. A. Jurnegan. The rectory also received gifts of a new furnace and bathroom. During the period 1898 to 1902, some of the wardens and vestry of St. Paulʼs included H. H. Hosford, H. G. Eggleston, E. T. Reys, E. G. Richards, Jr., C. A. W. Ostrom, S. G. Todd, M.D., Harvey A. Foroots, Harvey A. Martling, G. G. Eggleston, F. J. Sytz, W. M. Dickinson, S. P. Wilson, W. E. Roe, G. S. Pomeroy, and Ralph H. Jernegan.
MacNeil resigned on February 12, 1902, and was succeeded that same year by the Rev. John Addams Linn (nephew of Jane Addams of Chicago Hull House fame). In 1905, the "Church on the Hill" on Spring St. was sold, and the parish made plans to build a new church and rectory on Second Street (now Lincolnway East), near the new Cedar Street Bridge. The old church was removed to South Union Street and eventually remodeled into a residence.
The construction of the new church came about through the untiring efforts of Linn and the progressiveness of the congregation. The complete cost of the structures was $15,000. Schneider & Austin of South Bend served as architects, and the construction contract was awarded to Hess & Hiner of Mishawaka. The rector laid the cornerstone on July 17, 1906. He fixed the goal of having the work sufficiently completed to hold the dedication on St. Paul's Day, a task that at times required up to 20 workers. Linn celebrated the final services in the old church on January 20, 1907, and he conducted the first service in the new church on Easter Sunday of that year. Bishop White dedicated the church. The windows on either side of the new church were brought from the old one and remain splendid examples of 19th century stained glass. The windows over the entrance, commissioned for the new church by Mrs. E.G. Eberhart, depict the conversion of St. Paul on the road to Damascus. The window above the altar, given by Mrs. J.A. Roper, represents the Risen Lord. The present altar is a larger copy of the original first altar and is adorned with the original symbols. Members of the Bishop Knickerbacker Guild erected the rood screen, designed by Oscar Brubaker in memory of Mrs. Nancy E. Sherman Jernegan in 1916. The hand carved figures from Switzerland were added in 1960 by Alfred S. Ostrom and Mrs. M.H. Goodman in memory of their parents, Mr. and Mrs. Charles A. Ostrom. The statue of St. Charles I of England, king and martyr, carved in Italy, was given in memory of Alfred S. Ostrom in 1964.
In 1908, Linn left the parish, and he was later killed in action in France in 1918 - the first of the so-called "fighting chaplains" to meet death in World War I. His service is commemorated by a plaque in the sanctuary. The Rev. Lewis C. Rogers began his twenty-five year service as rector later in 1908. That same year, Charles Fairbanks, the Vice President of the United States under Theodore Roosevelt, visited Mishawaka and dined in the undercroft at a meal hosted by the Bishop Knickerbacker Guild.
During the next quarter century the parish experienced significant change when Bishop Campbell Gray named St. Paul's as his Pro-Cathedral in 1925, an honor it would hold until 1951. The bishop had somewhat grandiose plans to build a magnificent new cathedral on the corner of Cedar and Lincoln Way, designed in the Gothic Revival style by the renowned architect Ralph Adams Cram. However, the Great Depression of 1930-1936 and subsequent World War II defeated any chance of realizing this dream when insufficient funds could be raised. The parish did acquire the corner lot as a result of these plans, however. J. Alvin Scott donated it with the provision that it revert to his heirs if not built upon in 25 years, though his heirs later released this provision.
The Depression hit the church so hard that when Rogers retired in 1933, the bishop took over as rector and had his salary paid to the Diocese to make up St. Paulʼs arrearage in its diocesan assessment. The parish began its financial recovery with the arrival of the Very Rev. Archie Ira Drake, a dramatic personage, who became rector in 1935. Although his personal problems with alcoholism forced him to resign in 1937, he laid a solid foundation for renewal of the parish. After leaving, Drake went to the Holy Cross monastery in New York where he edited the St. Augustineʼs Prayer Book and became the national chaplain of Alcoholics Anonymous.
The Very Rev. Russell R. Ingersoll, who served from 1938 to 1942, and the Very Rev. Erland L. Groton, who succeeded Ingersoll and served until 1952, continued the work of building up the parish. During their tenure, the organ was moved from the front, inside the rood screen (behind where the pulpit stands today), to its present location at the rear of the church, thereby enlarging the chancel. The Van Dinter organ was replaced by one of the early electric organs, and a later model donated by Miss Neitzel subsequently replaced this one. During this time, a boysʼ choir was organized under the direction of Miss Winifred Wonderlick, a music teacher at Bingham School, and the Ladies Service League was especially active in its ministry.
Many of the members of the church served in the armed services during World War II. Two members were killed, including Charles Butz, serving in the Army, and Elizabeth Richardson, serving in the American Red Cross. A plaque in the church nave commemorates their sacrifice. St. Paulʼs continued as the Pro-Cathedral of the diocese until Bishop Reginald Mallett, Bishop Grayʼs successor, chose to move the bishopʼs residence to South Bend, and in 1950 removed the title Pro-Cathedral from St. Paulʼs. In 1957, he was formally enthroned in the new St. James Cathedral in downtown South Bend, which remains the cathedral today.
In 1952, the Rev. Wilbur B. Dexter became rector of St. Paulʼs. A native of Cleveland and a graduate of Oberlin College and Nashotah House, Dexter brought continued growth to the parish in his early years as rector. A new rectory was purchased on Edgewater Drive, across the river from the church. The old rectory next to the church became the church school and a chapel. The parish hall was refurbished and paneling added; a new nursery was added; a new roof was put on the church and connecting building.
Dexter was one of the first priests in the diocese to adopt the Holy Eucharist Rite Two of the 1979 Book of Common Prayer as the regular service of the parish. He encouraged women to serve as members of the vestry and girls as acolytes, although he opposed women priests, as did most of the clergy of the diocese at that time under Bishop William Sheridan. A serious illness followed by a broken hip kept Fr. Dexter from his duties at the church for more than a year and led to his retirement to Florida in 1984 after 32 years as rector. During the last years of his tenure, St. Paulʼs saw a sharp decline in attendance.
The Rev. Bruce Mosier, a retired priest from Goshen, served as a supply priest following Dexterʼs retirement. With the encouragement of his wife, Dorothy, Mosier turned around the decline of the parish. The rectory, which had become rundown, was sold and those funds used to start the renovation of the church buildings. Mosier gave new hope to the members of St. Paulʼs, and membership increased to the point where Bishop Sheridan was able to have the Rev. Paul Tracy take over leadership the parish in 1986. When Tracy retired in 1995, the vestry wrote the following mission statement: “The people of St. Paul's Church celebrate the Good News of Jesus Christ and serve as witness of God's love through worship, fellowship, and outreach, daily living the promises made in our baptism.”
This statement proved an instrumental point of focus in the search process that led to the call of the Rev. David K. Ottsen to St. Paulʼs as rector in 1996. Previously, Bishop Gray had assigned him to serve the mission of Christ Church in suburban South Bend, which had folded after only a short time. Working with the vestry, Ottsenʼs hard work and leadership brought new vitality to the parish as it sought to live out its mission statement. A successful capital campaign allowed for many improvements to be made to the edifice, including a new roof on the church and the parish house, a new heating and cooling system, a new sound system, new windows in the parish house, refinishing of the floors, restoration of the pews, renovation of the undercroft, and the remodeling of the kitchen. On the outside, new landscaping was done to the front of the buildings and a beautiful memorial garden added to the river frontage in the back.
In addition to making physical improvements, St. Paulʼs leaders brought energy and commitment to minister to the community at large. Programs such as the Food Pantry and Thanksgiving Baskets expanded each year in the 2000s to provide food to the needy, and goals for participation were set and exceeded. In August 2007, St. Paul's became the site of a gun buy-back program in collaboration with area police departments, which resulted in over 250 guns being exchanged for gift certificates to area businesses. Bishop Edward Little observed that St. Paulʼs was unique in its ability to combine its concern for social justice with a zeal for evangelism. Attendance more than doubled during Ottsenʼs tenure. The congregation was composed of a wide variety of people of all ages, from senior citizens to college students as well as a growing number of families with young children due to several recent births. In October 2007, Ottsen announced that he had accepted a call to be the rector at St. Peter's in Brenham, Texas, and he celebrated his farewell Eucharist on 8 Epiphany 2008.
While the church searched for a new rector, Bishop Gray, now retired, served as its interim priest at the church in which he was baptized when his grandfather was bishop of Northern Indiana. On June 11, 2008, the Search Committee formally recommended a candidate, and accordingly, the vestry agreed unanimously to call the Rev. Susan Bunton Haynes, formerly Assistant Rector and later priest-in-charge of the Cathedral of St. James in South Bend, to be the new priest. Mother Susan accepted the call and officially took up the rectorship on September 1, 2008, and was installed by Bishop Little on October 10. After a successful rectorate, she was elected bishop of the Diocese of Southern Virginia in 2019.
Henry F. M. Whitesides, 1837
Charles Brockden Stout, 1839
Foster Thayer, 1842
Richard Samuel Adams, 1842-1846
Benjamin Halsted, 1846-1852
Stephen Douglass, 1852-1853
Martin Frederick Sorenson, 1854-1856
Elias Birdsall, 1856-1858
Colley Alexander Foster, 1860
Joseph Adderly, 1861-1866
Richard Brass, 1866-1871
John Gierlow, 1871-1873
Moses Clement Stanley, 1874-1876
Alfred Thomas Perkins, 1879-1880
Sherwood Rosevelt, 1881-1882
Augustine Prentiss, 1883-1885
Samuel Franklin Myers, 1885-1886
Joseph Gorton Miller, 1886-1888
Frederick Thompson, 1888-1890
Augustine Prentiss, 1890-1892
DeLou Burke, 1892-1898
Hamilton Douglas Bentley MacNeil, 1899-1902
John Addams Linn, 1902-1908
Lewis Curtis Rogers, 1908-1933
James Boyd Coxe, 1933-1935
Archie Ira Drake, 1935-1937
Russell Richard Ingersoll, 1938-1942
Erland Lawrence Groton, 1942-1952
Wilbur B. Dexter, 1952-1984
Bruce Bickel Mosier, 1985
Paul John Tracy, 1986-1995
David K. Ottsen, 1996-2007
Francis Campbell Gray, 2008
Susan Bunton Haynes, 2008-2019
Nathaniel Warne, 2020-
Adapted from St. Paul's website: http://www.stpaulsmishawaka.org/html/history.pdf
St. Paul's Parish Register, 3 volumes, 1837-1933
St. Paul's Parish Register with Vestry Minutes, 1837-1870
St. Paul's Parish Register, 1871-1901
St. Paul's Parish Register, 1903-1933
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Trinity Episcopal Church, Fort Wayne
For photographs, see:
Trinity Episcopal Church Archives website
For parish registers, see the following links from Familysearch. A free registration and login is required for access.
Parish Register, Christ Church (1839), Trinity, 1844-1853
Parish Register, 1839-1888
Parish Register, 1889-1923
Parish Register, 1923-1947
Marriage Register, 1924-1941
Marriage Register, 1941-1961
Register of Communicants, 1948-1964
Baptismal Register, 1948-1974
Vestry Minutes, 1839 (Christ Church); 1844-1878
Vestry Minutes, 1879-1912
Vestry Minutes, 1913-1931
Vestry Minutes, 1932-1947
Vestry Minutes, 1947-1952
Vestry Minutes, 1953-1959
Vestry Minutes, 1960-1970
The Episcopal Church in Fort Wayne can trace its origin to the tireless efforts of Rt. Rev. Jackson Kemper, Missionary Bishop of the Northwest, who arrived in town in 1837 to assess the feasibility of establishing a church. Fort Wayne was then a remote frontier outpost, and the Episcopal Church found itself a weak competitor at that time in the mission field. Two years later Kemper sent a missionary, the Rev. Benjamin Hutchins of Philadelphia, and established Christ Church, but the parish folded in less than a year for lack of support. Most parishes in the new Diocese of Indiana were located in central and southern part of the state.
A few years passed until the spark for a establishing a church reignited. Peter P. Bailey, a merchant from New York City, settled in town and missed the services of his former church. Together with several other lay leaders, he persuaded Kemper to send another missionary, the Rev. Benjamin Halsted of New York and previously of New Harmony, Indiana. Together they organized Trinity Episcopal Church on May 25, 1844. The church faced many initial financial and recruiting challenges and met initially in the county courthouse until it could raise funds for building a small, wood-frame chapel at the corner of Berry and Harrison streets. They bought an organ with four stops – the first documented church organ in town.
Trinity’s earliest members came from several groups, including area residents who had been Episcopalians in the East, English and Canadian immigrants, and newcomers to the faith, many of them community leaders, who found the liturgy of the Book of Common Prayer intriguing, its sermons intellectual, and the atmosphere of the church not overly judgmental.
During the Civil War under the second rectorate of the Rev. Joseph Large, who returned at the vestry's request, the vestry and lay women together raised funds to construct a new Gothic Revival edifice in an acclaimed design by Charles Crosby Miller of Toledo, Ohio. The building included split-faced sandstone walls with limestone trim and painted glass windows of English design, most of which still survive in the church. The edifice was completed in 1866 and consecrated two years later by Bishop Joseph Cruikshank Talbot after the parish had raised additional funds for a new organ. The church was nestled in what came to be known at the West Central Neighborhood and was surrounded by large Victorian-style houses.
The parish grew steadily through the late nineteenth century. Several rectors, including the Rev. Colin Campbell Tate, William Naylor Webbe, and Alexander Seabrease, preached a strong Social Gospel message, advocating for outreach to the poor, temperance, and women’s suffrage. Many members of the congregation were well-educated and supported a variety of reform efforts, including advocacy for a city parks and boulevard system. In 1892 Seabrease and the vestry redecorated the church with a new pulpit (intricately inlaid with brass cartouches), a marble baptismal font with a brass eagle cover, an eagle-shaped lectern, marble altar, and a silver communion service, all of which are still in use. A vested choir of men and boys made its first appearance and became popular.
The Diocese of Michigan City was created in 1898 in the top third of Indiana. Trinity, as the largest parish, exercised much influence. The Rev. Edward Wilson Averill, the first to be called “Father,” arrived in 1904 and built the church into a program-sized parish. His successor, the Rev. Louis Rocca, redecorated the nave in the 1920s with a décor that many considered ornate and garish with deep reds, blues, and gold. He also added a rood screen. During the Great Depression of the 1930s the Rev. James McNeal Wheatley, the most Anglo-Catholic rector in the church's history, led the parish successfully in paying off its mortgage through a period of austerity and brought the congregation through World War II.
During Wood’s tenure the neighborhood around the church began to evolve. Though the owners of some of the old houses, especially to the west of the church, restored them to their original finery, they divided others into apartments for lower-income housing or converted them to offices. Many others were demolished to make room to parking lots. Since then, a strong preservation movement has involved in the city to protect the remaining historic homes, and Trinity stands inside a local historic district with covenants surrounding the protection of its external appearance.
Trinity’s strong Anglo-Catholic liturgical model began to evolve in the 1970s during the rectorate of Wood’s successor, the Rev. Dr. C. Corydon Randall. A Broad Church model with strong lay leadership and a new sense of openness replaced the older style. Randall instituted the commission system of parish administration, increasing both lay participation and outreach. He also opened the communion rail to all baptized Christians and invited women to preach, serve on the vestry, and brought girls into the acolyte corps. Together with several church leaders in 1977, he helped found Canterbury School, a private, independent school for grades kindergarten through six that used the church classrooms for several years until moving to its own quarters in 1980. It has become an acclaimed educational institution in the state. Randall also spent much of his rectorate renovating the parish buildings, spearheading a capital campaign, creating endowments, and having the church entered on the National Register of Historic Places. After leaving Trinity in 1988, he served parishes in San Diego, California, and Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Now retired as Rector Emeritus, he and his wife returned to Fort Wayne and are members of the congregation. He often leads the Friday Morning Study Group and occasionally the Adult Forum, teaching on Old Testament topics.
Randall’s successor, the Rev. Frank H. Moss III, built upon Randall’s legacy of reform and openness. In 1992, he brought the first woman priest to the diocese, the Rev. Robin Thomas, to serve as Trinity’s curate. He also continued to build the endowments. Under the leadership of its precentor, Wayne Peterson, the church’s musical offerings continued to enjoy local acclaim. Trinity became with the Royal School of Church Music that has as its motto, “I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.” Many in the congregation recognize and appreciate Peterson’s spiritual, as well as musical, gifts. Moss left in 1999 and later served churches in Massachusetts and Oregon before eventually retiring to Oregon.
Trinity’s eighteenth rector, the Rev. Dr. Thomas P. Hansen, arrived in 2006 from Nebraska. Hansen inaugurated a labyrinth ministry, initially using a canvas inside the Great Hall and later constructing a permanent labyrinth of stone on the western side of the parish grounds. Through local press coverage it has sparked interest from Christians of other denominations. In 2010 the parish led a successful capital campaign to replace its aging boiler and heating system. It later received several large bequests to refurbish and replace its organ and build a new handicap-accessible entrance and carport on its western side. As a downtown parish the church has become involved in a variety of outreach ministries, including Wellspring Social Services, the Associated Churches Food Bank, the West Central Neighborhood Ministry (led by five parishes including Trinity), and Habitat for Humanity. Its clergy participate regularly in an annual interfaith Thanksgiving service. Traditional liturgical music and hymns, expertly presented by its choir, remain a strong part of the parish DNA, and Peterson, who has served more than 30 years as precentor, regularly leads the parish in a variety of special concerts and events in addition to Sunday morning worship. As retired Bishop Edward S. Little has commented, “Trinity is very Cathedralesque.” Hansen announced that he would retire at the end of 2016, though he plans to remain in Fort Wayne and stay active in the diocese. He has said that leaves the parish in a strong position for new growth and vision. In 2017, the parish called the Rev. T. J. Freeman to be its 19th rector.
Benjamin Hutchins, 1839
Benjamin Halsted, 1844-1846
Joseph S. Large, 1848-1854
Caleb Alexander Bruce, 1854-1855
Eugene Charles Pattison, 1856-1858
Stephen Henry Battin, 1858-1863
Joseph S. Large, 1863-1872
Colin Campbell Tate, 1872-1879
William Naylor Webbe, 1879-1888
Alexander Washington Seabrease, 1888-1904
John Newton Rippey, (interim) 1904
Edward Wilson Averill, 1904-1923
Louis Niccola Rocca, 1923-1930
Joseph William Gubbins (interim), 1931
Charles Noyes Tyndell, 1931-1932
James McNeal Wheatley, 1932-1947
Peter Langendorff (interim), 1947
George Bartlett Wood, 1947-1971
Chandler Corydon Randall, 1971-1988
David Gurniak (interim), 1988-1990
Frank Hazlett Moss III, 1990-1999
Henrietta Brandt Lavengood (interim), 2000
Rebecca Ferrell Nickel, 2001-2004
Robert Askren (interim), 2004-2006
Thomas Parker Hansen, 2006-2016
T. J. Freeman, 2017-
John D. Beatty, Beyond These Stones: A History of Trinity Episcopal Church, Fort Wayne, Indiana. Fort Wayne: Trinity Episcopal Church, 1994.