Cathedral of St. John
The parish was originally organized in 1722 as King’s Church, a wooden structure that was renamed St John’s Church in 1794, after the American Revolution. That wooden building served Providence until 1810 when work began on what would become the Cathedral of St. John. The Episcopal Diocese of Rhode Island was formed in 1790, but it was not until 1929 that St John’s Church was designated the Episcopal seat and was renamed the Cathedral of St. John.
In 2012 the congregation suspended services due to increasing deterioration of the building and a lack of funds to address the building’s needs. After a series of meetings, the diocese decided to make the Cathedral the home of the Center for Reconciliation (CFR). Shortly thereafter, the Church Beyond the Walls (CBW) made the Cathedral its home. In 2018 the diocese re-opened the office wing and lower level which serves as the Exhibit Hall for the Center for Reconciliation. Rhode Island for Community and Justice joined the CBW and CFR, sharing the offices, conference room, kitchen, etc. Shortly thereafter, the Rev. Cara Rockhill was hired
to serve as the Young Adult Missioner and uses the Cathedral as a base for reaching out to the many young adults in the area with a particular focus on those who are not active members of a church.
The building still needs significant renovations, especially to the main church on the second level and the Sunday School rooms and library on the East side of the building. The Cathedral Preservation Fund has been established to raise funds for this effort. Meanwhile, the building is buzzing with activity as four groups are now using the space for their programs and to invite the community in. The Cathedral is becoming a true cathedral — the place where the sacred and secular meet.