Saint John’s was originally started as a mission in 1872 (This date is in question). The church was built in 1882, making it the oldest Mount Pleasant church building still used today. The land was donated in 1882 by Brig. General Dwight May, a citizen of the town and the church was built by William H. and Minnie Kellogg May Brown as a gift to their church community. The Browns also paid for the consecration festivities that followed. The church was designed in Elizabethan Gothic style. The bricks were made by William Brown’s Yard and the lumber was cut at his mill.
The Rev. James A. McGlone was appointed missionary of the church on 15 June 1884. It became apparent that the rapidly growing congregation needed a rectory. The new rectory was dedicated on 28 February 1886 by Bishop George Gillespie.
The Ladies’ Guild was also established that same year and ran much of the business related to the church. They also paid off the mortgage left on the rectory and owned it for more than a half a century. In 1908 the church building was enlarged to its present size. Most of the mortgage was paid off at that time with the remaining paid by the Women’s Guild (formerly Ladies’ Guild), who used the rectory as collateral for the original loan. A choir first appeared at the church in 1910. In 1911 St. John’s began using eucharistic vestments and was one of the first parishes in the diocese to do so. The traditional service with holy communion each Sunday was already a custom by this time.
Lean years followed 1918 and World War I (1918-1936). There was no resident priest or vestry. The Women’s Guild kept the church going during this time, but the building became in need of repair. After repairs were made, services were held about once a month when a visiting priest could come. In 1938 a new parish hall was built. It was a gift from C.L. Maguire, senior warden of the newly created vestry and president of the Roosevelt Oil Company. The building was a memorial to Leslie Remington Maguire, who had died in 1907 as a small child.
In 1939 a Boys’ Choir was formed under the leadership of Bernard Stone. The choir was encouraged by Father John Vincer, who was rector from 1947-1951. For a more detailed history of the St. John's Boy Choir, click here. A recording of the choir is here.
In the mid 1950s, Father Childs was rector who was then succeeded by Father Charles Stewart. Rev. Charles Stewart would serve as rector until he left to become Bishop Stewart at another institution. During this time, the house next to the church building was known as the rectory and was later renamed as St. Anslem's House. Shortly after, the house reclaimed its name as the rectory and was where youth ministry activities were held. Today the rectory serves the purpose of the church office.
In 1962 Rev. John H. Goodrow was rector from 1962 until his death in 1985. He was well loved by all who knew him. Rev. Goodrow was well-known for his community outreach projects, which provided emergency relief to the residents of Isabella County. The John H. Goodrow Fund closed operations in December 2020.
In January 1989 the Rev. Gordon F. Weller accepted the call of the parish to become its rector. Rev. Weller left in 1999. Nancy Casey Fulton became the first deacon of the church in 1997 and retired in 2021 The first female rector was Rev. Patricia Greene, 2001-2003. In 2006 Rev. Wayne Nicholson was hired. Under his leadership, the congregation remodeled the church’s back entrance, connecting it and the church to Maguire Hall, known as the Parish Hall. The Parish Hall, which serves as the church office and a meeting area, was also improved. Less than a year after his retirement in 2018, Rev. Nicholson was killed in a tragic automobile accident. His death rocked our small church community.
The Associate Priest, the Rev. Sr. Diane Stier, with Deacon Nancy Casey Fulton conducted services until a new Rector was hired in 2020. The Rev. Sr. Diane Stier answered the call and was installed as the new Rector in 2020 and has been leading the community ever since. We are known as the church “with the red doors,” indicating all are welcome here. St. John’s was registered in 1972 with the State of Michigan’s Historical Marker Program and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.