Great is Thy Faithfulness
In celebration of the church’s bicentennial, the Indiana Historical Society released "Great Is Thy Faithfulness - A Bicentennial History of Meridian Street Methodist Church" in December of 2020. Authored by Andrea Neal and Jason Lantzer, the book chronicles the buildings, the people, and the faith journey of the oldest church in Indianapolis.
This new history of Meridian Street UMC is a must-have for every church member or buff of Indianapolis history. Click here to purchase your copy today!
In the fall of 1821 Reverend William Cravens came to the new community of Indianapolis to minister to those of the Methodist faith. The city's first church would become known as Wesley Chapel, later renamed Meridian Street Methodist Church. From its beginnings in the early days of statehood to its prominence as the city's major metropolitan pulpit in the early 20th century to its role as a neighborhood anchor today, Meridian Street United Methodist Church has remained committed to spreading the gospel and ministering to the needs of the community.
In this new history of the church published on the occasion of its bicentennial, Andrea Neal and Jason Lantzer examine the congregation's defining moments against a backdrop of local, state, and national social and political change.
Andrea Neal is a teacher of English and U.S. History at St. Richard’s Episcopal School in Indianapolis and a former journalist. She received her bachelor’s degree in History and Latin-American Studies from Brown University. Neal is the author of Pence – The Path to Power (2018) and Road Trip – A Pocket History of Indiana (2016). Her great-grandfather, Orien Wesley Fifer, was a well-known Indianapolis pastor at Central Avenue UMC from 1917-1927. Neal grew up at First United Methodist Church of Noblesville but has belonged to Meridian Street for most of her adult life. Her mother and two sons also belong to MSUMC.
Jason Lantzer is assistant director, university honors program, at Butler University in Indianapolis. He received his undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degrees from Indiana University, Bloomington. Lantzer is the author of Prohibition is Here to Stay: The Reverend Edward S. Shumaker and the Dry Crusade in America (2009), Mainline Christianity: The Past and Future of America’s Majority Faith (2012), and Rebel Bulldog: The Story of One Family, Two States, and the Civil War (2017), among other works. He and his wife Erin were married at Meridian Street UMC in 1999, and the church is also where both of their children were baptized.