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Douglas Everett Sparks, Eighth Bishop
Bishop Douglas Everett Sparks, the eighth bishop of the Diocese of Northern Indiana, is the current incumbent. Born on 8 January 1956, he studied Philosophy at St. Mary's Seminary College, graduating with a Bachelor's degree in 1980. Subsequently, he received a Master's degree from De Andreis Institute of Theology in 1984. Ordained a priest in the Roman Catholic Church in 1984, he served parishes in Missouri, Colorado, and Illinois. In 1989 he was received as a priest into the Episcopal Church, serving as rector of St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Whitewater, Wisconsin, from 1990 to 1995. He also married Dana Wirth and had three children: Christina, Graham, and Gavin.
Sparks later served at St. Matthias Church in Waukesha, Wisconsin, then went to New Zealand to become Dean of St. Paul's Cathedral in Wellington. On returning to the United States, he became rector of St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Rochester, Minnesota. From here he was elected bishop on 6 February 2016. He was consecrated at Trinity English Lutheran Church, Fort Wayne, on 25 June 2016 by Presiding Bishop Michael Curry.
Bishop Sparks has adopted a five-point plan of mission that will guide his episcopate:
1. Tell the Good News of the Kingdom.
2. Teach, Baptize, and Nurture new believers.
3. Tend to human need with loving service.
4. Transform unjust structures of society.
5. Treasure God's Creation and renew the Earth.
Bishop Sparks has reversed previous diocesan policy and approved same-sex marriages being performed in the diocese with the consent of individual parishes. He was personally present for the wedding of South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg to Chasten Glezman on 16 June 2018 in a ceremony at the Cathedral of St. James in South Bend. He has also formed a strong pastoral partnership with Bishop Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows of the Diocese of Indianapolis, marching for social justice issues, against gun violence, and in favor of greater acceptance of all marginalized groups in the Church. He is an "activist bishop" and comfortable in that role, but he is always careful to ground that advocacy in his faith.
On a national level, the Episcopal Church began an initiative under Presiding Bishop Michael Curry to become a "Beloved Community" to promote racial reconciliation. Part of that process involved studying and apologizing for sins committed against minority groups throughout its history. During his sabbatical in 2022, Bishop Sparks walked the Potawatomi Trail of Death, traveling on foot from Plymouth, Indiana, to Kansas. He left an account of his pilgrimage. It symbolized the work of the Diocese of Northern Indiana to account for acts of racism in its past.
Episcopal News Service:
Consecration of Bishop Douglas Sparks, 25 June 2016, Trinity English Lutheran Church, Fort Wayne
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St. Andrew's-by-the-Lake, Michigan City (originally Long Beach)
St. Andrew's-by-the-Lake Episcopal Church was organized as a mission and held its first service at the Duneland Beach Hotel on October 21, 1956. The Rev. Alexander J.J. Gruetter presided at this service, but pastoral leadership was initially provided by the Rev. Peter Langendorff. Many of the founding members of St. Andrew's had ties to Trinity Episcopal Church in Michigan City. However, a survey of the population of the Long Beach area convinced a group of Episcopalians that another Episcopal Church was needed in this area.
Less than a year later, on October 19, 1957, the Quonset hut style church building was dedicated and accepted as a parish in the diocese. The Rev. Robert Schrack, the first resident priest, led the building effort. The Rev. John Hughes became the rector of St. Andrew’s in 1960, and the church greatly benefited from his leadership and 26-year tenure as its priest. In 1968, a large addition was built to adjoin the original church building. This addition tripled the square footage available to the congregation and provided space for offices, classrooms and a common hall. The congregation was last served by the Rev. Rob Dorow. Due to dwindling attendance, the congregation closed in 2022.
Peter Langendorff, 1956-1957
Robert Elliott Schrack, 1957-1960
John Charles Hughes, 1960-1986
Dale Hathaway, 1991-2001
Carol Fleming, 2003-2006
Kristine Graunke, 2006-2007
Andrew Hanyzewski, 2010-2012
Robert Dorow, 2012-2022
Parish Register, 1956-2019
Taken from an interview with the Rev. Rob Dorow from "Church in the Spotlight": https://www.thenewsdispatch.com/features/article_0e119669-7e3d-5eff-8a1d-1e446d80cdcd.html