St. John’s Episcopal Church

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St. John’s Episcopal Church, located on the edge of downtown Northampton, is an Episcopalian community which gathers together to “learn and teach the Word of God, grow in faith, and seek to follow Christ’s example of love.” It was founded in 1826 and moved to its current location on Elm Street in 1893. The Episcopal Church itself and its practices and principles are rooted in the Book of Prayer. This text contains services for prayer, the Eucharist, baptism, burial and marriage. As a denomination, the Episcopal Church holds socially progressive and inclusive values and emphasizes prayer and the continuation of ancient traditions while living faithfully by doing good works.  

The history of the Episcopal Church in America dates back to the late 18th century, being established as a denomination shortly after the American colonies split from Great Britain. The Church still maintained close ties with the Church of England. However, the Episcopal Church is an independent branch of the worldwide Anglican Communion. Its distinctive incorporation of both Catholic and Protestant elements in its presentation and practices differentiates the Episcopal Church from other American denominations. The Episcopal Church has been known for being receptive towards progressive ideals and reform: in 1976, they began to ordain women as priests. In 1994, allowed the same for openly LGBTQ members.

Today, St. John’s Episcopal Church focuses on providing for their community in both religious and non-religious ways. They provide weekly Episcopal services for anyone interested  and have made specific accommodations for people who need wheelchairs, sign language interpreters, hearing aids, large-print texts, and spaces for children. They host baptisms, burials, and weddings for both opposite and same-sex couples. Additionally, St. John’s participates in many community outreach endeavors. They are a part of the Hampshire County Interfaith Council, which means they coordinate with other churches to create and run bigger programs like the Hampshire County Interfaith Cot Shelter. In addition, St. John’s started the Manna Community Kitchen in 1986 and provides a hot meal for food insecure individuals on almost every day of the week. They also collect food for the Northampton Survival Center and emergency food bank. As the church is surrounded by Smith’s campus, they provide spiritual and non-spiritual services to Smith students as well. 

 

 

 

 

Armentrout, Donald S., and Robert Boak Slocum. An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church: A User-Friendly Reference for Episcopalians. New York, NY: Church Publishing, 2000. 

Episcopal Church. House of Bishops. Ecclesiology Committee. “A Primer on the Government of The Episcopal Church and Its Underlying Theology.” Sewanee Theological Review 61, no. 2 (Easter 2018): 341–73.

Hemphill, Amy L. “Identity Reconciliation and Religious Agency in Gay and Lesbian Episcopal Clergy.” Master’s thesis, Indiana University, 2018. https://scholarworks.iupui.edu/handle/1805/16863. 

“St. John’s Episcopal Church.” St Johns Episcopal Church. Accessed November 21, 2021. https://stjohnsnorthampton.org/. 

Sydnor, William. Looking at the Episcopal Church. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Morehouse Pub., 1994.

Webber, Christopher. Welcome to the Episcopal Church: An Introduction to Its History, Faith, and Worship. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Morehouse Pub., 1999.