History of the Indiana Interchurch Center

From EDWIN L. BECKER: THE STORY OF THE INDIANA INTERCHURCH CENTER, 1991

The Indiana Interchurch Center began as a joint home for the Church Federation of Greater Indianapolis and the Indiana Council of Churches. The first building, opened in 1960, was a residence at 1622 North Meridian Street in Indianapolis. Over the next few years the idea developed of a more comprehensive church center, including other denominations such as Presbyterian, Lutheran, Episcopal, Methodist, and United Church of Christ. A joint organization was launched in 1963. Choice of a site (at 42nd Street and Michigan Road, on ground obtained from Christian Theological Seminary) and fund-raising took several years more. Ground was broken in July 1966, and some tenants moved in July 1967. It took several more years to pay off building costs, finish the building, and fill it with tenants.

The original owners and tenants of the Indiana Interchurch Center when it opened July 5, 1967:

  • The Church Federation of Greater Indianapolis
  • The Indiana Council of Churches
  • The Catholic Diocese of Indianapolis
  • The United Church of Christ
  • The Methodist Church, Indiana
  • The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
  • The United Presbyterian Church, Synod of Lincoln Trails
  • The Episcopal Church, Indianapolis Diocese

Over fifty years, some of the denominational headquarters moved to other space, some organizations ceased operations. Today the Interchurch Center’s judicatories are:

  • The United Church of Christ, Indiana-Kentucky Conference
  • The Christian Church in Indiana (Disciples of Christ)
  • The Synod of Lincoln Trails (Presbyterian Church USA in Indiana and Illinois)
  • The Episcopal Diocese of Indianapolis.

The American Baptist Churches of Greater Indianapolis is also Interchurch Center, but has no financial investment in the building. Historically, three others had financial interest in the property: what is now the Indiana Conference of the United Methodist Church, what was the Indiana Council of Churches, and what was the Church Federation of Greater Indianapolis. Christian Theological Seminary has an interest in the land since they lease it to us, and one of our Board members represents CTS.

Over time, many nonprofits moved into the Center, including the Jewish Community Relations Council in 1979, and the Muslim Alliance of Indiana in 2011. Many of these new organizations are faith-based, others are secular. But all are driven by values of social justice and dignity: protecting the vulnerable, preventing environmental degradation, helping refugees in Indiana and around the world, promoting human and civil rights, and fostering interfaith dialogue and cooperation.

For a sense of how diverse the Interchurch Center is, see a list of member of the Interchurch Community. You can see some of the passions for justice and dignity that drive the Community.

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