Saint John's Church is one of the oldest in this country,
and may be the oldest in the diocese. The first church
building was built on land given by John and Margery
located in what is now the cemetery. In the 18th century,
the log church was replaced, on the same site, by a
church built of brick and stone. It is the second church
that existed at the time of the American Revolution. In
1844, the present "church on the hill" was built in the
Country Greek Revival style. The present interior of the
church has an atmosphere of quiet antiquity and almost
Quaker-like plainness and simplicity.
In 1707, pewter communion ware given by Queen Anne,
was brought from England by the first Rector, the Rev.
Evan Evans, and has since been used by the 52 Rectors
which have served St. John's. This pewter is still used
on festive occasions - Easter and Christmas.
Later after the Battle of Brandywine, soldiers from both
sides of the struggle were purportedly buried in the
churchyard. William Weston who is believed to have
carried the first Stars and Stripes in battle during the
Revolution, is buried in the church cemetery according
to a family tradition.
The church bell that calls people to worship was
purchased in the latter part of the 19th century from the
Holy Trinity Church in West Chester and moved to St.
John's. The present bell tower supporting the 400 pound
bell was constructed many years ago in loving memory
of a former Vestry member.
The church is surrounded by 15 acres of open land,
which will remain open and park-like in the midst of
Concord Township for years to come.
The official governing body of St. John's, or any
Episcopal Church, is comprised of the Rector, Wardens
and Vestry. These positions are peculiar to the
Episcopal Church and often need definition. So, the
following descriptions are meant as aids to
understanding how St. John's is organized.
The Rector - is the chief clergy person who directs the
conduct of worship and oversees the spiritual guidance
of the parish. In addition, the Rector is generally
responsible for much of the administrative functioning
of the church. In this administrative role, he presides
over the vestry as chairperson and has ex-officio
membership on all committees and parish organizations.
The rector makes a report to the vestry each month about
current activities and events of the parish.
The Wardens - are the chief lay leaders of the parish
providing counsel and advice to the Rector. There are
two wardens: Rector's Warden and Accounting Warden.
The rector's warden is appointed by the Rector and the
Accounting Warden is appointed by the vestry. The
duties of the Rector's warden include assisting the
rector in any area necessary, chairing the vestry
meetings in his absence, and to be available to
parishioners for questions and concerns. The accounting
warden is responsible for the financial records of the
parish and keeps track of monies coming in and going
The Vestry - consist of those parishioners who are
elected by the congregation at the Annual Meeting, and
are grouped in classes staggered in three-year terms.
The vestry's primary responsibility is to manage the
corporate property and finances of the parish. The
vestry also provides leadership in many areas of the
parish's programmatic life, including assisting the rector
in administering the programs and activities of the
church. The vestry meets on the third Wednesday of
each month at 7:30 pm.
Vestry Committees - the regular administrative tasks of
the parish are divided among the standing committees of
the vestry. These committees meet regularly and report
to the whole vestry each month. The membership of the
committees consist of both vestry and non-vestry
members. From time to time, the vestry may appoint an
ad hoc committee to assist in work beyond the present
work of the vestry.
For a more in depth profile of St John's, please
download the "Parish Profile" using the link below.
National Episcopal Church
The Episcopal Church in the United States derives its
tradition in worship and theology from the Church of
England, but is an autonomous national church linked to
other Episcopal Churches throughout the world by a
shared spiritual life. In addition to combining Catholic
and Protestant traditions, the Episcopal Church holds to
a faith that is rooted in Scripture, enriched by tradition,
tested by reason, and fired by the Holy Spirit.
The Episcopal Church is govern by a general
convention which meets every three years. This body is
composed of two houses: the House of Bishops and the
House of Deputies. The Deputies consist of an equal
number of clergy and laity. In the time between
conventions, the church is governed by an Executive
Council. The Presiding Bishop administers the ongoing
life of the Church from the national offices in New York
The Episcopal Church is made up of over 100 dioceses
in the United State and areas of special foreign
missionary work in Latin America. A diocese is an
autonomous geographical area govern by a bishop. A
state may well have more than one diocese; for instance,
Pennsylvania consists of five dioceses. St. John's is part
of the Diocese of Pennsylvania which serves the five
counties of the southeastern part of the state. The
congregations are further divided into 12 deaneries in
our diocese. The deaneries serve as a communication
link between diocese and congregations. Our parish
resides in the Brandywine Deanery which includes 15
parishes and one mission.
The most visible sign of Diocesan life is the annual visit
by the Bishop for Confirmation. Since there are 162
parishes and missions in the Diocese of Pennsylvania,
and around 41,000 communicants, the Bishop is
regularly assisted in this ministry by retired bishops and
bishops from around the Anglican Communion. The
Diocesan offices are located in the historic district of
The Diocese of Pennsylvania is steeped in history. It is
the home of many firsts, including hosting the first
general convention of the Episcopal Church, the first
authorized American Prayer Book, the first Episcopal
Sunday School, the first black congregation, and the
ordination of the first black priest and woman to the
priesthood. The Diocese is the second oldest in the
Episcopal Church and the fourth largest in members.