Save Saint John's in the Village

$3,165 of $60,000 goal

Raised by 23 people in 8 months
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We are currently facing a funding crisis, and will be forced to close unless we can secure sources of income with which to support and sustain operations.  We would welcome any support, spiritual, material, or otherwise as we work to resolve the situation and save the church.  We will be updating the church's website and Facebook presence as the situation develops.

OUR PAST:  In 1843, in what was then the village of Huntingdon, St. John’s was established on a hilltop outside Baltimore in what would become Waverly village.  The church has always been known for its traditional worship and beautiful choral music.  It is now one of only two parishes in the United States who offer this unique worship style. Beginning six years ago, St. John’s fell on hard times.  A benefactor of the church died, and for five years the congregation funded its shortfalls by draining its endowment.  On September 1, 2016, the Rev’d Jeff Hual was called to be St. John’s new priest.  In addition to his gifts for ministry, Fr. Hual is a former CPA and business owner.  Over the past year, the congregation has doubled in size, and stewardship has tripled to nearly one hundred thousand dollars.  The church adopted an austerity budget and was able to raise an additional fifty thousand dollars from congregants and sixty thousand from outside sources, but by September 1, 2017, St. John’s was no longer able to meet its financial obligations.  The Bishop of Maryland thus made the decision that St. John’s must close its doors, declaring it to now be a “dead” church.

OUR PRESENT:  St. John’s is currently a small but vibrant Christian community and presence within the Waverly neighborhood.  We have grown over the past year from 28 people on Fr. Hual’s first Sunday to a congregation of more than 70 people, with 55 people per Sunday on average.  We have hosted numerous community events over the past year, including a job fair that attracted more than 500 people, and an arts summer camp that benefited 40 youth from the neighborhood.  We have held cookouts, trunk or treats, and bazaars to bring our neighbors onto our campus in order to foster better relationships.  We have spent thousands of dollars donating food, paying for prescriptions, and helping to find housing for people in need.  Our congregation makes 350 bologna sandwiches each month for the Salvation Army.

OUR FUTURE:  At the time we were declared dead and told to close, plans were underway for new arts camps, one over Christmas break and another over Spring break. Our campus was to be opened to the public as a park for the enjoyment of the neighborhood. Plans were underway to begin a Saturday afternoon famer’s market in our parking lot, and we were in the process of converting a third of our campus property to the production of vegetables, flowers and honey to be sold at the market. Our choir was planning a series of galas and madrigal feasts to raise its own funding. A local choral group, the Bridge Ensemble, was planning a concert series.  All these programs and more are still possible if we can save St. John’s.  We have been given permission to stay open through January 6, 2018, if we can raise the money required to do so.  During this time, if we can craft a long-term strategic plan for St. John’s to become independently viable, then we will no longer have to close.

HOW TO HELP:  St. John’s is asking everyone to share a little bit of their time, talent and treasure to keep us going.  First, please share a little of your time.  Our services are at 10:30 on Sunday mornings.  Please come and support us by your presence.  Second, the number of talented people in this neighborhood has amazed us.  If you have a talent that could help to save us, whatever it may be, we would welcome your help.  Third, of course, we need a little of your treasure to help us stay open.  Supporting this gofundme campaign will give us time to develop the long term plan and sources of sustainable funding that we need to continue our ministry.
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Though the GoFundMe campaign did not reach its goal, regular Sunday worship has resumed. Please join us Sundays at 10:30 a.m. and many thanks to everyone who donated. Your support means a great deal to us, and continues to help sustain the church.
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Next Sunday, November 5, will be our last regular Sunday worship service as currently constituted.

The following is the official letter from the transition committee.

Dear Friends,

It is with a sense of great hope in the midst of sorrow, that the Transition Committee informs you that at its Thursday, October 26th meeting, the Standing Committee voted to declare St. John’s in the Village an imperiled parish. This action was taken at the request of the priest-in-charge in consultation with the Transition Committee, including the parish treasurer and the wardens, in accordance with Diocesan Canon 2-190. As part of the imperilment, regular Sunday worship will cease and the final Sunday Mass at St. John’s under its current structure will be November 5th. November 5th will also be Fr. Hual’s last day as the pastoral leader of the congregation.

After Fr. Hual’s departure, Fr. Timothy Kroh, rector of the Church of the Advent, who has been a clergy associate at St. John’s in the past and is familiar to many of you, is available to you for any pastoral care needs you may have. He can be reached at or on his mobile phone at 410-382-1607.

Imperilment is a word that invokes a certain level of fear and in part that is the reason for which it was chosen. However, it is the hope and prayer of the Transition Committee and the Diocese that imperilment will provide the space and structure to allow St. John’s to reorganize and be reborn as a parish with a stable and strong lay leadership and a parish with a balanced financial structure. In a sense, imperilment can be compared a form of corporate bankruptcy. Rather than ‘chapter 7’ bankruptcy in which the corporation ceases to exist and all assets are liquidated, imperilment is more along the lines of chapter 11 where an organization is allowed to continue to exist and its leadership and structure is reorganized to allow for it to be reborn as a stable entity with a viable future. To be clear, however, imperilment does require that the energy for rebirth come from within the parish itself.

While regular Sunday worship will cease, the Transition Committee is suggesting that a regular lay-led Evening Prayer worship service be established on Wednesdays. The hope is that this will allow for a regular meeting of the St. John’s parish community for shared worship and fellowship and the sharing of information and energy as your discernment continues. We encourage the parish to visit other churches on Sundays, either together as a group or in smaller groups, to experience God in another physical location and witness other models for leadership within parish communities.

Over the next 10 days or so, Bishop Sutton will work with Fr. Hual and the wardens to identify lay leaders to serve on the Ministry Team for the parish. This body will replace the vestry during the imperilment period. Bishop Sutton will also appoint a Bishop’s Advisory Team to work with the Ministry Team to do the discernment work to reorganize and stabilize the parish and develop a plan for viability. The members of this team will made up of people from outside of the St. John’s community with the skills and expertise to aid the parish in its discernment. Benchmarks will be established by the diocese that the parish will need to meet in order to end its imperilment. If the parish is unable to meet the benchmarks, the end result of the imperilment may well be closure.

We understand that this will be difficult news for many of you to hear. For many others it may be a relief. There is some argument to be made that St. John’s should have been imperiled earlier, be it a few weeks ago or several months ago. It is the hope of the Transition Committee that imperilment will give St. John’s the appropriate level space, structure, and support from the diocese to allow St. John’s to discern its path forward.

In Christ’s service,
The Transition Committee
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$3,165 of $60,000 goal

Raised by 23 people in 8 months
No Longer Accepting Donations
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Funds raised will benefit:
Saint Johns Protestant Episcopal Church (Saint Johns In The V...
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Baltimore, MD
EIN: 520607892
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