St.John's Episcopal Church
St.John's Episcopal Church was first organized in 1859 after the congregation petitioned the Episcopal Diocese of Ohio to form the parish. The congregation purchased the lot on Wick Avenue that the church now sits on, in 1891. New Jersey architect William Wood designed the church; which was officially consecrated in 1900. Since then, St.John's has hosted a variety of public events for the Youngstown community. The most notable of these being the Boar's Head Festival hosted on the Sunday closest to January 6th. This festival is a celebration of medieval European traditions and is the longest-running Boar's Head Festival in the United States. St.John's Episcopal Church continues to serve the Youngstown community to this day with community services such as a food pantry and their Red Door Cafe, which offers free meals to the city every Sunday.
Backstory and Context
St. John's Episcopal Church was first used as a place of congregation in May of 1898. This first Sunday service was held in the newly constructed basement of the then under-construction church. The building was not officially consecrated until 1900. The idea of this church, however, goes back many decades, to a time when Youngstown was just a small village. St. Johns began its existence as a Sunday school; the leader of this early congregation was Mrs. Jesse Thornton. The services were held in Mrs. Thornton's living room on West Federal Street. The congregation was unofficial until 1859, when Episcopal Diocese of Ohio received a petition from the Youngstown church to form the parish named St. John'. This parish was approved, and the congregation formally began. The congregation purchased the Wick Avenue lot in 1891, and New Jersey architect William Wood was commissioned to design St.John's Episcopal Church.
Like many other organizations, the great depression was a time of economic strife and cutbacks for St. John's. Due to these budget cuts, many positions were cut from the church, including curators, secretaries, and a senior intern seminary student. The congregation gained some funds in 1937 through selling property that the church had owned, for commercial building, the church rebounded from this time period however and continued to serve the community. The congregation kept their doors opened in1942 for daily prayer, in response to World War 2.
St. John's most notable community event was created in 1961. This was the first year a Boar's Head Festival was held in Youngstown; this festival consists of a pageant held twice, on the Sunday closest to January 6th. The parishioners celebrate the medieval event by making costumes and participating in the pageantry. The Boar's Head Festival in Youngstown is the longest consistently running Boar's Head Festival in the country.
St. John's continues to be a cornerstone of the Youngstown community to this day. The congregation has numerous community outreach services such as the Red Door Cafe, a community meal served every Sunday at noon, free of charge, for Youngstown residents. The church also hosts a food pantry for the less fortunate. The St.John's congregation has a long and storied history in Youngstown and continues to serve the community going forward.
Rogers , Rebecca . St.John's Episcopal Church . National . Published December 23rd 2011. National Register of Historic Places .
. About us, http://stjohnohio.org. Accessed October 17th 2019. http://stjohnohio.org/about-us/.