This page is referenced by:
media/St Andrews Kokomo exterior 17 May 2015.jpg
St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, Kokomo
In 1885, Bishop David Buel Knickerbacker of Indiana conducted Kokomo's first Episcopal service in the Congregational church. R. L. Wilcock, an Englishman and Methodist, went to that first service and spoke the necessary responses from the prayerbook so that the bishop would have some someone to "talk back to him."
The mission of St. Andrew's was organized soon afterward, and it led two candidates to prepare for confirmation in 1890. The congregation met variously in lodge rooms, halls, offices, and occasionally in other churches. The boom in natural gas production brought many new residents to north central Indiana, including many from England, who lent their support to the church. The fledgling congregation built a church at Taylor and LaFountain streets in 1893. However, the lay leadership invested church funds unwisely, losing all of its money in the financial panic of 1893 and forcing the vestry to sell the property. The congregation was left deeply discouraged. Bishop John Hazen White commented in his 1896 convention address: "To my great sorrow I found myself driven to the conclusion that the best course to pursue was to surrender the property to those who held a mortgage against it for more than its value, abandon the field entirely and hope that in the near future a more propitious opportunity would offer of beginning a mission there under conditions hopeful and promising. There have been no services there during the year."
During these years the Rev. Francis C. Woodard of Alexandria, Indiana, worked heroically to keep the congregation going while also devoting time to nearby St. Stephen's Mission in Elwood. In 1897, Mr. and Mrs. Fred Beacon opened their home for services, and the Rev. Edward Wilson Averill of Peru came down during the week to conduct services. Later, the congregation met in a hall above Charles Jinkerson's grocery store at the corner of South Main and Markland Avenue. By one account, the services "were characterized by unbounded enthusiasm and zeal and exerted a wide influence, but the work was crippled by the removal of active workers."
The mission was briefly named St. John's and met at Love's Hall on Markland Avenue. The name was returned to St. Andrew's by 1902, when the Rev. Henry Neely led the purchase of a mission property at 111 North Market Street in the center of town. For a time the church met there in an old brick residence in Tudor Revival style known as the Scoven house. On the rear of the lot the congregation built a parish house with a rectory on the second floor. The previous vicar, the Rev. J. Otis Ward, had gone East to raise money for a church, collecting enough to make a down payment. Later, a small chapel was built on the site.
Neely left in 1911, and for several months the parish celebrated Morning Prayer under the leadership of lay reader Cleon E. Bigler. Bishop White reported that year that the mission was heavily in debt, which the diocese assumed with the aid of the trustees. However, some debt remained for the parish to pay as well. The Rev. John F. Plummer arrived in 1912, and four years later, Bishop White reported that Plummer "continues to do most excellent work at Kokomo, where he is steadily extricating the mission from the debt that has rested upon it for many years. Besides meeting all their operating expenses, paying all their missionary obligations, both diocesan and general, and doing considerable charity work, they have cut down the principal of their debt $350." The vicar's efforts were successful enough for the mission to be recognized as a parish in 1922, with Plummer becoming the first formal rector.
In 1923, under Cleon Bigler's leadership (who had gone from being a lay reader to a priest in Illinois), the congregation purchased land on West Superior Street and developed architectural plans for a new building, but the estimated cost of $150,000 proved too much for the congregation to raise. In 1928, under the leadership of the Rev. Harry Kellam and later the Rev George Jewell, the congregation, using a horse-drawn team, moved the old church building on Market Street to a location at 602 West Superior Street, adjoining several structures.
In 1948, after the arrival of the Rev. Peter Dennis, the congregation drafted plans for a new church on the site to adjoin the older structures. These plans were less elaborate than the 1925 plans, and the money was successfully raised. The shell of that new building, a Gothic Revival Church, was completed in 1952 under the leadership of the Rev. Richard Cooper. Eventually, the building was finished and stained glass windows were installed. Further improvements to the chancel followed in 1973 under the Rev. George Davis. By the 1990s, St. Andrew's thrived under the leadership of the Rev. Derek Harbin, having 210 families by 1995.
The Rev. Richard Lightsey arrived in 2000 and under his leadership, St. Andrew's continues to flourish. A major outreach ministry is Sol House, a community gathering place for the arts and a place to "connect with others spiritually and explore diversity."
Francis C. Woodard, 1893-1897
Edward Wilson Averill, 1897
Josiah Otis Ward, 1900-1901
Henry Ritchie Neely, 1901-1910
Henry Lodge, 1911-1912
John Francis Plummer, 1912-1923
Cleon E. Bigler, 1923-1928
Harry M. Kellam, 1928-1929
George Arthur Peters Jewell, 1930-1939
Gerald H. Lewis, 1939-1947
Peter Dennis, 1948-1954
Richard Cooper, 1954-1972
George Davis, 1973-1991
J. Derek Harbin, 1992-1999
Richard B. Lightsey, 2000-
Jackson Morrow, History of Howard County, Indiana (Indianapolis: B. F. Bowen, n.d.), 1: 442-446.
Howard County Genealogical Society, Howard County, Indiana Family History, 1844-1994 (Paducah, Kentucky: Turner Publishing Co., 1995), p. 91.
media/Edward S Little official portrait.jpg
Edward Stuart Little II, Seventh Bishop
Edward Stuart Little, the seventh bishop of the Diocese of Northern Indiana, held office at a time of intense changes in the national church. An outstanding preacher, he brought an evangelical zeal for the Gospel that ushered in a new leadership style for the diocese. As Linda Buskirk has written, Bishop Little personified "the lighthouse on the diocesan seal" and "delivered powerful messages that illuminate priorities for Christ centered living and ministry."
Little was born in New York City on 29 January 1947, the son of a nominally Episcopalian father and Jewish mother. He grew up agnostic and attended school in Manhattan and Norwalk, Connecticut. He received his Bachelor's degree from the University of Southern California in 1968. He credits a college class on the Bible as literature as bringing about his conversion to Christianity and his joining the Episcopal Church. The same year of his graduation he married Sylvia Gardner at Palm Desert, California. They had two children: Gregory and Sharon.
After deciding to enter the Episcopal priesthood, Little received a Master of Divinity degree from Seabury-Western Theological Seminary in 1971 and was ordained a deacon and priest that same year in the Diocese of Chicago. He served as a curate in two parishes: St. Matthew's Evanston and St. Michael's, Anaheim, California, before becoming vicar of St. Joseph's Episcopal Church in Buena Park, California. When that church achieved parish status, he became its first rector. Little became rector of All Saints Church in Bakersfield, California, in 1986, and from here he was elected bishop on the first ballot on 5 November 1999.
Little was consecrated bishop at a ceremony in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart at Notre Dame on 30 April 2000, with Bishops Gray and Sheridan, his two predecessors, among the consecrators. His sixteen-year episcopate that followed might best be understood as defined by three distinct eras: The Mission and Evangelism era lasting from 2000 to 2003; the Reconciliation Era from 2003 to 2007, and the Congregational Development Era from 2007 to 2016.
The initial focus of Little's tenure was mission and evangelism. At the time of his seating as bishop, he articulated four core values for the diocese that he hoped would guide it during his episcopate:
1. A passion for the Gospel of Jesus Christ
2. A heart for the lost.
3. A willingness to do whatever it takes.
4. A commitment to one another.
Taking a strongly evangelical and Jesus-centered view of ministry, one of his early actions was to hold a Rally for Mission and Evangelism at Goshen College in 2001 with Bishop Charles Jenkins of Louisiana as the keynote speaker. About 700 attended, and Little intended it as an inspirational kick-off for getting church-goers to invite others to church and help the diocese grow. Bishop Sheridan, the diocese's last tradition Anglo-Catholic bishop, also took part, even though the approaches of the two men to ministry differed significantly.
The second era, Reconciliation, began in 2003, when Gene Robinson, an openly gay priest living in a same-sex relationship, was elected and consecrated Bishop of New Hampshire with the General Convention's consent. The election had occurred against the backdrop at the national level of a church rent by internal divisions over issues of sexuality and same-sex marriage. Robinson's election caused a firestorm within some congregations of the diocese and at the national level, it prompted many conservative Anglicans to leave the Episcopal Church and form the Anglican Church in North America. The election of Katharine Jefferts-Schori as Presiding Bishop in 2006 prompted three dioceses, Quincy, Fort Worth, and San Joaquin, to leave the Episcopal Church. While Little opposed same-sex marriage and forbid them from occurring in the diocese, he remained within the Episcopal fold. As a compromise, he would eventually allow same-sex couples to marry outside the diocese and permit priests in the diocese to perform those rites. He reached out to liberals, even befriending Bishop Robinson, and agreed to provide pastoral care to some congregations who had opposed Robinson's election. Within the diocese, a number of parishes experienced losses as members left the church, but other parishes strongly affirmed gay rights and differed with the bishop's stand on same-sex marriages.
The third era of Little's episcopate, the Congregational Development era, began in 2007. Attendance trends in parishes throughout the diocese followed those of the national church as membership in many parishes decreased and in some, dwindled. Little sought to infuse them with new life through dynamic preaching and encouraging people to tell their own faith stories. He had inherited his first Canon to the Ordinary, David Seger, from his predecessor and acknowledged to Seger his appreciation for the continuity and knowledge he brought with his ministry. After Seger's retirement in 2007, Little called the Rev. SuzeAnne Silla as the new canon, blessing her extensive experience in congregational development with the Diocesan Congregational Development Institute (DCDI). The purpose of DCDI was to give clergy and laity across the diocese more confidence and skill in problem solving, visioning for the future, and conflict management. About 20 congregations took part, and it had the side-benefit of bringing leaders from different parishes together and fostering inter-parish relationships.
In 2013, Little articulated five imperatives for the diocese in using DCDI: Focus on Jesus; Think Biblically; Proclaim Good News; Feed people who are hungry; and Mentor young people. As the vision played out, some parishes began offering bilingual services while others sought new ways of meeting the needs of their communities.
One of the challenges faced by Little's episcopate was the dwindling membership of certain parishes and their inability to support a priest. Many priests were necessarily bi-vocational to support themselves, but the problem of clergy shortage became particularly acute in the Calumet area of the diocese, where some parishes were floundering and in danger of closing. A major success story was the Calumet Episcopal Ministry Partnership (CEMP), which first formed in 2010. Three congregations, St. Barnabas-in-the-Dunes, St. Paul's Munster, and St. Timothy's Griffith, came together in dialogue, and what emerged was a vision of one church in three locations, all sharing the same full-time priest. The program proved successful, and not only was a full-time priest, the Rev. Michael Dwyer, ordained in 2012 for the post, but three other part-time priests also signed on. In June 2015, St. Christopher's Crown Point joined the partnership, followed by two others, St. Stephen's Hobart and St. Augustine Gary, under Little's successor, Bishop Douglas Sparks.
Bishop Little announced his retirement effective 30 June 2016 and served as a consecrator of his successor. He and his wife Sylvia continued to live in Indiana and take up residence in Mishawaka. As his greatest overall goal, Little has said: "When I became bishop, I committed myself to helping the diocese become increasingly Christocentric; to helping every man, woman, and child in the diocese to speak openly of their relationship with Jesus; and to helping parishes to see the world beyond their doors as their mission field." The core values were the guiding principles of his tenure.
Source: Email message of Bishop Edward Little, August 2019.
Holy Eucharist and Ordination of Edward Stuart Little II ...18 March 2000
Pastoral Letter on Same Sex Marriage, 2012