The Catholic Community of St. John the Baptist: Where stewardship is a way of life and the diversity of our gifts is used to answer Christ’s call to proclaim and live the Gospel.
- Worship - Live out the dignity and giftedness of our baptismal call through prayer, devotion and through full, active and conscious participation in the mass.
- Evangelization - Bring people closer to Christ, and to each other, through the testimony of our words and witness of our lives.
- Apostolic Formation - Create and nurture faith formation and support the discernment and use of our God-given gifts.
- Service - Share our spiritual gifts, resources and talents with our parish, our community, and our world through charitable action and social justice.
St. John the Baptist Church Vision
At St. John the Baptist, stewardship is a way of life and our faith is alive! We are apostles and disciples of Jesus Christ, ministering through our families, our work places, our community and the world, and we welcome everyone to join us.
Our spirituality is built upon our Catholic heritage and traditions and reflects our rich ethnic and cultural diversity. Everyone participates regularly in worship, Mass, and Communion. We give witness to our faith by our actions, love for one another, and love for our Lord.
Full Parish participation in religious education and formation engages everyone within our community. Parents are supported in their responsibility to raise faith-filled children.
Through participation in parish activities and ministries, we foster each others' individuality and diverse gifts. We reach out to our community and our world through charitable action and social justice. We bring people closer to Christ though the testimony or our words and the witness of our lives.
St. John the Baptist Stewardship Prayer
Loving God, we are grateful for the abundant gifts you have given the community of St. John the Baptist. We hear Your call to be good stewards of Your gifts of time, talent, and treasure. We hear Your call to share our talents to build a community worthy of Your love. We thank You for the opportunity to share with all whose lives we touch on our faith journey.
Lord, Jesus, give us the courage to follow your example and reach out to those in need. As a caring family of faith may we strive to be compassionate to those among us and in the wider community who need what each of us has to offer.
Holy Spirit, give us the insight to recognize the special gifts given to each of us by our Heavenly Father. Inspire in each of us the generosity to share with our community a just measure of our time, talents, and treasure. For with Your guidance we are confident that each commitment to share will lead to fulfilling the vision of the St. John the Baptist parish family.
The History of the Parish of St. John the Baptist
By Tricia Wittman-Todd, January 1996
Covington Catholic Church began with a few households under the leadership of Father Jack Walmesley.
Fr. Jack began by inviting people from four neighboring parishes to a new community. An initial steering committee was formed and liturgies began at Horizon Elementary School in January 1992. In the first few Sunday bulletins, Fr. Jack requested suggestions for a new name for Covington Catholic Church. The top ten suggestions were presented in a subsequent bulletin for a final vote and on March 31, 1991, the Archbishop approved “St. John the Baptist” as the official name.
Sr. Carol Ann McMullen, SNJM, joined Fr. Jack in July 1991, to create a religious formation program for the parish and to share the staff leadership role.
The parish grew quickly and now (1996) consists of approximately five hundred households.
Our parish was founded on a philosophy of stewardship. A stewardship philosophy assumes that all the gifts necessary for the community are within the community in the form of planned proportionate giving of time, talent and treasure. We define membership in our community by participation in the life within the parish as well as outside the parish. Hence, we as parishioners are asked each year to reflect on ways we live out our stewardship by naming the number of hours, the nature of activities, and the amount of treasure we will commit.
Because St. John the Baptist is organized around commissions and committees that take responsibility for certain areas of parish life, our stewardship commitments result in people accepting responsibilities from appointed positions to volunteer work.
Some people have accepted responsibility for liturgical ministries, financial management, pastoral care, visioning and religious formation. Others have been called to commissions in faith formation, stewardship, and social action. Still others have joined committees for the building, social life, finance, baptismal preparation and R.C.I.A.
Our parish places priority in continuing education, spiritual enhancement and building community to ensure that these gifts of time, talent and treasure are renewed and strengthened as they are used.
The energy of our parish is directed toward establishing our community as a people. We, as a people, have accomplished the building through planned and proportionate giving by parish members of time talent and treasure.
Our building is an expression of the church that already exists among the people who gather to pray, to serve and to learn.
History of the Land
By Don Madden, January 1996
Saint John the Baptist’s congregation isn't the first flock to be tended in these parts.
In 1919, when Axel Wibag settled this property for its pastureland, herds of horses and cattle peppered the surrounding hillsides.
Hunters waded through the timber hunting for deer, grouse and quail. Fisherman found nearby Soos Creek abundant with trout.
Two years later, Wibag built a small four-room house with a wood stove in the corner. Although the Wibags eventually moved off the land, the property remained in the family for the next 70 years.
Following Work War II, Millie Foss met and married her husband, Arthur Foss, who owned Foss Grocery and Feed, a small store near the Wibag property.
The quaint rural farming area she came to in the 1940s is now surrounded by housing developments and criss-crossed with numbered and paved highways.
Millie, who now belongs to St. John the Baptist, remembers when Kent-Kangley was a small road called South Road. Also 256th Street, which passes the church on the north, was just “a two-bit gravel road.”
“If you were coming from Kent you wouldn't have much luck on that road,” she recalls. It was muddy in the winter and dusty in the summer, and logging trucks rumbled through regularly.
The Foss store was the center of the social scene. "People, would come in the store and stand around the old potbellied stove and talk," Millie remembers.
Arthur extended credit to neighbors on a handshake. Foss Grocery and Feed still stands a stone's throw from St. John the Baptist. Millie’s daughter runs the store now.
In the late 1970s Wibag's descendants cleared the land, hoping to sell it. However it sat idle, overgrowing with blackberry bushes and aspen saplings, until 1985 when Robert Smith, a real estate consultant for the Catholic Archdiocese discovered it. Smith, who roamed from Vancouver to Portland purchasing land for the church, admits the $175,000 he paid for the 9.4 acre lot wasn't a bargain then.
Recently however, before construction began on the church, someone offered the Archdiocese $700,000 for the property.
Smith and the Archbishop Hunthausen predicted the city’s fingers would someday reach the area and a new parish would need a home.
Father Jack Walmesley pulled off Highway 18 in 1990 on his way back from a year of schooling in Toronto. He’d just been assigned to some new parish out in the boondocks near a place called Covington. When he first saw the forested future church site he admits he was apprehensive.
“I thought, ‘Now what'?”’ Father Jack recalls. “When I looked at that 10 acres of trees and brush, it made me real nervous. There is no handbook on how to start a new parish."
Father Jack started small, visiting four nearby parishes, seeking his first parishioners. At the first mass in January of 1991, about 150 people showed up.
In the following six months, Father Jack estimates about 300 people came to mass at Horizon Elementary School only to return to their former parishes.
"Individuals said, ‘No way, l am not going to mass in a school,’" Father Jack said.
During the next five years, the church grew, as did the generosity of its parishioners. Through the collection plate alone, St. John the Baptist raised the money to build its church building.
In the meantime, the people learned a valuable lesson.
“The church is not the building. The building is just a tool,” he says. “We learned that without the building, we still have a lot of people involved, we still have faith and we can still praise God. I’m really kind of overwhelmed at times with how much has been accomplished. This is the most meaningful assignment I've had."