The Parish was founded in the mid 1800s as an out-post on the Diocesan missioner routes. Our first rector, Edwin Mendenhall, established a sister parish, Zion Church in Sterling, which was closed in the 1920s. For many of it’s years, following the death of Fr. Mendenhall, St. John’s struggled as a full parish, a seasonal chapel, a Sunday School, and whatever needs and opportunities could provide for the spiritual well-being of Episcopalians in Salem Township and environs. Many seminarians and part-time clergy as well as Lay-Readers have officiated at services.
We are proud to maintain some of the history of this house of God. The original Communion Table, Pulpit, pewter Communion set, Puplit Bible and Book of Common Prayer have been retained in wonderful condition and used at historic services from time to time. But we are an active, “modern” parish. Currently, our services are according to Rite Two (contemporary language) of the 1979 Book of Common Prayer. Holy Eucharist is the norm for weekend and Holy Day worship.
St. Catherine’s (Ladies) Guild is the local name for the ECW (Episcopal Church Women) and serves many needs in the parish, community and around the world. We also have a Daughters of the King Chapter, Province III known as Mary, the Lord’s Mother. There is also an active Lay Ministry, including Lectors, Ushers and Chalice Bearers, Acolytes, Altar Guild, Pastoral Care and Evangelism teams. Though a small parish, St. John’s has been called the Church with a heart, trying as we are able to reach out to the community.
As in all Episcopal Churches, St. John’s is governed by a board of Vestry and Wardens, nominated and elected by the Church membership. The Vestry is assisted by various committees. The Annual Planning Session is held in May to inform the parish of the past year’s activities and to look at the coming year. Parish elections are held in May, after our ‘snow-birds’ have returned north.