Our Story

5 Names + 4 Denominations + Tons of Enthusiasm = St. Peter’s United Church of Christ

Beginnings  

In 1905, we were located at 21st Street and Central Avenue in Indianapolis and called ourselves Central Avenue Reformed Church, part of the Reformed Church in the United States. In 1922, we moved to 44th and Carrollton and renamed the church – creatively – Carrollton Avenue Reformed Church.

central ave church      carrollton ave

Finally, in 1974 we landed at Keystone and Carmel Dr. in Carmel, Indiana and changed our name for the last time, to St. Peter’s United Church of Christ. (See timeline at right for all 5 of our names and how we eventually became part of the United Church of Christ.) 

Legend has it that Harry Joseph Letterman – David Letterman’s father – suggested the name St. Peter’s for our new church, “because of St. Peter building a church upon a rock for a firm foundation.”

Personality  

Over the years we’ve had a lot of spirited personalities as members – accomplished artist Evelynne Bernloehr Mess Daily in the early 1900’s, and David Letterman in the 1950s and 60s.

old choir

But more important is the spirited personality of this congregation, and its passion for serving those on the margins of society. As early as the depression years, our church was donating the sale of prayer calendars to local charities. In 1957, we sponsored one of our first refugee families – the Hungarian Oravecz family. This marked the beginning of long tradition of refugee assistance at St. Peter’s (today, the Exodus Refugee Immigration of Indianapolis is one of our main missions). 

Other missions our members are passionate about: Family Promise of Greater Indianapolis, Rural Healthcare (a nursing facility for adults with developmental disabilities), Washington United Church of Christ in Cincinnati, and Day of Caring, a day of service for various members of our congregation. 

Looking Ahead  

St. Peter’s has enjoyed significant growth during recent years, and we’re looking at new ways to accommodate and nurture our vibrant, thriving congregation. We have exciting plans to expand our youth programs, our physical space and our ability to serve our guest families facing homelessness. We invite you to visit soon!

history book

For the text of our 100th Anniversary Book written by Judy Newton, click here.