St. John’s Anglican Church celebrates 10 years

Published 11:32 am Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Submitted by David Snell

On April 10, Palm Sunday, St. John’s Anglican Church celebrated its 10th anniversary.  It was on this day ten years ago that a few intrepid souls held their first meeting as a new congregation.  They didn’t have a church house, so they held their first Palm Sunday service in a borrowed chapel at Magnolia Manor.  Easter sunrise services were held on the lawn at Anne & George Peagler’s house.  They soon moved to a storefront church on Forsyth Street as they made plans to build a new church home.

Fr. Don Hutchens was the rector in those early days.  He was followed by Fr. Jim Parker, who, with his wife Ann, moved from Moultrie to lead the parish.  They served from February, 2016, until Jim’s retirement at the end of 2020.  It was under his leadership that the church grew from the challenges of its infancy into a settled parish.  A feature of that growth was the construction of beautiful new facilities on Southland Road.

The buildings are in the Carpenter Gothic style, reminiscent of many small-town southern churches built in the 1800s.  Taking a page from Upjohn’s Rural Architecture, the campus includes a clapboard church building with the sanctuary and parish hall and a brick ‘School House’, home to the church offices, the Sunday School and the vestry meeting room.  The church sits on a 10-acre plot, much of which has been turned into gardens, some in partnership with Perry Wellness Center, and a walking trail, along which are the stations of the cross.  The public is welcome to share the space, take a stroll on the path, and watch the bees making honey in their hive.

During Fr. Jim Parker’s last year, a young seminary graduate looking for a church home came across St. John’s.  He was looking for a place that was in line with his more traditional values and found it in the Anglican church, a Bible-based, reformed protestant denomination.  That young man, Jim Barton, went on to become a deacon and then a priest in record time and Fr. Jim Parker mentored him in the hopes that, upon his retirement, the younger Jim might take the helm.  And so he did, moving with his wife Kelsey and family to Americus.  On January 1, 2021, Jim Barton was called to serve as the rector at St. John’s.  Fr. Jim Parker passed away suddenly on May 3, 2021.  His mentorship was shorter than he’d hoped it would be, but he taught his protégé well.

Now the church looks forward to the next 10 years.  It’s seen some growth but would like to see more, especially young families looking for a warm and embracing church home that is Bible-based and committed to traditional values.  St. John’s mission statement is simple:  Loving, Proclaiming, and Serving Christ, so others may know Him.

Holy Week will provide a number of worship opportunities, including 6:00 PM services on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, a 10:00AM service on Holy Saturday and regular services on at 10:00 on Easter Sunday.  Additionally, the walking path will host the Stations of the Cross at noon on Good Friday.  Everyone is welcome to join any of these services.