In the early 1860's, a small group of concerned Episcopalians
met together for worship in private homes, in White's Hotel and later in the Town Hall of Massena. The group grew fast. When a suitable building was available, they invested in it, furnished it, and the future St. John's was born.
The first baptisms were Alma Reed Calry and Charles Neely Bayley. The first burial was October 16, 1870, Guy W. Gibson, infant son of William Nightengale and Lois Gibson. Nelson Castleman and Annie M. Barnhart were the first couples joined in marriage on December 18, 1872 at White's Hotel.
The parish grew through fat years and lean. After World War I, there was a surge of immigration from western Europe, able bodied men looking for work, bringing their families, and looking for a familiar church service as their English language was limited. St John's welcomed several of them, Armenians, Lutherans, and Anglicans.
Through all the early years (1860-1930), the Hatfields of Massena Springs supported St. John's and gifted it with with a beautiful altar. During the 1920's, Mr. Hatfield, strolling on the Bowery in lower Manhattan, saw a young man sketching the habitual loungers and tourists. He introduced himself to the Austrian, Valentine D'Ogries, an artist and worker in stained glass. Mr. Hatfield liked his work and invited the artist to St.John's with a view to having a new East window. When the East window was installed in the fall of 1928 it was a sensation. It was a remarkable change from the dark amber
windows. Enthusiasm ran high. Almost immediately 13 more windows were subscribed for. In 1943 the West window, which depicts the various racial groups of the parish, completed the windows. In 1958 when St. John's was extended to the east, 6 more windows were added.
St. John's grew in communicants through the years, as Priests remained for longer periods (10 years or more). However, 1992 began a period of supply Priests, followed by an Interim Priest, while a search was made for a permanent, full-time Priest. In 1995, The Rev. Robert Graham III agreed to join St. John's. After serving 10 years, Father Graham retired in the spring of 2005 and in the fall of the same year The Rev. Joel Grigg accepted a call to become the Rector at St. John's.