150 years ago, as the Civil War raged, so many of Gloucester’s eligible soldiers went off to fight that a manpower shortage for our booming fishing industry seemed inevitable. The vacuum that resulted offered opportunity for the thousands of fisherman from the Canadian Maritimes who flocked to Gloucester. Since many of these men worshiped in the Anglican Church, Gloucester businessman Theron Dale and the other members of Gloucester’s Episcopal Society saw the need to create a free parish to meet the spiritual needs of these itinerant fisherman. This led to the building of St. John’s Episcopal Church on Middle Street where it can be found today.
St. John’s will have a special Evensong service to commemorate this event. The choir will offer a rich variety of music consisting of psalms, anthems, prayers and canticles. Evensong is sung daily in Cathedrals and colleges in many parts of the world.
The Canticles (Magnificat and Nunc dimittis) are to be sung with a setting by Ralph Vaughan Williams. The Anthems will include “From the rising of the sun” by Henry Wilson, organist of Christ Church, Hartford. This will represent music that may have been sung when the church was in its early years.
One of the highlights of the service will be the unveiling and blessing of the Dorcas Window in honor of all the women of St. John’s and their contribution to the Gloucester community. The parish choir will sing a new anthem by Alan Lewis, entitled “The Windows” with words by early 17th century priest and poet George Herbert, to mark the dedication of the new window by Adele Q. Ervin.
After the service there will be a reception commemorating the founding of the church by Theron Dale and others in 1863. Still dedicated to its mission to lend a helping hand to the people of Cape Ann, St. John’s will celebrate its storied past and the blessings of the present at this wonderful event. We welcome you to come and join us.