Changing Mission, Unchanging Faith

Episcopalians and Influence in Indianapolis

Lee Little, Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows

Jun/2024, 208 Pages, Paperback, 6 x 9

ISBN-13: 9781640657038



A story of the church’s transformation, told through the lens of a mid-American city.

Indianapolis is demographically close to the median American city and has experienced many of the same dynamics as other similarly sized American cities. Indianapolis is also home to a set of unique Episcopal institutions; the Diocese of Indianapolis has benefited from local wealth and close connections to the centers of civic power.

In Changing Mission, Unchanging Faith, Lee Little examines the ways that the Episcopal Diocese of Indianapolis has transformed from one of the most institutionalist religious groups in the city to one of the most progressive. Arguing that the diocese’s unique wealth and status has enabled this transformation, Little also notes many of the tensions still inherent in the church’s close connection to historic, class-based structures. In considering the ways in which the Episcopal Church in Indianapolis has evolved, and the ways that it continues to evolve, Little argues that the diocese represents an example of change that should be studied across the Episcopal Church and the broader landscape of American mainline Protestantism.

Lee Little is the Assistant Historiographer of The Episcopal Church. Prior to his appointment, he served as historiographer of the Diocese of Indianapolis from 2019-2022. He is a law librarian at Indiana University and focuses his scholarship on religious institutions and social trends in Indiana. He lives in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows is the first black woman to be elected a diocesan bishop in the Episcopal Church. She lives in Indianapolis, Indiana.

“Lee Little has a gift for engaging the history of our diocese in ways that draws us toward deeper discovery. Changing Mission, Unchanging Faith is a book that tells the fuller history of the Diocese of Indianapolis, and we are better for it.”—Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows, Eleventh Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Indianapolis

“This timely and incisive volume provides the Diocese of Indianapolis with a crucial insight into how we arrived at today’s moment. Little’s book is invaluable reading for the wider Episcopal Church as it grapples with its legacies of power and prestige. A must-read for anyone interested in the relationship between the complex past and faithful future of the Church.”—Greg Baker, Canon for Spiritual Formation, Christ Church Cathedral, Indianapolis

“The strength of Lee Little’s narrative is his approach to history as something like autobiography—the shared story that is the heritage of every Episcopalian. His forthright critiques of the church and its leaders are tempered by the acknowledgment of their sincere desire to follow the Gospel, and the good they did despite their failings. Every diocese is a collection of humans doing their best to be faithful to God in their place and time; Little’s compassionate truth-telling inspires hope that faithfulness in our moment, even amid the church’s present challenges, will bear fruit, with God’s help.”—Brendan O’Sullivan-Hale, Canon to the Ordinary, for Administration and Evangelism, Episcopal Diocese of Indianapolis


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