St. John’s was founded by 25 Episcopalians at an organizational meeting on December 15, 1946, following Evening Prayer at First Protestant Church. The Rev. Hubert Palmer, of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church Seguin, assisted the Rt. Rev. Everett Jones, Bishop of West Texas. Some of the founders present were Clem & Mattie Boulter, Edward & Rubylien Badouh, Sylvia Proctor, Lilla Alfrey (mother of Jo Ann Bedford), and Roye and Myrtle Swartwout.
By January 1947, the Rev. Hubert Palmer was conducting regular services at the old Iris Harrison Dress Factory (where Jo Ann Alfrey Bedford recalls playing among the coat racks) and later, at St. Paul’s Lutheran Chapel. Sunday school was held in the office of the William Cameron Lumberyard. The Women’s Auxiliary and the Altar Guild were formed and meetings were held in members’ homes. The church was named in honor of St. John the Evangelist and was welcomed into communion with the Diocese of West Texas at Council in 1948.
The property on which our buildings now stand was donated by the Charles F. Guenther family and the Clemens Estate in memory of 7 pioneer families. In 1950, the congregation of 65 began a building program. Completed in 1951, that first building now serves as the main area of the current parish hall.
There was a special closeness in the process of getting started. The men of the church made the first altar, altar rails, and hymn rails. Crosses, Eucharistic vessels and linens were purchased from donations. Pews, prayer books, hymnals, and the needlepoint kneelers were given; and a portable organ was added. Everyone worked together to see the dream realized.
Fr. Palmer (Seguin) and Fr. McClurken served the small congregation. Lay vicars and seminarians assisted. In 1950 the Rev. Sam Monk, fresh from seminary, was appointed first resident priest.
Expansion was needed, so a new addition was built for Sunday school and offices in 1953. Growth continued; by 1954, membership reached 165. The Rev. John Herman served from 1954-60. With 214 members, St. John’s achieved parish status in 1955, after 8 years as a mission. Increasing numbers and activities led to a second story addition in 1957.
Women of the Church began the Bargain Box Thrift Shop in 1954. As the ministry grew, it was necessary to move it to the old Iris Harrison Dress Factory. Over the years, the Bargain Box made contributions to a number of parish ministries, one of which provided donations to school children. This ministry continues today under Hospice of New Braunfels.
The Rev. Robert Creasy (1960-66) served as next rector of St. John’s. Ground was broken for the present church in March 1967, during the tenure of the Rev. Ron Thomson (1966-72). Lay readers traveled to celebrate Morning Prayer for a nucleus that later developed into St. Francis by the Lake. The long awaited new church building, constructed of native stone from Fredericksburg, was dedicated by the Rt. Rev. Everett H. Jones on February 16, 1968.
Beams (from a brandy distillery that later became a Civil War woolen factory) were donated by Porter Fearey to create the large rough hewn cross and reshelf for St. John’s. The marble altar was a gift from the Guenther family. The columbarium, started in 1967, was modeled after the one at Church of the Good Shepherd, Corpus Christi. The carillon for the Bell Tower was donated by Porter and Mary Fearey. When completed, the Tower was dedicated to Mary.
Ministries continued to develop as membership grew during the tenures of David Wendel (1972-1978), Tom Keith (1978-1984), Robert Keith (1985-1996) and Robert Koth (who assisted briefly in 1989), and Neal Michell (1998-2000).
During the ministry of Rev. Charles Thebeau (2001-2009), the church entered a difficult period that resulted in a split. Under the leadership of the retired Bishop James E. Folts, St. John’s restarted as a mission. During the restart Bishop Lillibridge appointed Rev. Ripp Hardaway (2009-present) as the Vicar; he is now the Rector. The congregation continues to thrive as we celebrate the power of resurrection in Jesus Christ our Lord.
Evidence of this power is seen in our renovation and expansion which includes a new Christian Education wing; completed in September 2017.