History

 

On the first day of fall, September 21, 1873, the journey of Broadway Church began in Indianapolis.  That day neighbors gathered in Pattison Methodist Episcopal Mission Church (so named after the primary donor, Isaac Pattison, who gave $1,700 of the original $2,700 building cost) located just north of Tinker/7th Street (now 16h Street) and on the east side of Yandes.  Because the path to the 40×40 building was often muddy, ragweed was pulled up and laid along the path resulting in the community calling the structure, “Ragweed Chapel.”  Amos Hanway was assigned as the first pastor.  Within two years the congregation had grown to 148 members with180 average worship attendance.

By 1877 the church building had become overcrowded so it was decided to relocate the building 4 blocks west to the northeast corner of Bellefontaine and 7th Street (now 16th).  This location was also just south and east of the location of Camp Morton which served as the Indiana State Fairgrounds at that time (& until 1892 when the State Fairgrounds moved to it’s current permanent location).  In 1883 the church building was expanded, and on August 19, 1883 the building was dedicated and renamed the Seventh Street Methodist Episcopal Church.

The congregation continued to grow and in late 1893 the decision was again made to relocate and build a new church building at the corner of Broadway and Clyde (now 22nd Street).  The new church was completed and dedicated on January 7, 1894 with all bills paid.  Two days later, the name was changed to Broadway Methodist Episcopal Church.  By 1903 there were 413 members of Broadway, and in 1911 a new stone church building was completed at the 22nd Street location for a cost of $50,000.  By 1918 the congregation was the largest Methodist congregation in Indiana with over 1,200 members.

As the Indianapolis continued to grow to the north the congregation decided to relocate to its current location at Fall Creek and Broadway.  The cornerstone was laid on on the new English Gothic Sanctuary building on November 22, 1925.  At the same time the Sanctuary was built, the foundations for the entire church building were laid as a testament to the congregation’s great faith and vision for the future.  On October 30,1927 the new Sanctuary was dedicated.  Just two years later, the nation and congregation was hit hard by the Great Depression.  For the next several years, the ladies of the church roasted peanuts in the church kitchen each Monday for city-wide sale to help support the church during these dark days. Rev. Dr. John W. McFall was the pastor of the now 1,854 members of Broadway.

A postwar baby boom saw many new families joining Broadway and by 1951 membership was growing at a rate of 35 new members per month to reach a membership of over 2,800.  In 1952 Willard and Minnie Beck celebrated their retirement after leading the music ministry at Broadway for 51 years.

Since 1927 temporary buildings had housed the chapel, Sunday school classrooms ,and gymnasium.  Built on the foundations set years ago, on May 23, 1954 the new permanent chapel, education building, and parlor were dedicated.  The cost of the new addition was $445,000.

In 1958 James A. Armstrong became the pastor of Broadway and Broadway had an average worship attendance of 1,200 on Sunday mornings, with an adult membership of 3,367.  At that time Broadway was the largest protestant church in Indiana. During Rev. Dr. Armstrong’s tenure, the final temporary building was replaced with a permanent gymnasium building which was dedicated on September 12, 1965.  As many congregations chose to move farther out into the suburbs, Broadway discerned its mission was to remain in the city, and make neighborhood ministry a priority.  In 1968 Rev. Dr. Armstrong was elected a United Methodist Bishop and assigned to the Dakota Area.

 

2008 Summer Roving Youth Program began.  Name, Bless, Conect.

December 2017, in the early morning hours a fire started in the Community Room on the lower level and quickly spread to the the main sanctuary located directly above.  Over $8 million in damages were incurred.