Church History

Historic St. John's was formed in 1729 by a group of English, Scots and Germans to worship Almighty God and His Son Jesus Christ in the tradition of the Church of England. There are stones in the graveyard dating from 1731.  The original church was a log cabin which was replaced by a stone church in 1753.  Early family names in the congregation included Douglas, Bezellon, Darlington, Skiles, Henderson, Leech, Holiday, Boyd, Carrigan, McNeal, Dawson, Richardson, Cowan, Armstrong, Clemson, and Elliot.  There are still Skiles families in the church and there are probably descendants of other families.

 

Peter Bezellon, the founder of Coatesville, and his wife Martha, who was a pillar of the early church, were part of the early congregation.  Their tombstones are now on display in the Parish Hall and the original site of the stones is marked with a new granite stone.  Thomas Halliday, Esq. who was one of His Majesty's Justices for the Province of Pennsylvania is also buried in the graveyard.

 

In 1766 a Pewter Communion Set was purchased which is still in use on special occasions at St. John's.

 

During the American Revolution, St. John's was a microcosm of the conflict.  The rector, The Rev. Thomas Barton, had sworn allegiance to the crown as part of his ordination vows.  Although there were a few Tories in the congregation, most were Patriots.  The patriotic fever was so high that Rev. Barton is said to have been dunked in a creek to persuade him to alter his views.  The church was officially closed during the Revolution, although baptisms were still held as long as Rev. Barton was in the area.  There is some indication from stories handed down, especially reports of Jane Skiles, that British soldiers worshiped in the church or churchyard.  After the Revolution, the congregation re-organized itself in 1783 as part of the emerging Episcopal Church of the United States of America.

 

In the 1800's, the country began to see a flight of slaves from the South to the North.  St. John's reacted to this phenomenon, under the rectorship of Rev. Edward Buchanan (the brother of President James Buchanan), by confirming former slaves as communicants.  In the early 1830's, persons of color started appearing in the church rolls as full communicants.  It was during this period, in 1838, that the present church was erected.

 

Over the years the church was remodeled and electricity was installed.  In 1963, the parish hall was added to the existing church building.  Frances Smith became the first female Rector's warden in 1972.  In 2002, the windows were restored and the church was air-conditioned.  Recent updates have seen remodeling of the Rectory, installation of new carpeting, and creation of a meditation garden and cremation interment area.

 

For those who have interest in a more detailed history of St. John's, a book is available for sale at the church.

August 23, 2017

Worship With Us!

  

 

Holy Eucharist

Sunday

10:30 AM 

Our Services include music, with the organist, choir, and congregation contributing a "joyful sound!"

The Episcopal service uses a liturgy, or standard order of worship found in the Book of Common Prayer (BCP). These liturgies are used by Episcopalians world-wide, fostering a sense of community and continuity across distance and time.

We Celebrate Holy Communion at every service. Every baptized Christian is welcome and encouraged to come to the altar rail to receive the bread and/or wine of Communion or receive a blessing. 

 

Learn With Us!

Adult Bible Study resumes

April 26 - June 28

Max Lucado's Book of James: Practical Wisdom from his “Life Lessons” series. 


Youth Sunday School

10:15 am  September through May 

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