Saint John the Evangelist (SJE) in Long Green Valley is the oldest continuously operating parish in Baltimore County!
SJE Parish kicks-off year-long celebration on April 18th 2021. It is our Bicentennial culminating in our 200th year commemoration in May 2022. Many festivities are planned to honor the occasion, including publishing our history book “Two Centuries of Faith at Saint John the Evangelist Church”. The story starts with evolution of the Maryland Colony continuing to present day describing our parish creation and growth in Northern Baltimore County. That fascinating story is the basis for our new SJE History Exhibit.
Tours will be conducted for parish and community visitors on appointment. Located in the Koontz House, also our Ministry Center and Conference Facility, it is just behind the Church. The Exhibit is filled with displays which capture many images of our founders, family trees, state and county maps, our growing Church, fascinating history anecdotes, Long Green Valley history, and much more. Schedule your tour by calling the parish office at (410) 592-6206. Look for updates on the parish website www.sjehydes.org.
Visitors will see early maps of the Colony of Maryland, founded in the 1630s by the Catholic Calvert family, to provide a haven for British Catholics who were persecuted in Britain. However, British anti-Catholic laws during Colonial times forbade open practice of our religion in Maryland. Jesuit missionaries took advantage of relaxation of these laws in the early 18th century. These missionaries bought farms where they could have a house with a chapel room. From these missionary farms, circuit rider priests would visit the scattered Catholic families to serve them. One can imagine that these families would see a priest only several times a year. From these humble beginnings, Saint John the Evangelist parish in Hydes emerged to become the oldest parish in Baltimore County.
The original church was built on a ridge between Dulaney and Long Green Valleys in 1822 where an early cemetery is still maintained. It burned down in 1855. The new church, now our iconic chapel, was constructed on our campus, on land donated by the Jenkins family. The first pastor, Father Jacob Ambrose Walter, is shown below. The original St John School, now the Long Green Valley Knights of Columbus Council Home, was built in 1858 and provided interrupted periods of service in early days. It was replaced with the modern school building in 1951. The modern church building was completed in 1969 to serve the growing community of that era. Throughout the years, parish life is shown in pictures and displayed alongside contemporary events of the local community, state, nation and world for chronological perspective through five rooms of the restored Koontz House.
In addition to these events, notable individuals have been members of the parish including television personalities and sports stars. A local girl married the brother of Napoleon, though the marriage was later annulled for political reasons. To get the low-down, read the book and visit the Saint John the Evangelist History Exhibit. Bring the family to view the images that bring life to our ancestors and 200 years of parish history.