Before St. John’s existed as we do today, we began as Central Church Mission, a congregation of forty members who gathered downtown in the mid-1800’s. As the church grew, a new home was built and our name became St. John’s United Methodist Episcopal Church, South. In 1907, doors opened to this holy structure we still inhabit today, at the corner of Peabody and Bellevue.
Congregation numbers grew to 2,283 in 1951. As Memphis expanded eastward in the following years, St. John’s helped begin Christ Church; 1955, and Asbury; 1964. Midtown Memphis continued to transform during these years, and under the leadership of Reverend Frank McRae, St. John’s prayerfully and boldly embraced the Gospel’s calling to serve the least, the last, and the lost. With a single sermon in 1977 challenging our congregation to commit to servant ministries, Rev. McRae directed St. John’s on a mission that drives us now. We feel a clear and active call to serve others, and to provide care and hospitality for all, regardless of who they may be or where they may come from.
The character of St. John’s is surely molded by our influential and inspirational members and pastors, both past and present. So many work, and have worked, to make the world kinder and healthier. And while we appreciate the roots of our church, and feel pride for our legacy of over 150 years, we are truly defined by who we are today. We remain a place for the wounded, the recovering, the whole, and every type of person in between. We are a church for those who do not fit a category, a place for visitors and lifelong members, families and young adults. St. John’s is called home to so many, and we hope that you will consider it a home for you as well.