Madison was founded on the banks of the Ohio River in 1809, seven years before Indiana statehood. In July 1835, several of Madison’s citizens met to organize an Episcopal parish and elected seven vestrymen. The new parish, the second Episcopal parish established in Indiana, met without a permanent home until 1838, when members of Christ Church oversaw the construction of the first building. That same year, Indiana’s Episcopalians met in convention at Madison and organized the Diocese of Indiana, and the Rt. Rev. Jackson Kemper became its first bishop.
In 1848, the members of Christ Church and Bishop Kemper celebrated the laying of the cornerstone of a new church building on Mulberry Street. Architect William Russell West designed the Gothic Revival structure, and, in February 1850, the Rt. Rev. George Upfold visited to consecrate the new church.
Generations have worshipped in this same building, and we value its history and beauty. We celebrate the Eucharist at the church’s original altar, now free-standing. We are reminded of our parish’s place in the history of Madison when we read the memorial plaques to past parishioners. We can also note that, for a brief time, the church’s organist was Emilie Todd Helm, Mary Todd Lincoln’s half-sister. (One of our parishioners has recently written a biography of Helm.) We appreciate, also, that the east windows are notable examples of American stained glass, created in Cincinnati and Pittsburgh in 1850.
In 2006, parishioners and members of the Madison community celebrated the completion of a decade-long project to restore the church’s stained-glass windows. Our church tower contains a set of fifteen chimes, dedicated in 1905, and apparently one of only six sets of their kind in the United States. Together, the church, rectory, Great Hall, and garden form an attractive corner in a historic neighborhood.