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Roberts Park M. E. Church

    Location:  Corner of Delaware and Vermont streets.

    This society was organized in October, 1842, by a division of the Meridian Street congregation (then called "Wesley Chapel," and worshipping on the corner of Circle and Meridian streets).  The new congregation was called "The Eastern Charge" --the city being then divided by the Conference into two charges separated by Meridian street.

    The first pastor was the Rev. John S. Bayless; the first place of worship, the Court house.  At the end of the first year the membership numbered three hundred and twenty-two.

    The society was active and energetic from the first; and within a short period after its organization, it had erected a commodious church building on the northeast corner of Pennsylvania and Market streets, which was christened Roberts Chapel, in honor of the famous Bishop Roberts.  This building, so long a religious landmark of the city, gave way in 1868 to the encroaching march of commerce; and the same reasons that made its site valuable to the uses of trade, also recommended the purchase of a new site for the church, less surrounded by the noise of business, and mere appropriate for Divine worship.  So the venerable building disappeared, and on its site a business block was erected.

    The congregation purchased an acre of ground, fronting on Delaware and Vermont streets; and is the center of this ample space a splendid and substantial edifice is rising.  Pending its erection the congregation have been worshiping in an old frame building, near the location of the new edifice, which has been aptly named Roberts' Chapel Tabernacle.

    The elegant structure now in process of erection is in the Renaissance style of architecture, one hundred and twenty-three by seventy feet, and will be surmounted by a lofty spire.  The walls will be of white magnesia lime stone.

    The entrance to the main audience room is from the west, fronting on Delaware street.  The entrance to the lecture room is from the south side of the church, fronting on Vermont street; the entrance is into a short hall, on the east side of which is the Sabbath-School and church library room.  There are two large double doors from this hall, one opening into the lecture room, and the other into the church parlor and infant class room.  Its dimension [sic] are fifty by sixty-two feet, and including the church parlor and infant class room, which connect with it by large folding doors, will be capable of seating eight hundred persons.  The wood work is of oiled ash.  The ceiling is divided into nine large pannels [sic], with elegant wooden cornices; and from the center of each pannel [sic] hangs a chandalier [sic].  The room is lighted by six double windows.  All the windows of the church are of ground glass; the body of each light is plain, with a vine border around the edge.  The upper part of each window is semi-circular, and furnished with a beautiful emblem or motto.  The main audience room will seat one thousand three hundred persons.  A gallery will encircle the auditorium around its entire extent.  The organ loft and singers' gallery will be in the rear of the pulpit.  The estimated coast of the building, including the site, is $150,000.

    The congregation has been characterized by great spirituality and energy as a religious organization, and has set off several flourishing colonies:  Asbury Church, on South New Jersey street; Trinity, on the corner of North and Alabama streets; and Grace Church, on the corner of East and Market streets, are all offshoots from Roberts, [sic] Chapel.

    The church membership numbers five hundred and twenty-seven; that of the Sabbath-School, three hundred and fifty-two.

    Roberts Park Church has been served by the following pastors, in the order given:

     Revs. John S. Bayless, John L. Smith, George M. Beswick, Samuel T. Gillett, John H. Hall, William Wilson, Samuel To Cooper, William H. Barnes, J. W. T. McMullen, C. W. Miller, W. Wilson, H. Colclazer, John V. R. Miller, A. S. Kinnan, W. H. Mendenhall, F. C. Holliday.  The present pastor, the Rev. Dr. Holliday, now in the third year of his pastorate, is widely known, as well without as within his denomination, as an able and effective minister -- a conspicuous light, for many years, in the Methodist church of Indiana.

    The principal officers of the church are:  Rev. F. C. Holliday, D. D., Pastor; John B. Abbett, Local Elder; Thomas A. Nelson, Local Preacher; George W. Ackert, Local Preacher.

    Church Trustees -- Dr. L. Abbett, John W. Ray, A. G. Porter, George Tousey, Frederick Baggs, J. F. Wingate, W. H. Craft.

    Sunday-School Superintendent, John W. Ray; Assistant Superintendent, W. L. Heiskell; Female Superintendent, Mrs. Ann C. Baggs. 

 
Holloway, W. R., Indianapolis, a Historical and Statistical Sketch of the Railroad City, a Chronicle of Its Social, Municipal, Commercial and Manufacturing Progress, with Full Statistical Tables, © 1870, pp. 228-230.

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