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St. John’s Episcopal Church
Diocese of Oregon
P. O. BOX 332
Toledo, OR 97391

(541) 336-0250



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The present building for St. John’s was designed in 1939 by Ellis Lawrence who founded the School of Architecture at the University of Oregon. In 1987 the church was entered into the National Register of Historic Places because of the connection with Ellis Lawrence. Of all the buildings designed by him St. John’s, because no changes have been made, is the only one on the register as he designed it. The interior is especially interesting because it is of clear old growth Douglas fir tongue and groove boards. The building has two stained glass windows in memory of two of the founding families.

The Dossal curtain replaced an older one in 1983. It was designed and created especially for St. John’s by Brian Potts of Portland. The curtain was put in place and the Christus Rex is suspended in front of the curtain by wires that disappear in the fabric making the cross appear to float in place.

Our major mystery at St. John’s is the altar. Bill McCluskey one of the earliest members said that the altar was in the church as long as he could remember. The mystery comes from the inscription. It is inscribed “In memory of Phyllis Kerry and the crew of the Foyledale wrecked off Valparaiso in 1903.” The church also has a brass rubbing from the grave stone for Phyllis and her daughter, the wife and child of Captain Charles Kerry. We have been unable to find any connection with the Kerry family at St. John’s. We have found that the Foyledale spent the winter in Portland, Oregon and the Kerry’s were popular guests during their stay. We believe that the altar may have come from a church in Portland but so far have not found the connection.


    © 2002 The Episcopal Church and Visual Arts