Saint John’s Episcopal Church - Parish Profile 2020 & Candidate Application Process
Who We Are
Saint John’s Episcopal Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma, is a community of faith with a tradition of great preaching, outstanding music and strong support for Christ’s mission in the world. Established in 1951, in what is now mid-town Tulsa, the parish has the second highest pledged income in the Diocese of Oklahoma, the third highest average Sunday attendance, and a membership roll close to 1,000.
Saint John’s has long been home to diocesan, civic, professional and charitable leadership. Rectors have been elected deputies to the General Convention and attended the Lambeth Conference as a volunteer, and lay leaders have served as Diocese Chancellor, on the diocesan Finance Committee, and on the diocesan Council. The church has been home to federal judges, university trustees, a mayor of Tulsa, a U.S. Attorney, leading physicians, professors and senior business leaders in the community.
The parish has a close connection with Holland Hall, an Episcopal school in Tulsa. The rectors and other members have served as trustees and the Headmaster is an active parish member.
Saint John’s Church By the Numbers
Like many churches, Saint John’s is currently attempting to transition from its older, established membership to serve more diverse age groups with a new mission of better serving the needs of its parishioners and the community in the decades to come.
- Saint John’s three-mile service radius is comprised of over 82,000 souls, and like many cities, the number of Tulsa single-parent households is increasing: children aged 5-17 are projected to increase by 2.2% over the next decade. At the same time, married couples will decrease slightly, and people aged 65 and over will increase by 3.6 percent.
- Over the next ten years, more than 81 percent of Saint John’s service area will be comprised of Generation X, Millennial or Gen Z demographic segments, so we must be prepared to address those changes to grow membership and discern new ways to do God’s will in Tulsa.
Understanding our congregation’s demographic data is important as we plan our path forward. Saint John’s Church recently completed a parish-wide survey, which provided a good “snapshot” of the 194 responses (which translates to about 82 percent of an average worship attendance):
Attendance and Proximity: of those surveyed, nearly half (49 percent) have attended Saint John’s Church over 20 years while 18 percent have been attending less than five years. Over 80 percent live within nine miles of the church.
Gender and Race: the respondents trended female (64 percent) and nearly uniformly identified as white (98 percent).
Age: the ages of our respondents trended older, with 61 percent being over 65 years old. Only 10 percent of our respondents were less than age 45.
Education: 85 percent of those surveyed have attained a bachelor or higher degree. and, 84 percent of households represented in the survey consisted of two or fewer people.
Income: approximately 75 percent of our respondents were fairly evenly represented in the $35,000 to $300,000 per year of income range. Our average respondent gave 1.34 percent of their income to the church. For reference, this put Saint John’s Church in the bottom 15 percent of the churches in the Holy Cow! database.
Attendance: nearly all (89 percent) of our respondents attend church at least twice a month and many (37 percent) reported weekly attendance. Over 50 percent reported the same attendance trend compared to years past and only 18 percent report attending less than they have in the past compared to the 26 percent who report higher attendance.
Worship is at the center of all we do at Saint John's Church. There are many ways you might spend your Sunday, but choosing to worship – connecting with God and a community of friends – helps each of us live the rest of the week a bit differently. Through worship and music, we are called out of our everyday lives and into an encounter with God in Christ.
The Episcopal Church is a liturgical tradition, which means we are rooted in an ancient rhythm of prayer. We follow the Book of Common Prayer, which helps us know what to expect each time we worship. Over time, the familiarity with liturgy allows you to focus on your spiritual life and a real encounter with God. It gives you words and a framework for a life of prayer.
At present, because of the COVID-19 pandemic we offer various online services so our parishioners can find just the right fit. The building is currently closed but church is open!
Monday - Friday: Morning Prayer at 8:30 a.m. as well as Evening Prayer at 5:30 p.m.
Sundays: Holy Eucharist (with organ and choir) at 10 a.m. as well as Choral Evensong at 5:30 pm
Ministries and Outreach
Saint John’s is committed to community outreach. We have a very loving congregation that enjoys working and celebrating together. Many ministries and organizations within the church have had active memberships for several decades, with meaningful efforts centered on worship, study and service.
We share God’s grace with others – both inside the church and in the greater community – through a variety of outreach efforts in addition to financially supporting numerous Tulsa helping agencies. Our ministries include:
- Altar Guild, Acolytes, Lectors and Eucharistic Ministers (LEM), Ushers, and St. Barbara’s Guild
- Saint John’s Players, Volunteers, Needlework Guild, and Habitat for Humanity house building
- Feeding the Homeless (to locations), and Daughters of the King, and Caring and Loving Listeners
- Boy Scout Troop 153 (approximately 80 members), and the Brotherhood of St. Andrew
- Senior Single Group, The Saint John’s Gift and Bookstore, and Beth Dunkin Bible Study.
FEATURED MINISTRY: Prayers & Squares
Saint John’s Prayers & Squares quilt group, one of the few in Oklahoma, makes quilts to provide hope, grace and support for people undergoing difficult times (health issues, family emergency, etc.). When a parishioner requests a quilt for a friend, family member or acquaintance, members of the church come up to tie knots in the quilt and say a prayer. To date, more than 1,200 quilts have been presented to others – including several people in distant states and those of other faith groups.
Saint John’s Music Program
Music is an important part of parish life. In the past year, the parish completely paid for and had installed a new, purpose-built, state-of-the-art Schoenstein organ, under the oversight of our organist/choir master, who holds a master’s degree in organ performance from Juilliard. The organ was designed specifically to accompany traditional Anglican choral music. The stenciled pipe façade was featured on the cover of the February 2019 edition of The Diapason.
- Joseph Arndt, Music Director
- Michael Bedford, Organist/Choirmaster Emeritus
Church Choirs and Music Programs
Saint John’s Choir: Mixed choir offering traditional anthems, Anglican chant, mass settings, Evensong canticles, and an annual performance of Handel’s Messiah.
Choristers: Choir of girls ages 7-18 and boys ages 7-voice change. Open to all children both in and outside the parish.
Saint John’s Singers: This choir leads the congregational singing at the Family Eucharist and offers occasional anthems. Open to all adults, especially people new to music and singing.
Schola Cantorum: Choir of men, offers Gregorian Chant and Renaissance motets for Rite I High Mass.
Handbell Choir: Three octave ensemble of ringers. Open to all.
Saint John’s Players: The Players serve God with their talents to perform musicals, plays, and an annual Boars Head Feast.
Music at Midday: This music concert series at the church just celebrated its fifth season. Attendance continues to be strong with 60-95 people at each recital, which feature Tulsa area and visiting musicians and singers performing in the church nave. The meal that follows each performance continue to be prepared by a dedicated group of church volunteers.
Christian education is an important part of parish life. Usually, two adult classes are offered at 10 a.m. Sunday, along with multiple Bible study classes during the week. The parish has recently completed an evaluation of its youth education program by outside consultants. As a result, the church’s newly employed youth and children’s directors, along with parental support from the Kids Booster Club, have begun a revamped Sunday School program. Our Sunday Schools start at 10:10 a.m. following the Family Service reception in our Common Room.
Nursery: Our nursery opens at 9 a.m. and accommodates children between the ages of 0 to 4. Our goal is to allow children to not only have a safe environment to play in but to also help them grow in understanding of God and how loving He is.
Elementary: Our Elementary Sunday School consists of children in pre-kindergarten through sixth grade and focuses on building a foundation for children to read the Bible and follow its teachings, specifically through games and activities relating to Biblical stories.
Youth: Our Youth Classes build off the foundation of our Elementary Sunday School and teach how to apply the Bible to real world scenarios. The goal is to strengthen relationship with Christ and community with fellow Christian youth.