History of St. John's Church
St. John's Episcopal Church has stood on Fishers Island for more than 127 years. Its congregants come from cities and states along the Eastern seaboard and across this country and from around the world. Fishers Island has been the summer home for generations of people and St. John's Chapel remains an important part of that experience and tradition for many. Some are from multi-generation Fishers Island families and others are relatively new arrivals to the community. The core group of "cradle Episcopalians" is joined by those who were raised in different faith traditions.
Community outreach is a major feature of St. John's effort throughout the year. For a small chapel on an island that serves as a summer resort, this outreach is a big idea and one about which the church is deeply committed.
We are increasingly dedicated to live our vision statement and to serve God as witnesses to our faith - at St. John's and in the greater community.
Historically, St. John's has been open for services during the summer season from June to September. We celebrate Rite I at 8:00am and Rite II at 10am with Morning Prayer celebrated on the 2nd and 4th Sundays of the month at 10:00am. There is a strong desire among our celebrants to retain the traditional Episcopalian format and liturgy which is so familiar and comforting in its repetition. We read the psalm responsively by the whole verse and we sing 2-5 hymns each service in addition to the Venite. For the past several seasons, we have had an Acolyte, but this is not always a given.
The vestry serve each Sunday as lay readers and often chalice bearers at our services. The Altar Guild and Flower Guild are dedicated to their service and professional in the execution of their duties. Throughout the summer season, the church typically hosts distinguished visiting preachers, who have been both forthcoming and inspiring on social and religious issues.
St. John's church was built in 1881 in Gothic style on a hill overlooking the town center and the harbor. The great hurricane of 1938 severely damaged the steeple and in rebuilding, the steeple was moved from the south side of the building to the west end. At the same time, the Gothic arches were largely converted to a Colonial style with white painted clapboard on the exterior. During World War II with a significant army base on Fishers Island, the church was heated and open year round. In the 1970s, a beautiful Tiffany window was found to be covered over and then restored. The church building is in sound condition with a new roof and exterior paint in the past five years. The organ dates from 1929 with a range of upgrades including a substantial restoration in 2008.
Music is an integral part of our worship at St. John's and key to the support of the service. The organ is played each Sunday, often with visiting soloists. We seek a range of organists from gospel to traditional and generally have 3-4 different organists over the course of the season. We host two or three concerts during the summer as well. Our choice of hymns mirrors our traditional service. We have also supported a dynamic choir of junior singers each Sunday.
While we offer no Sunday School, we do provide weather-dependent child care outside of the church.