Rev. Hugh Edsall of St. Michael and All Angels, South Bend, and Holy Family, Angola1 media/Rev Hugh Edsall_thumb.JPG 2020-10-19T07:13:40-07:00 John David Beatty 85388be94808daa88b6f1a0c89beb70cd0fac252 32716 2 Rev. Hugh Edsall of St. Michael and All Angels, South Bend, and Holy Family, Angola plain 2020-10-19T07:14:35-07:00 John David Beatty 85388be94808daa88b6f1a0c89beb70cd0fac252
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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. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church, South Bend
St. Michael and All Angels was founded in South Bend in 1956, when Bishop Reginald Mallett gave his house at the corner of Jefferson and Ironwood to become a new mission for the Cathedral. The church was formed in response to a request to have a mission serve South Bend residents living in the south and east of the city. To protect the Cathedral from losing too many members, Bishop Mallett set the boundaries for the new mission and ordered Cathedral parishioners living east of Miami Street, east of Twyckenham Drive, and west of Ironwood Drive to join the venture, cancelling their membership at the Cathedral. The Rev. Horace L. Varian of St. James, a former major in the 100th Bomb Group during World War II, was called to be its first vicar.
Much work had to be done to make the former residence into a church. Openings between the living and dining rooms and the center hall were made larger. Parishioners partitioned the sun room and draped it in order to turn it into a sacristy. Varian took up residence on the second floor with a living room, kitchenette, bedroom and bath.The remodeling cost $2,500.
Response to the new mission proved strong from the beginning. When Varian conducted the first service on 28 October 1956, fourteen attended at 7:30 and 176 at 9 A.M. Many parishioners donated items for the church, such as candlesticks, vases, a missal stand, a chalice, paten, and a paschal candle. The church house quickly exceeded its capacity, and the Cathedral made plans in 1957 to build a church while at the same time granting St. Michael parish status. Varian was forced out as priest in 1958 for sexual misconduct and defrocked the following year by Bishop Mallett.
On 29 September 1959, under the leadership of the Rev. Dwight Filkins, church leaders broke ground for a modern, rectangular-shaped building at 2117 East Jefferson Boulevard under a design by Charles Palmer of the architectural firm of Andrew Toth. Many parishioners contributed or manufactured items for the new building. A crucifix hung over the altar was carved by the Italian artist Aldo Tambolini, then on the staff of the University of Notre Dame. Several rectors followed Filkins, including Charles Dibble, George V. Johnson, and Hugh C. Edsall. During this time the vestry negotiated plans to build a rectory, and in 1964 it agreed to pay Glenn Nunemaker, a parishioner, $20,800 to construct it. Edsall, who arrived in 1963, was a popular priest but resigned from the parish abruptly in 1969 when he divorced his first wife and married a parishioner.
During the 1980s and 1990s, the parish experienced considerable growth under the leadership of the Rev. Dabney Smith. The parish attracted as members a number of faculty on the staff of the University of Notre Dame. In 1997, a new edifice was built at 53720 Ironwood, south of Cleveland Road. The contemporary-styled church was designed by the South Bend architectural firm of Mathews-Purucker-Anella and featured a high-vaulted ceiling with extensive windows and seating for 325. Perhaps its most striking feature was its baptismal font of grey slate, deep enough for full immersion for infants and a wading pool for adults. The font reflected evolving views about how baptisms should be performed at this time and the sacramental value of full immersion. Bishop Gray consecrated the building on 14 September 1997 and baptized his grandson at the service. The new church also featured a 16th-century stained glass window from a country church in France, which was placed near the font. A second phase of construction brought more classroom and kitchen space to what was arguably the most contemporary-designed church edifice in the diocese.
Beginning in 2009, the parish was ably served by the Rev. Matthew Cowden, who was elected Bishop Cadjutor of the Diocese of West Virginia in 2021. The congregation sponsors a free lunch program and partners with the Food Bank of Northern Indiana to provide food to the needy.
Horace Lytton Varian, 1956-1958
Dwight A. Filkins, 1958-1961
George V. Johnson, 1962-1963
Hugh Crichton Edsall, 1963-1969
Paul Edward Leatherbury, 1969-1986
Dabney Smith, 1989-1998
M. Randall Melton, 1999-2008
Matthew D. Cowden, 2009-2021
Mark Van Wassenhove (interim), 2022-
Rev. Hugh Crichton Edsall
The Rev. Hugh C. Edsall was born in Princeton, New Jersey, on 20 May 1931, the son of Preston William and Katherine Crichton (Alston) Edsall. He was a graduate of Swarthmore College and General Theological Seminary, and was ordained to the priesthood in 1956. He married first Margaret Katherine Edsall (no relation) on 8 June 1953He began his career as an assistant priest at St. Martin's Parish in Charlotte, North Carolina, and followed this post as an assistant at the Church of the Redeemer in Sarasota, Florida. He came to the Diocese of Northern Indiana in 1959, when he became rector of Trinity Church in Logansport. In 1961, Bishop Mallett assigned him to Holy Family in Angola and the short-lived St. Charles the Martyr Church in Butler. He stayed at this post until 1963, when he became rector of St. Michael and All Angels Parish in South Bend, a growing and important parish in the diocese. He remained there until 1969, when he divorced his first wife and married a parishioner, Judith Louise Loeser, on 12 September 1969 in Ligonier. He was not deposed for the divorce, since canon law had become more tolerant by this date, but he did resign from the parish and move Asheville, North Carolina, as rector of the Church of the Redeemer. He retired from active ministry in 2007 and left the Episcopal Church, becoming a Roman Catholic and a member of St. Anastasia Catholic Church. He died in St. Augustine, Florida, on 5 May 2013.