A Bit of Our History

The first Episcopal service in Arlington was held in October 1875 and attracted 65 people at a time that the town’s population was only 3,900. Following that service, members met in January 1876 to form St. John’s Church and appoint the first rector.  In the summer of 1876 the congregation purchased a lot at the corner of Academy and Maple Streets, where the first church building was built. In an article on the church’s 10th anniversary, the Advocate called Arlington “the Pearl of the Western Suburbs” and St. John’s “the church around the corner.” An interfaith Thanksgiving service was also held at St. John’s, the first of many times the church has hosted members of other town congregations.

In the early 1900s, St. John’s focused on expansion, renovating the church and purchasing the Peck Mansion on Pleasant Street for use as a Parish House. St. John’s 50th anniversary in 1926 brought with it a growing clamor for a new church building; and in 1933, in the midst of the Great Depression; the parish committed itself to proceed on the site of the Peck Mansion. The cornerstone of the new St. John’s was laid at the end of that year; and the first services were held in June 1934. The Rector who had overseen these efforts, Rev. Charles Taber Hall, resigned in 1941 after 27 years of service; and his successor, Rev. Robert McConnell Hatch, hosted St. John's first Christmas Eve Candlelight Service and the first ecumenical town-wide Good Friday service (both are traditions St. John's continues in Arlington to this day).

In the post war years, St. John’s created a dizzying array of active church organizations like a Men’s Club and a Woman’s Guild, a Young People’s Fellowship, and Round Table Group. In addition, five parish members were ordained to the priesthood over the course of those years. Around the time of St. John’s 100th anniversary in 1976, the congregation spoke of surging “ahead into a new decade of change both in our country and our church.”

Today St. John's continues to be actively involved in Arlington, hosting a number of efforts to support not just the community but also others in need throughout the world.  We are actively involved in supporting the Arlington Food Pantry, both through our Coffeehouse Concerts and direct service and the Housing Corporation of Arlington which promotes affordable housing in the town.  We are also actively involved in the Guatemalan Aid Fund and sponsor English at Large for recent immigrants to improve their English skills.

At the core of our history, our community and our relationship with one another is our Liturgy.  Please join us on Sundays during our regular hours.

8:00 a.m. Holy Eucharist Rite I; Coffee Hour in the Memorial Room

10:00 a.m. Holy Eucharist Rite II; Coffee Hour in the Parish Hall. Sunday School and Nursery during the 10:00 a.m. service.