St. John's Episcopal Church was founded in 1752 to occupy land reserved for a Church of England parish by William Penn when the town of Carlisle was laid out.
Tracing its earliest roots to a humble log building that served as both a place of worship and courthouse, St. John's Episcopal Church has served Carlisle congregations for over 265 years. That first church building was on the very edges of what was then considered the frontier in the new county seat of territory that stretched to the modern border of Ohio. By 1767, a small stone building had been erected and a small congregation of Anglicans were being ministered to inside by a circuit priest.
As a Church of England parish, St. John's saw some backlash during the rising tensions between England and the Colonies and had to suspend worship during the Revolutionary War. Many Carlisle residents, who were largely Presbyterian at the time and worshipped right across the street, were fervently for independence, putting a church tied so closely with England at risk. After the war, the Anglican parishes became independent and were named Episcopalian, and the Carlisle church resumed worship with an American-born pastor to serve them in 1784. While much of the trappings and ceremonies were still markedly Anglican in style, the American parishes were no longer controlled by the Church of England.
Utlizing stones from the first stone church erected in the 1760s, the construction of the current church building concluded in 1827, and the current steeple and choral area were added in 1861. Two more additions would follow over the years, including the addition of the high alter and sanctuary in 1898 and the parrish hall nearly 100 years later. The interior of St. John's underwent a full restoration in 1995.
Throughout its history, St. John's has served countless Carlislians called to worship in the Episcopal faith. They currently have a large children and youth program, preschool, and serve a congregation of over 900 parishioners. St. John's is active in the larger community, participating in downtown events, hosting a yearly Cookie Walk, and Twelfth Night Boar's Head Feast, and they sell apple butter at the Apple Harvest Festival each year.