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1990 to 1999

Anna Aubry

1990 to 1999

After a long year of searching for a new rector, the Search Committee, chaired by Ted Ederer, selected the final three candidates in January 1990. Then, on Sunday, February 18, Senior Warden Charles Hubbard announced that the Rev. Donald Mackay III, of Billings, Montana, had accepted our call to be our new rector. In mid-March, Father Mackay and his wife, Rosemary, came to visit and meet parish members. Father Mackay’s first Sunday as our priest was April 22, when he and Rosemary were warmly welcomed into our parish.

John Cannon, who led the Project Reaffirmation work on the enlarged narthex and church entrance, presented the final design to the Vestry in March. Ace Interiors began the work on the new entry and narthex in August. Soon the first stages of work began. A brick wall on the office-side of the breezeway was removed, and the connecting roof was sawed out. Next, large beams were set in place to reconnect the two buildings. As the Marsh Hall remodeling project reached its final stages, former office space became a library and kitchenette, the former rector’s office became the Lewis Meeting Room, and the two small offices became the priest’s vesting room and a counseling room. Finally, in February 1992, our very attractive, enlarged narthex was dedicated and consecrated – a big improvement over the previous narrow narthex and windy breezeway!

After considerable work coordinating the installation and planting of the beautiful new courtyard by the Landscape Committee, an incredible transformation was achieved and the dedication ceremony took place in July 1992.

We had a lot to celebrate in the 1990s, and had a great time rejoicing at our celebrations. A summary of some of our celebrations follow.

  • As was their custom since 1985, Gitfiddle, Etc., our instrumental and singing group, sponsored a summer Talent Show and dinner. In fact, on July 27, 1990, they hosted an authentic Hawaiian Luau complete with a whole roasted pig! Needless to say, the luau was well attended and was a great success.

  • Our own Joan Anthony, who had grown up as a member of St. John’s and pursued a career in banking after college, made the decision to study for ordination at Seabury Western Seminary. Along with her family and friends, our congregation joyfully celebrated her ordination as a Deacon on May 14, 1991, at St. John’s. The following November, she was ordained Priest. She was assigned to St. John’s, Olympia, where she assisted the rector. Currently (2022), the Rev. Canon Joan Anthony is serving as Interim at St. Augustine's-in-the-Woods, Whidbey Island.

  • The next major celebration was our Organ Centennial on September 13, 1992. This great celebration was coordinated by our own Organist and Choir Director, Philip Konkel, and featured St. John’s choir as well as some former choir members preforming Vivaldi’s Gloria. The Handbell Choir from Lake Washington United Methodist played several selections, also. A number of women in the parish made a quilt over a period of months under the direction of Judy Allshouse. Each block in the quilt depicted music or church symbols, and the finished product was indeed quite beautiful. A drawing was held at the party after the concert to determine the lucky new owner of the quilt. All funds from ticket sales for the drawing went into the Organ Fund to help maintain the historic instrument.

  • On June 26, 1994, our parish celebrated paying off our mortgage of $50,000, borrowed from the Diocese of Olympia, with the symbolic burning of the document. The mortgage incorporated the balance of a former loan and the amount owing on the Project Reaffirmation work on the church buildings and had been paid off in less than three years. Participating in this celebration were representatives from the Diocese and our own Anne Payne, a member of St. John’s for almost 50 years; and Nicholas Steitz, our newest member, at two weeks old.

As our parish grew, the youth in the parish and their parents felt a trained Youth Director was needed to strengthen our ministry to young people. In April 1991, the first of a series of part-time Youth Ministers was hired. These Youth Ministers worked as husband/wife teams with assistance from volunteers. They also kept up the lawn and provided security on the church property and were given the Jewell House to live in as part of their compensation.

Have you noticed the beautiful stained-glass windows along the side walls of the nave? If not, please do take a look at them. This stained-glass window project was inaugurated by Manson and Francis Backus, Ellie Moon, and Father Mackay and completed in September 1992. The theme of these twelve windows is the “I am” statements of Jesus. Perry Stained Glass Studios in Issaquah was awarded the contract to make the windows. Individual windows were purchased by parish members as memorials and thanksgiving gifts. These windows remain as lovely reminders of Jesus’s words and the creativity and generosity of our parishioners.

However, the major event of the 1990s was definitely the celebration of St. John’s 75th Anniversary! In February 1923, our church had received formal consent from Bishop Keator to organize a mission to be admitted to the Diocesan Convention. So, seventy-five years later, on February 8, 1998, St. John’s pulled out all the stops and celebrated with services at 7:45, 9:00, and 11:15 a.m., as well as a special Evening Prayer service with music at 4:00 p.m. Bishop Cochrane and the Rev. Jackie Dickson joined Fr. Don Mackay at the 9:00 a.m. service and special 10:15 a.m. presentation. At the 4:00 p.m. Evening Prayer Service, Fr. Mackay was joined by the Rev. Thomas Minifie (served 1994-1997), the Rev. Geoffrey Ethelston (served 1974-1989), the Rev Robert Dunn (Rector 1978-1988), the Rev. William Burnett (Missionary Vicar, 1964-1968), and Bishop Vincent Warner (wearing the vestments worn by the Bishop in 1923 at the time of St. John’s founding). This Evening Prayer service was followed by an impressive 75th Anniversary Gala.

This decade was definitely one of celebration!

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