Church History: 1852-2002


Our introduction to Broad Ripple remains etched in my memories. A serendipitous event brought us into this fellowship. Thirty-three years ago on the Sunday following Labor Day, Carol and I went “church shopping.” We had just moved to a home in Butler-Tarkington that week. While shopping at Kroger’s, Carol saw a Methodist church and suggested we visit it.

I recall sitting near the front on the right side. After the organist finished playing the prelude, there was silence. Then, Jim Rodeheffer stood in a row behind us and began singing, Come Christians, Join to Sing! Other choir members joined with him and moved to the choir loft. Dr. Floyd Cook, the minister, sat at the other end of our pew and took his place. We both enjoyed our experience that morning and never visited another church. Carol joined the choir and we found in the choir an extended family embracing first us and then Erick and Erin. In December 2001, Laura Eller, the Celebration Committee Chair, asked me to compile the congregation’s history. I knew I faced challenges. Previous histories revealed substantial gaps. I began my research with a dusty box of records in the stage storeroom plus others I found in the attic. Further research required visits to the library at Christian Theological Seminary, the microfilm room at the Central Library, the Indiana Historical Society, the Indiana State Library, and the Methodist Archives at DePauw University.

The Internet allowed me to locate descendants of people and families from the earliest days in Broad Ripple. You will find value reading how our congregation evolved from a small group of Methodists. The value of history is discovering how we can learn from the past. II received help from many persons in producing this booklet. Three from outside our congregation helped especially for understanding earlier days in the congregation, Washington Township, and Broad Ripple: Russell Kerr, John D. Hague, and Alice Roettger. Alice informally served as my editor, John and Alice read the nearly final draft, and Russell, ninety years old, a member of Union Chapel, a Dawson descendant, and Union Chapel Cemetery trustee, provided invaluable knowledge unavailable in published sources. I appreciated and lovingly thank Carol for her encouragement and support as I spent many evenings researching sources.

Donald E. Mattson
Celebration Sunday, November 2002

We have a photos page that have images of many of our events at the Church.

The 44-page booklet may be downloaded here [840KB, pdf], with the cover being here [660KB, pdf].
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