St. John the Evangelist
The first recorded baptism was on Sunday, March 19, 1843. In the beginning a priest came on horseback to provide services to people in this community, celebrating Mass in parishioners homes.
In June of 1868 construction of the first church began. The rectory was built in 1871, allowing the pastor to establish residency here.
In 1920, plans had begun to replace the first frame church and rectory because of the growth of the parish. The rectory became a reality shortly thereafter, but the church of Tudor Gothic design was not dedicated until August 8, 1928.
Timber for the rectory and church – cherry, walnut and oak for the sustaining trusses and wall trim – were brought from the lands of the parishioners as were the stones used in the project.
In 1933 arrangements were made with St. Michael Church in Flint to have the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary come to Fenton once a week to instruct the children in religion. It was to the IHM Sisters that the pastor turned when the school was to become a reality.
The school opened in September 1950, with a staff of four IHM Sisters of Monroe, who remained until 1977. It was soon apparent that the school was too small to meet the needs of the growing community and a building drive was begun in August 1954 to provide a more suitable convent for a larger staff of sisters and an addition to the school. Cornerstones were laid in 1955 with the building completed in the fall of 1965.
From 250 families in 1950 the parish had grown to approximately 600 families by 1960. Studies began that year on the possibility of expanding the field stone church, or the necessity of building a new church rather than disturb the old cemetery where the first burial was recorded in February 1861.
In 1965 the present church, Romanesque Basilica style, had begun and was completed the following year.
During the summer of 1974, the east wing of the convent was remodeled to house parish offices. At present the east wing of the convent building houses the elementary, junior, and senior high Religious Formation Departments, Outreach Ministry, and Youth Ministry.
In 1980, renovation of the Tudor Gothic stone church was started and completed in August 1981. The renovated building houses a chapel for daily liturgy, private prayer and visitation, offices for the clergy, business manager, secretarial staff, and meeting room on the second floor, called the “A” room.
In March of 1985, studies began for the building of a Parish Activity Center & Gymnasium Complex to serve the burgeoning parish needs. Fundraising began in April of 1987. Groundbreaking and construction began on May 1, 1988. The Activity Center and Gymnasium were completed and dedicated on December 27, 1988.
In 1998, Phase I, of our parish 10-year vision statement began, the fruit of countless hours of meetings and planning by many in this community. Phase I involved the expansion of our Education Center Complex, which doubled our school’s capacity and expanded facilities for Religious Education programs. New space for our Knights of Columbus and St. Vincent de Paul was all part of Phase 1 as well, which was dedicated November 25, 2000 .
In 2005, Phase 2, planning began involving the renovation and additions to our Worship Center or main church.
Thankfully, what we intended to accomplish with the church renovation expansion involved a shorter list than the original vision statement because we were able to, tackle some of the specified improvements already; for instance, new sidewalks, a new handicap accessible ramp had been constructed on the south side of the church and a chiller had been added to the heating system, allowing us to cool the church in the summer. A glorious new pipe organ, a gift of three individuals, was built and installed in 2003.
The weekend of March 24/25, 2007 our parish had the groundbreaking ceremony for our Worship Center addition. The narthex was re-decorated, new pews were installed, and a new gathering space was added to the west end of the Church. The dedication for the new Worship Center was December 2007.
Today St. John Parish numbers over 3100 households and continues to serve the people of Fenton, Lake Fenton, and Linden with families on the roster from Flint, Hartland, Holly, Grand Blanc, Swartz Creek, Byron, Davisburg and Clarkston.