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Trinity Episcopal Church, Logansport
In 1840, Bishop Jackson Kemper visited Logansport as he traveled west on the Wabash & Erie Canal. His visit likely marked the first time a service in the Episcopal Church was held in the town. A year later the Rev. Francis H. L. Laird arrived to establish a congregation, conducting services in a schoolhouse at 228 Market Street. On 29 July 1841, a vestry was elected and chose the name of Trinity for the new congregation. For the next two years the congregation met on the third floor of a downtown building. The vestry raised subscriptions for a church building, and in 1843, a white, wood-frame church was erected on a hill at the northwest corner of Seventh and Market streets. A prime mover of the church was Graham Fitch, who had brought his family from New York in 1834 and had built a house at Seventh and Market streets. A strong abolitionist, he may have given support to fugitive slaves on the Underground Railroad.
Between 1843 and 1863, the church held services irregularly as a variety of clergy of short duration came and went. They often held dual pastoral roles with St. Mary's in Delphi. After the Civil War, the church experienced structural problems, and when the Rev. Edward Purdy was called as rector in 1869, he accepted with the understanding that the building would be demolished and a new one of stone constructed. Work on the new edifice began immediately with limestone quarried locally on Fitch's farm on the west side of town and hauled to the site via the Wabash & Erie Canal. On February 19, 1870, the congregation worshiped for the first time in the new building. A new transept and chancel were added six years later as the parish grew under Purdy's leadership. A tracker organ built by the firm Hook and Hastings of Boston was installed in 1877 and is still in use. Many members of the early congregation had been members of the Church of Ireland.
During the 1890s and early 1900s, the parish experienced financial shortages and a number of divisions as various rectors came and went. In 1894, the Rev. Douglas Hobbs reported that in the wake of the financial depression, the year had been the hardest financially in the history of the parish, but he commended the congregation for "the practice of self-denial in meeting their obligations." The Rev. George H. Richardson arrived in 1918 and led the parish in celebrating a jubilee in 1919 and helping to raise funds for an episcopal residence in South Bend for Bishop White. When he left in 1920, he was criticized for self-boasting and for not following canons. His successor, the Rev. Clinton B Cromwell, arrived in 1920 and found the parish "utterly impossible" and "resigned as soon as he could find work elsewhere." A history in the parish register written by Cromwell explained, "a clique wanting to run the church in absolute defiance of the canons and the Bishop resulted, just as in the case of every other priest for 12 or 15 years, in the attempt to starve the Rector." He added, "God only knows what the next man can do - unless he is an angel from heaven."
The next two rectors, Edward Roland and W. Edward Hoffenbacher, had longer rectorates. Over time, especially under Bishop Campbell Gray, Trinity became increasingly Anglo-Catholic. Gray's son, Francis Campbell Gray, served briefly as rector from 1936 to 1937.
In the 1980s, the vestry made plumbing and heating renovations, and the edifice underwent a major renovation. Then in November 1989, during the rectorate of William Hibbert, a severe thunderstorm struck the church, tearing off part of the roof in a downdraft. Much of the interior was severely damaged, but funds arrived to help rebuild the church. In addition to insurance money, financial help came from many parts of the diocese. In November 1990, the restored church was rededicated by Bishop Frank Gray.
Under the ministry of the Rev. Clark Miller, who became rector in 2010, the parish began giving away school supplies to needy children, which quickly expanded to providing clothes and free haircuts. It also opened a food pantry that serves between 75 and 80 people on the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month.
Francis H. L. Laird, 1841-1843
Anson Clark, 1845-1846
Thomas Bassel Fairchild, 1848
Josiah Phelps, 1849-1850
Frederick Durbin Harriman, 1850-1852
Walter Emlen Franklin, 1852-1854
Henry Cook Stowell, 1854
John Trimble, 1855-1857
Alonzo James Madison Hudson, 1857-1858
Elias Birdsall, 1858-1860
Nathaniel Rue High, 1860-1861
Abner Platt Brush, 1863
John Edward Jackson Jr., 1866-1868
Edward James Purdy, 1869-1879
John Andrew Dooris, 1879-1881
Benjamin Tucker Hutchins, 1881-1882
Gustav Edmond Purucker, 1882-1883
Harry E. Thompson, 1884-1886
Benjamin Franklin Miller, 1887-1891
Douglas Irvine Hobbs, 1891-1895
Francis Clarence Coolbaugh, 1895-1898
Walter Jay Lockton, 1899-1906
Almon Clarke Stengel, 1906-1910
John Cole McKim, 1910
Louis Thibou Scofield, 1911-1914
Charles Frederic Westman, 1914-1918
George Harry Richardson, 1918-1920
Clinton Bradshaw Cromwell, 1920-1921
Edward Lemuel Roland Jr., 1923-1930
William Edward Hoffenbacher, 1930-1936
Francis Campbell Gray, 1936-1937
Raymond Mansfield O'Brien, 1937-1939
Clarence Charles Reimer, 1940-1949
Robert Chesleigh Holmes, 1949-1950
Gerald Lionel Claudius, 1950-1959
Hugh Crichton Edsall, 1959-1961
Henry R. Solem, 1962-1969
Wright Ramsett Johnson, 1969-1977
H. James Considine, 1977-1986
M. Richard Hatfield, 1986-1988
William C. Hibbert, 1989-1991
Michael J. Haas, 1992-2004
Theodore Neidlinger, 2004-2007
Clark S. Miller, 2010-
Barbara Colford, History of Trinity Episcopal Church, 1841-1991 (Logansport: Trinity Episcopal Church, 1991).
Trinity Episcopal Church, Logansport, Vestry Minute Book 1, 1841-1855
Parish Register, 1841-1865 [lost]
Parish Register, 1866-1879
Parish Register, 1880-1930
media/Douglas Sparks photo.jpg
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 also permitted openly gay priests to be ordained and serve in the diocese. 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" and to promote racial reconciliation and more loving, Christian relationships. The movement provided materials to individuals and congregations to "help us to understand and take up the long-term commitments necessary to form loving, liberating and life-giving relationships" with one other. "Together," promoters said, "we are growing as reconcilers, justice-makers, and healers in the name of Christ." This effort was also coined "the Jesus Movement" by the Presiding Bishop. Part of that process involved studying and apologizing for sins committed against minority groups throughout the Church's 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.
For several years during Bishop Sparks's episcopate, from 2020 to 2022, the nation suffered under a devastating COVID-19 epidemic. In-personal worship was canceled, and services were conducted remotely online through Zoom, a computer meeting software. When vaccines became available and the virulence of the epidemic eased, congregations met in limited form with enforced masking and social distancing. Bishop Sparks was instrumental in developing protocols that had never been previously considered in diocesan history.
In 2023, the Diocese of Northern Indiana embarked on an exploratory path to discern the possibility of reuniting with the Diocese of Indianapolis. That process remains ongoing at this writing.
Episcopal News Service:
Consecration of Bishop Douglas Sparks, 25 June 2016, Trinity English Lutheran Church, Fort Wayne