The Abbreviated History Of St. John's Episcopal Church

1857

The parish met for services in the Masonic Hall. Bishop Whitehouse came
from Chicago to confirm a half-dozen people.

1858

The first church structure was built and cost “not less than $1,500” on Water
Street between Eldorado & North Streets.

1862

The final payment on the mortgage having been made, the Bishop returned
to Decatur to consecrate the church.

1863

A rectory was built and the “Female Church School,” also known as the
“Decatur Seminary” was founded. It operated less than a decade.

1873

The Ladies Aid Society was founded, which was reorganized in 1906 as St.
John’s Episcopal Church Women.

1884

One of the first pipe organs in Decatur was installed in St. John’s.

1888

Two laymen purchased lots at Church and Eldorado, telling the vestry
they would hold the property until the congregation was ready to build a
new church.

1890

The new church structure was constructed at the corner of Church and
Eldorado Streets.

1891

The original wooden church building was moved from Water Street to the
east end of the lot for the new church building.

1892

During Easter Week, the 250 communicants moved into the church as the
new stone building was dedicated.

1895

The Burrows family added a memorial brass eagle pulpit in the nave.

1899

Greenwood Cemetery lots were purchased and donated to the church
by Lowber Burrows.

1911

A wooden rood screen was installed between the sanctuary and nave in 
memory of Lowber Burrows.

1912

The mortgage was paid and the new church was consecrated by Bishop
William Osborne.

1916

A Day Nursery was founded by St. John’s to care for children.

1918

The sanctuary tile floor was replaced and granite steps were added to
altar.

1927

New Gothic lights were installed in the center of nave.

1940

Flags of the Allied Nations were hung in the nave.

1945

The present high altar was installed in memory of Sophia Shade and the
previous altar was reduced and placed on the north side of the nave.

1947

The organ was rebuilt and the console was moved to the south side of
the chancel.

1951

Renovations included tuckpointing, new steps to outside entrances, old
chimney removal and gumwood paneling in the ambulatory, sacristy,
and old choir room.

1955

The Parish Centennial was observed and the Parish Hall addition was
completed to provide classrooms, a meeting hall, and kitchen.

1957

The bell tower steeple was removed due to dangerous conditions and a
new cross was erected.

1961

St. Mary’s Hall was remodeled for office space and a curate apartment.

1970

The 1858 wooden church was demolished. The nave and sanctuary were
updated and a lounge, classrooms, and the cloister were added.

1980

The church’s first bell was placed in the belfry and was dedicated.

1982

The final tiffany-style stained glass windows were replaced in the nave.

1983

The chapel was completed with memorial windows.

1987

The organ was rebuilt and expanded.

1993

A columbarium was approved and built in Merris Garden.

1994

The Century II Campaign to restore, preserve, and renovate church facilities
was begun, while significant outreach efforts were expanded.

2002

A major interior renovation of St. Mary’s Hall was completed. Memorial
windows were added to former doorway entrances on Church Street, and
the Merris Memorial Garden.

2006

The parish hall memorial stained glass windows were completed.

2014

St. John’s became fully accessible for guests with disabilities.

2020

The church was closed to the public because of the Covid-19 Virus and
live streamed services began.

2021

Eight-hundred page Definitive History of St. John’s published.