Episcopal Diocese of Northern Indiana Archives

St. George Episcopal Church, Berne

St, George Episcopal Church in Berne, Adams County, began as a mission of Trinity Episcopal Church, Fort Wayne, in 1982. Earlier, an unorganized mission in Bluffton, Wells County, had attracted as many as 50 people, but after the closing of the Corning plant, the number dropped to just six. Fr. Cory Randall of Trinity made the decision to explore a different venue. The first service in Berne was held at the First Bank of Berne on February 5, 1982, when five people responded to a newspaper advertisement. These early services, held initially only monthly, were later moved to Cross United Church of Christ in November 1982 and were led by Dr. Larry Smith, a veterinarian who at the time was reading for holy orders under Bishop William Sheridan. In June 1983, with the help of Trinity, the Cross United wood-framed church was purchased at auction. The first Eucharist was held in August in a grove of trees by the Rev. Paul W. Smith of Trinity. The Rev. Richard Leggett, a doctoral student at the University of Notre Dame, also assisted with services that summer. In September, Bishop Sheridan formally dedicated the church. Parishioners came from a fifteen-mile radius, including Portland, Decatur, Bluffton, and Celina, Ohio. Missionary oversight of the church was later transferred to Gethsemane Episcopal Church, Marion.

In June 1992, the congregation constructed a new building at 1195 Hendricks Street in Berne. Since that time, the congregation has worshiped in this larger facility. Father Smith retired as vicar in 2018.


Larry Smith, 1983-2018
Daniel Layden, 2019-

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