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IN FOCUS: Historical house of worship and refuge

Published: Mon, August 31, 2009 @ 12:10 a.m.
  PANORAMA: St John's Episcopal Church

St. John’s Episcopal Church marks its 150th anniversary this year. The congregation started out quite modestly in 1859 as a Sunday School on Federal Street. It was at the home of one of the sisters of famous American lyricist Stephen Collins Foster.

The members eventually built a church on Wood Street, near where the Nathaniel Jones Federal Courthouse now stands. That church burned down in 1896, and this structure at 323 Wick Ave. was built. Tragically, the original architect, William H. Wood, died shortly after beginning work. The project was then undertaken by Edward L. Ford. The first services at this new building were in May 1898.

The church boasts several distinct design styles — from Norman Gothic, with the fortresslike rough-cut exterior; to the Romanesque touch with the rounded sanctuary and windows. The English-style architecture is denoted by the wooden beams and the two gargoyles poised over the north and south tips of the front entrance.

St. John’s is breathtaking inside, housing 35 stained-glass windows designed by the Tiffany Studios of New York, the Connick Studios of Boston and the Willet Stained Glass Studios of Philadelphia. Each window tells a story, whether of a biblical nature or a community one. The windows in the clerestory tells Youngstown’s story with depictions of labor management, engineering, ore and coal mining and barges on the river.

The Schlicker organ has no fewer than 3,000 pipes and is used to good measure, especially during St. John’s wonderful Christmas and New Year celebrations and at the Boar’s Head Festival in the early part of January each year.

Symbolism reigns supreme in this treasure of a church. In the olden days, few people could read. People learned of the Bible through stories and drawings. St. John’s Episcopal Church speaks volumes, from its floors to its rafters.


1robroy(3 comments)posted 6 years, 8 months ago

The tragedy of the outrageous acts of the national leadership is that parishes like this will decline and many will be lost. Attendance is the parish was 160 in 2003 (the year Gene Robinson was made bishop) and is now ~115. The diocese of Ohio has lost 23.3% of membership in the past decade and is going down, down, down. It will get worse. The liberals are making life untenable for those that hold to orthodox Christianity. The process of conservatives leaving, emboldening the liberals to take on more "innovations" causing more conservatives to leave is now unstoppable. Ms Schori's lawsuits only pours oil on the flames. They have eliminated the entire evangelism budget but the lawyer's fees are paid in full. The denomination is dead.

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2limey(3 comments)posted 6 years, 8 months ago

The life of St. John's (and many other churches of various denominations) is in meeting the needs of God's people whoever they may be. We carry out God's mission in Youngstown by feeding the hungry, spiritually and physically. We differ in politics and opinions, but we come together at God's table and work together in ministry to the hungry and needy, at our own site and with other agencies. That's what really matters!

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