We at St. John's, make the following commitments:
A commitment to social justice:
From the very beginnings of the parish, a consistent theme in its mission, programming and ministry has been to be a witness and change agent to the issues most affecting its membership. Our history records early support of soldiers during times of war, a committee for the unemployed, and support of Episcopal City Mission. Our Black Madonna stained glass window was dedicated in 1885 in memory of Sara Otis Ernst, a staunch abolitionist, and in 2002 our basement served as the office location for the production of a documentary on a prominent Rhode Island slave trading family. More recently we have partnered with local organizations and worked on our own to host and participate in trainings, documentary screenings and productions on issues ranging from the prison system, anti-racism, gun safety and implicit bias. We are committed to supporting the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute, particularly through their annual Walk For Peace. In the last decade the parish took actions to support public policy changes for the LGBTQ+ community through organizations such as Freedom Massachusetts, Bread for the World, the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization and the Religious Coalition for the Freedom to Marry.
A commitment to music and the arts
Evident from the beautiful artwork in our Gothic Revival building – including Tiffany, MacDonald and LaFarge stained glass and two George Willoughby Maynard murals – and our historic Hook organ, early parish committees valued music and the arts highly. The sanctuary also has superb acoustics and provides a marvelous space for musical performances. St. John’s opens its doors to a wide range of musicians, both for rehearsals and concerts. JP Concerts offers a regular performance series at St. John’s, bringing musicians from around the world for shows. A Far Cry, the Grammy award winning chamber orchestra based in Jamaica Plain, calls St. John’s its musical home. We are also the base for Open Theatre Project, a company formed to transform lives and build thriving communities through high-quality theatrical experiences which allow the expression of diverse ideas to traditional and non-traditional audiences. In addition, the Mighty St. John’s Choir has been a vital and accomplished ministry from the parish’s beginnings through present day. We host concerts and open to the public rehearsals for groups such as Sacred Harp who welcomes individuals to come together for singing as well as a monthly chamber music meet-up.
A commitment to providing a place of refuge in times of need:
Throughout its history, St. John’s has offered respite and healing, whether following the assassination of Abraham Lincoln or the tragedy of September 11, 2001. Recently St. John’s has welcomed many members from different faiths and traditions who were searching for a place of worship that was welcoming and accepting. We host regular AA meetings and a yoga class as offerings to the wider community.
A COMMITMENT TO CREATION CARE:
We give thanks for and join those who are take on protection of the earth, its life and its people. At. St. John’s we support efforts to fight climate change, protect our environment and and support those organizations that work hard in the face of complex problems regarding the future of the earth. We believe in actions that will bring peace and relief amidst violence and turmoil. Our faith asks us to maintain a continual sense of wonder amidst God’s creation, compassion to respond to the needs of others, courage to take what action we can for justice in your world, and wisdom to choose ways of living which are good for the climate, the needs of future generations and the health of the earth.
A commitment to a rich and welcoming liturgy
St John’s carries on the robust sacramental tradition of the Anglican Church, ordered and dignified by history. As well, we offer a spiritual home to those who value tradition but who also seek progressive theology and social ethics.
These common interests and activities all provide opportunities for people in the community to enter into St. John’s – whether for a single event or for years as a committed parish member. These “points of entry” serve the local community and the building up of the body of Christ in Jamaica Plain.
St. John’s history reflects a tradition of members who are called to ordained ministry and an environment where the process of discernment flourishes. In recent years St. John’s has served as a teaching parish providing valuable experience to seminarians and has regularly sponsored candidates for Holy Orders. The parish has long raised up women in positions of lay and ordained leadership, and we do the same now with our gay and lesbian members, both within our walls and in the wider church.