St. John’s the Evanglist Recognized with Good Neighbor Award
St. John’s the Evangelist Episcopal Church was recently recognized by the Ramsey Hill Association (RHA) with a Good Neighbor Award. Originally incorporated in 1972, the RHA is dedicated to preserving the historic significance of the neighborhood and building a strong community. During an awards ceremony on October 24, at which Libby Snelson accepted the award on behalf of St. John’s, RHA officials praised St. John’s for ongoing efforts to preserve the church’s architectural integrity, as well as many neighborhood outreach efforts. In particular, they referenced the twice weekly Farmer’s Market over the summer that’s held in St. John’s parking lot and benefits area food shelves, St. John’s participation in the biennial Ramsey Hill tours, and its new role as home for the CrocusHill Pre-School.
Below is a copy of the award nomination letter.
Nomination of St. John the Evangelist Episcopal Church for 2013 Good Neighbor Award
St. John’s Episcopal Church has been a part of the Ramsey Hill neighborhood since 1881, occupying three different buildings within two blocks of their current home at 60 Kent Street. The original part of the current church was designed by noted architect Cass Gilbert and a later addition, which is now the sanctuary, was designed by Saint Paul architect Clarence Johnston.
Over the decades parish members have demonstrated a commitment to the historic preservation of their structure. In recent years the church has been re-roofed in green Vermont slate with copper flashing, gutters and downspouts, staying true to the specifications of Gilbert and Johnston.
St. John’s isn’t only about serving the Ramsey Hill neighborhood. For one month each year, St. John’s participates in Project Home, a program of the St. Paul Area Council of Churches providing emergency shelter in Ramsey County for children and their parents.
The church parking lot at Summit Avenue and Kent Street has for the last two years been the site of a twice-weekly farmers market which is a collaboration effort of Hmong farmers attending Holy Apostles Episcopal Church, with whom St. John’s has a companion parish relationship. It also supports “Fields to Families,” a project providing fresh local produce to area food shelves.
Most recently, St. John’s has become the new home of Crocus Hill Pre-school, providing early childhood education for the children of about 50 area families. This is another example of St. John’s opening its facility to community groups as their regular meeting space.
In addition to the beauty of the physical structure and worship space, there is a rich music program that reaches into the neighborhood. St. John’s is home to six choirs that provide the musical foundation for worship and Evensong services, and it is home to a chamber music school providing music instruction and concerts.
In 2013, St. John’s church expressed an interest in being a part of the biennial Ramsey Hill House tour. What started as a request from RHA to use their parking lot for tour attendees, turned into a popular tour site. Tour attendees were led, every half hour, by parish members who are passionate about their church history. A highlight of the tour was a 15 minute pipe organ interlude and ending with the pealing of the original bronze bells.
The bells, which are heard throughout the Ramsey Hill neighborhood, are to some a marking of the important hours of the day. To others the pealing of the bells is heard as a celebration: of marriage, of new life or a life past, or simply of Sunday morning.
St. John the Evangelist Episcopal Church is, as their publications state, the “Church of the Open Door.”