Dear Parish,

I am writing to you today to inform you of an announcement that I made this past Sunday, April 25. I turned in a letter of resignation to the Vestry on March 14 and the Bishop, vestry, and I have been working out particulars ever since. Allow me to explain what is going on and why I have come to this decision. I will resign my post as priest in charge effective May 21, 2021 and I will be transitioning into supply work beginning on May 23, 2021.

As many of you know Jen and I have been pursuing adoption and there are pastedGraphic.pngsome things in that process that have come up causing discussions between Jen and l. One of those discussions has been if we wanted to introduce our adoptive children to the fishbowl of ministry, the answer to that is a no. As we have been reminded in the interviews for the process of adoption when the children come to us, they will come with trauma of various kinds. This is a situation that is not helped by life in full time ministry.

We have also been asked what we would do if our adoptive children had a different faith than us. We would have no problem with that and would make arrangements to accommodate the children’s faith. Faith requires that you make your own informed decision, nobody can make that choice for you be that in the case of adult or child. The biggest deciding factor for me was a very simple question I was asked in the interviews, and that was about my childhood. I had a great childhood, one I wish everyone had. I got to travel and see the country, meet people from all over, experience new things, spend time with my family camping and exploring. It was nothing short of wonderful. I was then asked the question, “And you want to give that to your kids, right?”. The answer to that is yes with all my heart, however I soon realized that in the position I am in, doing the things I do, I can’t. That realization floored me and I can not accept that so changes need to be made.pastedGraphic_1.png

Add into all this the whole issue of stress with the pandemic, ministry, adoption, and a nice big health scare and it all adds up to I’m tired. I’m tired, worn out battered and bruised and I need time to heal myself as well as build my family in such a way that they are healing as well.

Change is never easy, rarely comfortable, often scary, and sometimes necessary. This is such a case. At this point I imagine you are asking what about us? The Vestry and I have a plan for moving forward. I was asked if I would consider supplying for Saint Francis while you all figure out next steps and start searching for your next priest. I of course said yes so in the scheme of things not a lot will change for the time being. I will celebrate the Eucharist and preach, and the Vestry will take on the role of administrators of the church.

As details become firmer and plans are made you of course will be kept aware of them as they are made available. If you have questions or wish to talk more please know that my door is as always open. This process will without a doubt be uncomfortable at times but please know that Jen and I want nothing but the best for Saint Francis. Know that you remain in our prayers as I hope we do in yours.


In His name,

David Pearson +

Dear Parish,

I am writing to you to give you an update on some exciting news as well as to give you the Holy Week schedule for this year.

As you know we are still under guidelines for the pandemic however it has been determined that between 4 to 8 people are allowed to sing while wearing masks. This means that beginning Sunday March 21 we will be able to return to a form of sung Eucharist which is very exciting and much anticipated. As for the Holy Week Schedule it is as follows:

Sunday March 28 – Palm Sunday at IOAM. This service will be as traditional as we can make it with the possibility of having service outside weather permitting.

Wednesday March 31 – Normal Wednesday service at 6PM

Thursday April 1 – Service will be at 6PM including the stripping of the Altar. This service will be slightly modified. We will not be stripping the church as bare as we have in the past and we will have an alternative to foot washing.

Night of Thursday April 1 to Morning of Friday April 2 we will still observe a watch but it is by signup and only one family unit is permitted at a time.

Friday April 2 12 Noon – Stations of the Cross

Friday April 2 6PM – Good Friday Service

Saturday April 3 – Due to the continuing pandemic we have decided to not have the easter vigil and instead combine it with the easter service.

Sunday April 4 IOAM – Easter Service at IOAM just as we have in the past.

As you can see we have tried to work within the framework of what our country is continuing to go through while continuing to meet the faith needs and desires of the communities we serve. This is not ideal but it is not a small thing either and we truly have much to be thankful for at this time.

Peace be with you,


September Parish Letter – Fr. David

Dear Parish Family,

I hope this letter finds you safe and well. I know these are and continue to be difficult times. Many of us thought and hoped that by now we would be closer to normal, alas that is not yet to be. However things are improving, if slowly as I hope you will see.

I am writing to inform you of a few recent updates and give you a glimpse of the path ahead. Recently Bishop Sparks has come out with what is being called the “Michigan Proposal”. What this does is allows us to meet in worship with up to 25% capacity indoors unless we have another lockdown by State Officials. This does not mean that you have to return but that the decision to return is yours. I would encourage you to continue to watch the numbers and make the decision you are comfortable with. In addition to this I still encourage you to stay home if you feel ill or out of sorts for any reason and I will do the same. We are also forming a kind of hybrid worship that will be offered every week which is the 25% capacity indoors as well as outdoor seating for both overflow and those that are not quite comfortable being indoors at present. That will be evolving and feedback on how to best accomplish or improve it is very helpful and welcome.

I also wish to inform you that I was contacted by Bishop Sparks and informed that he would like to begin resuming his visitations and hoped that he could come and visit us on October 4th. The answer of course was yes we would enjoy that hence the Bishop will be joining us this weekend. There is still no coffee hour and we are still social distancing but the Bishop will be here and available. Hope to see you soon.

In His name,



Dear Parish, 

I have some good news to share with all of you. Due to some recent changes by the Diocese we now have the ability to offer a consistent worship experience. Bishop Sparks has instituted what is being called “the Michigan proposal”. It allows us to be able to have a consistent time of worship all be it different from what we are used to. In essence it allows us to have service no matter as long as we don’t hit the red zone as far as numbers. However it also means that service will be outside. This will start beginning September 13 and service times will be at 10 am as usual. For now we have decided to focus on Sunday service only and will add in the Wednesday service at a latter date. Due to the unusual nature of our services there are a few things we will need to go over.

  1. Since services will be outside it is recommended that you bring your own lawn chair.
  2. Bring your prayer book and hymnal (we can supply one to live in your car for the time being, and Rich Barber has posted some resources for digital copies you can use on the website .
  3. We are working on a drive up box for tithes.
  4. The service will look the same as it always has but a few things will be a bit different. Both forms of Eucharist will be consecrated but only the host will be consumed by parishioners while the wine will be by ocular aka spiritual communion (more about that at the service)
  5. At the peace you are free to waive to people but do not hug or shake hands, social distancing is still in effect.
  6. Masks. Since we are outside as long as you are 6ft or more from the person next to you you are not required to wear a mask but are welcome to do so. While on this subject do not come to service if you have a headache, stomach ache, are running a fever, or even think you don’t feel 100%. Practice good hygiene and personal care and stay safe.
  7. Bulletins will be available but must be taken home.
  8. Ushers will assist in directing you where to park.

Bear in mind this is going to be a learning experience for all of us and it is less than ideal but things will improve over time and we will hopefully soon be back in our building (I don’t want to be standing in the snow having service while you all are in your nice warm cars) but it is first steps towards getting back to normal.

Hope to see you starting next week,



On September 24 the Bishop changed the opening criteria to the “Michigan Adaptation”.

Click here for his statement.

Current Stats for Porter County:

Details for 11/3/20 – New Cases per 100,000 = 62 (RED), 12.1% Positivity (max. 5% recommended)


Opening determination  figures prior to Bishop Spark’s statement of September 24 (above)

As you know, an important part of the care we are taking for our people is monitoring the number of COVID-19 cases in our counties. Here is their current status:

<< For latest Porter County data click here >>

September 10, 2020

My Dear Kindred in Christ,

With our counties still adjusting to the consequences of school re-openings of various types, our COVID-numbers remain high. The bright spots on this otherwise shadowed horizon include St. Joseph County coming down out of the Red Zone and Marshall County coming within shouting distance of Yellow (watch your numbers the next 2 days—you just might make it!). Also inspiring are some of the plans emerging for thoughtful and creative indoor worship within the newly adjusted guidelines.

By the way, if you visit the state COVID dashboard at, you’ll notice a new tab entitled “County Metrics.” This tab lets you know the 7-day positivity rate for your county, a rate that can indicate how likely it is that folks who are infected are actually getting tested. The WHO and other health organizations have indicated that a positivity rate of under 5% is an indicator that testing is sufficiently robust to allow for confidence that a region has met reopening criteria. We will consider this information when looking at “borderline cases,” such as the question above of when Marshall County (with an excellent positivity rate of 1.65%!) crosses into the Yellow Zone.


The Rev. Canon Terri L. Bays, PhD.
Missioner for Transitions and Governance
Emergency Response NGO/Government Liaison


Update August 27, 2020 – Bishop Sparks

Dear Sisters, Brothers, Siblings,

Grace and peace be with you in Jesus, the Light for all people!

I want to begin this Pastoral Letter by thanking you for your steadfast faith and witness during the COVID 19 Pandemic. We are now into our 24th week since arriving at the consensus to suspend all in-person worship on 13 March 2020. While we have leaned into the experience of Virtual Worship with all its challenges, like you, I long for the opportunity to gather safely for in-person worship. I especially want to thank our missioners for their good and faithful ministry in helping us adapt…from plotting the daily COVID 19 positive cases for each county to providing the most current communication and informative infographics to preparing for our two virtual conventions this fall…our common life as the Episcopal Church in Northern Indiana continues!

We know more about managing our lives safely in this pandemic now than we did in March. In addition to the 4 criteria in our Pastoral Plan for Regathering, we also made use of the color coding formula of Green (<1 case per 100K); Green -Yellow(5 or less new cases per day per 100K); Yellow (>1 and < or equal to 10 new cases per day per 100K); Orange (>10 and < or equal to 25 new cases per day per 100K) and Red (> 25 new cases per day per 100K) to further assist us in determining the possibility of in-person worship county by county. We have had three ordination services which have helped identify what additional best practices need to be in place for in-person worship. Adhering to protocols for gathering safely for in-person worship like ours, the dioceses in Michigan have allowed for in-person worship using the lower number of 25 % of full legal capacity OR seating with 6’ between household groups.

Taking what we have learned into account, the missioners and I offered the “Michigan adaption”for consideration during our Clergy and Lay Leader Zoom Call yesterday, 26 August. After considerable discussion, most of the clergy and lay leaders supported adopting the “Michigan adaptation” for our diocese. This will require some additional work in reaching a specific number, given the size of each of your worship spaces. However, it could make it possible for more of us to begin gathering outdoors or indoors for in-person worship as we approach September. I want to underscore that how and when this adaptation begins in your faith community will be decided by the clergy and lay leaders of your faith community.

The infographic above describes, in greater detail,the number for indoor worship, given your county’s color determination as well as outdoor worship for your county, given the color determination.

If you have any questions or concerns, please call on me.

Every blessing,

The Rt. Rev. Dr. Douglas E. Sparks
VIII Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Northern Indiana

Update July 2, 2020 – Rev. Canon TerriBayes

Those of you who draw your congregation from a cluster of counties will want to consult other situations as well, but the baseline for your decision making should be the situation in the county in which your building is located

We, as a diocesan staff, have made every effort to continue reviewing the ways in which we assess our situation, both according to the information being reported by our health departments and according to the changing reports about factors affecting that reporting. We have also been listening you your concerns about the differences among the situations in your various counties. As a result, you will notice a few differences between this spreadsheet and the model we showed you a few months ago.

First, we are now using a 7-day rather than a 5-day rolling average. As with the 5-day figure, the 7-day average adjusts for the fact that different people will be tested at different stages of illness. The 7-day average further allows us to account for the differing availability of testing throughout any given week.

Second, having heard your concerns about the differences in population density in different counties, we have adopted a population-sensitive severity scale used by the CDC. Different colors designate different saturation rates in the county:

Green: averaging ≤ 1 case/day per 100,000 people

Yellow: averaging 2-10 cases/day per 100,000 people

Orange: averaging 11-25 cases/day per 100,000 people

Red: averaging >25 cases/day per 100,000 people.

We have averaged the number of cases in your county for the past 14 days, compared that number with the population of your county, and assigned your county a corresponding severity color. Faith Communities in counties with an orange or red designation should not gather for in-person worship, even if they have experienced a 14-day decline in cases. 

Faith Communities in counties with a yellow designation should be exercising caution. This means not gathering for in-person worship if the county has experienced a 14-day increase in cases. The exception we are making to this is in counties where the population is so small that a single case would show up as 3-4 cases per 100,000 people. In order to adjust for this, we have marked counties remaining below 5 cases/day as both yellow and green, meaning that faith communities should remain watchful with regard to a rising number of cases, but may still gather for in-person worship. 

We are issuing this information on Thursday afternoon so that you have time to take appropriate measures before Sunday. What this means, however, is that we will be using, at best, the data from Wednesday. It is therefore your responsibility, as clergy and lay leaders, to continue monitoring the situation on Friday and Saturday and to cancel services if there is a sufficiently large spike in cases as to change the profile for your county. You always can call me at 574-850-5722 in order to consult if you are in doubt.  

We realize that this situation will require you to deliver unwelcome news to people who are longing to return to worship in a beloved and comforting setting during troubled times. Know that you are in our prayers, for strength, courage and patience now, for the health and safety of your counties to improve soon and for an ongoing renewal of faith as together we walk the path God has laid before us.

We have received a number of questions regarding when outdoor worship is appropriate. Gathering outdoors only lessens without eliminating the risk of infection—that’s why we require all the other precautions to still be in place for outdoor gathering. Outdoor gathering is not appropriate when your county is in the orange or red zones. If your county is in a yellow rising zone, however, outdoor worship is a reasonable alternative. If your county is in a green, green-yellow <5, or yellow falling zone, then worship indoors and out are both permissible. In all cases, please also take steps to protect your outdoor congregations from the heat.



Greetings people of Saint Francis,

We have gotten the approval from the bishop to begin to regather for in person worship. Our first service will be July 5th. Things will not look exactly as they did as we come back together but they will eventually return to normal at some point. What does this mean for now you ask? As we regather masks will be required for everyone attending service and social distancing will need to be maintained. In addition to that we will have music but are not allowed to sing yet. The Eucharist will be offered for those willing to take it in host form only. We will be using our prayer books for the service so if you have your own I encourage you to bring it. If you do not have a prayer book we will give you one that is to travel with you back and forth to service, at least for the time being. All handouts are likewise to travel home with you. Bathrooms will be open but for only one person at a time and you will be required to use disinfectant on all surfaces that you touch to protect the person coming in after you. We will also need volunteers to wipe down surfaces after the service. Coffee hour will be outside in the fresh air and there will be no food or drink served presently. As protocols are developed and refined this will be communicated to everyone at the announcements at the beginning of service.

What to consider when returning. First and foremost if you feel ill or off do not come to church. If you have a cough or headache don’t come to church. If you feel that you even remotely feel that you may be the slightest bit sick please don’t come to church. It is not that we don’t want to see you but we don’t want to potentially infect others. This applies even to me. Practice good hygiene, keep your hands washed and limit personal contact such as hugs and handshakes as much as possible. This also means at the peace which will be verbal only for now.

Looking forward to seeing you soon,

Father David

The question that’s on everyone’s mind.  Before we can consider worshiping again in St. Francis’ there are four criteria that must be met:

In order for in-person worship to occur, the following Four Criteria need to be met:

  1. The number of COVID-19 cases has to have decreased in your county for 14 days.
  2. Your county retains the ability to test all Hoosiers who are COVID-19 symptomatic.
  3. Health officials in your county have systems in place to contact all individuals who test positive for COVID-19 and complete contact tracing.
  4. A plan to safely re-gather for in-person worship has been developed and received approval from the Bishop.


  1. This is a hard target to meet, the numbers fluctuate quite a bit.  The graphic below shows this, the block is for two weeks.
  2. This appears to be met.
  3. The last report we had was that they expect to meet this requirement this month.
  4. This is currently is being worked on by our Leadership Committee.


A Joint Statement from the Bishops of Indianapolis and Northern Indiana Regarding a Phased-in Approach to Regathering

May 01, 2020


Dear People of God in the State of Indiana,

As you may have heard, Governor Holcomb this afternoon sketched out a five-phase roadmap that he hopes will return our state to pre-pandemic levels of openness and activity by July 4. Under this plan, communities of faith can return to worship in their buildings beginning on May 8. 

In granting this permission, however, the governor made it clear that he would prefer that churches continue to worship online, or outdoors, rather than in person, and he expressly asked Hoosiers over 65 remain at home. We appreciate both the governor’s commitment to freedom of religious expression and his candid admission that gathering to worship in person still poses risks to people of faith and those with whom they come in contact. 

We remain committed to doing everything we can to slow the spread of the pandemic. For that reason, we will not be reopening our church buildings for in-person worship this month. The restrictions that Bishop Baskerville-Burrows announced on March 24 and that Bishop Sparks announced on March 26 remain in effect, and we urge that you continue to observe them.

Like so many of you, we are eager to return safely to our church buildings and look forward to celebrating the Eucharist with the people of our diocese. But we must do so with the utmost care, or else we put the lives of vulnerable people at risk. To help guide us in this endeavor, we will release a detailed plan next week explaining the conditions and sketching out a possible timeline for a return to our church buildings. The plan will require some serious thinking on the part of each congregation about the ways a return to in-person worship might best be achieved, and we urge you to begin giving this some thought immediately.

In his recent Word to the Church, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry wrote: “As our seasons of life in the COVID-19 world continue to turn, we are called to continue to be creative, to risk, to love. We are called to ask, What would unselfish, sacrificial love do?”

We believe unselfish, sacrificial love requires abstaining a while longer from worshipping in person. We invite you to embrace this discipline as a way to express your care for the most vulnerable among us. You are in our prayers, and we will be in touch again soon.


The Rt. Rev. Jennifer Baskerville-Burrow

XI Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Indianapolis

The Rt. Rev. Douglas E. Sparks

VIII Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Northern Indiana

At the beginning of Lent I heard a quote, I don’t remember what I was watching, but it has stuck with me all through lent and has been much on my mind for Easter. “Darkness is not the absence of light, but the conviction that the light will not return.” Read that again slowly and think about what you have seen during this pandemic. It is a nefarious sneaky little thought that worms its way into our mind. We have limited movement, fears (sometimes irrational), social distancing, an inability to express our faith in community. If we are honest we begin to wonder if things will ever go back to normal, if we will be able to meet again in our places of worship, or go to a movie or the beach. It then becomes easy to be convicted that the light will not return. We have just spent the holiest week of the Christian year apart after all. 
At this point I am sure many of you are thinking,” wow Fr. David way to cheer us up”.  Bear with me a bit longer and it will become clear. As you can imagine Jen and I have continued our preparation for adoption which includes reading, surprise surprise. One of the books we have been reading has a refrain that is repeated throughout the book and is summed up in one word, HOPE. One of the most important words we ever learn in our lives. Hope. The antidote to many things. HOPE. The counter to convictions of despair. HOPE. The process by which all things seem new and possible.
This has been one of, if not THE, driest Lenten experiences I have ever known. I imagine it has been the same for all of you. However, when I examine it I realize that it wasn’t very different just…….More.For me Lent has always been a time of self examination and drawing closer to God in whatever way I can. That has been something that I’ve had to rely on throughout all of this, more than normal. I hope this has been the case for you as well. But what does that mean, what does this have to do with Hope? Simply put the Easter resurrection is the epitome of hope. Think about it for a second. The first witness of the resurrected Christ was Mary Magdalene. This is a woman from him seven demons were cast out. This is a woman who earns her living by selling her body. This is a woman who like many of us was one of the most broken among us. She was the first to witness the resurrection hope. The risen Messiah. Her tears of fear and rage and sorrow in an instant were turned to tears of hope and joy. Just like that the small seemingly insignificant word of hope returned to the people, all of the people. The resurrection of Christ is the returning of the light. It is that light that our hope and faith hang upon.
When I was at seminary every Wednesday we had benediction of the blessed sacrament. During that service we sang a song with these words that echo in my mind to this very day. “Oh saving victim opening wide the gates of heaven to man below, our foes press on from every side thine aid supply thy strength bestow.” In the earliest churches those of the Christian faith used to paint fish on their chest to identify themselves to one another. They did this for fear of being persecuted, or outright killed. We have not even come close to that in this time. The reality is that the Christian life does not even embrace the idea that darkness is the conviction that light will never return it is that the light has never left. That reality is the basis of our faith, the very reason we hope. It is the reason that we shout from the rooftops every Easter that Christ has risen with the response of the Lord has risen indeed. May you have a blessed and holy Easter.         

If you have an Alexa device in your home you can listen to the Daily Office.

Ask Alexa to “open the Episcopal Prayer” Alexa responds, “The Lord be with you,” and then plays a recording of the day’s morning prayer from the Daily Office. The prayer consists of a collect, Canticle or Psalm, Lesson, a concluding collect of the day, and the Ending.