In the early 1800's German immigrants settled in Ohio. After the completion of the Ohio canal in 1834, many, coming by way of the canal, settled in Dover. A religious people, they met in their log cabins for worship. A log house, located on the rear of the lot where the present church stands, became the meeting place with rough boards for benches and a table for a pulpit. Those early services may have been conducted by an itinerant minister or lay persons.
One of those early itinerant ministers was a German Lutheran missionary, Reverend Heinrich Coloredo. Coloredo traveled on horseback through Holmes, Coschocton, and Tuscarawas counties, establishing churches and settling religious disputes among the German immigrants. In September 1838 he organized St. John's Evangelical Church in Dover. The German language was used for all services until about 1915, when two services a month were in German and two were English. By the early 1930's, only one service a month had the regular sermon spoken in German, and by 1933, no German services were held.
Our present building was constructed in 1880 at a cost of about $14,000. It was remodeled in 1888, and in 1897 a two-story addition was built at the rear of the church. In the 1960's the Education building was added to the property. Most recently, an extensive renovation project was completed.
St. John's has always been aware of its proud evangelical, reformed, and congregational heritage. We are evangelical in the sense that we seek, in all that we do, to proclaim the good news (the evangel) of life in Christ. We are reformed in the sense that we are always reforming our ministry and mission to meet the demands of the present day. We are congregational in that it is the congregation (not a higher authority) who determines what God's will is for the church.
We remain confident that God will continue to bless, guide, and nurture our congregation well into the future. And that as we lean on God for inspiration and guidance, the best days for St. John's are still in the future.