Episcopal Diocese of Northern Indiana Archives

St. Anne's Episcopal Church, Warsaw

The first Episcopal Church in Warsaw, St. Andrew's, folded in 1896. In 1919, an unorganized mission was formed under the leadership of the Rev. Robert Long. Given the name of the Church of the Holy Spirit in 1923, it appeared with a report in the Diocesan Journal through 1928.  Under the are of the Rev. Howard Russell White and Archdeacon Joseph Gubbins, the mission worshiped in rented rooms in a central location in town. However, the onset of the Great Depression in 1929 ended all efforts to continue the missionary work. The church was abandoned along with similar efforts at Columbia City, Argos, and Winamac.

On 2 July 1950, some 54 years after the closing of St. Andrew's, the Rev. Bruce Mosier of St. James Episcopal Church, Goshen, held a service for ten people in the bar-room at the Hays Hotel in Warsaw. This group formed the nucleus of what would become the congregation of St. Anne's. In a letter dated 9 November 1950, Mosier noted that he had been holding monthly services at the hotel on the first Sunday of every month for several months. With his encouragement, interested parishioners gathered signatures and presented a petition to Bishop Reginald Mallett to secure mission status for Warsaw. Mallett replied to Mosier on 4 December 1950, “It was a moving experience to have you and the Committee from Warsaw meet” and that he would “ensure the continuance of services at the Mission of Warsaw, which will be named St. Anne’s.”

Mosier arranged to have services continue at the Hays Hotel Sample Room (formerly the bar), and he listed eight families, eight individuals, and 20 confirmed, 35 baptized and 14 communicants. He also noted that every time he came to Warsaw, he “fastens on to a new prospect or two and that the members of the group themselves are alive and show interest in church growth.” He also wrote: "There are a few Greeks who have no church and might be interested in helping the mission. … there is quite a bit of musical talent and that they know how to smile!” Mosier was gifted at getting people to smile and get acquainted.

Bishop Mallett attempted to solidify the mission's membership by the end of 1950. In a letter to the congregation dated December 4, he stated, “It was a very important time when you and the committee came to visit us and presented the petition for St. Anne’s, Warsaw, Indiana, to become a mission in the Diocese of Northern Indiana. I want to express to you and all of the people that signed the petition and for the group you represent, my sincere desire to do my utmost to further the work of the church in St. Anne’s mission, and to be a father in God to them and all the community in every respect as far as lies in my power.”

Mallett continued, “In regard to the business end of the arrangement of providing for a mission, I am taking it up with the Missions Committee and assuring them that St. Anne’s will assume $24 a year for the assessment for the support of the episcopate of this diocese, and $100 a year for the mission work of the church. In addition, we will explain about the compensation for the expenses of the priest going down to hold services at Warsaw.” An additional document dated 23 February 1951, states that: 1) St. Anne’s was now a duly constituted mission, 2) it was permitted to receive transfers and memberships from other parishes, and 3) a Registration of Communicants should be kept by the priest in charge of the Mission.

With the help of other churches in the diocese, the congregation acquired a building on the corner of West Fort Wayne and North Columbia streets. The sanctuary, classrooms, and fellowship areas occupied the downstairs. The upstairs eventually became the home for Father Leonidas (Lee) Rose and his family. During Rose’s tenure as vicar from 1957 to1962, the parish celebrated 37 baptisms, 47 confirmations, and had 90 registered communicants.

As St. Anne’s grew, the congregation needed more space for worship, classrooms, fellowship, and for making cheeseballs, a major fundraiser for the church at Christmas time for which it gained renown in the diocese. With help from several parishioners, the vestry purchased the former Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church at 424 West Market Street and took out an $18,000 mortgage. Members of the parish contributed to restoring and finishing the worship space. On 6 May 1961, Sheila LaGarde married Charles Robert Burner in the first wedding celebration in the new edifice.

After St. Anne's became a parish, the Rev. Richard Ames became its first rector in 1983, followed by the Rev. Michael Basden in 1987. In 1989 under Basden's leadership, an effort called "Mission in Ministry Phase I" purchased an off-site house for use as a rectory, enabling the former one to be used for administrative and classroom space. The vestry purchased additional property surrounding St. Anne’s, and the congregation pledged $10,000 toward the renovation of All Saints Church, Syracuse, and the Wawasee Conference Center. This effort laid the foundation for the Phase II building expansion and for programs such as Kerygma, Focus on Faith, and Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, while also addressing the restoration of the historic church building. In 2002, archangel statues and window scapes, reminders of the surroundings in Kosciusko County and Northern Indiana, were added to the Chapel of St. Mary the Virgin.

Adapted from St. Anne's Parish Profile

Bruce Bickel Mosier, 1950-1952
John T. Russell, 1952
Willis Jay Handsbury, 1953-1954
Horace Lytton Varian, 1954-1956
James Edward Tripp, 1956-1957
Leonidas "Lee" Rose, 1957-1962
Gerald H. McGovern, 1963-1967
Robert Bradley McCormick, 1967-1973
Thomas Neil Sandy, 1974-1978
John Chilson Combs, 1979-1983
Richard Kenneth Ames, 1983-1986
Michael Paul Basden, 1987-1999
Brian Glenn Grantz, 1999-2006
Linda Hutton, 2004-2007
Daniel H. Martins, 2007-2011
Corinne Hodges, 2011-2017
Ryan Fischer, 2018-

Adapted from the Parish Profile of St. Anne's: http://stanneswarsaw.org/Websites/SaintAnnesWarsaw/images/St.%20Anne's%20Profile.Final.pdf

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