Although our location is new, our church has a long history in the south Ottawa area. It began as St. John’s Merivale in 1874, part of the Church of England in Canada (as the Anglican Church was then called). At that time, it was located on Merivale Road. Although the building suited us well for many years, over time the congregation grew and required a larger building to meet its needs. So, in the early 1960s, we leased land from the National Capital Commission on Slack road, and began construction of a new church building. It was completed in 1966 and became the home of St. John the Divine, Nepean.
This situation lasted for nearly forty years, until the lease ran out. Unfortunately, when it came time to renew the lease in 2002, the cost of renewal proved to be very expensive. It became clear that the congregation could not afford to stay in its current location under those conditions, so we chose to leave it and to meet in Barrhaven instead. From then until late 2013, we met at Pierre Elliot Trudeau Catholic School for our Sunday worship services.
During these years of excitement in our local church, some exciting things were happening in the wider church world as well. In 2001, the Anglican Church of Canada and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada signed an historic agreement called the Waterloo Declaration. It allowed ministers to serve in each other’s churches, where previously it had been forbidden. St. John’s was excited by the possibilities this presented for new cooperation between our denominations, so in 2008 voted to start a new venture: to become Canada’s first joint Anglican – Lutheran church. From this point forward, we would no longer be known as simply Anglicans or Lutherans, but instead as Anglicans and Lutherans working together to serve Christ.
As we considered how best to serve the community of Barrhaven in which we lived, we felt called to do more to make ourselves visible to the world around us. So in November 2013, we moved to our current location in the Barrhaven Crossing mall. Meeting here has made us more visible to the community around us, and provided us with flexible meeting and office space. We are confident this will give us a solid foundation for many years to come.