St. John's Episcopal Church
~161 Park Street, Highgate, VT 05459~


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St. John's is a seasonal church known as the "Mother Church" of Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Swanton. In recent years Holy Trinity has held a few services a year at St. John's, around the 4th of July the service is called the "Red, White, and Blue Sunday" with blueberry snacks at coffee hour; in the fall the "Applefest Sunday" with apple treats; and in 2022 the "Pre-Christmas Eve" candlelight service with hot mulled cider and cakes was well attended by folks from communities in the area. The Rector of Holy Trinity Episcopal Church is the "Vicar of St. John's", St. John's does not have a separate congregation.

This historical church is presently under renovation of a new roof and interior painting until 2024; check with the office for updates. Soon we will be using St. John's again for weddings, services and concerts, and as an event space in the spring, summer and fall. Below are some programs we found of "Summer Ministry of the Arts" events. Since 2000, multiple Civil Unions and Same-Gender Marriages have been performed here. Holy Trinity Church in Swanton is now faithfully watching over the church and sees to any events or concerns. You can call to schedule events at 802-868-7185 or email office@holytrinityswanton.org.

St. John's Church was built in 1829-1830 by Joel Whitney of Enosburg. In 1835, the chancel and vestry room were added through the generosity of S. W. and S. S. Keys. In 1836, the church was presented with a bell, a font of Italian marble, a silver communion service and books for the altar, and lectern and pulpit by the Hon. Heman Allen, a son of Heber Allen, nephew of Ethan and adopted son of Ira. You can find more history here.

Per Linda Maloney: "In my biography of Commodore Isaac Hull, I wrote about Heman Allen. He was appointed minister to Chile in 1824, and before embarking for his post, he met and married Elizabeth Hart, a younger sister of Hull's wife; she accompanied him to Chile (Mrs. Hull was also on the voyage.) They returned in 1827 and settled in Colchester, where Elizabeth Allen died young in 1834. (Heman Allen was president of the Burlington branch of the U. S. Bank in Burlington till it closed in 1836.) It's possible that Heman Allen's donations to St. John's were in memory of his late wife--since Allen did not remarry till 1844--and it's also possible that some of them (the silver service, perhaps?) had been brought from South America."

The organ was built by Henry Erben of New York City in 1836. It has the distinction of being the oldest unaltered pipe organ in Vermont in its original location. It was designed to make the most of just three stops: an 8' Stopped Diapason, a 4' Principal, and an 8' Trumpet. Using the organ requires an assistant to hand pump the lever that operates the bellows, to the delight of younger members of the parish who often do the pumping.

The building is conventional classic in form yet gothic in its pointed windows. The palladian window over the front door is a variation of many others found in Vermont.

The church was consecrated and dedicated to St. John the Apostle by Bishop John H. Hopkins, Bishop of Vermont, on May 21, 1834. St. John's Church had a resident rector until 1896 when it joined with Holy Trinity Church, Swanton.

Directions: From Swanton take Rte. 78E 4.3 miles to right onto Highgate Road/Rte. 207 for about a half mile, the church is on the left around a small park. From St. Albans take Rte. 7 to the interstate access exit 20, turn onto Rte. 207N for about seven miles to the church on the right of a small park.

An old St. John's Facebook page.

Our Pre-Christmas Eve candlelight service in 2022.

Our Red, White and Blue Sunday service with picnic outside during the pandemic. June 26, 2022.

Organist Erik Kenyon tuning the trumpets
on the old manual pump pipe organ with helpers, Conner and Zachery in 2011 and Drew on manual pump.

Organ Historical Society concert in 2013.

Taize service in 2014.

Cemetery in the back.

Citizen's Band concert in 2014.

Church for early settlers in Highate 1972 Article.

St. John's Historic Organ Built by Henry Erben in 1836.

Some "Summer Ministry of the Arts" programs of the past and a wedding!

National Register of Historic Places in the State of Vermont. September 3, 1976.


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