This page is referenced by:
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
media/St barnabas in the dunes, gary, exterior.jpg
St. Barnabas-in-the-Dunes, Gary
St. Barnabas-in-the-Dunes, located at 601 Pottawatomi Trail, was built in 1961 in an area once known as the village of Miller. The story begins with Christ Episcopal Church, founded in Gary in 1908, just two years after the city itself was created. In 1954, Christ Church's leaders realized that due to the development of the Miller subdivision and the Ogden Dunes area, a mission church in the northeastern segment of the city would be highly appropriate. Property for a new mission was donated to Christ Church, and in 1960 a group of interested Episcopalians in Miller took action to organize it.
During Lenten season of 1960 parishioners held meetings every week in the homes of interested members, forming the nucleus of what would become St Barnabas. The development moved rapidly. Parishioners chose a name and through their combined efforts held the first church service on 17 June, St. Barnabas Day, in Dr. Walfred A. Nelson's waiting room. By the middle of July the gathering had expanded enough that it was necessary to move the services to the Nobel School across the street.
Shortly afterward the congregation formed an advisory board, and the women of the mission formalized their organization. They sponsored a Sunday school picnic and worked on making Christmas decorations to sell. The Sunday School increased in membership each Sunday. The first baptism in the church occurred on 18 September 1960, when Diane Audrey Thiene was baptized. By Christmas, the congregation made plans for erecting a permanent building on the church property. The Rev. Arlo Leinback became the first vicar.
In 1961, the congregation paid for the land and made preparations to build a church. Both the men's and women's groups continued to grow and were active in their temporary quarters. The Men of St Barnabas hosted a Deer & Beer dinner, while the women organized many other kinds of activities, such as dance classes and Christmas sales. The popular English Tea started in the late 1970s after the church was well established.
From the beginning Coffee Hour has been an important part of St. Barnabas' history. Simple fare of coffee and sweets were originally served, but later a more nutritious meal became common. Father Charles Hensel, the second longest-serving priest who returned in the 1990s to supply and join the CEMP clergy team, gave interesting history-based sermons. These led to conversations after the service, which became the Coffee Hour. Being a small parish, these social events kept the members connected, provided a time to greet visitors, and offered some warm sustenance to our senior members who lived alone.
In the 1980s, Father Donald Milligan made a strong effort to engage youth. He coached a baseball team for a local high school and organized camping trips to the Boundary Waters in Minnesota. Later that decade, Father William Klatt shared his intellectual knowledge and his experiences as a college chaplain at Purdue.
During Father Robert Lynn's tenure, St. Barnabas's congregation reached out to the community by opening Episcopal Community Services (ECS), a home setting that offered food, clothing, and homework tutoring. It also provided school supplies by filling shoe boxes with elementary school necessities. Today, the congregation collects larger quantities of supplies for a Gary school chosen each year. Numerous supply priests, including Father Dewey Schartzenburg, Pastor Kris Graunke, and Father Maxwell Johnson, provided spiritual guidance, memorable sermons, and pastoral care,
Mother Delores Wiens was named Priest-in-Charge in 2008. Her musical talents enabled the congregation to enjoy hymns that she recorded on the Clavinova, a gift from her close friend. She also introduced the Alpha Series to the neighborhood. Since 2012, members have been part of the Calumet Episcopal Ministry Partnership (CEMP) with the Rev. Michael Dwyer initially as Priest-in-Charge.
Arlo Leinback, 1960-1964
Charles H. Hensel, 1964-1973
Donald Arthur Milligan, 1978-1983
William Klatt, 1983-1994
Robert N. Lynn 1994-2002
Kristine Graunke, 2003-2008
Delores Wiens, 2008-2012
Michael Dwyer, 2012-2018 (CEMP)
Kristine Graunke, 2015-2020 (CEMP)
Michelle Walker, 2014-2020 (CEMP)
Pamela Thiede, 2020- (CEMP)
Cynthia Moore, 2020-2021 (CEMP)
Text adapted from St. Barnabas' website: http://www.calumetepiscopal.org/st-barnabas/about.php