A History of St. Johnís Church
St. Johnís ELCA and U.C.C. Church is named in honor of and in memory of Holy St. John. The eagle (in stained glass above our front door) is a special symbol because St. John soars to the loftiest heights in representing the divine character of our Savior.
Very appropriately, St. Johnís occupies a commanding hill-crest position in the heart of the fertile Mahoning Valley. The name Mahoning is of Indian derivation, from "Mahonhanne," which in the tongue of the Delaware Indians meant a stream flowing near a lick.
The original tract of land was donated by Mr. George Beck and wife, who came originally from the vicinity of Nazareth, and whose bodies rest in the adjoining cemetery. As a legal procedure, the ground was sold for one dollar, and the deed of transfer was issued under the date of April 30, 1850, to George Gilbert and Jacob Musselman.
Although the congregations were organized previously, the first church building, a frame structure with galleries on three sides, was erected in 1850. The cornerstone was laid with appropriate services on Whitsunday, May 19, 1850. At the same time a lot adjoining was laid out for a cemetery.
The present building, a substantial brick structure, was erected in 1892. A bell which was installed in the tower was rung on Saturday evening to announce Sunday morning worship. and Sunday morning to announce afternoon Services. At death, the bell was tolled to signify the age of the departed member.
Volunteers donated their time so that the cost of the building was confined to about $9,000. In the autumn of that year the Sunday School basement was finished. On December 19, 1897 the completed building was dedicated.
In 1921 a new tower was erected in the center as a main entrance, due to destruction by lightening. During the summer of 1924, the building was repainted, and carbide lights were installed, replacing kerosene lamps. These light fixtures were converted to electric about 1930.
In honor of the 100th anniversary, extensive improvements were made; these included painting, carpeting the aisles and sanctuary, installing linoleum in church areas, and narthex, and a new lighting system.
The exterior brick was replaced about 1955. In the early 1960's a renovating and building program was begun. The educational building was dedicated on April 5, 1964.
The addition provided us with ample classrooms, auditorium, kitchen facilities, choir room, etc. As a part of this program, electric heat was installed for the entire building. Our Church and educational building now provides facilities for many community activities.
New front (glass) doors and a portico were added to the front of the church in 1982 and the ramp and railing added to the front of the Church in 1991. At that time an electric chair lift was also installed.
In 1997 major improvements were made to the organ. A computer digital tone generating system and new speaker system were added.
St. Johnís has grown from 178 communing members in 1991 to 240 communing members in 1996. We are pleased with the growth in membership, as well as in property, finances, and church groups.