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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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St. Christopher's Episcopal Church, Crown Point
St. Christopher's Episcopal Church, Crown Point, was organized as a diocesan mission in 1958 with a building erected at 12718 Marshall Street. Prior to 1958, Episcopalians in Crown Point had to travel north to Gary, Hobart, Hammond, or Valparaiso to attend weekly Eucharist. At that time there were at least twelve Episcopalian families in Crown Point. On Easter weekend 1958, those families petitioned Bishop Reginald Mallet to explore the possibility of establishing a church in the seat of Lake County. Bishop Mallet did not initially embrace this church planting for fear that the challenge was too large. However, the will of the people was strong, and they persevered.
On August 3, 1958, more than 90 people attended an organizing meeting across the street from the old Methodist Church in Dr. Grey's office to form the church. A few weeks later another meeting in Durfee's side yard was held to establish the name of St. Christopher’s. On September 7, 1958, the first service was held in the Methodist Church on Main Street. 124 people attended the service, and 87 received communion. 47 children joined the Sunday school, which had six teachers, one of whom was Leslie (Les) Heckel. Les remained a beloved member of St. Christopher’s until his death in 2011.
From the first organizing meeting, the membership of St. Christopher’s was eager for its own church. At the time, Richard Banser worked for Henderlong Lumber Company. During a hunting trip with his boss and friend, Arnold, Banser learned that the property where the church now resides was for sale. The church community quickly started saving money and was able to successfully purchase the property.
In the meantime, the church held services each Sunday in the Methodist Church. Despite being a newly-formed congregation, music was a priority from its beginning. In fact, for almost the first year of worship the members carried their own organ in and out of the Methodist Church each Sunday. On the first anniversary in 1959, St. Christopher welcomed its first rector, the Rev. Leslie C. Howell.
Mrs. Banser, president of St. Christopher's Women's Auxiliary, served at the anniversary celebration's "beautifully decorated tea table." Mrs. Banser has since passed, but her husband, Dick, still served on the vestry and attended 9 a.m. Sunday services and weekday Eucharist for many years afterward.
While the church was growing stronger, its members were also preparing for the future. In December 1961, the congregation broke ground for its current building on Marshall Street. Banser recalled that it was a bitter cold and blustery day with snow "up to the armpits." The weather didn’t slow them down. They marched all around the property, acolytes and all, to consecrate the land that would be the foundation for their new church home. He fondly remembered the nearly frozen fingers and toes from that worship service.
The following spring, the basement and foundations were poured. Since the founders were eager to avoid debt, they built the church as time and resources allowed. Services were held in the basement for more than a year before the upstairs space was ready for worship. The building itself, as it was constructed, followed a popular style of the time called the Cuckler design. The altar, which is still used today, was built by Wilbur Husemann. The men of the church installed and finished the hardwood floors themselves. The pews were purchased from a church in La Porte and had been stored in Miller’s barn prior to being cleaned and prepared for their current home. Eleanor Miller hand-stitched all of the altar linens.
Since the Rev. Leslie Howell, St. Christopher’s has welcomed a succession of talented priests, including the Rev. Thomas Ray in 1960; the Rev. Charles Dibble from 1964 to 1971; the Rev. William R. Hull from 1971 to 1978 (named the first rector in 1977); and the Rev. Patrick Heiligstedt from 1979 to 1996. The congregation built a rectory in which two different priests in succession lived before it was sold in the 1990s. In 1996, the Rev. Col. Ronald R. Baskin assisted. After Heiligsted retired, the Rev. George Minnix served as priest from 1996 to 2001.
At the turn of the millennium, the Rev. Spencer Thiel joined the church and remained priest-in-charge until 2014. In 2011, Thiel welcomed Michael Dwyer to serve as a deacon, enabling him to prepare for his ordination as a priest. Dwyer became the priest-in-charge of the Calumet Episcopal Ministry Partnership (CEMP), which St. Christopher joined in June 2015.
Leslie Charles Howell, 1959-1961
Thomas Kreider Ray, 1961-1964
Charles Ralph Dibble, 1964-1971
William Russell Hull, 1971-1978
Patrick Charles Heiligstedt, 1979-1996
Ronald Russell Baskin, 1996
George Myers Minnix, 1996-2001
Spencer Thiel, 2001-2016
Michelle I. Walker, 2015-2020 (CEMP)
Kristine Graunke, 2015-2020 (CEMP)
Michael Dwyer, 2016-2018 (CEMP)
Pamela Thiede, 2020- (CEMP)
Cynthia Moore, 2020-2021 (CEMP)
Adapted from St. Christopher's website: http://www.calumetepiscopal.org/st-christopher/about.php
Rev. George Myers Minnix
The Rev. George Minnix was born in Elkhart, Indiana, on 22 April 1939, the son of Lloyd Zinn and Mariette Helen (Myers) Minnix. He graduated from Howe Military Academy and contuined to college at William and Mary, where he graduated in 1961. He then attended seminary at Nashotah House, from which he graduated in 1964. He was ordained by Bishop Klein in 1964. His first assignment was as vicar of Holy Family Church in Angola and the mission of St. Charles the Martyr, Butler. The latter closed, but he remained at Angola until 1969. He then moved to Howe to become chaplain at Howe Military School and later rector of St. Mark's in Lima from 1974 to 1986. He left active ministry briefly to serve as director of the Ruthmere House Museum in Elkhart, but then he accepted the rectorship of St. Christopher's in Crown Point, where he served from 1996 to 2001. Late in his career he served on the staff of St. Paul's Church in Mishawaka. He died in Elkhart on 29 August 2016 and was praised in his obituary as "a priest of profound faith, a pastor of immense compassion, and a fine teacher with a vast storehouse of knowledge in a variety of disciplines."