About Our Church
St. Augustine Episcopal Church is located in the beautiful town of Danville, Indiana, six blocks north of the Hendricks County Courthouse. Our sanctuary, with beautiful stained glass windows on all sides, is one of the most peaceful and beautiful in our area. Our members come from Danville and the surrounding area, including Brownsburg, Avon, Plainfield, and Indianapolis. We are a growing and active church, and our parish is made up of about 175 families and individuals. Together we make up God's family, the body of Christ, the Church. We are a diverse family that God has brought together in love and service to Him and to others, and our St. Augustine parish is the warm and loving home of this family.
Visiting St. Augustine's
We gather each Sunday to celebrate Holy Eucharist (communion), the central act of Christian worship. We welcome you to visit either our 8:00 a.m. or 10:00 a.m. service. Our 8:00 service is a "said" service with no music. Bible passages are read, and after a homily and prayers, communion is served. Any baptized Christian may receive communion in our church. This service is quiet and meditative, and many enjoy the peacefulness of our church at this time on Sunday morning.
Our 10:00 service is a "sung" service, and we sing and hear music throughout this service. Bible passages are read, and after the sermon, recitations, and prayers, Holy Communion is served. Following this service, our priest greets the congregation and everyone is invited downstairs to enjoy fellowship and refreshments during coffee hour.
We use the Book of Common Prayer as our guide to worship. They are the red books you will find, along with the Bible and hymnal, in your pew. We stand and kneel at certain times during the service, and this is indicated on the church bulletin you will receive when you enter the church.
Most Episcopalians do not talk in church before a service and use this time for personal meditation and devotions. Many people kneel in their pew for a prayer of personal preparation for worship. Many people also bow to the altar on entering and leaving the church and before and after communion as an act of reverence and gratitude to our Lord Jesus Christ.
We would like you to know that when you visit our church, you will be our welcome guest. You will not be singled out or asked to stand before the congregation. You will worship God with us, as one of us. If you wish to know more about the Episcopal Church or how to become an Episcopalian, please see the Episcopal Church Visitors' Center website at https://www.episcopalchurch.org/.
The Episcopal Church
As an Episcopal parish, St. Augustine's is one of 48 congregations that make up the Episcopal Diocese of Indianapolis. The Right Reverend Catherine M. Waynick is our Bishop. Our Primate and chief pastor is The Most Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in the United States of America. ECUSA is one of the 28 national and regional churches of the Anglican Communion. All together there are over 70 million Anglicans in 163 countries, making up the world's third-largest body of Christians.
The Episcopal Church is sometimes thought of as the "bridge church" between Roman Catholicism and Protestant denominations. Episcopal worship, spiritual practice, and church structure resembles Catholicism, but Episcopal theology is Protestant in nature. Therefore, individuals and families from a variety of backgrounds find that the Episcopal Church is familiar to their own faith tradition.
St. Augustine's was born in the chapel of Canterbury College, an Episcopalian co-educational liberal arts college founded in 1946. The college experienced financial problems soon after, and eventually closed in 1952. The church continued on as a mission, however, thanks to the dedication of six families. They met in the basements of several other Danville churches. Visiting priests helped the congregation stay alive through these years. Eventually the congregation was able to purchase a house on East Clinton Street in Danville, and they refurbished it to hold a sanctuary and Sunday School rooms. During that time, 1954-1957, Fr. Bill Cassady served as St. Augustine's priest.
In 1955, Mr. & Mrs. Charles Eckler donated two acres of their orchard property on North Washington Street as a building site for a new church. In 1956, St. Augustine's received its first full-time priest, the Rev. Cn. Reese Thornton, a former missionary to Cuba. Under his leadership, the mission grew spiritually and financially. On August 4, 1957, Bishop Craine officiated at the groundbreaking ceremony for the new church building. The last service at the house on East Clinton Street was December 15, 1957. On December 22, 1957, Holy Communion was celebrated for the first time in the new church building on North Washington Street. During the early 1960's the Rev. W. Kenneth Williams was the priest, and in 1962, the Rev. Gary Gloster (who later became the Suffragan Bishop of North Carolina) was our third full-time priest.
In 1966, the Rev. John Roof became the fourth full-time priest. He led St. Augustine's from a mission to full parish status. On November 7, 1970, at the 133rd Diocesan Convention, St. Augustine Episcopal Church was voted full parish status, and Bishop Craine designated us as a parish on November 24, 1970. Parish status had been made possible by a very generous bequest from Elsie Blessing in 1970. Her gift made it possible to repay all the diocesan aid the mission had received and allowed St. Augustine's to purchase the rest of the Eckler property on North Washington Street. This land had been planted by the Ecklers as a tree nursery. They planted trees of every variety native to Indiana: maples, oaks, redbud, pink and white dogwood, tulip poplar, and pines of all kinds. The Eckler home was remodeled and turned into a rectory.
One by one, over many years, stained glass windows of the Saints were installed in the north and south windows of the sanctuary. Stained glass windows with angels, wheat, and grapes were added in 1993 to remind us of the gifts of bread and wine. Stained glass entrance windows of the Adam and Eve, and Christ's resurrection were also installed in the mid 1990's.
Also on the Eckler property was an old glazed block building that had sat empty for many years until, in 1977, the vestry voted to remodel the building to use as a Sunday School and meeting area. Through a tremendous effort of volunteer labor, led by parishioner John Knox, the Apple House renovation was completed five years later. Sunday School was held in the Apple House for the first time on January 25, 1981.
In the late 1980's, St. Augustine's established a memorial garden behind the church. Landscaping with flowering trees, shrubs, and hundreds of tulips and daffodils enhance the natural beauty of the site. St. Francis watches over the gardens and the souls of those laid to rest there.
In 1996, the congregation remodeled the inside of the church. Dark paneling was replaced with sparkling white walls, and the old alter was retired and replaced by a new one. The organ was moved to the rear, the pews were refinished and new carpeting was installed. Once again, volunteers did all the work. The result is the beautiful sanctuary we love and appreciate today.
In October 2009, after 42 wonderful years of service to our parish, Fr. John retired as rector of St. Augustine. The Rev. Tom Van Brunt was very creative and energetic as our interim rector for about a year and a half after Fr. John's retirement. We then welcomed many thoughtful and dedicated supply priests for another year and a half. Thanks to many months' hard work by our search committee members, we were blessed to receive The Rev. Bill Barfield as our new rector in March 2012.
Sadly, Fr. John passed away in March of 2013. We continue to feel the blessings from the time he spend with us, and as he always encouraged, we strive to "keep the love going."
We are a church that feasts at the table of our Lord Jesus Christ every Sunday. Come and see. We welcome you to worship with us this Sunday.
"The gifts of God for the people of God. Take them in remembrance that Christ died for you, and feed on him in your hearts by faith, with thanksgiving."
600 N. Washington St., Danville, Indiana 46122
St. Augustine Episcopal Church
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