Congregation Close-up: St. John’s, Bandon

Congregation Close-up: St. John’s, Bandon

St. John's front door square

St. John’s Episcopal Church in Bandon-by-the-Sea is a family-size mission where God leads us in healing, teaching, reaching out, and stewardship.  Our Theresa Hall serves all of Bandon as a gathering place for social activities, yoga and 12-step recovery groups.

As a “Believe Out Loud” congregation, we affirm the inherent dignity and worth of all people on their spiritual journey and welcome all — regardless of race, gender, age, disability or sexual orientation.

Recognizing that Bandon has evolved into a tourist/retirement community, we focus our outreach on food programs that aid local families and seniors living in poverty, and a medical loan closet that provides temporary use of durable medical equipment (mobility aids, bathing and toileting aids and tools) to people recovering from injury or surgery.

Our congregation strives to demonstrate the presence of Jesus by nurturing and healing through faithful worship, prayer, encouragement and fellowship.  We also teach and reaffirm our Episcopal traditions, and use our God-given gifts of time, talents and treasure for the building up of God’s people at St. John and the greater community.

Our talented Music Director has assembled an ecumenical choir that sings regularly at St. John’s and at community events.  Annual pet blessings and a Halloween open house are other popular forms of outreach to both children and adults.  We also provide backpacks full of school supplies for local students.

Bandon was part of a missionary district set up by Bishop Benjamin Wistar Morris in 1870, in one of the last frontiers in the continental United States to be settled by Anglo-Europeans.  Circuit rider missionaries held services on the beach and in private homes from 1873 until St. John’s by the Sea Memorial Church was built 20 years later.  Construction was funded primarily by Belle J. Sellwood, widow of the Rev. John W. Sellwood, Rector of St. David’s, Portland.

This September will mark the 125th anniversary of the first cornerstone being laid, and plans are underway for a gala celebration, even though the building no longer exists.  The church was moved across town, but burned in 1936, when a forest fire destroyed Bandon and forced about a third of the population to move away in search of homes and jobs.  Church records were fortunately preserved when a newly arrived priest happened to take church records home to Coquille to study after his first service at St. John just a few days before.  Until St. John’s was finally rebuilt in 1939, services were held in rented spaces at the high school and Legion Hall.

Services are currently led by lay ministers and supply clergy, but we expect to launch a search soon for a new vicar.

Visit the St. John’s website.