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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
Errol Montgomery, 2001-2006
Larry Biller, 2007-
Rev. Edgar Morris Thompson
The Rev. Edgar M. Thompson was born in Gainesville, Alabama, on 13 November 1862, the son of Joseph D. and Mary Ann (__) Thompson. He came to Cincinnati, Ohio, with his parents in his youth and was enumerated on the census there in 1870. He attended Western Theological Seminary and was ordained a deacon in 1894 and a priest in 1895. He began his career in the Chicago area, serving as an assistant at All Saints Church in Ravenswood in 1896 and at St. John's in Irving Park from 1894 to 1896. He came to Goshen, Indiana, in 1901 and served as rector of St. James until 1904. By 1910 he was in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, and in 1920 in Brooklyn, New York. He traveled overseas several times and died in Brooklyn on 4 September 1927. He was buried in Wesleyan Cemetery, Cincinnati.