There has been an Episcopal presence in Bellefonte since 1825, when Episcopalians began meeting in a cabinet-shop, then later at the local Masonic lodge. As the congregation grew, Bellefonte was designated a regular supply station, supplied from Lewistown until the organization of St. John’s parish in 1836. George W. Natt, the first rector of “St. John’s Protestant Episcopal Church,” was selected as priest in 1838. His memories of being a parish priest in a frontier town make for lively reading.

The first house of worship was built in 1842, behind the Centre County courthouse. The cornerstone of the present church was laid in 1869; it opened on Easter Day, 1871, and was consecrated by Bishop Howe in 1872. It is a stone edifice, built in Gothic revival style, and is today the last of the churches in Bellefonte to have a spire.

St. John’s and its rectors have been instrumental in establishing other Episcopal churches and missions in the area, notably Lock Haven and State College; it is the “Mother Church” in Centre County. Throughout its nearly one hundred-seventy year history, St. John’s congregation has included many community leaders. Today, while maintaining its liturgical-centered worship, St. John’s prides itself on its diverse membership and its plans for renewed community outreach and service to Bellefonte and its surrounding area.