As a school founded by Episcopal Bishop Elisha Smith Thomas, religious training and education has been an essential piece of the St. John’s experience. The founders believed that a solid religious foundation is necessary in order to build the moral and ethical character that is required of any sound educational endeavor.

While much of the emphasis on a day to day basis at St. John’s revolves around Corps and academic life, the Chapel remains sacred and special at St. John’s Military School. It has opened its doors to thousands of Cadets who have become spiritual leaders in the 60 plus years it has been at St. John’s Military School. Prior to that time the Chapel stood at Camp Phillips, which was southwest of Salina, and was erected at the beginning of World War II. The camp served as a training site for soldiers going off to war and the Chapel served as a place of solace for those same soldiers.

Virgil “Lefty” Loy, a long time teacher and coach at St. John’s Military School, wrote about the acquisition of the Chapel in his work, “St. John’s Military School…A History”. He writes,

“When World War II ended in the fall of 1945, Camp Phillips, an Army training base southwest of Salina, was deactivated. Many of the buildings at the camp were sold by the government. These conditions gave Col. Clem an opportunity to further expand the physical plant of the School.

At a meeting of the Board of Trustees on November 9,1945, the following resolution was moved, seconded and passed that, ‘The Board of Trustees approved filing a bid of $1,500 for one of the Chapels at Camp Phillips, the selection of the Chapel being left to Colonel Clem, who succeeded in purchasing the building for $2,000. The building was moved to the school campus, remodeled and furnished. It was dedicated and consecrated by Bishop Nichols in 1947.”


Since those days, the Chapel has been renovated and received stained glass in the late 1970s. In the early 1990s, a new organ was given to St. John’s by an anonymous donor from Salina. Also, to enhance the worship of God in the Chapel, 12 Holy Icons, painted by Mrs. Erin Kimmett, were added. Most recently, the Chapel has been improved by new siding and carpeting provided by Mrs. Jessie Given.