A Brief History of St. John's Congregation
St. John's was founded in 1897 by German Lutherans living in the area of Williamstown, NJ. The original church building, adjacent to the church cemetery at Coles Mill Road and route 42, was erected in 1898. In 1930 the congregation moved to the current church building on Main Street.
In 1930, the name was also changed, from St. Johns German Evangelical Lutheran Church in Williamstown, to St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church. However, it was not until the late 1930s that the church broke from the tradition of a German language service.
By the 1950s it was evident that new members were coming from diverse religious backgrounds and that German speaking members were a minority. To adapt to changing times, Pastor Oswald instituted adult instruction classes to assist new members, a tradition continued under Pastor Phillips, whose 36 years of service ended in 1998.
Pastor Regan served as interim in 1999-2000, and Pastor Steele in 2000-2001. Karina Ramins accepted a call as permanent pastor and served from the 2001 until 2003, leaving to accept a call in Northern New Jersey. In the Spring of 2003 Pastor Sara E. Lilja joined St. Johns, first as interim and then as permanent pastor. Under her leadership, St. Johns continued to grow in service to the community and the church family. Pastor Lilja left in early 2014 and Pastor Peggy Marks is now serving as interim.
The 1950s also saw the construction of the Educational Bldg. to meet the growth in Sunday School enrollment. The Sunday School classes are organized by age and serve children from preschool to sixth grade. Sunday school is held at 10:30 am and meets during the regular school year.
The past few years have seen many changes. Vacation Bible School is held in July during the evening. The choirs have grown by leaps and bounds. In 2000 a Bell Choir was started, followed by addition of a second Bell Choir, Chime Choir, and Chimettes, all ringing to God's Glory. We are also blessed with a wonderful Chancel Choir and Youth Choir.
2008 saw the addition of a Jazz Band which now plays at our Service of Joy at 11:15 am Sunday mornings. Our 9:30 am Sunday service is a traditional worship service.
The new Sunday Morning schedule of events is:
Worship Service (traditional, organ-led): 9:00 am
Worship Service (Jazz-Band led): 11:15 am
Sunday School and C.I.A.(Christians-in-Action): 10:15 am
Coffee & Fellowship: 10:00 am - 11:15 am