Prior to constructing a church, traveling missionary priests visited Tipp City, starting in the early 1850s to serve a small number of Catholic families. The first church building construction started in 1857 and then was dedicated in October 1858, by Most Rev. Archbishop John Baptist Purcell. Our first church was located on the corner of Third and German Streets in Tipp City, at a cost of $937 for the building and $50 for the lot. Father Hemsteger came down from Piqua to hold services once a month – St. John’s was initially a mission church
In March 1881, five acres of land located on Evanston Road were purchased for the St. John Cemetery at a cost of $500. in 1887, the first school was built opposite the church on Third and German Streets. The Sisters of the Precious Blood were in charge. The school was closed in 1896. A second school was built on the corner of Third and Broadway Streets – the same intersection where our second church would be built. The school was dedicated the St. Jon’s Catholic School on September 27, 1903 by Most Rev. Archbishop William Henry Elder. The Sisters of Charity from Piqua were in charge of t he school. Despite best efforts, the school closed in June 1910.
Around 1908, Father Albert Van Den Bosch, our new pastor, acted on the need for a new church. After raising funds, demolition of the old church began in 1909, and the second school served as a temporary church. In early April 1911, the old church was demolished and the reusable materials, including the bell added in 1866, were moved to the site of the new building on Third and Broadway. Some of the materials were used in the construction of the new building. Excavation of the new church began later in April of the same year; the corner stone was laid in July 1911. Dedication of the church took place on June 23, 1912. The new church was modeled after Italian architecture; it seated about 200 and cost $10,000 at a time when the average income was $10 per week. The church included painted glass windows made in Germany depicting the life of our patron Saint John the Baptist. Father Francis Pilliod has the distinction of being the only baby boy baptized at St. John’s who became a priest on December 8, 1912, he was the first person baptized at the Broadway church.
St. John’s had grown by 1945 and now needed two Sunday Masses. In 1948, the property on the corner of Third and Broadway was purchased and named the St. John’s Center – used as a catechetical and recreation center. In 1951, the Parish purchased property to the rear of church at 218 South Third Street – it was rented until 1959 and then remodeled for use as a rectory. Starting Sunday March 2, 1958, a third Sunday morning Mass was added. In July 1958, the crucifix was erected at the entrance of the cemetery. In 1958, St. John’s celebrated its one hundredth year as a Parish. Plans proceeded for the celebration. Parishioners assembled a One Hundredth Anniversary booklet. On Memorial Day 1958, the first Mass at the cemetery was said. A Parish Fund Drive was able to raise $76,000 to be used to redecorate the church and the construction of a new St. John’s Center (completed in 1959).
As of 1960 there were 231 families registered at St. John’s. The new St. John’s Center was blessed on April 24, 1960 by Auxiliary Bishop Paul F. Liebold followed by a Pontifical High Mass. The Knights of Columbus Council # 5129 was chartered in April 1961 with 35 members. Father Charles Ford was the first pastor to be buried in the St. John’s cemetery in March 1970. Between 1965 and 1973, most of the profound changes from the Second Vatican Council came about. The result of Vatican II was more shared responsibility in the administration and participation of the local church. The complete remodeling of the interior of the Broadway church took place between 1973 and 1975. The Parish grew between 1968 and 1978, from 300 families to 462 families. In 1977, the first Director of Religious Education was hired. Parish Pictorial Directories were printed in 1973 and 1977.
In 1980, there were two Masses on Saturday afternoon and three on Sunday morning. In November 1980, the first classes for a pre-school program began. On Sunday, October 16, 1983, we celebrated our 125th anniversary. Mass was celebrated by Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk outdoors on the front steps of the church, and Broadway Street was closed off to accommodate 500 worshipers. A Parish Directory was printed. In 1983, the Parish began looking into building a new church because our five Masses had become crowded.
In 1985, St. John’s was clustered with Transfiguration Church in West Milton and St. Patrick’s Church in Troy should future sharing of pastor’s arise. Our first Youth Minister was hired in 1985. Ten acres of land on South Hyatt Street was purchased from Spring Hill Nurseries for $90,000 in December 1986 – site of our third and present church. The formation of the first Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults team occurred in 1987. In 1990, almost 600 families were members of the church. The first Christ Renews His Parish weekend was held in the spring of 1993. The rectory was remodeled in 1993. In 1995, committees began working on the goals of a new church building.
Father Tom Dorenbusch was our pastor when our present church building was dedicated on March 22, 1998 at a cost of $1.95 million. A Parish Pictorial Directory was printed. The painted glass windows depicting the life of our patron Saint John the Baptist, several statues and the Tabernacle from the Broadway church were used. The nave seats 450 people. The current Mass schedule was established in 1998, one Saturday afternoon Mass and two Sunday morning Masses. There is also a Spanish Mass the first Saturday of the month and weekday morning Masses. Reconciliation is on Saturday or by appointment.
Our present pastor, Father Marc Sherlock, joined us in 2004. The classroom / banquet hall portion of our building was built so all of our facility was located on one campus, at a cost of $2.35 million, dedicated on June 24, 2005. St. John’s became part of the Dayton Deanery on January 1, 2006 and is clustered with St. Christopher’s in Vandalia. St. John’s began the Institute of School and Parish Development (ISPD) Long Range Advancement Process in October 2007. The main goals are to effectively plan by involving as many parishioners as possible in the process. A key principle is that “Belonging leads to Believing”. Seven implementation teams are working towards solutions of identified challenges – including Liturgy and Worship, Parish-Wide Education, Youth and Family Life, Communication, Stewardship and Development, Outreach and Evangelization and Administration and Finance. In 2007-2008, the enrollment in the Parish School of Religion was 155 – 4 year olds through high school.
2008 was the 150th anniversary of our Parish and there were many events throughout the year to mark the celebration:
- St. John’s / St. Christopher’s choir concert at St. John’s
- Jubilee Choir Group led Stations of the Cross
- Day of Prayer for Vocations with the Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament using a monstrance blessed by Pope John Paul II
- Parish Pictorial Directory printed
- Anniversary Mass with Archbishop Pilarcyzk on September 21st, followed by a dinner for all parishioners
- St. John’s History updated
- Bell tower, using the 1866 bell from the Broadway church, was completed and dedicated as part of the combined Vigil Mass with St. Christopher’s at St. John’s to celebrate the end of our 150th anniversary as a Parish on New Year’s Eve 2008.
In October 2008, Bishop Dennis M. Schnurr was appointed Coadjutor Bishop in preparation for Archbishop Pilarczyk’s retirement in 2009. St. John’s now has 760 families with 2360 members and there are over 25 active ministries. In our history of being a church seeking and worshipping our Lord, we have had 46 traveling and assigned priests minister to us. Many have participated in the growth, education and fellowship of what makes us St. John the Baptist Catholic Church. The people of St. John’s have been gathering for the Eucharist and the other sacraments, preaching the Good News and reaching out to the people of the Tipp City area and beyond for over one and a half centuries. The Lord has done great things for us.