Rumor has it that Episcopal Church “activity” occurred at “Fords Corner” as early as 1866, but no proof exists. Saint John’s Chapel however was founded by Trinity Church, Woodbridge, and several years before 1880.
In 18991 Saint Luke’s Church, Metuchen, assumed responsibility for Saint John’s, holding occasional communion services there. In 1900s Saint John’s became dormant, until James Fullerton began efforts to revive the church in the early twenties. He started a Sunday school and later persuaded a rector of Saint Luke’s, Metuchen, to hold occasional services in Fords.
Then Mr. Fullerton and others obtained the approval of the Diocese of New Jersey to proceed, whereupon William Hoy of Fords, warden of Saint John’s, gave a lot on Hoy Avenue to the congregation. A small wooden church was constructed and opened for worship on July 29, 1924. This was Saint John’s first building. Enlarged slightly in 1939, the church was consecrated in 1942. Mr. Fullerton’s son, Howard, was instrumental in financing this building.
A second financial campaign was conducted in 1959, leading to construction of the present church building. This effort was directed by Fr. William H. Payne, then vicar of Saint John’s. Assisted by Thomas L. Hanson, warden, L.J. Olsen, treasurer and George W. Ferdinandsen, clerk. Ground was broken in May, 1964, while Fr. Leslie W. Hewett was vicar. Six months later fire destroyed the original wooden structure. The current church building was consecrated by the Rt. Rev. Albert W. Van Duzer, Bishop of New Jersey, in 1974, after it had been completely paid for, which made the congregation happy and proud.
From 1974 until the end of the 20th families noted above. Like many parishes in the Episcopal Church at that time, the makeup of the parish changed as the next generation of the those “founding families” moved on to other locations as called by their jobs and careers. St. John’s survived by attracting new members from people moving into the area. By the end of the century the parish rolls included families from England, Jamaica, Nigeria and transient Americans. Even with that influx the parish size was falling below sustainable levels. So it developed that an old relationship was renewed. From about 1945 to 1948 the two St John’s parishes in Woodbridge Township shared the services of one clergy person. On January 18, 1948 the parish register of St. John’s, Ford’s, shows a class of 12 being confirmed by the bishop at St. John’s, Sewaren.
Some 50 years later the two St. John’s formed the Raritan Bay Episcopal Team Ministry with the primary purpose of promoting parish life and sustaining a full time ministry in support of the two parishes. That arrangement worked well, but two things became evident. The two parishes working together at joint events had a synergy that neither had by themselves and the need to maintain triplicate committees and positions (Wardens, Treasurers, etc.) was dissipating strength that could be better used in other ways. That led to the decision in 2010 to consolidate the two parishes. The hope presented in that consolidation was to better serve the great commission to spread the gospel in Woodbridge Township and minister to our now united flock.
The Church building today in Fords is used by other congregations for services and is the “Center for Christian Partnership” in Central New Jersey. The Saint John’s Fords congregation has united with Saint John’s Sewaren and the two Congregations have become a very vibrant Parish with services held in the Church Building on 500 Cliff Road Sewaren NJ.
1880 Howard E. Thompson
1951-1952 Donald A. Walk
1962-1969 Leslie W. Hewett
1937 J. Raymond Kittenger
1952-1954 Juan M. Lopez
1969-1971 Jerry Van Drew
1940-1944 William H. Schmaus
1959-1962 William H. Payne
1971-1981 Orville C. Gatti Jr.
1944-1945 Herbert R. Denton
1959-1962 Ronald Albury
1981-1983 Dan S. Moore
1945-1948 Frank N. Howden
1983 Lynnette B. McNally
1990’s Elizabeth Eddy
1998-2000 Walter Duvall
2003 to 2010 Martin Oguike served as Vicar until both congregations of Fords and Sewaren consolidated.
2010 to 2013 Martin Oguike serves as Vicar of the now formed Saint John’s Woodbridge.
In March of 2013 to present; Martin Oguike became the Rector of the Parish of Saint John’s Woodbridge.