In memory of Father John W. Symonds

The parishioners of St. James’ Church are saddened to have lost our beloved Rector, Rev. John W. Symonds on June 19, 2022 after enduring a six-month battle with metastatic pancreatic cancer. We are comforted in knowing he is with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

 Fr. John was called to St. James’ Church, Downingtown to be our Rector in December 2015.  He was a wonderful priest, enriching our congregation spiritually and supporting our various community outreach programs.  His favorites being, The Father John Symonds’ Thrift Shop at St. James’ Church, Adopt-A-Highway and the Downingtown Ministerium.

Born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, he attended Penn Manor High School, Millersville University, Cook College Rutgers, Lancaster Theological Seminary and Seminary of the Southwest. He studied environmental planning and design, theology, and went on to get his Masters of Divinity. He was ordained into priesthood in February 2009. In addition to serving at St. James’ Church for 6 years, he also served as Rector of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Blair, Nebraska for 5 years. His formative years in the church included time in Lancaster County at Bangor Church, St. John’s and St. James Episcopal Church. Before he was called to serve in the church, John was the director for the Lancaster County Conservancy. He thrived being a part of land preservation as well as helping people.

John was a member and lead clergy of the Downingtown Ministerium. He was also a board member of The Church Foundation. He was a lover of the outdoors and he would jump at any chance to hike, get out on the water, camp, enjoy a bonfire, or play soccer. He met his wife after 40 and had the blessing of a young family. John spent much of his free time caring for his home and property, outings with his family, playing board games, and exploring new and old interests, such as hobby trains or learning the best ways to find an approach to trees. He had the gift of a listening ear and patience. His kindness will always be remembered. He maintained many friendships over the years, new and old. John was known as “coach” by his soccer buddies, dadda by his kids, and Father John by his parishioners.  Fr. John is survived by his wife and children.

Give rest, O Christ, to thy servant with thy saints, where sorrow and pain are no more, neither sighing, but life everlasting. Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!