Episcopal Diocese of Northern Indiana Archives

St. Peter's Episcopal Church, Rensselaer (defunct)

The first attempt to open a mission in Rensselaer occurred in February 1917, when Archdeacon Robert J. Long began monthly services in town, but his efforts were unsuccessful. More than forty years later, Bishop Reginald Mallett succeeded in organizing a diocesan mission called St. Peter's on 12 February 1961 as part of a larger missionary outreach effort that also included new missions at Angola, Butler, and Monticello. At the time of its founding, the bishop held services in the public library with the assistance of Fr. Leslie Howell. There were 21 people present at the initial meeting, including 13 communicants and eight children. The Rev. Hugh Edsall, who took charge of the mission soon afterward, presented seven for confirmation on 5 December 1961.

The congregation broke ground for the present edifice on 24 July 1965 under vicar the Rev. Thomas F. Stoll with Bishop Walter Klein leading the service. On 17 October, the cornerstone was laid with the Rev. George B. Wood of Trinity, Fort Wayne, as the officiant. The finished church, located at Grace and Melville streets in Rensselaer, was dedicated by Bishop Klein on 19 February 1966 with Stoll and several other priests in attendance. The brick building was designed by Lee Brockway, a South Bend architect, and the stained glass windows were crafted in the studio of J. Winterrich of Cleveland.

In 1987, the Rev. Dale Hathaway became its first resident vicar and brought much-needed stability for a period of time. When Susan Jo Blubaugh was called as vicar, she was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Gray in 1992, the first female ordination to occur in the diocese. She remained as vicar until 2008. Membership began to decline after her departure, when the church could no longer afford a priest. In 2019, the congregation made the decision to close.

Ordination of Rev. Susan Jo Blubaugh, 8 July 1992, part 1

Ordination of Rev. Susan Jo Blubaugh, 8 July 1992, part 2

Television news story about Rev. Susan Jo Blubaugh, 8 July 1992, part 1

Television news story about Rev. Susan Jo Blubaugh, 8 July 1992, part 2

Parish register, 1961-2004


Hugh Crichton Edsall, 1961-1963
Raymond Ray, 1964-1965
Thomas Fothergill Stoll, 1965-1966
Robert Michael Darrow, 1966-1967
William J. Fleener, 1967-1968
Richard A. Hayes, 1968-1970
Forrest Bedford Clark, 1970-1973
Paul John Tracy, 1981-1986
Lloyd Holifield, 1986-1987
Dale Caldwell Hathaway, 1987-1990
Susan Jo Blubaugh, 1992-2008
(Senior Wardens are listed as administrators)
Rev. Frank Warthan (supply), 2015-2016

This page references: