Many people who had been born and raised in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Germany traveled to America in the 1800’s.  A number of such immigrants moved south from the Buffalo area to settle in Allegany, NY.  Once there, they began to look for a new church, one similar to their background.

In 1856, a United Evangelical Protestant Congregation was established.  Services were originally held once a month in the old public school house.  Within a year, the congregation had moved to the Presbyterian Church for worship.  The first pastor of the Lutheran congregation was Rev. C. F. S. Strauss, who came from Dunkirk once a month.  During a meeting on November 27, 1857, the congregation had decided to build a church of its own on land located on Day Street (now N. Fourth Street) that was given by the Harmon and Johnson families.  Most of the labor and all of the materials were provided by members of the congregation.  The new building was dedicated on August 4, 1861.  Since the Lutheran church had no pastor of its own, the pastor of the Presbyterian Church, Rev. Tightsworth, consecrated the new building.  The building was used for services, but had no furnishings.  A group, known only as an “English Christian” congregation, negotiated a deal with the Lutheran congregation to furnish the church in return for use of the building one half of a day per week for ten years.  Within two years of the agreement, the “English Christians” disbanded.

From its earliest days the small congregation recognized the importance of a church school and so purchased for $75 the former residence of Mr. Willard, which was moved in the snow by oxen in 1861 and served well as a school.  They were also able to purchase, for $200, the property where the parsonage now stands.  In 1862, a full-time teacher was hired (Teacher Rademacher).  The congregation also called Rev. C. E. Englender, pastor of the German Evangelical Lutheran Church in Olean, NY.  Although Rev. Englender first preached in Allegany on Easter Sunday, 1862, he did not immediately accept the call because the congregation still called themselves “United Evangelical Protestants.”  He could not administer his Sacred Office to other than an Evangelical Lutheran congregation.  On July 28, 1862, the congregation unanimously voted to change the name of their church to the First German Evangelical Lutheran Church of Allegany in order to reflect the origins of its members.  The name change opened the way for Rev. Englender to accept the call to be pastor of the Allegany church, which he served along with the Olean church.  In October of 1863, the Allegany church joined the German Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Missouri, Ohio, and other states.  In July of 1868, Rev. J. Bernreuther was installed as pastor, serving until 1887.

In January of 1888, Rev. F. C. Weidmann was installed as pastor of both churches.  The church had been enlarged once and a new parsonage had been consecrated.  The congregation separated from the Olean church to have its own pastor, and Rev. A. T. Pechtold was installed as the first exclusive pastor of St. John’s.  By this time the congregation had changed its name to St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church.  A day school opened on September 7, 1889 with seventeen students enrolled.  On May 11, 1890, the Sunday School had an enrollment of twenty-seven pupils.  Teachers were Rev. Pechtold, Mrs. Caroline Miller, Mr. Herman Kleinschmidt, and Mrs. Katherine Mossner.  Largely through the efforts of the newly formed Ladies Aid Society, in 1901 the first steeple was erected on the church and the bell (which still calls us to worship every Sunday) was purchased from the Stuckstead Foundry in St. Louis, Missouri.  The church choir sang for the first time on July 16, 1905.  On December 8, 1907, the stained glass windows and altar furnishings were consecrated during a special service of Thanksgiving.  Included were the altar, pulpit, two clergy chairs, baptismal font, hymn board, and communion railing.  These were secured through gifts from the members.

Between 1907 and 1925 the church building was raised and the basement was added.  The original steeple was removed in 1937, the vestibule was enlarged and the church front was enlarged with a new bell tower.  The church had undergone a major building project, through which a new chancel and a fourteen room educational wing was added in 1950 and then dedicated in 1951.  The congregation celebrated its 100th year in May of 1956 with special services lead by Rev. Moehring, Rev. Knueppel, and Rev. Brusick, all former pastors of St. John’s.  In 1956, St. John’s had 250 communicant members and 154 children enrolled in Sunday School.  In 1963, Rev. Gerard Drum was installed as pastor and served the congregation of St. John’s for nearly thirty-three years.  In 1989 the exterior of the church building was remodeled with new siding, and in 1995 the elevator was installed.  The narthex was renovated in 1996.  Rev. Gerard F. leFeber was installed January 12, 1997, and currently serves the congregation as pastor.  A new addition was dedicated on August 31, 1997, which houses the new pastor’s study, additional basement storage and a new Sunday school classroom.  Also, the kitchen was enlarged and renovated in the summer of 2000, and was dedicated on September 29 of that year.

When the church front was enlarged in the 1930’s it required the removal of the steeple, which had fallen into a state of disrepair and was declared unsafe.  While plans called for the eventual installation of a steeple on the new bell tower, it would be nearly seventy years before the steeple would be replaced.  Funds raised by church members, including memorial gifts, made it possible to install the new steeple on the church on October 24, 2001.  The dedication of the new spire was done on Reformation Sunday, celebrated on October 28, 2001, and was officiated by Pastor leFeber.

January 1st, 2006 marked the beginning of a year long sesquicentennial celebration

In the past “150 Years of God’s Grace”, we see and recall God’s many blessings upon our congregation. As we look towards the future, our hope and prayer is that we can continue to share the love and forgiveness of God in Jesus Christ, and that our church family will grow and thrive.