From our beginning in 1814, our congregation has served as a home and meeting place for diverse individuals and groups. Thinking of both our legacy and commitment to the future, our current members and friends have spent countless hours to help us identify priorities for restoring, renovating, and improving our church home.

As we developed plans for the restoration of our sanctuary starting in 2018 (and delayed by the pandemic), we were inspired by the opportunity to do more – to make our facility more welcoming, better able to fulfill our mission within the community, and improve accessibility.

We’re starting with significant restoration of the front wall (our first priority) and we have included input from the congregation along the way. We are glad for strong support to move forward.

The 2022 refinement of the plan outlines various options for improvements to parts of the building other than the sanctuary.  The designs are posted in Krolfifer Hall and available online here: design options.  

Update, October, 2022

In the Oct. 9 special congregational meeting, 94% of the members present voted in favor of moving forward with restoration of the sanctuary façade despite a significant hike in the estimated cost.  Capital Campaign co-chairs Bill Luerssen and Joetta Prost then announced that we have early commitments of $590,000 toward our $1 million goal for the campaign.  The campaign will begin in earnest now. 

Here is the slide show shared at that Oct. 9 meeting.

Update, September, 2022

Sept. 25 Congregational meeting prep: Please review this list of possible actions to consider during our meeting to review options following the increase in the estimate to repair our facade.

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With a higher quote for sanctuary façade renovation, the Master Planning Team offers a five-minute video and written script of that video, to share recent discussions. The congregation is also invited to:

Drop-in Zoom meetings with the Master Planning Team were held Sept. 14, 23 and 24 on Zoom.  Also held were:

  • A “BIG CONGREGATIONAL DISCUSSION” – Sunday, Sept. 25, immediately following the service.
  • SPECIAL CONGREGATIONAL MEETING – Sunday, Oct. 9, immediately following the service.

Update, August, 2022

The Master Planning Team received the quote for the cost of restoring and preserving our sanctuary facade. While the quote reflects a cost increase, we know now that St. John’s can move forward with restoring our sanctuary wall and thereby continue to build our legacy on Resor Ave.  

In our continued effort to operate with transparency, the team shared the details received from our general contractor in two meetings. The first was an in-person discussion on Sunday, Aug. 14, immediately after the service and prior to the church picnic. The second discussion occurred online on Tuesday, Aug. 16, at 7 p.m. via Zoom.  The team prepared this presentation on updated costs and scope of the sanctuary restoration project. It will be helpful to hear discussion on the bulleted items: Please feel free to review this video of the recorded Tuesday discussion.

Simultaneously, our campaign consultant, Rachel Maxwell, completed her financial feasibility study after meeting (virtually) with a sample of St. John’s families to discuss why St. John’s is important for us, the value of a capital campaign, and how they feel about the renovation work and Master Plan for St. John’s. While we have developed our financial strategy based on guidance, our assets, and past fundraising, this report provides an objective assessment of what we can likely fundraise for St. John’s and thereby helps us shape our decisions moving forward.  With the feasibility study report, Rachel has also shared a presentation that was shown to the board.

We celebrated our past and present with a service at our former church site in Over the Rhine Aug. 28. Read Bill Luerssen’s reflection on gratitude presented during that service. You can see photos from that service in this album.

Update, July 2022

Campaign co-chairs Bill Luerssen and Joetta Prost announced something very special will happen on Sunday, Aug. 28, at 11 a.m.  St. John’s will celebrate Sunday service at The Transept, the historic home of St. John’s, located at 1205 Elm Street across from Washington Park in Over-the-Rhine. 

Following our worship service, we will have a special gathering to kick-off the fundraising campaign to restore our Resor Ave. sanctuary facade and make our building more welcoming to all.  

The capital campaign theme, “Continue the Legacy: build our future” and “Continue the Legacy: it’s on us,” is revealed in the E-news. Bo Wachendorf created the look for our logo:

Campaign consultant Rachel Maxwell delivered an inspiring virtual sermon July 31, “Money is like Water.”

Update, June 2022

The congregation was asked to approve a capital campaign to support upgrades, and the congregation also weighed in on which upgrades to pursue. This will be a months-long process.

See a Frequently Asked Questions page for added information. Here are slides shared at the June 5 congregational meeting.

Update, May 2022:

On Sunday May 22, the Master Planning Team shared the draft refined Master Plan created by our architects, Nestor Melnyk and Jil Baker of MSA Design. The plan outlines options for improvements to parts of the building other than the sanctuary, incorporating feedback from the congregation as well as some new ideas for improving St. John’s facilities.  See the Facility Improvement Options plan, including costs, from MSA and the discussion points and recommendations from the Master Planning Team.

The Master Planning Team was excited to gather your feedback regarding the concepts and options included in the draft Master Plan.  The weekly E-news included links to opportunities to ask questions and engage with the team about the options, including four Zoom sessions in early June to see and hear an explanation of the design options that have been drafted, ask questions and engage with the team.  

Update, April 2022:

The Board approved the recommendation of the Master Planning Team to call a special congregational meeting on Sunday April 10 after the service to vote on moving forward with full restoration of the St. John’s sanctuary façade.  The results of the assessment conducted by façade experts with THP Limited provide recommendations for needed work. Please read an executive summary of the report, or review the full report with photos showing the repairs needed for our sanctuary walls.

Please see this list of FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS for more information.

At the April 10 special congregational meeting, the members present voted to begin construction on the sanctuary exterior restoration and to obtain a bridge loan to cover the cost of this construction in advance of a capital campaign anticipated to begin later this year.

Update, November 2021

Following a series of input sessions with more than 50 members, the Master Planning Team heard that people believe

  • St. John’s is our home, where we gather as a caring community.
  • Our building represents us – our values, identity and beliefs.
  • Our sanctuary is a sacred place that fosters spiritual reflection. The beauty of the space itself impacts and inspires us as individuals and as community.
  • The mid-century modern design and aesthetics of our sanctuary are an important artistic contribution to the community and should be preserved for future generations.

The team also heard about how Covid-19 impacted our perspectives about our building and additional thoughts on improvements, safety and more. This input session summary includes those inputs and a note on moving forward.

The presentation used in those sessions is available on this PDF. More info. was shared in E-news editions.

For history of the first two years or so of planning, go to what we called our Big Build page.