Founded by Reverend Green Hunter, St. John became a cornerstone of worship in Gainesville on November 20, 1879.  During Hunter’s 13 years of pastoral leadership, three meeting houses were built and four deacons were ordained. 


Humble Beginnings​ 

After Hunter, Reverends Washington, Pascal, W.M. Dorsey, Means, Parks and Rucker each served as St. John’s pastor through the years.  The eighth pastor, Rev. E. J. Thompson, affectionately known as “Professor,” helped further develop
St. John through the purchase of new pews, an organ and organization of the church choir.  St. John continued to grow over the years as pastors Harris, H.H. Anderson, H.D. Martin, H.M. Smith, B.B. Williams and S.M. Weaver came to serve.  Reverend I.J. Watson briefly served in interim before Rev. J.C. Gaffney became pastor.  The church continued to grow, serving more and more citizens of Gainesville and the surrounding areas.
Later, Rev. W.D. Norfleet came to St. John. During his tenure, the Mother’s Board and Junior Choir (now known as the Angelic Voices) were organized.  Rev. H.H. Fortson pastored St. John 23 years, from 1936 to 1956, and plans were underway to build a new church. The new church was built in 1941, and Fortson served until his death in 1956. Rev. Watson served as a supply pastor until Rev. Thomas L. David was called after Rev. Fortson’s death.  During Rev. David’s leadership, new pews and a new organ was purchased.  Rev. David later left St. John to become a Chaplain in the armed forces.

Spiritual & Physical Growth

Rev. Warren G. Parsons, a Morehouse graduate, became the next pastor.  During his pastorate, the educational wing of the church was completed.  He also organized the Deaconess Board, Birth Month Clubs and fundraising activities to support the educational ministry.  These clubs continued raising money for the church’s building fund. ​​

Rev. Harold C. Turner followed Rev. Parsons, and was installed as pastor in 1962.  These were times of turmoil in the African-American community, and at the height of the Civil Rights era.  Rev. Turner was an active member of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), and through the church, continued in the struggle toward equal rights.

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Expansion

In April 1967, Rev. C. T. Hester became pastor.  The corner lot of Fair Street and Collins Circle was selected as the location for a new parsonage.  The church continued to progress with the hiring of a salaried financial secretary and purchasing a new typewriter and mimeograph machine for the church office, a heating and air conditioning system, church bus, sound system, organ, piano and pews.  In addition, renovations were underway through roofing, lighting, church steeple, kitchen upgrades, remodeling the sanctuary, library, baptismal and restroom facilities. The church also made investments through purchasing Chamblee, McCrary and High Street properties.  The church was on the move, not only through physical changes, spiritual growth was at an all-time high.  Twelve deacons were ordained during Rev. Hester’s pastorate.
Rev. Warren G. Parsons, a Morehouse graduate, became the next pastor.  During his pastorate, the educational wing of the church was completed.  He also organized the Deaconess Board, Birth Month Clubs and fundraising activities to support the educational ministry.  These clubs continued raising money for the church’s building fund. 

Knowing Christ, Growing Christ, Serving Christ & Sharing Christ

Rev. Harold C. Turner followed Rev. Parsons, and was installed as pastor in 1962.  These were times of turmoil in the African-American community, and at the height of the Civil Rights era.  Rev. Turner was an active member of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), and through the church, continued in the struggle toward equal rights.

In April 1967, Rev. C. T. Hester became pastor.  The corner lot of Fair Street and Collins Circle was selected as the location for a new parsonage.  The church continued to progress with the hiring of a salaried financial secretary and purchasing a new typewriter and mimeograph machine for the church office, a heating and air conditioning system, church bus, sound system, organ, piano and pews.  In addition, renovations were underway through roofing, lighting, church steeple, kitchen upgrades, remodeling the sanctuary, library, baptismal and restroom facilities. The church also made investments through purchasing Chamblee, McCrary and High Street properties.  The church was on the move, not only through physical changes, spiritual growth was at an all-time high.  Twelve deacons were ordained during Rev. Hester’s pastorate.

A Christian Community of Excellence 
Sharing the Love of God

Rev. Samuel accepted the call to the Gospel ministry in August 1995, and was ordained in May 1999, under the leadership of Reverend Nim B. Russell, pastor of Thankful Missionary Baptist Church of Rome, Ga. In May 2002, Reverend Samuel obtained a Master of Divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, N.J. Pastor Samuel's vision for St. John is centered around Kingdom Excellence, focusing on ministry outreach. His plans are to expand St. John both physically and spiritually. With plans to reach the youth of St. John and the community by transforming St. John into a multi-purpose Youth/Teen Center with computer labs, educational spaces, café and game room.

​He also plans to expand evangelism efforts with greater exposure through various media outlets, i.e. TV, radio and social media.