News from the region
South Bend church is one of first Sacred Places Indiana participants
Indiana Landmarks selected 10 congregations for the inaugural year of its Sacred Places Indiana initiative, a three-year program funded by a $1.2 million grant from Lilly Endowment. Saint Paul’s Methodist Church in South Bend joins nine other congregations around the state located in historic houses of worship.
The nearly year-long program gives congregation leaders comprehensive training in fundraising and community building developed by Philadelphia-based organization Partners for Sacred Places. The congregations are also eligible for grants for feasibility studies, fundraising assessment and planning, and capital improvements.
Saint Paul’s Romanesque style building anchors a key intersection of the city’s West Washington National Register District. Construction of the church was completed in 1903 with funds donated by Clement and Anna Studebaker, whose home stands a few blocks away. In fact, the church’s signature stained glass windows -- commissioned by the Studebakers after a trip to Europe -- are reputed to include an image of Mr. Studebaker himself. On their trip, the couple also secured the church’s baptismal font, ascribed to the Church of St. Cecilia in Rome and believed to be one of the oldest in the United States.
The small-but-mighty congregation has spent recent years rehabilitating the aging building. Kit Weinrichter, a direct descendent of Clem and Anna Studebaker, recently made a contribution to help repair the stained glass windows.
The Sacred Places Indiana program seeks not only to help congregations preserve and maintain their architecturally inspiring buildings, but to use recognize these historic spaces as community assets. The first of its kind in the country, the program helps congregations identify building needs, map out a vision for their sites -- which may include space sharing with nonprofit arts organizations -- and develop fundraising expertise to care for their structures and grow their membership.
Learn more about the Sacred Places Indiana program and Partners for Sacred Places. Check out historic images of Saint Paul’s here. For more information or questions about St. Paul’s, contact Pastor Tom Thews, 574-234-6940 or email@example.com.