St. John the Divine was founded in 1822 on what was called the Proof Line (now Highway 4, Richmond St. North, Arva) located on the farm of William Geary.
The first clergyman was the Honourable and Reverend Charles James Stewart, son of the seventh Earl of Galloway, namesake of Bonnie Prince Charlie, and Master of Arts of Corpus Christi College, Oxford. He baptized families in the wooden Geary Barn, some of whose descendants worship with us today.
It was in 1829 when the Reverend Benjamin Cronyn arrived from Ireland on his way to the settlers in Adelaide Township. He was persuaded to remain in London and took charge of St. Paul’s in the village (now St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, ON) and St. John’s.
It was Bishop Cronyn who established the Diocese of Huron of which St. John’s is still a part of today.
From 1841-1872 St. John’s was under the direction of the Reverend Charles C. Brough, later Archdeacon of London. On Easter Day 1873 Reverend J. Walker Marsh, entered upon his Rectorship of St. John’s succeeding Archdeacon Brough. It was under his guidance and leadership the present brick church of St. John’s was built and consecrated by Bishop Hellmuth on December 12 1875.
The last marriage performed in the old wooden church was that of Mary Jane Lawrence to Richard Ambrose Powell. The first marriage in the new church was of Tena Smibert to Chas. Powell. These were ancestors of the late Bart Powell, who was a prominent and active member of both the Church and Cemetery.