In the summer of 1927, St. John’s “Priest-in-Charge,” the Rev. Kenneth Ripley Forbes, wrote a letter to summer residents of the Lake Winnipesaukee islands. The letter explained the mission of St. John’s-on-the-Lake and announced the schedule for formal dedication of the Chapel.
“This church has been placed where it is in order to minister to every sort of person who makes this beautiful region a vacation spot, either for long or short periods. Regardless of what your religious affiliation at home may be, we hope that you will join each Sunday with us at this community centre of worship.”
Over the decades the welcoming legacy of the “summer letter” has been continued by the St. John’s-on-the-Lake Association through the annual Association Letter.
These annual letters are traditionally sent in the Spring and provide Chapel news and information on visiting clergy for the coming Summer. In 2007 the Association also began the tradition of a Christmas letter-card sent to friends of St. John’s-on-the-Lake.
Reviewing the annual Letters that have been sent over the decades by the St. John’s-on-the-Lake Association provide an historical snapshot of important events in the Chapel’s history. The letters have been authored by members of the Association board and in most cases its President. No less important, the letters underscore the contributions of the many volunteers who over the decades have labored selflessly to maintain the Chapel and provide opportunities for worship during the summer months.
Copies of the Association’s Letters since 1955 are included below. (Click on the individual dates below to find the link to each.)
Annual Worship Schedules
For years 1927 – 1954 St. John’s was operated under the direct sponsorship and supervision of the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire. Since 1955 the St. John’s-on-the-Lake Association has sponsored and organized religious services for the diverse and scattered summer islands population of Lake Winnipesaukee.
The Association went dormant in 1960, and the Chapel was closed from 1960-1961. During this two year period extensive vandalism occurred. Coupled by neglected repairs, the existence of the Chapel was in crisis. In 1962 the Association was revitalized. The leadership was reorganized and over the next two years extensive repairs and renovations were made to the sanctuary and tower. This was also the period when the organ was acquired and a replacement bell was installed in the tower.
The robust schedule of services held in the summers of 1962 and 1963 are described in detail in a memorandum prepared by John Ripley Forbes, then President of the St. John’s-on-the-Lake Association. The document was prepared for the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire as a summary of the Association’s reorganization, fundraising and restoration activities. It is noteworthy that in 1962 only three of the eight Sunday services of worship were Episcopal. (Click on the individual dates below to find the link to each.)