This page is referenced by:
media/St John of the Cross, Bristol, Feb 2016.jpg
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
media/St Pauls Mishawaka exterior 7 Jun 2015.jpg
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
media/St John the Evangelist exterior, 27 Sep 2015.jpg
St. John the Evangelist Episcopal Church, Elkhart
The Episcopal Church in the town of Elkhart can trace its roots to the 1840s when three couples - Dr. Joseph Chamberlain and wife Caroline, Eliel Farr and wife Jane, and Chester Gore and wife Rheuanna - began holding prayer services using the Book of Common Prayer in their homes. They never formed a congregation, but in 1849, Bishop George Upfold visited Elkhart and held services in the Presbyterian Church. "At this public service," wrote the Rev. William Galpin, "very few knew how to make the responses, and to make the worship more hearty, the Bishop, before beginning, explained the service and then placed the prayer books he carried about with him on his missionary visits, in the hands of certain persons, and stationed them in various parts of the church, while all who could gathered about these persons and looked on with them. Thus the chants and prayers of the church were heard for the first time by any considerable number in this place."
During the 1850s, Upfold continued to make regular visits, as did several local clergy, including the Rev. Albert Bingham of Lima, the Rev. Henry M. Thompson of Bristol, and the Rev. Joseph Adderly, also of Bristol. However, no church was officially organized. Clearly interested in the town as a potential site for a church, Upfold remarked in his 1858 convention address that he had again visited Elkhart and that it had been occasionally visited by Bingham throughout the year.
Following the Civil War three local women, Ellen Augusta Mead, Ellen Mary Mabley, and Eliza Cornish, began making a trip every Sunday to visit either Bristol or Mishawaka for church services. Bishop Joseph Talbot took notice and in 1867 urged the ailing Bishop Upfold to appoint the Rev. Martin Van Buren Averill to establish a church in town. A register of baptisms was first kept in June of that year, and Averill conducted services at various sites, including Conley's Hall on Main Street. He organized a ladies' society, later known as St. John's Ladies Guild, to help raise money for a church.
Averill led the organization of St. John's Episcopal Church on 1 May 1868, with Benjamin Turnock and John Bostwick elected as the first wardens. The name had been chosen by secret ballot at a parish supper. Men and women brought sealed envelopes with their choices of names, and St. John's proved the overwhelming favorite. In 1869, the congregation under Averill's leadership arranged for the purchase of a lot at Third and Lexington streets. Two parishioners, Judge Oliver H. Main and Benjamin Turlock, gave their personal notes for the purchase and borrowed the money from Judge Howe of Lima. With the occasional help of the congregation, the men paid the notes back with interest, with Howe agreeing to donate $100 toward the lot.
Even before an edifice could be built, the congregation purchased an organ for its worship services in Conley's Hall, replacing a melodeon that was previously in use. Instead of securing a reed organ, they purchased a pipe organ to be used in the church whenever it was built. It was the first such organ in Elkhart and attracted much interest in the community. However, the effort to build a church languished. Averill left in 1870 and his successor, the Rev. Richard Totten, failed to generate enough interest.
Then in 1873, after the election of the Rev. Addis E. Bishop as rector, the congregation broke ground for a new building and completed it the same year. Bishop "soon aroused the people to the need of erecting a new church," and the parish regained the initiative begun under Averill's tenure. The rector worked side by side members of the congregation, carrying lumber and brick in order to complete the building. He donated one of the stained three glass windows out of his personal funds. This small rectangular wood-frame chapel served the parish for the next twelve years, during which time thirteen priests served as rector. Although the rapid turnover did little to promote stability, it improved when the Rev. Franklin Adams arrived in 1887. He stayed four years and completed construction of a rectory.
Realizing that a better church was needed, the vestry developed new construction plans immediately after the arrival of the Rev. William Galpin of Michigan in 1894. Galpin appointed a building committee to begin raising the necessary funds. In 1895, construction began on the present edifice in an elaborate Gothic Revival style under a design by local architect A. H. Elwood. Nicknamed "the Tower," the church became identified regionally as one of the most ornate and outstanding examples of that style. The first service was held on 5 July 1896, even while construction was still underway. The nave was completed in August. Bishop John Hazen White consecrated the building on 11 June 1902, once it was out of debt.
The twentieth century brought many changes to the parish. Under the rectorship of William Wesley Daup in 1918, St. John's constructed a new rectory. The Rev. Walter Lockton arrived in 1920 and served 17 years, taking an active role in the diocese. The Rev. Leslie Skerry Olsen, a native of Colorado and a graduate of Seabury-Western Theological Seminary, took charge in 1943 and had another long rectorate of 14 years. During this time the parish grew to more than 1,000 communicants. In 1953-54, the parish constructed an addition with classrooms, offices, and a common room.
Olsen was succeeded by the Rev. Carl H. Richardson in 1957. An army reserve officer, Richardson served 17 years, during which time the parish established St. David's as a mission in 1964. Richardson died suddenly in 1974 and was succeeded by the Rev. John Thomas, a popular rector who served until 1981. Tall and imposing in stature, Thomas and his wife established a popular vacation Bible school and hosted a diocesan convention. His successor, the Rev. Howard Keyse, led a renovation of the chancel and the installation of a new Casavant organ in 1983. He left in 1986 to become rector of St. Ann Church in Woodstock, Illinois.
St. John's has worked with choral interns from the University of Notre Dame's Sacred Music Program to provide outstanding liturgies for the congregation. Keyse's successor, the Rev. Richard Kallenberg, arrived in 1987 and oversaw other renovations. Kallenberg was an unsuccessful candidate for bishop in 2000, when Bishop Gray retired. The parish was later served by the Rev. Daniel Repp and most recently, the Rev. Terri Peterson, who was originally trained and ordained as a Lutheran pastor.
Martin Van Buren Averill, 1867-1870
Richard Totten, 1870-1871
Addis Emmett Bishop, 1873-1875
Gustav Arnold Carstensen, 1876-1877
Erasmus Jurian Hopman Van Deerlin, 1877-1878
Moses Clement Stanley, 1879-1880
Gustav Edmond Purucker, 1882
Erasmus Jurian Hopman Van Deerlin, 1883-1884
Augustine Prentiss, 1884
Samuel Franklin Myers, 1885-1886
Franklin White Adams, 1887-1891
Stephen Elliott Prentiss, 1891-1892
John Frederick Milbank, 1893
William Freeman Galpin, 1894-1903
Richard Rathbone Graham, 1903-1906
Charles Silas Champlin, 1906-1910
Llewellyn Burton Hastings, 1910-1913
William Wesley Daup, 1913-1919
Walter Jay Lockton, 1920-1937
Virgil Pierce Stewart, 1937-1942
Reginald Williams, 1942-1943
Leslie Skerry Olsen, 1943-1957
Carl Hazard Richardson, 1957-1974
John W. Thomas, 1974-1981
Howard Richard Keyse, 1981-1986
Richard A. Kallenberg, 1987-2008
Daniel S. Repp, 2009-2016
Terri L. Peterson, 2017-
John A. Cawley and Robert Meacham, Centuries of Witness: One Hundred & Fifty Years of Christian Witness in Elkhart (Elkhart: Episcopal Church of St. John the Evangelist, 1995).
Parish Register 1, 1868-1893
Parish Register 2, 1893-1902
Parish Register 3, 1902-1918
Parish Register 4, 1914-1931
Parish Register 5, 1931-1943
Parish Register 6, 1943-1953
Parish Register 7, 1953-1978, Communicants
Burial Register, 1955-1982
Confirmation Register, 1952-1973
Baptismal Register, 1953-1964
Marriage Register, 1940-1968
Rev. Moses Clement Stanley
St. Paul's Mishawaka, 1874-1876; St. John's Bristol, 1877-1881
The Rev. Moses Clement Stanley was born 11 January 1826 in New Hampshire, the son of John Allen and Elizabeth (Clatterbuck) Stan(d)ley. He married Sarah Peabody Pease on 24 June 1849. He was ordained to the diaconate in 1874 and served St. Paul's Mishawaka from 1874 to 1876. He then moved to St. John's, Bristol, where he served from 1877 to 1881, serving concurrently as rector of St. John's, Elkhart. In 1880 he resided in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and in 1900 in Detroit. He died in Detroit on 8 August 1904 and was buried in Ann Arbor.