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St. Augustine's Episcopal Church, Gary
St. Augustine's is the only church in the Diocese of Northern Indiana with a predominantly African American congregation and the only one in the state founded specifically as a so-called "Colored Episcopal Mission." The convention journal of May 1928 reported that the Rev. James E. Foster, rector of Christ Church, Gary, received permission from Bishop Campbell Gray "to hold services therein for Colored people of the city, who have become residents of that section. The work has been so successful and the services so well attended by those who are found to be communicants of the Church that a mission has been established for them under the name of St. Augustine's, which promises well for the future."
The roots of the congregation go back as far as June 1919, when the Parochial Committee of Christ Church in Gary planned a survey to address the spiritual needs of the 8,000-10,000 African Americans living in Gary, many of whom had no church affiliation. However, the survey was never undertaken. The idea for a mission devoted to Gary's African Americans germinated again in 1923. Several families at the time attended services at the predominantly white Christ Church Gary, including Mrs. Frederick Stovall, J. W. Lewis, and Mrs. Anna Washington. The three spoke to Foster about about organizing some missionary work for the church on the south side of the city. That same year, Foster, who was an unorthodox and liberal pastor with strong egalitarian views, arranged to provide regular services to African Americans in Sunday afternoons in Christ Church. The prejudices of the time did not allow the races to worship together, but in Christ Church that feeling may have stemmed more from the congregation than from Foster himself. The following year, the Rev. D. E. Johnson, an African American Episcopal priest, attempted to locate potential members and organize a congregation, but his efforts were unsuccessful.
The momentum for a new church continued. In the autumn of 1926, a group of African Americans gathered at the home of Dr. George Gonsalves to assess the feasibility of establishing a black mission. They included A. J. Butler, Ernestine Lawson, Dr. R. O. Munden, Samuel and Salona Sexton, attorney F. Louis Sperling, Marion Warner, and Anna Washington. Others joined the group later, including Florence "Flossie" Alexander, Cecil and Jennie Kellogg, Frances J. Stovall, Leroy W. Wallace, James Whittier, and Mary Williams.
In February 1927. Leroy W. Wallace called on Foster to assist with the formal organization of a mission on the south side of the city using the building at 19th and Adams streets formerly known as the San Antonio Italian Mission. After a meeting led by Sperling, Mrs. Alexander, and Foster, the group requested the assistance of Bishop Campbell Gray, who agreed immediately to provide the congregation with a priest and a place to worship. As a consequence of that meeting, the congregation held its first official service at Christ Church on May 8, 1927. After it was formally granted mission status later that year, St. Augustine's 30 communicants moved into the former San Antonio's building, which had since been resurfaced in brick. At the suggestion of Mrs. Washington, the membership selected "St. Augustine," the name of her college in Raleigh, North Carolina, as the mission's name.
While many African Americans had come to Gary during the Great Migration to work in the steel mills, St. Augustine's members consisted largely of the upper middle and professional classes. The membership hailed from across the country: Philadelphia, North Carolina, St. Louis, and the Caribbean, among other places, and many had grown up in the Episcopal Church. The new mission gained a local reputation as the "professional church" among African Americans. Some members were physicians or worked on the hospital staff, while many others were educators.
St. Augustine's struggled initially to provide regular services and was served by a series of part-time supply priests. Foster's main responsibilities were with Christ Church, and early on he recruited the pastoral assistance of the Rev. Legh Applegate, a retired missionary priest who attended Christ Church. In 1934 Foster and Applegate handed the mission over to a series of part-time priests that included the Revs. Peter Langendorff, James A. Hilton of Valparaiso, Haven Perkins, and William Driver. These priests were ably assisted by a corps of lay readers that included Fritz Alexander, Herbert Holliday, Gaston Saunders, William Swan, and G. Kenneth Washington.
These were challenging times, and the church was in poor condition after years of neglect. An article noted, "The ill-fitted plain glass windows admitted more than an ample supply of fresh air, especially in the winter, and the odor and smoke usually filling the church during the winter were the only indications that a fire was burning, for the heat apparently escaped to another location." G. Kenneth Washington, then a boy, purchased coal at a local coal yard and hauled it to church in his red wagon, starting a fire in the boiler so that it would be moderately warm on Sunday. Later, Fritz Alexander had the chore of bringing coal to church under the hood of his car and stoking the boiler to warm the church.
In 1939, Bishop Gray assigned several monks who had recently moved to Valparaiso - Dom Paul Severance, Dom Leo Patterson, and later Dom Francis Bacon of the order of St. Benedict - to take charge of the oversight of the church. Gray brought Patterson with him on his visitation on April 19, and for several months the monk took on the primary management of the mission. His sermons and rigorous liturgy were important to the formative years of the church. After Patterson left for East Chicago, Bacon assumed responsibility, making a number of improvements to the church. He instituted regular times of worship, installed new windows and Stations of the Cross, built a pulpit, and added a new electric organ. At his encouragement, parishioners made regular pledges, allowing the church to grow. The monks stayed with St. Augustine's until 1946, when they moved to Three Rivers, Michigan, to found St Gregory's Priory. The congregation commemorated their years of service by making annual visits to the priory through 2008.
The Rev. Charles Edward Taylor, the first African American priest called to St. Augustine's, succeeded the monks and served from 1947 to 1949. Ordained in 1944, he had served previously at All Saints Episcopal Church in Toledo, Ohio. After Taylor's departure, Langendorff returned to St. Augustine's to lead the congregation for a brief period. His expansive knowledge of the history and traditions of the church were major contributions to the communal worship of the congregation.
In 1951, the Rev. Wallace Lewis Wells, a member of the congregation, a former Methodist and educator, became vicar. A native of Texas and a visionary priest, he had completed his clerical training in middle age at Seabury Western Theological Seminary. Previously he had taught in the Gary school system. Wells rose to several positions of leadership in the diocese, including membership of the Diocesan Council and chair of the Department of Missions, and he was well-respected by Bishop Reginald Mallett, who praised St. Augustine's hospitality. His wife, Henrietta (Bell) Wells (1912-2008), was supervisor of the Welfare Department of Gary. She had been a member of the famed Wiley College debate team of 1930 (its only female member), which defeated many all-white teams of the period and was portrayed on-screen in "The Great Debaters," a 2007 film directed by and starring Denzel Washington.
Two years after Wells's arrival in July 1953, a group of parishioners went on a picnic to Marquette Park, a public beach that included bathing and playground facilities. While there, they were surrounded by a group of white hoodlums who threatened and harassed them. Wells and Clifford E. Minton, executive director of the Gary Urban League and later a parishioner, attempted to reason with the crowd without result. When the police arrived, they failed to intervene or defend the assaulted group, and after the parishioners left the beach, the police did little to respond to complaints. Bishop Mallett also said nothing publicly to support them. A second incident occurred when another group of racists deflated two tires of a parishioner's car at the beach, and in the ensuing confrontation, one of them hit a female parishioner. As a result Gary's mayor called for the full integration of the park, better training for police, and an end to harassment. St. Augustine's congregation therefore played a role in the civil rights movement as it developed in Gary.
Wells's service to St. Augustine's was memorable, and the church experienced considerable growth under his leadership. He led the construction of the present church at 2425 West 19th Avenue in 1959 and helped it achieve parish status in 1961. Previously, when church leaders had inquired about purchasing a pipe organ fr their old church, the sales representative had suggested they commission the renowned Mid-Century Modern architect, Edward D. Dart, to design a new building for the instrument. They commissioned Dart, who had designed many post-war houses in the suburban Chicago area, and he returned an initial design with elaborate stained glass windows that far exceeded the church's $120,000 budget. Bishop Reginald Mallett refused initially to offer any diocesan funds for its construction, stating that it was "too ambitious" for a black congregation. He urged Wells and his congregation to remain in their dilapidated building, but the congregation disagreed and moved forward with the plans anyway, eventually receiving some diocesan assistance of about $2,500 per year. Henrietta Wells was closely involved with the design plans.
After being informed that the congregation preferred a more minimalist design at a reduced cost, Dart drafted a new plan that used Indiana limestone, wood, and small clerestory windows. He intended his design of its roof line to resemble hands in prayer. The congregation broke ground in 1958 and held the first service in the new church in April 1959. Mallett consecrated it on May 8. The following year Dart received a citation of merit from the Chicago Chapter of the American Institute of Architects and the Chicago Association of Commerce and Industry for his unique design. A second award came from the Church Architectural Guild.
Having transformed St. Augustine's in his twelve years as rector, Wells resigned on September 1, 1963, to accept a call to St. Luke's Church in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Rev. Robert Earl Hood succeeded him on November 17, 1963. Born in 1936, Hood had attended Ohio Wesleyan University and Union Theological Seminary and was ordained to the priesthood in 1962. He was working on his doctorate at the University of Chicago at the time of his arrival and agreed to serve until his education was completed. An innovative leader, he did much to attune St. Augustine's to the social changes of the sixties while also introducing an expansive program of music and art to the church and community. During his tenure the Moeller organ was dedicated in a recital by Alec Wyton of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City. The parish chapter of Episcopal Church Women began staging an annual fashion show with clothing from a local boutique and receiving attention in the local press. In 1967, Hood left to pursue an academic career and became a member of the faculty of Union Theological Seminary in New York City. He would later work as an assistant to Bishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa. He was the author of the book, Begrimed and Black: Christian Traditions on Black and Blackness. At the time of his death in 1994, he was director of the Center for African-American Studies at Adelphi University in New York City.
In January 1968, St. Augustine's congregation welcomed its third rector, the Rev. William James Walker. He had grown up in the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church but was ordained in 1962 in the Episcopal Church, serving first as an assistant at Grace Episcopal Church in Detroit. He was a scholar and a noted authority on African American hymnody. While at St. Augustine's, he introduced the wide usage of Negro Spirituals into the services, but he remained in Gary only through December 1969. He moved later to All Saints Episcopal Church in St. Louis, where he spoke out in 1975 against the ordination of women to the priesthood. Three years later he authored the booklet, Word, Bread, Cup, which offered trial ecumenical communion liturgies in the period leading up to the adoption of a new prayerbook in 1979. He later moved to Detroit to become rector of St. Cyprian's Episcopal Church and died there suddenly of a heart attack in 1987.
Walker's successor, the Rev. Joseph Walter Riggs, became rector in September 1970. A native of Chicago, Riggs, who was white, had been ordained in 1968 and was just 29, having previously served as curate of Gethsemane Church in Marion. A gentle man who opposed the Vietnam War, he imbued the parish with his spirituality. The church mortgage was burned during his tenure. New stained glass windows designed by City Glass Specialty of Fort Wayne, were installed in 1974. Riggs served as rector until August 1975, when he left to become rector of St. John's Episcopal Church in Lafayette. He later became director of Episcopal Community Services for the Diocese of Indianapolis from 1977 to 1980 and died in Indianapolis in 1983 at the age of 42 after years of being a heavy smoker.
During the interim after Riggs's departure, the Rev. C. Richard Phelps, an established diocesan priest, served briefly as priest-in-charge until the parish called the Rev. James D. Manning as rector in 1976. Manning, an African American and a bachelor, was a native of Washington, D.C., born in 1937. He had attended California State University at San Jose and received his M.Div. degree from the Church Divinity School of the Pacific in 1972. He had served as vicar of the Church of St. Augustine and St. Martin in Boston before arriving in Gary. His rectorate is remembered for his ability to blend humor with rigorous interpretations of the customs and traditions of the church. He later became rector of St. Mary the Virgin Episcopal Church in Baltimore, St. Gabriel's Church in Hollis, New York, and interim rector of St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Rosedale, New York, where he died in 2011.
In November 1983, the Rev. H. Roy Thompson became rector, and his seminary training led him to place strong emphasis on the use of traditional Anglican liturgy in worship. Thompson had attended Codrington College in Barbados and was ordained at St. John's Church there in 1969. He arrived in Gary with his wife Yvette and their two children and took an early interest in missionary outreach. In 1988 he visited the companion diocese of Enugu in Nigeria. He left St. Augustine's in July 1989 to become rector of St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Flatbush, New York.
Two years later in October 1991, the Rev. Canon David L. Hyndman became rector of St. Augustine's and remains its longest-tenured pastor. A 1964 graduate of Seabury-Western Theological seminary, Hyndman had been ordained in Christ Church, Gary, and had ties to the city. For 25 years he had served as vicar of All Saints Wawasee, a ministry that had included leading an annual summer camp by the lake. At St. Augustine's he oversaw many interior and exterior improvements to the building and grounds. The edifice became the first of Edward Dart's commissioned designs to be listed the National Register of Historic Places. Nominated by a parishioner, the church was listed on September 18, 2013. At that time, St. Augustine's was Gary's only postwar modern church structure.
Through the years the congregation supported a variety of activities and outreach projects in the community surrounding the church. Parishioner Charlotte Strowhorn, who held many diocesan offices, played an instrumental role in creating Camp New Happenings, a diocesan-sponsored event at Camp Alexander Mack in Milford. Designed for children aged 8 to 11, it serves those whose parents or caregivers have been incarcerated. Another outreach project is the Martha Mansker Food Baskets. In the 1970s, Mrs. Mansker, a social worker, began collecting canned goods for clients. Her fellow choir members joined the project and expanded it. Now known officially as Martha Mansker Food Baskets, the congregation continues to give it support as an outreach project.
In 2016, after the consecration of Douglas Sparks as the diocese's eighth bishop, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry came to St. Augustine's at his his own request. As the first African American to head the Episcopal Church, he was intrigued by the history of the parish and wanted to experience it first-hand. He preached, celebrated communion, and afterwards met with members of the congregation.
Two years later in September 2018, Hyndman retired, and the congregation was thankful for his leadership and spiritual guidance. St. Augustine's was invited to join the Calumet Episcopal Ministry Partnership (CEMP) in the summer of 2018. Under this arrangement several parishes in the Calumet area shared the services of a priest as a means of addressing both a shortage of clergy and a shortage of funds. With this partnership of churches, St. Augustine's headed into the future with faith and hope that it would continue to be a concrete reality in the community for what God has planned in His love.Additional information from Paula DeBois, Parish Historian, 2019.
James Edward Foster, 1927-1934
Peter Langendorff, 1934-1936
James Arthur Hilton, 1936-1938
Haven Palmer Perkins, 1936-1939
William Aaron Driver, 1938-1939
Dom Paul Frank Rolland Severance,1939-1940
Dom Francis Hilary Bacon, 1940-1945
Dom Leo Kenneth Douglas Patterson, 1945-1947
Charles Edward Taylor, 1947-1949
Peter Langendorff, 1949-1951
Wallace Lewis Wells, 1951-1963
Dr. Robert Earl Hood, 1964-1967
William James Walker, 1967-1969
Joseph Walter Riggs, 1970-1975
Cecil Richard Phelps, 1975-1976
James Donald Manning, 1976-1982
Henderson Aaron Fitz-Roy Thompson, 1983-1989
David Lee Hyndman, 1991-2018
Michelle I. Walker, 2018-2020 (CEMP)
Kristine Graunke, 2018-2020 (CEMP)
Pamela Thiede, 2020- (CEMP)
Cynthia Moore, 2020-2021 (CEMP)
Text adapted from St. Augustine's website: http://calumetepiscopal.org/st-augustine/about.php
Mrs. Childress interview
Organ Concert Program, 1967
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Trinity Episcopal Church, Michigan City
Trinity Episcopal Church, Michigan City, is officially the second oldest congregation in the Diocese of Northern Indiana. It was actually the first to be established in 1837, but through a technicality in its first year its official organization was delayed until after St. Paul's Mishawaka had been organized.
In the 1830s, pioneers, adventurers, and entrepreneurs began arriving at the new town named Michigan City, platted at the end of the Michigan Road near Lake Michigan. The new road that began at Madison, Indiana, was fulfilling its purpose of encouraging settlers to move from southern Indiana into the scarcely-populated northern part of the state. In 1830, Isaac C. Elston, a real estate speculator, purchased land at the mouth of Trail Creek as the site of his town, which was called Michigan City. In 1832 only one cabin stood, but by 1833 enough settlers had arrived to hold an election for a justice of the peace and to name a postmaster. The stage coach ran through the town three times each week, bringing new residents. In 1834, Charles Cleaver stayed in the local tavern and wrote that in Michigan City, “the buildings consisted of one small brick tavern, a frame one opposite, a blacksmith shop, and half dozen houses built in, on, above and below the sand. It then contained about fifty inhabitants.” However, no church had yet been built. With few people living in the area between Niles, Michigan, South Bend, Indiana, and Michigan City, there were few resources to support a church. Those few clergy who had moved to the area traveled frequently to serve the needs of the new settlers.
The first Episcopal Church service held at Michigan City occurred in October 1834, when the Rev. Palmer Dyer preached what is considered the first sermon in town. However, Bishop Philander Chase is given more formal credit for getting church services going. Chase, formerly Bishop of Ohio, had settled with his family for a time on a farm near Niles, Michigan. In the same month that Dyer preached, Chase visited the town and recorded in his diary that he “stopped in Michigan City, read the service, visited with a few people, drove through the sand dunes along the lake, and in the evening again read the service.” By this date there were about 700 residents. A few months later in 1835, Chase was elected Bishop of Illinois. On his way to Illinois from Niles, he again stopped in Michigan City and recorded the event in his diary: “Preached the first sermon ever delivered there from an Episcopal minister. This was in a large schoolhouse well filled with attentive auditors.”
With a lack of clergy from its inception, Michigan City's community of Episcopalians depended on the work of its faithful members reading Morning Prayer. The first recorded communicants who arrived in 1835 included Dr. H. T. Maxon and Schuyler Pulford, who later served as wardens and vestrymen of the fledgling church. Arrangements were made with the Rev. Joseph Selkrig, missionary at Niles, Michigan, to travel periodically to serve the spiritual needs of the new community. On December 11, 1835, he held services in the building used by the growing congregation as the first church in Michigan City. This structure was located at the corner of Fourth and Pine streets and housed the congregation until 1858.
In 1836 Michigan City was incorporated as a city, and the pioneer Episcopalians organized themselves under the name of “Church of the Advent.” Records show that there were twelve communicants. Due to a conflict with state law it was necessary for the congregation to organize again, and the name was changed to “Trinity Protestant Episcopal Church.” Shortly afterward in 1837, the Rt. Rev. Jackson Kemper, Missionary Bishop of the Northwest, visited the newly-named parish. With his encouragement, the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society of New York sent the Rev. Daniel Van Mater Johnson to do missionary work, becoming the town's first settled priest on February 1, 1838. In his first report to the society he wrote: “The large room which the congregation has neatly fitted up is almost full of attentive listeners to the preached gospel.” Regular participation in the sacraments thus began with the first baptism in February 1838, the first marriage in April, and the first confirmation in January 1839. After two years the society concluded that its aid was no longer necessary and that Trinity could be self-supporting.
The history of Michigan City and that of Trinity Episcopal Church are inseparably intertwined. The strength and prominence of the church was due to the faithful service of its wardens and vestry, many of whom were also civic leaders. Zebina Gould, the first Senior Warden in 1837, also served as the city harbor wheat inspector for the growing shipping industry. T. B. W. Stockton, Samuel Mower, Charles Palmer, and H. I. Rees all served as early mayors. Augustus Barber was an early postmaster and city treasurer. Urial C. Follet also served for many years as treasurer.
More than any other lay leader, Follet had the most significant influence on the growth and development of Trinity Church. He served for 25 years as a vestrymen from 1849 to 1862, and again from 1864 to 1872. He served as Senior Warden for 24 years in 1863 and from 1872 to 1896. His generosity made the present endowment fund possible. In spite of the tragic loss of all three of his children, his faith endured. The memorial gift of the white marble baptismal font in honor of his children is used to this day. He led the parish through the Civil War, economic depressions, and panics, as well as through the industrial growth of Michigan City. During his years of leadership, Trinity had 15 rectors, and two churches were built.
By mid-century, the pioneer church on Pine Street was no longer adequate to meet the needs of the congregation or the growing importance of the Episcopal church in the social and political life of the city. The rector at this time was the Rev. Caleb A. Bruce, formerly rector of Trinity Fort Wayne, who in his long career built six new churches from Michigan to Arkansas. Under the patriarchal leadership of Zebina Gould and Urial Follet, the vestry resolved to seek subscriptions for a new church. The congregation acquired the property at the corner of Sixth and Franklin streets, essentially the geographic center of the town. A new wood frame church was built in the prevailing architectural style of the time called “Carpenter Gothic.” It was a demonstrative statement of the church’s prominence in the community.
The fortunes of Trinity Church rose with the growth and development of Michigan City as both a port of commerce and an industrial manufacturing site. The largest and most significant industry was the manufacture of railroad cars by the Barker and Haskell Company. Three generations of the Barker family left their imprint on Trinity as major patrons. The marriage of John Barker Sr. and his wife Cordelia in 1841 was one of the first recorded at Trinity. Both his son, the industrialist John H. Barker, and his granddaughter, Catherine Barker Hickox, donated buildings and many improvements to the property at 6th and Franklin streets.
Success as an industrialist did not insulate the younger John Barker from personal tragedy, when his three children by his first wife all died in infancy. The construction of the first Barker Hall, a building attached to the church, became his memorial to his children. It served the congregation as both community center and school with classrooms and an auditorium.
During the 30 years between 1858 and 1888, the Trinity Church congregation experienced a six-fold growth. Under the continuing leadership of Follet as Senior Warden and the influence of Barker and banker W.W. Vail as vestrymen, the old wooden church was deemed no longer adequate in size or style for the congregation. In 1889 the third Trinity church seating 450 was built of Indiana limestone. Designed by Chicago architect Henry Starbuck in the Romanesque Revival architectural style, it matched the grandeur of any Chicago building of its day.
In 1898 the Diocese of Indiana was divided with the northern portion of the state becoming a separate diocese. The vestry, under the continued leadership and financial backing of Barker, voted to offer Trinity as the cathedral church. Bishop John Hazen White took residence in the rectory as both rector of Trinity parish and the first bishop of the new Diocese of Michigan City. The Very Rev. Walter S. Howard served as the first dean and associate rector. In 1901, Barker, at his expense, replaced the old rectory with a grander eight-bedroom mansion as a residence for the bishop. In 1910 Mrs. Barker donated the Gothic arched cloister that connects the church to the bishop’s residence. However, changes in liturgical style and lay leadership brought conflict to Trinity parish. Bishop White was too High Church for the parish's taste, and the vestry demanded that the dean of the cathedral be Low Church against the bishop's wishes. Relations between the bishop and the vestry festered and eventually ruptured. John Barker died in 1911, and by 1918, Trinity's cathedral status had been revoked. The diocese was renamed Northern Indiana, though it had no designated cathedral at that time.
It is a testament to the spiritual fortitude of the Trinity congregation that in its first 100 years the parish thrived without clergy leadership for 15 years and nine months. Twenty-five rectors served Trinity with each staying an average of one year, nine months. Only five rectors served more than five years.
The 20th century brought stronger clergy leaders who served for much longer terms, resulting in congregational development. New buildings and renovations were added to the Trinity church complex. Lay leadership remained as a core strength of the congregation, with several parishioners serving multiple terms as senior warden. The beauty of the church and its worship services were enhanced through numerous furnishings, gifts, and memorials from parishioners. Ministries included choir and organ, Altar Guild, Acolytes, Youth Group, and Women of Trinity.
By the 1920s the congregation had outgrown the space provided by the first Barker Hall. The Rev. Earl Ray Hart coordinated the gift of a new Barker Hall, financed by the railroad car heiress Catherine Barker Hickox, daughter of John H. Barker. Her gift included a substantial endowment for the maintenance of the hall. The new facility was constructed in 1929 as a memorial to her father and his deceased children. Dedicated “for the use of the people,” the building became a social and cultural center for the entire community. Along with the “Great Hall.” meeting rooms, classrooms, and offices, a chapel expanded the opportunities for worship.
During the rectorship of the Rev. David Reid in 1956, significant alterations were made to the layout of the 67-year-old church in the name of modernization and to fit better with changes in liturgical style. Entrances were rearranged, the choir and organ were moved, and open arches were closed, changing the essential character of the sacred space. At that time, growth of Michigan City’s lakefront communities and a desire to offer alternative liturgical worship lead several Trinity’s lay leaders to found St. Andrews by the Lake Church.
The long rectorship of the Rev. Robert Center from 1964 to 1988 provided stability for the parish during the time when Michigan City was undergoing both economic and urban transformation. The departure of manufacturing industries, combined with the forces of urban renewal and changes in consumer shopping, left the historic center of the city with mostly empty storefronts. Trinity Church and Barker Hall were no longer at the cultural, social, and geographic center of the city, as new city development occurred to the south. Nonetheless, Trinity’s congregation supported extensive repairs and maintenance projects, including a new slate roof for the church. An additional endowment fund was established to support the ongoing maintenance of the church and rectory. Throughout the ten-year rectorship of Father Stephen Gerth, Trinity maintained its identity as a locus of traditional Anglo-Catholic worship.
In the twenty-first century, Trinity has been sustained by the faithful service of its lay leaders and the visiting ministry of the Rev. Canon Hugh Page Jr., Vice President of the University of Notre Dame. Recognizing its important role in servicing the community, Trinity leaders established a Food Pantry program, continued its Thrift Shop ministry, and hosted community events in Barker Hall.
As Michigan City heads into the third decade of the century, it is once again at the center of an urban development: Michigan City’s revitalizing Arts District. The beauty of Episcopal worship remains at the center of parish life. A youth music program provides spiritual growth and education for children. Service to neighbors continues to make Trinity integral to Michigan City community life. Under the guidance of dedicated wardens and vestry, and the ministry of Father Joseph Tamborini Czolgosz, Trinity remains a loving community dedicated to serving the spiritual, social, and cultural needs of Michigan City in the name of Jesus Christ.
Daniel Van Mater Johnson, 1838-1841
Solon Wines Manney, 1841, 1843-1847
George Bartly Engle, 1841-1843
Fortune Charles Brown, 1847-1851
Henry Monroe Safford, 1852-1855
Caleb Alexander Bruce, 1855-1859
William Henry Stoy, 1859-1860
Edward Purdon Wright, 1860-1861
Richard Leo Ganter, 1863-1865
Thomas Lloyd Bellam, 1865-1866
John Frank Winkley, 1868
Abraham Reeves, 1869-1870
Richard Brass, 1870-1873
Samuel Johnson French, 1875-1879
Charles James Wood, 1879-1881
John Jacob Faude, 1882-1890
Herman Baldwin Dean, 1890-1891
Niles Wright Heermans, 1891-1898
John Hazen White, 1898-1905
Walter Simon Howard, (dean and associate rector), 1898-1905
Frank Ernest Aitkins, 1905-1910
Walter Stephen Trowbridge, 1910-1917
James Andrew Miller, 1918-1922
Jesse Ketchum Brennan, 1922-1927
Earl Ray Hart, 1927-1938
William Aaron Driver, 1938-1943
Russell Garfield Flagg, 1943-1950
David Joseph Reid, 1950-1963
Robert June Center, 1964-1988
Stephen Shea Gerth, 1988-1999
Eugene Edmund Kohlbecker, 2001-2007
Anthony F. M. Clavier, 2010-2012
Tanya Scheff, 2014-2017
Joseph Tamborini Czolgosz, 2018-2020
Kathy Townley, 2021-
Text adapted from from "History of Trinity Church [Michigan City]"
Robert J. Center, Trinity Episcopal Church, Michigan City, Indiana, 1834-1984: A History of the First One Hundred Fifty Years. Michigan City: Trinity Episcopal Church, 1985.
Centennial, Trinity Protestant Episcopal Church, Michigan City, 1834-1934
Parish Registers (Forthcoming)
Book 1, 1838-1872
Book 1 transcription (to correct legibility problems)
Book 2, 1873-1882
Book 3, 1882-1914
Book 4, 1914-1927
Book 5, 1928-1947
Book 6, 1947-1955
Rev. William Aaron Driver
The Rev William A. Driver was born on 21 September 1910 in Edna, Kansas, the son of the Rev. William Henry and Sidney Burnetta (Smith) Driver. He married Jeanne Studer, who predeceased him. He was a graduate of William Jewell College and Seabury-Western Theological Seminary. Upon his ordination in 1934, he served as vicar of Trinity in Independence, Missouri, from 1934 to 1938. From there he moved to Indiana as rector of Trinity Church, Michigan City, from 1938 to 1943. He later went to Seattle as rector of St. Stephen's Church from 1943 to 1952, and later was rector of St. Edmond's Church in San Marino, California, from 1952 to 1966. Later in his career he was vicar of St. Michael's by the Sea in Carlsbad from 1963 to 1978 (the church became a parish in 1973). Late in his career he was an assistant at James by the Sea in La Jolla from 1980 to 1986 He died in Carlsbad, California, on 13 May 2000.
Rev. William Aaron Driver
The Rev. William A. Driver was born in Edna, Kansas, on 21 September 1910, the son of the Rev. William Henry and Sidney Burnetta (Smith) Driver. He graduated from William Jewell College in 1931 and Seabury Western Seminary in 1934. He was ordained both a deacon and priest that same year, He married Jeanne Studer on 8 September 1937. He began his career as vicar of Trinity Church in Independence, Missouri, which he served from 1934 to 1938. He then came to Northern Indiana as rector of Trinity Church, Michigan City, which he served from 1938 to 1943, and in that role occasionally visited St. Augustine's in Gary. In 1943 he became rector of St. Stephen's CHurch in Seattle. He left there in 1952 for St. Edmund's Church in San Marino, California, where he served until 1966. He died in Carlsbad, California, on 13 May 2000 and was buried in All Saints Cemetery, San Luis Rey.