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Religious culture in Indiana


Indianapolis skyline Indiana
Indianapolis skyline Indiana

The oldest permanent settlement in Indiana, Vincennes, was founded by French settlers who were Roman Catholics. For many decades the social as well as religious life of the inhabitants of Vincennes was centered on the Church of Saint Francis Xavier, established by Jesuit missionaries early in the 18th century. The first Protestant church in Indiana was organized by the Baptists in 1801. Three years later, circuit riders from Kentucky introduced Methodism, which spread rapidly throughout the state. Other early Protestant denominations active in Indiana included the Presbyterians, the Disciples of Christ, and the Society of Friends, or Quakers.

The village of Harmonie, or Harmony, an experiment in communal living, was founded on the Wabash River in 1814 by the German religious leader George Rapp and his followers. A decade later the Rappites, or Harmonists, sold their holdings to the British socialist Robert Owen. Today the Rapp-Owen era is memorialized in New Harmony, much of which has been restored as a living museum as well as a modern-day trading community.

More than half the church members in Indiana are Protestants. Of the Protestant denominations the Baptists are the most numerous, followed by the Methodists and Lutherans. The largest single denomination in Indiana is the Roman Catholic Church, which accounts for about one-fifth of all church membership. "Indiana" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia

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