A Brief History of St. David’s Parish
Saint David’s Parish was established in 1964 as a mission of Saint John the Evangelist Parish in downtown Elkhart. The Rector and Vestry of Saint John’s saw the potential of growth in the Simonton Lake area of Elkhart County. There were enough families to ‘seed’ the new parish, which began worshiping at Mary Feeser School, just east of the present location of Saint David’s.
After a few months, at Solemn Evensong on the Feast of Saint David of Wales, 1 March 1964, the Right Rev’d Walter C Klein, Fourth Bishop of Northern Indiana, broke ground for the present building and later received Saint David’s as a full parish in communion with the Bishop and Diocesan Convention. Since then the Parish has been served by four Rectors: the late Father Paul M Ross (1972-1977), the late Father Richard J Handley (1977-1987), the late Father Richard F Bragg (1988-1990), and the most recent Rector, Father Henry G Randolph Jr, since 1991, now retired. The late Father Bruce B Mosier provided good priestly leadership and stability for the Parish in periods between Rectors. There have been three deacons at Saint David’s: Deacon Arthur W Mattox (1990-1992), Archdeacon Sarah S Tracy (1995-2009), and Deacon Clayton Berkley (who was raised at Saint David’s) since 2014.
With Fr Randolph’s retirement Sept 1, 2016, we entered a time of discernment as we sought a new permanent priest. During this time of transition, we were blessed to have the Reverend Dr Maxwell Johnson from the University of Notre Dame supplying on most Sundays, with other priests from our diocese supplying as necessary.
We are thankful that our search was successful. On June 1, 2017, Deacon Joshua Nelson will begin his ministry at St. David’s, and following his ordination to the priesthood on June 24th, will then be St. David’s Priest-in-Charge beginning June 25th.
In 1988, Saint David’s purchased a one manual tracker organ from the Franz Heissler company of Frankfort, Germany. Over the years, Saint David’s has been blessed by the service of numerous musicians and organists, including Cleone Davidson, founder of the Elkhart chapter of the American Guild of Organists, Lydia Mattox, Dorothea Flory, Craig Cramer, Ann Fassett, and Stephen Lancaster. Liturgy and music continue to be essential aspects of the Parish’s life and mission.
Saint David’s Parish has been sustained by a small group of faithful parishioners. We are thankful for the Providence of God in our community of faithful Christians for the past fifty-two years, and pray that we may continue to provide an Episcopal presence and ministry in the northwest corner of Elkhart County for many years to come.