Downey Avenue Christian Church (often referred to simply as Downey) is an open-minded, intergenerational congregation with a shared commitment to work for social justice, care for creation, and to welcome a rich diversity of God's people into beloved community.
Downey is a community of people who are knowingly embraced by God's love, and so we seek to share that love wherever we go and with everyone we meet. Our shared mission is to be “Transformed by God’s radical love to build a welcoming church, a just community, and a sustainable world.”
Serving the Irvington community since the church's founding in 1875, Downey has continually found new ways to witness for social justice and compassion in this community and around the world. Historically, the membership of Downey have been active in the ongoing work of peace, justice, and reconciliation - and that gospel through-line is as strong now as it has ever been. Today, the people of Downey Avenue Christian Church continue these historical commitments, still deeply rooted in gospel good news and unafraid to offer such beautiful grace to all people, all the time.
As a leading progressive congregation in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) denomination, we welcome people of all beliefs and backgrounds, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, political ideology, or theological understandings — focusing instead on what brings us together, the infinite love of God for all people. Open hearts and minds are strong hearts and minds.
Meet the Staff
Reverend Melody Merida, Senior Pastor
While you can hear Melody most Sundays at Church, you may also encounter her marching in the Pride Parade, providing spiritual guidance at a local coffee shop, exploring peaceful conflict mediation in the Irish countryside with the Wabash Pastoral Leadership Program, leading a group of youth to Puerto Rico for hurricane recovery work, or witnessing the effects of slavery and racism on a civil rights pilgrimage. Her commitment to the community—local, national, and global—is the way she leads. Back home, Melody preaches a message that she lives every day: to love, to forgive, to witness, to work for justice and peace, and to seek joy.
Melody earned her Master of Divinity degree from Earlham School of Religion. She was ordained with Metropolitan Community Churches in 2013 and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in 2019. She joined Downey in 2017, first as associate pastor focused on family and youth ministries, before being called as the Senior Pastor.
Rev. Melody Merida
Reverend Adam Bradley, Associate Pastor - focusing on Church Communications and Children/Youth/Young Adult Ministries.
Adam was ordained into ministry by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Northern California/Nevada region. He was born in Oakland, CA and lived his early life in the Bay Area. Adam majored in religious studies at Chapman University. He attended the Pacific School of Religion and then finished his Master of Divinity degree at San Francisco Theological Seminary, honored with the David Esler Award for Homiletics in the spring of 2017. Adam has served as Pastor for local congregations in CA, MT, and GA, and has served in various capacities of regional ministry in CA & GA.
Adam is thrilled to now be here in Indy, offering his gifts and talents to the people of Downey Avenue CC!
Rev. Adam Bradley
David R. Newman, Director of Music
David is a lifelong Indianapolis resident and has been involved with music education, direction, composition, and performance for more than 40 years. David received his bachelor and master's degrees from Butler University in Indianapolis, specializing in music education, piano, and voice. He has directed and performed many styles of music from rock to easy listening to sacred to classical. He began his music ministry as Music Director of Hope United Presbyterian Church, Plainfield, Indiana, serving from 1993 to 2010. He has been a high school and middle school choral director, and a school administrator and principal for Indianapolis Public Schools, overseeing the Mary Nicholson Visual and Performing Arts Academy at School 70. He has taught music at the former Broad Ripple Magnet School for the Arts and Humanities and will be retiring from IPS as the District Fine Arts Instructional Coach in June 2023. David has been involved with music at Downey since 2010. In his spare time, he enjoys performing with local music groups Audio Diner and Der Polkatz.
Director of Music
Front Desk Volunteers
Pat Witthaus, Jack Rutledge, Susan Collins
Main Parking Lot
Where Hibben Ave
meets South Downey Ave
On Hibben Ave, on south side of church building. There are 6 spots in this lot, for need-based uses.
There is limited street parking throughout the neighborhood, especially on Julian Ave on north side of the building. However, in respect of our neighbors, we encourage use of the parking lots.