About Our Church
St. John's History
The first stirrings of interest in having an Episcopal church in Westwood started in the mid-1940s, and in the early 1950s the Massachusetts Council of Churches encouraged a canvass of Episcopal strength in Westwood. Under the leadership and guidance of the Venerable Herbert Johnson, Archdeacon of New Bedford, a stalwart group rang 1,200 doorbells, canvassed 1,000 other individuals, and identified 135 households interested in attending and supporting a new Episcopal parish in our community. In the fall of 1953, a meeting was called for “all persons interested in forming an Episcopal mission in Westwood.” Those who attended chose the name, “St. John’s,” officers and an executive committee were appointed , and by-laws were signed. Episcopal services were held at the nearby Deerfield School, with Archdeacon Johnson officiating.
By March 1955, a church building had been constructed, and the Rev. Norman B. Nash consecrated it. The Rev. John J. Bishop was called as St. John’s Church’s first full-time priest, and parishioners moved ahead with plans to build a rectory. The Bishop family moved into the new rectory in October 1956. In 1959, the Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts granted St. John's parochial status. By our tenth anniversary, the parish had outgrown the church. In 1963, a building program was begun for an enlarged church and the new parish hall, with was dedicated in 1965.
The Rev. Lewis B. Sheen was rector from 1968-1969, followed by the Rev. William Buttrick, rector from 1969-1977. The Rev. Norman Faramelli was our interim priest until the Rev. J. Clark Grew arrived, serving from 1978-1982. The Rev. Michael Corrigan became our fifth rector at the time of our thirtieth anniversary in 1983. The Rev. Fred Phinney and Rev. Susan Geissler-O'Neil shared interim priest duties in 1988 until the Rev. Stephen V. Smith was called to became our sixth rector, beginning in 1989. The installation and dedication, in 1991, of the Dorothy Chace memorial organ, was one of several highlights of the Rev. Smith’s tenure. He left in 2004. The Rev. Daniel Crowley subsequently served as interim priest. In November 2005, the Rev. Judith Freeman Clark was called to be our seventh rector. In September 2011, the Rev. Karen Fraioli became our priest-in-charge. In February 2015, the Rev. Dr. Jennifer Phillips began serving as our eighth rector, and in of June 2021 has retired to the Cape.
The Episcopal Church
Are you "church shopping" or exploring worship and spirituality options?
Finding a new church can be a stressfull process. If you would like to come and see St. John's outside the pressure of Sunday morning, call our office at 781-329-2442. Our rector will be happy to arrange a time when you can come for a tour and to ask questions. Or, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Learn about Episcopal history, worship traditions, and beliefs at the links below:
The Rt. Rev. Gayle E. Harris, Bishop Suffragan