Erection of the first Church
St. John’s Woodhouse was originally erected in 1821. It was the first Anglican Church to be built in the area, after plants to build the first church in Vittoria fell through.
Joseph Culver donated the land where the current church and cemetery now sit for the erection of a humble log cabin that was originally built. However, the first cabin burnt in only two years.
A new, more elaborate church, complete with steeple and belfry was erected in 1824. This Church served Anglicans until 1874, when it, too, burned. A third church, made of brick, was completed in 1875. It burned in 1921. Shortly thereafter, the current church was built.
First Resident Minister
The first resident minister, Francis Evans came to St. Johns in 1828. Both he and his wife moved here with their twelve children. The stipend received by Mr. Evans was insufficient to support himself and his family. To make the struggle less severe, the parsonage was converted into a boarding house and a select school. His work at the church eventually led to the creation of 14 other Anglican churches in the area. Mr. Evans served for the church for 30 years and one of Mr. Evans sons, Revered William Evans became the subsequent rector of St. John’s.
The original Church, constructed of wood and completed in 1824. Burned in 1875
In spring 1921, it was decided that the church would purchase land from Mr. Wilson for a site rectory, however, after the 1921 church fire, these plans were postponed. The fire started from catching embers from a barn that was on fire down the road. The local community, who, was at the barn fire saw that the church has caught and were able to save some of the interior furnishing. After much fundraising, the new church was erected in the same place as the one that stood before. In 1916 the rectory was finally built.
Church after the fire. Most of the walls were salvaged to erect the present-day church
St. John’s Church was a hub for social gatherings in Woodhouse township since the very beginning. Social life centered around close neighbours. Garden parties, church suppers, picnics, Christmas pageants, youth dances, movie nights, card parties, sewing bees, paper recycling, community outreach, yoga, yard sales etc., have only been some of the activities which have been held at St. Johns for the past 200 years.
The most significant development in the social history of the church was the opening of the Parish Hall in 1924. After the devastation fire in 1912, construction of the church started immediately, with the rectory to follow. By 1920, there was much growth in the church, the rectory had been paid off, and a hall was needed. The Parish Hall, was originally a cheese factory in Renton. In 1924, the energetic congregation bought the building, dismantled it and moved it to its current location.
The Women’s Auxiliary, and the Ladies’ Guild (now the Anglican Church Women) were usually involved with planning the social events at the church. Many hours of preparation and hard work was required before any church supper. For well over 100 years, the women of St. John’s have been able to prepare large means with precision.