St. John’s Historic Timeline

This is a chronological timeline of historical events for St. John’s Episcopal-Lutheran Church in Williams, AZ.

1891 – Rev. Albert Ernest Osborn of Gallop, New Mexico starts holding services in the communities along the Atlantic & Pacific Railroad in northern Arizona in December 1891.

1892 – First services in Williams begin on February 28, 1892 by Rev. Osborn.   A mission is organized on September 15th, and it is called Christ Church.

1893- The Mission is unorganized and by 1896 is basically gone.

1897 – A new mission is organized and this time it was called St. Luke’s.  Mr. Barr Lee, a layman, living in Williams is responsible for the mission. Bishop Kendrick reports that Mr. Lee, who succeeded Rev. Osborn on July 1, 1896, is a candidate for deacon’s orders.

1898 – Fr. Lee serves Williams until the end of 1897, when he leaves to attend Divinity School at San Mateo, California.  Before he leaves on August 3, 197, Fr. Barr Gifford Lee is ordained as a deacon at the Williams church.

1899 – Rev. Robert Renison replaces Fr. Lee and stays until September 1 1899.  He is succeeded by Fr. William Rolfe Seaborne.

1902 – St. Luke’s mission is dissolved on April 7, 1902.

1911 – The Reverend Joe Meade first holds Episcopal services in the Old Opera House.

1912 – The St. John’s that we know today is organized as a mission on March 1st by Bishop Julius Walter Atwood.  Dr. Perrin, a local physician, was one of the founding fathers.  The congregation originally met in the Methodist Church, the Opera House, and the Fray Marcos Hotel (now the Grand Canyon Railway Station).  A chapel is built and completed by Easter 1913, at a cost of $1,500, and with a $1,000 gift from the Saginaw Lumber Co. We believe this first structure was in the 600 block of Sherman Ave. It included a chancel, sanctuary, recreation hall, and the Williams Public Library.

Williams AZ

Williams circa 1912

1913 – Fr. Meade serves the church in Williams until July 13, 1913. Fr. Henry Clark Smith is ordained as a deacon at St. John’s.

1914 – St. John’s acquires building lots during the year ending on Easter 1914. Fr. Smith serves as vicar until September 1914.  Fr. Elliot William Boone, living in Williams at the time, becomes the vicar on November 21, 1914.

1916 – A “beautiful new vicarage” is completed for $1,350 and an organ is added to the chapel.

1917 – Fr. Boone leaves Williams on January 1, 1917, and is replaced by Rev. H. N. Tragitt, Jr. on March 8, 1917.  By the end of October 1917, Fr. Traggit leaves and is replaced by Mr. Luther Bunyan Moore, a lay person living in Flagstaff.

1918 – Fr. Luther Bunyon Moore is ordained a deacon in Flagstaff on November 17 and is put in charge of both Flagstaff and Williams Episcopal churches.

1919 – Fr. Moore becomes an ordained priest on April 30, 1919 and serves until September 1921 to return to Massachusetts to further his study of theology.

1921 – Fr. Harry Graham Gray succeeds Fr. Moore ad also serves Kingman.

1922 – Fr. Gray services Kingman and Williams until February 1, when he returns to Los Angeles.  Fr. Harry Henderson Gillies replaces him in November.  He too serves both Williams and Kingman.

1924 – The church moves to a new structure built near the intersection of Sheridan and Taber Streets across from a newly-built rectory.  (Conflicting information also places a church at the corners of Grant Avenue and Seventh Street, and one at Slagel and Sheridan.)

1926 – Beginning April 4, 1926 Fr. Edward Ludlow Freeland serves the church in Flagstaff and Williams and serves the churches until January 1, 1928.

1928 – Archdeacons James Rockwood Jenkins serves Flagstaff and Williams through April 8, 1928, and effective the following week, Fr. Francis Theodore Brown is assigned to Flagstaff and Williams.

1930 – Fr. Brown is reassigned to Yuma, AZ.  He is replaced by Fr. Joseph A. Ten Broeck, who serves both Flagstaff and William until March 24, 1933.

1933 – Fr. Joseph Smith Doron, a deacon, replaces Fr. Broeck on July 23, 1933.

1935 – Fr. Doron is serving Flagstaff, Williams and now also Holbrook.  He is ordained a priest in Flagstaff on January 21, 1934.

1935-1936 – Fr. Doron has decreasing oversight of Williams and Holbrook churches.  Sometime during 1935 a Fr. Jones of Winslow is responsible for Williams, but Mr. Thomas Cecil Harris, a layman, becomes responsible for St. John’s on January 21, 1936.

1937 – Fr. Thomas Cecil Harris is ordained a deacon at Williams on June 10 and then a priest on July 25. He becomes solely responsible for both Williams and Holbrook, living in Williams.

1940 – Fr. Harris attends to Williams and Holbrook until November.  Mr. Howard Wilson Brummit, a layman, is responsible for St. John’s for the rest of 1940 and most of 1941.

1941 – Fr. Howard William Brummit is ordained a deacon on October 19.

1942 – Fr. Lloyd A. Cox is ordained a deacon in October and is sent to serve Williams and the Grand Canyon.

1943 – Fr. Cox is ordained a priest on April 11, transferring to California on November 1st.  He is not replaced that year.  And there is no regularly assigned priest in Williams in most of 1944.

1945 – Fr. Arthur G. Pederson is the vicar at Williams and the Grand Canyon beginning the latter part of 1945 and resigns at the end of 1946.

1947 –St. John’s purchases lots 18, and 19 on the northwest corner of Second and Grant Streets in Williams for $1,200. Fr. George E. Gooderham, the vicar in Flagstaff, is appointed to also be responsible for Williams on January 5, 1947.

1948 – The first July 4th BBQ is held at the Benham Ranch for Benham family and friends.

1948 – Fr. Robert P. Frazier is assigned to minister to Flagstaff, Williams and Supai on December 1. This occurred after Bishop Kinsolving terminated Fr. Gooderham’s responsibility in Flagstaff and Williams on July 31st.

1950 – Fr. Frazier transferred to Main on September 15 and Fr. E. Otto Gallagher replaced Fr. Frazier, and began serving both Williams and Supai.  Later he is responsible for serving epiphany in Flagstaff and also Williams.

1951 – The parish house is sold to the Mormon Church for $3,600 with the right of access retained until St. John’s finishes building a new parish house.

1952 – The current church is built during 1952 with the cornerstone laid October 12, 1952, and dedicated on February 1, 1953 and is located at the intersection of Grant Avenue and Second Street.  During the construction of St. John’s, Christ’s Episcopal Church in Jerome, AZ (established in 1899) was being disassembled as the town turned into a ghost town. The Jerome congregation donated the stained glass windows, lighting, high altar, another altar piece, pews, baptismal font and maple flooring to the Williams congregation. Individual members of St. John’s transported the furnishings back to Williams. The round stained glass window was held by a small woman on her lap in the front seat of a pick-up truck as it bumped along the old, rough back road for 50 miles between Jerome and Williams. The stained glass windows were created in Italy.  The pews, altar and altarpiece are hand carved.  During 1952, Fr. Gallagher resigned and was succeeded by Rev. Edward Ludlow Freeland for the period of June 1 to 31 October.  He was succeeded by Fr. Dallis Lee Harris.

Historic interior of St. John's church in Williams, AZ

Historic interior of St. John’s church in Williams, AZ

1954 – New vicarage on S. Second Street is built partially with a gift in memory or Rev. Cecil Harris and is dedicated by Bishop Arthur Barksdale Kinsolving on October 31st.  It’s consecrated on December 27, 1957.The lot was donated by Mrs. Edna R. Cole, of Williams.

1954 – Fr. Harris remained in char of St. John’s ntil June 11, 1954, when Fr. Daniel Shaw Matson, an ex-Roman Catholic priest, and now an Episcopal priest, is appointed to service both Williams and the Grand Canyon.

1957 – 1971 – St. John’s takes over sponsoring the July 4th BBQ, continuing to hold it at the Benham Ranch. In 1971 the BBQ is oved into town due to potential fire danger.

1957 – Fr. Arthur Adams Lovekin is not the priest at St. John’s, beginning at the beginning of the year and was still serving Williams at the end of 1959.

1962 – The Walker Hall edition begins.  It is named after Howard Walker, who worked many hours with church members to build the hall. He also built the church vicarage on S. Second Street.

1972-1974 – Stations of Sorrow and Stations of Joy are handstitched by Bonnie Dent. She also did the etched glass windows and landscape murals.

1975 – Fire rages through Walker Hall, butting the structure.  It caused smoke damage to the rest of the church.  Members of St. John’s work to clean and paint the church quickly for a wedding the following weekend!

1977 – 1979 – Billie Hartman makes tapestry altar cloth set, flags, cassocks, etc. Wall hangings were done by Karen Evan, Heather Becklin and Bonnie Dent (exact years not known). Billie Woodruff paints the portrait of Christ on the cross.

1978 – Sunday school children raise money to purchase the Descending Dove plaque.

1980 – Rodney Diaz paints murals in the two Sunday school rooms.

1980 – Kris Vasquez creates the “I am the vine …” wall hanging in the vestibule.

1984 – St. John’s joins with the Lutheran congregation to become one family.  The services and emblems were combined. The new dual fellowship received national attention for this innovative unions.  Church members chose “Two in heritage, One in Christ” as their motto.

Episcopal-Lutheran shield

The Episcopal-Lutheran Shield

1985 – The Reverend Margaret Babcock comes as a new priest to the church.  She is the first woman priest to have her own parish in Arizona.

1985 – Bonnie Dent starts Williams’ first co-op pre-school in Walker Hall.  Chuck Babcock expanded it in 1986 to a day-care center facility with Episcopal Community Services funding, which operated until 1991.

1987 – St. John’s celebrates its 75th anniversary.

1989 – St. John’s begins the process of becoming a “total Ministry” church.  Two local members are called up to be the vicar and deacon.  Dayl Bingell and David Dent attend three years of seminary.  Their training began under the guidance of Margaret Babcock, the University of the South and the Bishop’s School. All church members share in the workings of the church.  This creative concept placed St. John’s in the national church spotlight once again.

1990 – Karen Evans takes over as Education for Ministry mentor and Kris Vasquez as education director.  Kris Vasquez starts the first Lutheran confirmation class at St. John’s, a two-year class.

1990 – Karen Evans creates the St. John’s banner, the icon-like painting of St. John and the red altar sets used for ordination.

1991 – The first local deacons in Arizona were Dayl Bingell and David Dent, ordained at St. John’s by Bishop Joseph Heistand on Oct. 30th.

1992 – Dayl Bingell is ordained as the vicar of St. John’s.  Rev. Bingell is assisted by Lutheran Pastor Jeff Johnson and Heather Becklin (a seminarian) to name a few over the next several years.

July 6, 2006 – The Reverend Ann Johnson begins her service as vicar and becomes an ordained Episcopal priest in 2007. She is ordained by Bishop Kirk Smith.

2007 – The memorial garden at the front of the church is dedicated in memory of Matthew R. Dent.

2009 – The Advent Concert series, classical and seasonal music by area artists, is provided weekly by St. John’s for the community for the first time.

2009 – The Community Garden is established with help from Inspirations, Inc. and Karen Peters.

2011 – Eric Dearing creates a new stained glass gate for the Community Garden, and Karen Peters creates the winter gate.

2011 – Pat McShane opens “Take a Break” center for respite care in Walker Hall.

2011 – Operation Christmas Child celebrates its 12th year as an Outreach project of St. John’s.

October 7, 2012 – St. John’s celebrates its 100th Anniversary. The event is marked by a visit from Bishop Kirk Smith, special music under the direction of John Taylor, the burial of a time capsule, a potluck dinner and a separate community dinner.

2014 – Retirement of Rev. Johnson – arrival of Rev. Marc McDonald

April 2017 – Fr. Marc McDonald answers the call to a church in Kansas after Easter service.

Marc McDonald Easter 2017

Easter Service, April 2017

May 2017 – Rev. Mary Piowtrowski becomes the new vicar at St. John’s.

Mary Piotrowksi

The Reverend Mary Piotrowski