Our History

St. John’s Church, Barrington is one of the oldest parishes in the Diocese of Rhode Island and one of the most active. The Parish has approximately 750 members with an average Sunday attendance of 145. The Parish has had 15 rectors since its founding in 1858 and only six since 1931, with an average tenure of 17 years. During the last decade, St. John’s has experienced a sustained growth in membership and a deepening of involvement by many parishioners. The average age of parishioners has dropped dramatically.

Barrington, a community of 15,000, is located nine miles from Providence, the State capital, along the shores of Narragansett Bay. The estuary rivers and wetlands adjacent to Narragansett Bay dominate the town of Barrington. No point in town is more than two miles from saltwater. The town has public marinas, a town beach, a salt marsh bird sanctuary with hiking trails, a former state park now owned by the town, a park surrounding a large freshwater pond, recreational fields, a full service library providing adult and children’s programs, a senior center, and an active YMCA. The very popular East Bay Bike path that runs 14 miles from Providence to Bristol passes right by St. John’s.

Barrington was a winter campground for the Wampanoag tribe before European settlement by members of the Plymouth Colony in 1640. Until the suburban migration following World War II, Barrington was a fishing and farming community with some wealthy summer residents. It is now a bedroom community with residents commuting to jobs throughout Rhode Island and as far as Boston, 64 miles to the North.

Over the past decade the parish has reorganized its leadership, finances, and facilities to support lay ministry. We work to make Ephesians 4 come alive: “…to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.” The parish is blessed with a talented and generous laity active in a variety of growing ministries. The guiding principal is based on Frederick Beuchner’s concept of vocation as expressed in his Wishful Thinking. He calls vocation “the place God calls you to…where your gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” At St. John’s lay ministry begins when and where parishioners identify their own deep gladness, their personal gifts. By discovering our gifts we discern what God is calling us to do in the world. All talents we have come from God, and in using those abilities in the service of God we grow spiritually. We consider ministry an opportunity to discover as well as serve others.


Rectors of St. John’s Church

•The Rev’d Francis J. Warner 1858-1862

•The Rev’d Robert Murray 1863-1865

•The Rev’d Gilbert B. Hayden 1865-1866

•The Rev’d J. Brenton Shaw 1867-1879

•The Rev’d William M. Chapin 1879-1920

•The Rev’d Charles Barker Scovil 1920-1921

•The Rev’d Frederick Washburn Sandford 1922-1924

•The Rev’d William Worthington 1924-1926

•The Rev’d Dudley Tyng 1926-1931

•The Rev’d Richard Mortimer-Maddox 1931-1944

•The Rev’d William Owings Stone 1945-1973

•The Rev’d H. August Kuehl 1973-1988

•The Rev’d Daryl Stahl 1990-2000

•The Rev’d C. Neal Goldsborough 2001-2008

•The Rev’d Robert K. Marshall 2010-2017