WELCOME TO SAINT JOHN’S CHURCH

Welcome to St. John's Church, Lafayette Square—a vibrant historic Episcopal church located across from the White House. We invite you to join with us for worship, Christian fellowship and outreach.

History

From our organization as a parish in 1815 to today, St. John's Church has provided a powerful symbol of faith in the heart of our nation's capital.

Mission

At St. John's, we believe Christ is calling us to be a renewed church in a changing world. In worship, education, parish life, and social action, we seek to expand our horizons by serving God by loving one another.

Clergy, Staff, & Vestry

Meet St. John’s diverse and engaging clergy, vestry and staff.

Directions & Parking

Located at the corner of 16th and H Streets in Northwest Washington, St. John's is near the McPherson Square and Farragut North Metro stations. Limited street parking is available; free valet parking is offered for certain hours.

Monday in the Fourth Week of Lent

A “Gradual Hymn” (from the Latin word for “step”) is the hymn that introduces the gospel lesson read from the steps that lead from the altar into the gathered congregation. In yesterday’s services that hymn was “There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy.” The fourth Sunday in Lent is often called “Rejoice Sunday.” It always celebrates the heart of the gospel that we review during Lent. This year Luke 15: “Rejoice! This one was lost, and has been found.”

How fitting to surround this gospel lesson with such a hymn text! 

There is welcome for the sinner…

There is mercy with the savior…

There is plentiful redemption in the blood that has been shed…

For the love of God is broader than the measure of the mind…

Frederick William Faber (1814-1863) published this hymn in 1854. It soon became popular in the hymnals of many denominations. It has the very common metrical structure known as 8787. We have about 100 such texts & tunes in our hymnal, so it can be sung with many tunes. Most hymnals use the tune Beecher, one that is used also with other hymn texts. In Hymnbook 1982 we were given a second tune option, St. Helena. It was composed by Calvin Hampton in 1978 expressly for this text. 

Calvin Hampton (1938–1984) was for twenty years the organist and choirmaster at Calvary Episcopal Church in New York City. His “Fridays at Midnight” organ recital series ran from 1974 to 1983. It was among the most well-known and popular organ recital series in American history. Hampton’s settings of the Episcopal liturgy are also used in Roman Catholic churches. His choral works are innovative and challenging pieces of sacred music.

The strength of Hampton’s tune is how it expresses musically the metaphor that God’s mercy is as wide as the sea. We sense the vast rolling sea and the fluid, ever-present nature of God’s compassion and mercy.

Pathways Editors

Here is a lovely performance of this hymn by the Harvard University Choir.

Links to the appointed readings and prayer for today: