St. John’s Evangelical Church Sees 180th Anniversary

By Britney Trachtenberg

St. John’s Evangelical Church in Glendale is approaching its 180th anniversary. Led by Pastor Matt Staneck, the parish has delivered the gospel of Jesus Christ through three themes: education, human care, and music. Throughout its history, the church has seen changes in locations and initiatives, but that has not stopped the parish’s momentum.

In 1844, the church opened its doors at 10 Eyck St. in Williamsburg as the German Evangelical St. John’s Church. In the 1920s, many congregation members moved to Glendale. The Brooklyn parish began a relationship with the Glendale parish. In 1937, the congregation moved to 88-24 Myrtle Ave. in Glendale. The move helped to revive and change the congregation.

Pastor Staneck said, “When we talk about changing the church that means still holding onto the gospel. Even if those things look different, we have to find ways to do things that are important to our identity as Christians and people who are a part of St. John’s.”

St. John’s has three main themes: human care, education, and music. Pastor Staneck said, “The word ‘evangelical’ comes from Greek, which means ‘good news’ or ‘gospel.’ The reason for the themes is the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

The parish helped food insecure community members through a hot breakfast served on Sunday mornings. The initiative stopped due to volunteers passing or moving away. In recent years since the pandemic, the church has operated an edible garden in the summers. From June until August on Wed. nights, parishioners plan to harvest and give produce to their neighbors. Pastor Staneck hopes to expand the garden in the future and get more people involved.

The church used to operate Christian day schools in Queens and Brooklyn that served students in kindergarten through eighth grade. In 2013, the parochial schools closed. However, the parish is searching for new ways to educate Christian children.

St. John’s has a pipe organ through which they play music. Pastor Staneck hopes to develop a more active music ministry that incorporates the main messages from his sermons.

He said, “A big part of the gospel message is the daily dying and rising based on Jesus Christ’s rising. This means getting out of your own way and into the spirit of having God lead. Even in times of trouble, we die and rise each day as people of hope.”

When asked about advice for people in general, Pastor Staneck said, “There’s a lot of wisdom in moving one day at a time.”

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