St. John’s Episcopal Church was organized in December of 1858.
Our earliest members embodied the ingenuity and toughness of 19th century Detroit—merchants, craftsmen, soldiers, lumberjacks and gardeners. This diverse membership was woven into the very fabric of Detroit, which is once again emerging as a flourishing.
Our historic building, designed in a Victorian Gothic revival architectural style, was completed in December 1861. Inside you will find a memorial buried under the high altar containing stones from St. John’s Chapel in Glastonbury, England, and St. Columba’s Monastery on the Scottish island of Iona—the ancient and spiritual center of Celtic Christianity.
After the Great War, or World War I as it’s more commonly known, Detroit was growing quickly as the automobile industry expanded rapidly. In the 1920s, we had over 7,000 congregants attending St. John’s for worship. During the World War II, we opened our doors to medical care for wounded soldiers, helping 26,000 soldiers by the end the war.
In the 1970s, our children were running barefoot through the grass around the church. However, by the 1980s and 1990s, we saw most of our neighbors leaving Detroit. They were followed by many businesses, which resulted in other churches closing.
The Tigers moved in next door in 2003, but Detroit really seemed to hit rock bottom after the great recession of 2008. By 2013, city hall made international news by filing bankruptcy.
Sometimes the hottest fires forge the strongest steel. Now our neighborhood is bouncing back, and so are we.
We held on tight throughout the decades because we believe God has a plan for us. We really believe that we are here for a reason. And we are excited to be a part of the renewal and rebuilding of Detroit.
We remain committed to being good neighbors, joining God and our friends in the comprehensive social, cultural and spiritual renewal of the city that has been our home since before Civil War.