Our Theology and Worship
St. John’s is a historic parish in the Episcopal Church. We are part of the Episcopal Diocese of Rochester. We are proud of our Anglican roots, and our liturgy makes use of American and English resources, such as The Book of Common Prayer, The Hymnal 1982, Enriching our Worship and Common Worship. We delight in the seasons of the church year, and take joy in creating worship that glorifies God, and lifts up our congregation as beloved community. Our theology is liberal, focusing on the loving, redemptive and participatory nature of a faith tradition that welcomes all people of all backgrounds and identities. We show a mix of styles, though we lean towards “Broad Church,” with the (very) occasional use of incense and chanting on feast days. In church language, we are “Via Media,” a sort of middle way between Roman Catholic and Reformation Protestant thinking. Celebration of our faith through the shared meal of Holy Eucharist is a central part to our worship.
Sermons work off of the Revised Common Lectionary. Current events are often woven in as we work to discern God’s call and mission for us in the moment. At all times, we work to understand the contemporary meaning of our Anglican Tradition, our Christian Heritage, and sacredness of Scripture.
We have a very strong music program, which includes congregational singing, a volunteer choir, and gifted musicians throughout the parish who share their talents with us. It is common to hear more than one instrument in a service, such as organ, piano, electric keyboard, horns, recorder, and/or guitar. Our primary instrument is a historically important Hook and Hastings organ that is played from the front of the nave.
Our worship takes place in a small, historic church, dedicated in 1842. The church retains much of its main architecture, including the original wooden pews and pulpit. We have a terrific collection of nine stained glass windows that bring special color and light into the sanctuary.
We welcome ALL children to be part of our worship and our voice of prayer and thanksgiving to God. On Sundays during the church year, we offer a Church School for children in elementary grades. High school youth and young adults are involved (and welcome) as acolytes, crucifers, and choir members.
Wherever you are on your faith journey, we hope that the Spirit of God will speak to you through St. John’s.
With its unusual combination of Greek Revival and Gothic Revival architecture, St. John’s feels “not too big, not too small, but just right.” The Monroe County History of 1877 states that St. John’s has “one of the nicest interior structures of any building in the state.” It is also listed as both a State and National Historic Site.
St. John’s Episcopal Church was incorporated in 1840, with the building completed and consecrated in 1842. At that time it was smaller, ending where the chancel steps are now, with no tin ceiling – that was added in 1877 – and with frosted windows. The building was constructed of dolomite stone quarried from north of the Village of Honeoye Falls. In 1899 a Hook and Hastings tracker organ (Opus 1816) was purchased and is still used today - one of the few still in existence.
The congregation was founded in the late 1830’s and the church building was built in the early 1840’s. The first wedding was performed in 1856. The Hook & Hastings tracker pipe organ currently in use was installed in time for Easter 1899.
The first congregation, a small group of Episcopalians, met in the late 1830’s in what was called a “Church Society”.
The ‘society’ chose a rector and wrote a Certificate of Incorporation on June 29, 1840.
The first two of five parcels that makes up the property that St John’s owns today was obtained in September 1840.
In 1841, there were twenty families enrolled in St John’s, consisting of sixty adults and thirty children.
On April 26, 1842, a deed to the church was presented to The Rt Rev William H DeLancy, the first Bishop of the Diocese of Western New York (the Diocese of Rochester was not formed until 1933). The building at that time was small, only 36 X 62 feet and did not include the chancel.
The first wedding was performed on September 2, 1856.
On July 3, 1875, a gift was given by Sarah Rand to make improvements to the church including the addition of the chancel. A house on Monroe Street to be used as a Rectory was also acquired in 1875.
From its beginning as a “church society,” meeting in Honeoye Falls’ first brick schoolhouse in 1840, to the present-day community of friends and neighbors, St. John’s Episcopal Church has been part of local history.
More information about St. John’s history is available in a lovely booklet prepared by one of our more beloved parishioners, Mrs. Helen Cooney, several years ago. Unfortunately Mrs. Cooney passed away in February of 2003. However, printed copies of her work are available through the Parish Office, located in the Carriage House.