2 St. John the Evangelist

A History

C. Cody Barteet

The Anglican parish of St. John the Evangelist was established in 1864 in what has become known as London’s Old North community just along the north edge of the city’s downtown core. The present church, built at the corners of St. James and Wellington Streets in 1888 is now part of the Bishop Hellmuth Heritage District. The building has remained relatively intact since its inception. Based on the English Gothic-revival style, complete with an accompanying spire (1897), over the past 133 years, the congregation has gathered under the building’s hammer beams that support a well-crafted timber roof. Along the walls of the apse (1927), southern wall, and northern side aisle (1952-56) are over twenty stained glass windows, with others located throughout the complex.[1]  In this catalogue, we will focus on at least one work by all the studios who worked at St. John’s along with the artistic works created by González.

The first section of this catalogue contains information about González’s engagement with the sights and sounds of St. John’s. This is followed by Kazi’s important discussion of Yvonne Williams.  As mentioned, William’s work marks an aesthetic and social shift in the production of stained glass at St. John’s and Canada at large. Following this analysis, Kazi and I briefly offer information about many of the windows at St. John’s.

Before moving into a discussion of these various artistic features, a bit more can be shared about the parish. It is among the oldest worshiping communities in London and over the past century, St. John’s has become an essential part of the built and social environments of the city. St. John’s facilities have over 26,000 yearly visitors, including one of London’s longest-running meal programs—the Saturday Night Hospitality Dinner—which has been serving between 150 to 200 meals to some of the city’s most vulnerable citizens every Saturday for over 20 years, and this program has continued during the Covid-19 pandemic. The parish’s facilities also serve as a community voting station and are used by many groups including Alcoholic Anonymous, Over Eaters Anonymous, Al-Anon, Multiple Sclerosis (MS), and Speech Disorder support groups, youth programs including Sparks, Brownies, Cubs, Beavers, Girl Guides, and Scouts, and numerous other social engagements such as receptions, concerts, and events. Thus, the parish and its building are a small hub for the approximate 20,000 people of the Bishop Hellmuth Heritage District and the downtown core. This exhibition recognizes these important contributions while also envisioning the sights and sounds of St. John’s in new artistic and conceptual contexts.


[1] Gordon W.H. Bartram, A Historical Sketch of the Parish of the Church of St. John the Evangelist, London, Ontario (London: St. John the Evangelist, 1960); and Jud Purdy, Bright the Vision: The History of the Church of St. John the Evangelist London, Ontario (London: Selby Young Printing, 1988).


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St. John the Evangelist Copyright © 2021 by C. Cody Barteet is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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