About our church
Who we are
Who We are
Our Mission & Vision
Guided by the Holy Spirit, St. John’s envisions a community deeply connected in faith, where every individual is inspired to embody the heart and mind of Christ. United in worship, service, and spiritual growth, we seek to transform lives and touch souls. We hope to provide hope and healing to our local community and the greater world through love and action.
An inclusive Place
You belong here because Christ is in all. You belong here in the fullness of how you express love, for all love is of Christ. You belong here in the fullness of how you identify, for Christ is in all. You belong here.
The Episcopal Church welcomes and embraces everyone, no exceptions, as we are called by God to love our neighbor. For more information on what the Episcopal Church believes, please visit the national church website.
A Spiritual Sanctuary
Enter our community to share Christian fellowship with us in a place for solace, strength, reconciliation, and renewal in Christ.
St. John’s is a spiritual sanctuary in a historic stone building in the heart of Boulder. We are an inclusive church, striving to break down barriers between people and serving all those who seek spiritual sustenance and clarity.
Worship services at St. John’s are planned with care and reverence to ensure that worshipers encounter the living presence of our risen Lord through word and sacrament.
Superb sacred music accompanies our worship, adding depth and texture to the experience. The variety of ministries here offers parishioners many ways to participate more fully in the life of the community. We have close to 40 ministries of worship, prayer, formation, fellowship, service, leadership and social justice. You can find a list of all our ministries here. From contemplation to social activism, you can find a way at St. John’s to answer your call to serve.
St. John’s, the oldest Episcopal church in Boulder, was founded by Episcopalians who started meeting in Boulder in 1873 and built a small church in 1879. That building was replaced by the current sanctuary in 1903. Over the last 120 years, the church has grown to have a bell tower, chapel, parish hall, church offices, kitchen, and an education wing.
As the population of the Boulder area grew, St. John’s recognized the need for new Episcopal churches and worked to establish three others in the area: St. Aidan’s, across from the University of Colorado, St. Ambrose, east of Boulder on South Boulder Road, and St. Mary Magdalene, northeast of Boulder in Heatherwood.
St. John’s has nurtured many who have sought ordination over the years, including the Rev. Connie Delzell, the first woman to complete the ordination process in the diocese, Rev. Rolland Hoverstock (former rector), Rev. Nancee Martin, Rev. Patricia Laudisio, Rev. Sam Owen, Rev. Canon Heather (Payton) Melton, Rev. JK Melton, and Rev. Bruce Swinehart.
Beginning in the 1960s, St. John’s began to take an active role in issues of justice and compassion. Father Jim McKeown opened the church building to the “hippies” and runaways who were drawn to Boulder. In 1971, recognizing the need for housing for people with low incomes, St. John’s built the San Juan del Centro housing project in Boulder. When that project was sold after 20 years in operation, St. John’s put the money into a foundation which eventually was used to build the Eagle Place affordable housing in Lafayette.
Before the construction of the education wing, the church owned a 4-apartment house on the corner of 15th and Pine. Beginning in the 1990’s, one of the apartments was dedicated to housing a person with HIV, the first of whom was Tim Eaton, the former Children’s Choir director for St. John’s. St. John’s declared itself an “AIDS-Aware Community” after Tim’s death.
In 2016, the congregation funded the installation of solar panels in order to be visible and faithful stewards of the earth, to ensure that renewable energy provides savings to the church and to do so while maintaining the beauty and historic value of the St. John’s buildings and grounds. The parish has no outstanding debt on the buildings or the solar panels. The COVID years have been challenging for St. John’s, as we suspended worship in person and switched to online services. The clergy at the time worked out a system of outdoor satellite Communion sites, staffed by volunteers from the congregation, so that we could continue receiving the Sacraments safely in socially-distanced, masked small groups. This was so successful that some parishioners have said that they miss these smaller communities, now that we are back to worshiping in the church together.
Membership at St. John’s
What does it mean to be a member of St. John’s Episcopal Church?
No matter where you are on your faith journey, or where you are from, or what questions and uncertainties you have, you are always welcome at St. John’s. We are a community of faith that has assembled to make the journey of faith together. You do not need to be a member in order to worship with us or to participate in our ministries. When you feel ready to become a member, please see one of the clergy or contact our Parish Administrator.
Members of St. John’s actively welcome everyone who walks through our doors. Members introduce themselves, engage visitors in conversation, invite them to fellowship hour, and assist them if they are unfamiliar with the liturgy.
Members of St. John’s pray regularly, for themselves, members of their faith community, and the world.
Members of St. John’s care for one another, even those with whom they disagree.
Members of St. John’s yearn to learn; they attend classes and lectures to deepen their knowledge and love of God. They also commit to a course of self-directed Christian education.
Members of St. John’s work tirelessly for positive change in the world, either through a ministry of the church or through a community-based charitable organization.
Members of St. John’s are evangelists! They talk about their church — its ministries and its people. They can (and do) articulate what being a member of this worshiping community has meant to them.
Members of St. John’s attend worship services on a regular basis. The Canons and Constitutions of The Episcopal Church state that “communicants in good standing have been faithful in corporate worship…and in working, praying, and giving for the spread of the Kingdom of God.” [1.17]
Members of St. John’s don’t consider church a “spectator sport.” They give their time, talent, and treasure to further the work of the church, by: participating in at least one ministry that utilizes their gifts and pledging [planned regular giving] because they know it is important for the church to be able to match a budget with its vision.
If you’re new to St. John’s, welcome! We’re so glad you’re considering us for your church home.
These resources will help you get involved with everything going on at St. John’s.
Children and youth programing
Frequently Asked Questions
What should I expect when I visit an Episcopal Church?
As you enter, you will notice an atmosphere of worship and reverence. It is the custom of the Episcopal Church that before worship and during communion, silence is maintained for the love of God and for our neighbors. This is a time of prayer.
Episcopal churches are built in many architectural styles, but whatever the size or design, the focus is on the altar, or holy table, and on the cross. So, our thoughts are taken at once to Christ and to God whose house is the church. On or near the altar, candles remind us that Christ is “the light of the world” (John 8:12). Often, there are flowers to beautify God’s house and to recall the resurrection of Jesus. On one side at the front of the church, there may be a lectern for the proclamation of the word, where the scriptures are read. On the other side is the pulpit, where the sermon is preached.
How can I find my way through the service?
The Episcopal Church uses the Book of Common Prayer (1979), for its worship. It contains the Service of Holy Communion, as well as the offices of Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer; the Pastoral offices; and other services that we use. The Book of Common Prayer is the red or black book in the pew rack.
In addition, we have a hymnal (Hymnal 1982), which is the blue book in the pew rack. The Order of Worship is found in the bulletin you receive as you enter the church. It contains page numbers where the various parts of the service may be found. For the most part, the hymn numbers may be found on our two hymn boards found on the wall at the front of the church. Occasionally, the priest or lay reader will announce a page number. Furthermore, the person who is sitting next to you or in front of you will gladly assist you.
Generally, we stand to sing hymns and hear the gospel, to praise God at the time of the offertory, and for the beginning of the Eucharist. We sit to listen to the lessons, the sermon, and the announcements; and we stand or kneel to pray the collects, the Prayers of the People, the Consecration and the post-communion prayer.
How do I recieve communion?
When you kneel or stand at the altar rail, you will be given a wafer of consecrated bread and a sip of consecrated wine from the common chalice. Alternatively, you may choose to dip your bread in the chalice (intinction) instead of drink from the chalice or to receive the bread alone. We believe Christ is fully present in both of the elements.
The usual way to receive the bread is to place your right hand in your left and to extend your open palms toward the server. To receive the wine from the chalice, it is helpful if you guide the chalice from the base of it to your lips. If you prefer to dip the wafer into the wine, you may do so by holding the wafer in your fingers and dipping it yourself or by handing it to the chalice bearer to dip into the wine. You may choose not to receive the wine.
If you do not wish to receive communion, you may come to the altar rail to receive a blessing from the priest. Please indicate this by folding your arms across your chest.
What about children recieveing communion?
Children are encouraged to come to the altar rail with their parents. Parents are best qualified to determine if their child is ready to receive the sacrament. Those children who do not receive communion will receive a blessing. Some churches believe that children wait until they understand communion before they receive it. At St. John’s, we do not hold that belief. As loving parents, we feed our children long before they understand nurturing. We bathe them before they have a concept of hygiene, and we love and hug them long before they have an understanding of love. We all come to the Lord’s Table to be fed and nurtured by a loving God.