This year, 2008, marks the 100th anniversary of Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis, which has been providing health care to the citizens of Indiana since 1908.

For Methodist Hospital, it all started with the 1899 International Convention of the Epworth League of the Methodist Episcopal Church. In fact, Indianapolis and Indiana had long been a Methodist stronghold and the first sermon ever preached in the town in 1819 had been given by a Methodist, the Rev. Resen Hammond.

The Epworth League Convention was a great success with attendance far exceeding expectations and after the bills were paid a surplus $4,750 remained, a substantial amount in a day of un-inflated dollars. After much discussion and meeting about how to use the surplus for a good Christian cause, the Rev. Lasby, pastor of Central Avenue Methodist Church suggested using the funds for the building of a hospital.

The suggestion was approved by the Indiana Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church. The Rev. Edward B. Rawls, presiding elder of the Indianapolis District, was appointed to present a resolution to the annual conference session meeting in Greencastle.

Fevered discussion ensued at that meeting, causing the Rev. George M. Smith to lecture in favor of the hospital. Replying to a question of where the church would stop in spending based on the proposed one million dollars needed to build the hospital, Smith announced, "The Church does not dare stop until it encompasses all the interests of Jesus Christ and our Church can never encompass all His interests and leave out sick people."

The proposal was approved and the Articles of Association were written, approved and filed with the Indiana Secretary of State's office on Nov. 3, 1899. With that, Methodist Hospital became a reality.

Signs of celebration

Celebrations commemorating the hospital's heritage focus on the people who make the hospital great: patients and families, employees, health care professionals, nurses, physicians and friends of the hospital.

Signage to commemorate the anniversary adorns both the inside of the hospital and the outside with a five-story beacon featured on side that faces Interstate 65. Timelines have been produced on the clarian.org Web site as well as inside the hospital. Historic photos exhibits will be displayed publicly.

A gala celebration will be held on Thursday night, April 24 at the Indiana Roof Ballroom in Indianapolis. Tickets are $75 each. For more information contact Michael Ault at Methodist Health Foundation, 317-962-1786.

A reception for employees will be held on Friday, April 25 and "Methodist Hospital Night at Victory Field," home of the Indianapolis Indians, will be held on Friday night, April 25. Methodist Hospital is located on what used to be the Indians home field know as Tinker Park

Methodist moments

Stories, anecdotes or personal remembrances of Methodist Hospital are being sought from patients, families, employees and the community. Anyone who has a connection to the hospital or a Methodist Moments to share may contact Katie Marlowe at 317-962-1782, kmarlowe@clarian.org; or Laura King at 317-962-4537, lking3@clarian.org. These stories will be reproduced in print, on the Web, in media announcements and will be part of an interactive multi-media display.

Making history, improving lives

Methodist Hospital's record of achievements, firsts and breakthroughs is unparalleled. While a reflection of the hospital's history, the true significance of these accomplishments is providing the best possible care that improves patients' quality of life, and building on those successes to continue serving the community in the future.

An exhaustive documentation of milestones exists in The History of Methodist Hospital of Indiana, Inc.: A Mission of Compassionate Health Care. The book is being updated to include reflections on the years 1985-2007.

Looking to the future

While celebrating its illustrious past, Methodist Hospital is vigorously planning for its future. Current plans call for a new bed tower for critical care; a neurosciences center to enhance Methodist physicians' practices; and a commitment to recruit additional cardiologists and other sub-specialists to support tertiary and quaternary care.