On the 5th of March 1850, a group of naval and civilian Christians, working and living in the Village of Old Warrington on the west side of the Pensacola Navy Yard (now NAS) convened a meeting to organize an Episcopal Church parish in the Diocese of Florida. Their request was granted and in 1851, June 24th the cornerstone for the first St. John’s Episcopal Church was laid. By January 1853 a building was sufficiently in progress to allow holding Worship Services. The church was not fully completed until 1861 and at this time the church found itself in the midst of a military encampment during the early days of the Civil War. The church was destroyed by a “hand bomb” during the Civil War, but services continued in the Naval Chapel and in the “old Octagon Building” on the Naval reservation, according to historical documents. Services continued in these facilities until 1907 when a new Church was erected, which was subsequently destroyed by the Hurricane of 1916. The steadfast congregation rebuilt a parish hall to serve as a worship space and fellowship center.
Because of the expansion of Navy programs, in 1930 all of Old Warrington was ordered to move within one year. Property at the corner of Live Oak and now Winthrop Avenues was donated and the Church building from the Naval reservation was moved in three pieces to be reassembled at the new location. Unfortunately, in the process the people moving the third piece “lost the load” en route and it was left in a pile of pieces on the side of the road.
St. John’s ever persistent Parishioners retrieved the pieces, reassembled the two other sections and rebuilt the third section which had been the front of the building. That church building served the congregation well until a 1957 when the St. John’s successfully completed construction of its current beautiful Worship Center. The old wooden church was sold and moved to the Brownsville area where it still serves as a House of Worship.
St. John’s is the spiritual home to many persons who have grown up in this Church and in the Warrington area. The Parish Family continues to welcome visitors and new members, keeping up the legacy of faith and endurance set by the founders of this Parish.