History

In1860, Bishop Gregg of the Diocese of Texas visited and preached in Marlin. In 1865 two people were confirmed in Marlin. The first mission in Marlin was called St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, but the name changed to St. John’s when the first church was built about 1885. But the church burned down on January 25, 1893. The congregation had services in the Presbyterian Church until they built again in 1904 on the northeast corner of the public square. This building was called “the little tin church” as it was mostly covered with tin. In September 1927 a young graduate of Berkeley Divinity College, F. Percy Goddard, was appointed minister of St. John’s. In September of the next year, he was ordained, and was married to May Bennett of New York. Under Rev. Goddard’s leadership, the membership grew.

St. John’s became a parish at the Diocesan Council in Austin, January 23, 1938. In September 1947, a twentieth anniversary celebration of the Goddard’s ministry at St. John’s was held in the home of Dr. and Mrs. Howard O. Smith. In 1950 a lot on the corner of Carter and Easy Streets was purchased and plans for a new church were drawn by Hiram Salsbury, AIA. Fonzie Robertson, a long time communicant, was the supervising architect. The church is constructed of Austin stone and furnishings were manufactured by L.L. Sams Company of Waco. The “little tin church” was moved near the church and was remodeled to be used as a parish hall. Percy Goddard was minister of St. John’s for 27 years. In May, 1955, he was elected Suffragan Bishop of the Diocese of Texas, and he moved to Tyler.

The Reverend Philip Leach was rector of St. John’s from 1956 through 1960. During those years there were sixty-seven new communicants. The Reverend Ted De Forest was rector from 1965 to 1971. In 1968 the “little tin church”/parish hall was torn down and the memorial hall was built in memory of May Goddard. The school opened and began meeting in this hall. The same year, the stained glass windows over the altar were installed in memory of May Bennett Goddard, John R. Taylor and as a tribute to Dr. Howard O. Smith. Also during these years the women of the church made needlepoint cushions for the altar rail. These are patterned after the Washington Cathedral needlepoint. Under the direction of the Reverend Dyson Nickle, Rector, the indebtedness on the building of the church and parish hall were satisfied. On November 7, 1971, Bishop Goddard conducted a consecration service of the church and hall. The service began with the burning of the mortgage.

Following Bishop Goddard’s retirement, he and his wife Hazel Falconer Goddard came home to Marlin. The Reverend Nickle left in 1973, and Bishop Goddard conducted services at St. John’s until the next priest, the Rev. Jack Lowry arrived about six months later.