160327-congregationLocated prominently at one end of the city green, St. John’s has been a physical landmark and beacon of hope for greater Waterbury since the 18th century. We have given birth to Waterbury trademarks including St. Margaret's School for Girls (a founding school of today's Chase Collegiate School) and the Visiting Nurses Association.

We feel enlivened by the Holy Spirit, working through our parish to serve all of God’s children living in Waterbury and its surrounding towns. By being the focal point of Episcopal worship and social outreach programs, St. John’s is an essential part of the fabric of Waterbury. The scope of our community involvement prompted a former Rector to remark, “If St. John’s didn’t exist, Waterbury would have to invent it.”

St. John’s attracts members from nearly 40 communities. The majority of active members live in Waterbury and its neighboring towns of Middlebury, Prospect, Watertown, and Wolcott.

Our diverse and eclectic mix of parishioners has become like one big “family” where deep and lasting relationships are formed. As is the case with Waterbury’s own population, the number of Hispanic and African-American members at St. John’s continues to grow.

We are a living community who shares a desire to do the work of God and to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the everyday world. We do this through community outreach, and by the rich Episcopal liturgy of our worship services rooted in the Book of Common Prayer.

160327-congregationCon un lugar prominente en la ciudad verde, la Iglesia de San Juan ha sido un hito físico y faro de esperanza para mayor Waterbury desde el siglo XVIII. Nos hemos dado a luz a instituciones históricas de Waterbury, incluyendo la Escuela de Santa Margarita para Niñas (una escuela fundador de Chase Collegiate School) y la Asociación de Enfermeras Visitadoras.

Sentimos animadas por el Espíritu Santo, trabajando a través de nuestra parroquia a todos los hijos de Dios viven en Waterbury y sus pueblos de los alrededores. Por ser el punto focal de culto Episcopal y programas de alcance social, La Iglesia de San Juan es una parte esencial del tejido de Waterbury. El alcance de nuestra participación en la comunidad provocó un ex Rector a observar, "Si la Iglesia de San Juan no existía, Waterbury tendría que inventarlo."

La Iglesia de San Juan atrae a los miembros de cerca de 40 comunidades. La mayoría de los miembros activos vivo en Waterbury y sus localidades vecinas de Middlebury, perspectiva, Watertown y Wolcott.

Nuestra feligreses diversas y eclécticas son como una gran "familia" donde se forman relaciones profundas y duraderas. Como es el caso de la población de Waterbury, el número de hispanos y afroamericanos sigue creciendo en la iglesia.

Somos una comunidad de vida que comparte el deseo de hacer el trabajo de Dios y proclamar el Evangelio de Jesucristo en el mundo cotidiano. Esto lo hacemos a través de relaciones con la comunidad y por la rica liturgia Episcopal de nuestros servicios de adoración en el libro de oración común.

St. John’s traces its roots to the year 1732, when a group of Anglican churchmen under the auspices of the Venerable Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts established St. James Parish in Waterbury. The first church building was erected in 1743 at the corner of West Main and Willow Streets. The parish outgrew this small building by the turn of the century.The second church was built and consecrated as  St. John’s Church on November 1, 1797. It was located on the Green where the Soldiers’ Monument now stands.St. John’s third church was erected on the current site in 1848 and was totally destroyed by fire on Christmas Eve, 1868. Services were held in a temporary building for over four years.

The fourth and present church was consecrated on June 24, 1873. Designed by architect Henry Dudley of New York, this neo-gothic structure was built on the foundations of the burned building.

A thorough history of St. John’s from its beginnings until the early 20th century may be found in the book, A Narrative and Documentary History of St. John’s Protestant Episcopal Church, by Frederick John Kingsbury, L.L.D., published in the year 1907.

Major renovations in 1956 included installation of a gallery organ, expansion of the balcony, and modifications to the chancel.

A tornado swept through the Waterbury area on July 10, 1989. This caused one and one half of the towers that surround the spire to fall through the roof, which destroyed two-thirds of the gallery organ. Slates were blown from the roof and several of the stained glass windows were broken. Repairs to the organ and building were completed in 1991.

In 1998, to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the church building, a major restoration of the tower exterior was done to replace mortar joints and sandstone.

In 2010, the eight chandeliers in the chancel were completely rewired and restored to their original beauty.

Throughout its long history, St. John’s has had a strong tradition of serving the needs of the community. The Waterbury Visiting Nurses Association was founded in the early 1900’s under the direction of Rev. Dr. John Lewis. To this date, St. John’s is home to many 12-step groups, self-help organizations, and programs that help the community in numerous ways. The undercroft (basement) is used to store food for the Food Bank. The Greater Waterbury Interfaith Ministries’ Soup Kitchen was housed in the Parish House for many years, feeding thousands of men, women and children yearly. Outreach Programs continue to flourish.

St. John’s became a center for the training of clergy for the Episcopal Church under Dr. Lewis, whose tenure as Rector lasted 40 years (1901-1940). Nine bishops began their ministries at St. John’s as a curate, assistant, or rector. The Rt. Rev. Andrew Smith, recently retired Bishop of the Diocese of Connecticut, served as Assistant at St. John’s from 1971 to 1976.

In 2003, we added an Hispanic ministry to serve the needs of this growing community, by creating a noontime Spanish-language service and new outreach opportunities.

A two-year discernment process led to the creation of a Five-Year Plan for the years 2004-09. Known as “Sharing the Vision,” this plan called for growth in the congregation through a long-term commitment to the Hispanic Ministry, and by deeper engagement with youth in the community. The latter resulted in the creation of a Chorister Academy (now known as the Waterbury Youth Chorus) and Saturday Festival of Learning.

In 2007, past clergy, families, old friends, and new friends, came together to celebrate 275 years of St. John’s ministry to the greater Waterbury area with a harvest picnic in the Close. Some of the guests were fourth and fifth generation St. John’s Episcopalians.

St. John’s has been blessed by the generosity of generations past. The parish has attempted to use its resources in a responsible, Christian way. We hope St. John’s will continue as a vital parish in the center of Waterbury and all the surrounding communities, ministering to all people in the name of Jesus Christ.