St. John’s at a glance
- A city-center sanctuary and a regional destination church in a vibrant, growing commercial center
- A diverse, well-educated and mufti-generational congregation
- A 265-year tradition of outreach to the community
- A historic building of striking exterior and interior beauty
- An impressive music program with a magnificent organ
- A nationally regarded and popular Sunday School program
- An endowed parish with a million dollar annual budget
- A parish where differing points of view are accepted and encouraged
- A strong support staff and dedicated lay leadership
- A history of long-term relationships with rectors
- A congregation ready to move from being a “good parish” to becoming a great one.
Goals for St. John’s Parish:
1. Encourage spiritual growth for all members. We want to broaden our hearts and minds through education (bible studies, seminars, forums, etc.) and move beyond being “Sunday worshipers”. Through increased knowledge, along with prayer and our high quality of worship and music, we can experience the true power of God and be able to share the Good News.
2. Recognize, develop and support leaders. We have a diverse multi-talented group of parishioners who need to be identified and encouraged to share their abilities. We need to be taught how to lead and to develop this leadership to be able to train others. Support in these efforts needs to be endless.
3. Share our gifts, knowing they are from God. We need to develop the awareness that all that we are and all that we have belongs to God. A serious effort to teach and practice stewardship, including tithing, is necessary for the growth of St. John’s. We must realize that the gifts and resources God has given us are to be shared with others as a means to be given back to God.
4. Reach out to help others beyond our doors. By becoming more visible through improved communication, we will seek and attract new members, inspire involvement, and create more opportunities for outreach. We would like to share ourselves and what we have to offer, with a cross-section of the community, from those neighbors nearby who are less fortunate, as well as the corporate world growing up around us.
The Rev. Dr. James R. Wheeler- Rector
Dr. Chris Shepard
In addition to the music of J.S. Bach, Chris has conducted many staples of the choral-orchestral repertoire, and he has commissioned and premiered a number of new choral works in both Australia and America. In addition to his work at St John’s, Chris serves as Music Director of the Dessoff Choirs in New York City and the Worcester Chorus in Worcester, Massachusetts, the third-oldest community choir in America. He has been a guest conductor and continuo keyboard player throughout the world, including recent appearances in Australia, Mexico and Israel.
A committed music educator, Chris was guest choral director at the College of the Holy Cross from 2011 to 2013. From 1996 to 2008, he served as Director of Music at Sydney Grammar School, one of Australia’s most prominent high schools, and before moving to Sydney, he led the choral program at the Taft School in Watertown, Connecticut. Since 2004, Chris has been Music Director of the Hotchkiss Summer Portals Chamber Music Program, an intensive chamber music program for advanced young players and singers.
Chris holds a Ph.D. in Musicology from the University of Sydney, where his dissertation focused on the performance history of Bach’s B Minor Mass in 20th-century America. He also holds degrees from the Hartt School and the Yale School of Music, where he studied choral conducting with Marguerite Brooks. Chris was awarded the 2012 Julius Herford prize for outstanding dissertation in choral music by the American Choral Directors Association.