We celebrate the Holy Eucharist each Sunday at the 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. services.
Join us for coffee and treats after both services!
Children are always welcome in church, and we also have friendly childcare from 8:30-12:00 in our beautiful atrium.
Parking is available at the Hyde-Addison Elementary School across the street from the church.
9 a.m. – A Relaxed, Family Style Service
Our 9 a.m. service is family-friendly. Kids are encouraged to explore the church space as they feel called. Sometimes, they give real meaning to making a “joyful noise,” and we love it! At St. John’s, children are made to feel comfortable and welcome in church! Both of our priests are parents too (and get it!)!
The service at 9:00 is traditional, but a little shorter. We use two readings, instead of three, and the sermons are shorter. We have beautiful music but it is easier to sing. A cantor leads us in singing instead of the full choir. Don’t be afraid to belt it out! We love to sing!
The best feature of this service is how we celebrate the Holy Eucharist. We call it “Family Style.” We gather around the altar form a circle, hold hands as we recite The Lord’s Prayer and serve each other Holy Communion. It is a wonderful way for kids to learn about Communion because they can see everything! Come and see!
11 a.m. Eucharist – Celebrating in a More Traditional Way
At the 11 a.m. service, we delight in our deep Anglican roots, but without the staunch formality that Anglican services can sometimes bring. The 11 a.m. service is marked by our gorgeous music – with our spectacular organ and our amazing choir. From our opening hymn to our closing hymn, you will hear (and sing) music from both classic composers and from contemporary masters.
Most people new to the Episcopal church don’t realize how much we read from the Bible. But every Sunday you will hear three Scripture readings and a Psalm. Our sermons aim to explain the Bible text, and connect it with the struggles of our modern lives and current events in our world. Following an ancient pattern, our service builds to the service of Holy Communion. We welcome all to join us in this great feast and mystery of our faith. Two or three times a year we even have an Instructed Eucharist, where we teach what we’re doing and why! Join us!
Occasional Variations on our Typical Sunday…
Last winter we had a “Frozen” Sunday, with costumes, songs from the movie, and a sermon about the power of love to melt the coldest hearts!
In October, our resident astronaut and vestry member, Scott Altman, took advantage of
the large screen we had put up for the screening of the Phantom of the Opera which started our concert series, and showed pictures from his shuttle missions and from the Hubble telescope.
During this year’s blizzard, we had Virtual Morning Prayer, with readings from four parishioners, a prelude from our organist-choirmaster, and with our Rector as Celebrant. And we were all snow-bound! Click here to watch.
A couple of weeks later, we had a Mardi Gras service with the Redwine Jazz Band on February 7th to celebrate an exciting year for the church, and to kick off our annual meeting.
Later in February, we had Star Wars Sunday, complete with Jedi masters, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Princess Leia, R2D2, and music from the movie. Younglings and Padawans heard about the Force of Love and Light that is within them and stays with them always! Click here to watch our movie trailer!
We also have an amazing Advent Lessons and Carols service. This is the ultimate example of the beauty of Anglican Musical Services.
Holy Eucharist with Centering Prayer happens every Tuesday Evening at 5:30 p.m. in The Chapel of the Carpenter. Centering Prayer is an opportunity for a deeply spiritual experience. Read about the extraordinary experience of centering prayer.
St. John’s Timeline
In 1769, land was set aside by the Church of England on a site of the future St. John’s. By 1796, a foundation was laid for a two-story building measuring 42′ x 51′. Around 1804, the Church was near completion as bids were obtained for flooring, gallery, pulpit with canopy, and pine table.
After years of growth followed by years of financial problems, St. John’s was closed in 1831, sold and rented as a studio for the German sculptor Ferdinand Pettrich. (Read more here or download a short bio here.) In 1838, a group of young ladies from the parish raised $50 to buy back the church. A year later, improvements including a new organ, a new tower entrance and a brick wall topped with a fence on the north and west sides were accomplished. Enhancements continued in 1843, with the enlargement of the church and the addition of a basement lecture room and a baptismal font in the center front. Six years later, the parish commissioned plans for a new pulpit, began improvements to altar rails, added a reading desk, a communion table of black Egyptian marble, a replacement organ and a bell in the steeple.
In 1853, the church was reconfigured to increase chancel space. Two years later, a baptismal font was placed in front of the first pews, and carpeting, new cushions, and
curtains were added. A major and much-needed enhancement occurred in 1865, as the Sunday School (Parish Hall) building was constructed. The year 1870 brought a major church renovation, of which the Washington Post noted, “nothing has been used of the old structure except the walls.” During construction, services were held at Georgetown Presbyterian Church. In 1875, the Rectory was completed and occupied.
In 1886, the organ and choir were relocated from the rear gallery to the front of the church. The side galleries were removed, a painting project was undertaken, and the baptistery of the carved oak reredos with an attached altar and removal of center Johannes Oertel painting, which was returned to the artist. Between 1888 and 1909, the center aisle mosaic floor, the mosaic floor in the chancel area, and the stained glass windows were installed.
The Tower-belfry redesign was accomplished in 1924, followed by the renovation of the Parish Hall, “decoration of church”, and installation of a previously used organ. Improvements between 1945 and 1949 were major, including the renovation of the rectory; the renovation, repair, and restoration of the church and Parish Hall; the altar was moved away from the reredos to allow clergy to face the congregation, and the choir was moved to the former baptistery. In 1951, the Vestry approved a campaign to fund the Chapel of the Carpenter, furnishing of the Addison Room, smooth stucco exterior, rectory improvements, carpet in Rector’s office and balcony, and new sub-floor for balcony. In a separate initiative during the year 1965, the organ was renovated.
In 1995, as part of the Bicentennial celebration, the Third Century Campaign was launched to repair and renovate many spaces: structural underpinnings of the sanctuary, second floor design for a new pre-school, the new atrium, a new choir room and offices on the lower level, and moving the Chapel of the Carpenter and Columbarium. The organ was repaired in 1998, followed by a major parish hall renovation in 2005 which created Blake Hall. During 2009, the focus was utilities, as the boiler was replaced, a dedicated air-conditioning system for the sanctuary and Blake Hall was installed.
To accommodate the installation of the new pipe organ and to make crucial repairs and renovation in the kitchen and other areas of the church, the the parish embarked on a capital campaign. Much of the work has been accomplished.
Welcome to St. John’s, Georgetown!
In 1796, a small group of visionaries stood at the corner of O and Potomac Streets, a few blocks up from the Potomac. They decided it was the perfect spot to set down roots for the Episcopal Church in Georgetown.
St. John’s has kept watch on that corner now for almost 225 years. Its bell tower has been a landmark to the neighborhood that has grown up around it. Even now, people mark the day with its bells, and the seasons with its rhythms.
What is the spirit of St. John’s? We have been described as “traditional, but not stuffy,”which captures us beautifully. We embrace the traditional worship of the Episcopal Church, with its balance of Scripture, strong preaching, outstanding music, and the mystery of Holy Communion. Sundays during the school year (from September through May) you’ll find a relaxed, family-style service at 9:00, with a shorter sermon and easy-to-sing music led by a cantor. At 11:00, you’ll find a more liturgically rich service with a full choir that is truly among the very best in Washington. You’ll find friendly people of all ages at both services who will smile and help you find your way. Between services you can get good coffee (in real mugs) in our parish hall, or go to our adult faith forum in the chapel. Sunday School for kids happens then too, though children are also welcome to stay with you or play in our atrium with our friendly nursery staff. During the summer months, we have one service at 10:00, with lemonade and Popsicles on the lawn afterward.
And while we embrace traditional worship and do it very well, we sometimes do it with a bit of flair, as we work to provide a range of worship experiences to feed the souls of all who come to us. Just this year we’ve had a Mardi Gras service with the Redwine Jazz Band, and a Star Wars Sunday for our 9:00 service. During the blizzard we created a Virtual Morning Prayer service that we “crowd sourced’ – with the readers, clergy, and our music director all participating from home. More than 300 people watched the service on YouTube, and we found that even historic parishes can learn something new! We followed up Star Wars Sunday with four weeks of Winter Compline. With the ancient words of this beautiful service chanted by the choir by candlelight, St. John’s was like a place out of time.
Outstanding music is another way we feed the souls who walk through our doors. Our music program is amazing. Not only are our acoustics grand, our choir superb, and our organ a treasure, but we host the Georgetown Concert Series, which brings world-class music to the neighborhood! Our final concert of this year’s season will be on April 3rd with the Canadian Brass. Next year’s season will be announced soon!
The people of St. John’s have been praying and singing and laughing and crying together on this little corner for more than 200 years – a witness to the timeless message of the love of God, and the vision of those who gathered there so long ago. Join us, and be a part of something bigger than those visionaries ever imagined!
The Rev. Gini Gerbasi, Rector