Who We Are
St. Cornelius’ Episcopal Church believes in dignified and engaging worship according to the Book of Common Prayer, solid Christian education for all ages, and reaching out to our larger community to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
St. Cornelius believes in the restoration of all people - parishioners of the present and those we hope to serve - to unity with God and each other in Christ. Our ministry vision is one of transformation and inclusion, embracing the diversity of all of God’s children in the area in which we serve.
This vision is embedded throughout all that St. Cornelius offers our Christian family:
Fellowship:Saturday Men’s Breakfasts, Youth Pilgrimages, and parish-wide meals and celebrations.
Leadership:Lay Eucharistic Ministers, Lectors, Musicians, and our Prayer Ministry.
Outreach:Partnering with Manna House Food Pantry, Our Little Roses Orphanage in San Pedro Sula, and providing assistance to those in need.
Community:Attending to the spiritual, physical, and aesthetic needs of our community.
Volunteering:Acolytes, Altar Guild, Ushers, and Christian Education for children and youth.
The legacy of St. Cornelius’ Episcopal Church is a solid testament to how we serve our Mission Statement…
To be a Christ-centered faith community echoing
God’s Love, Healing and Hope.
In the spring of 1888 a group of citizens who were interested in founding an Episcopal Church met in a home. The Reverend H.C. Dyer, Garden City, held a Lenten service and plans were laid immediately for the organization of a mission. As time went on, a vestry was elected, a women's guild founded, and the mission was named St. Cornelius'. The name seems to be associated with Ft. Dodge, KS. St. Cornelius of the Biblical times was a Roman centurion and was one of the first gentile converts to Christianity. The Episcopal Church in Dodge City is the only one so named in the United States.
The mission continued to grow. Over the next 8 years, John J. Summersby, who was appointed Lay Reader by Bishop Vail, the Episcopal Bishop of Kansas, conducted most of the services. The land the church is build on was purchased for $50. The stone for the church was donated and came from an ice house in Dodge City. The ground breaking was Monday, February 7th, 1898. The entire cost was $1,200. The first service in the church was held July 17th, 1898 and the building was consecrated September 11th, 1898,
St. Cornelius' Episcopal Church was a mission until December 3, 1946 when it gained Parish status. The mission priest at the time, The Reverend Rudolph W. Treder, became the first Rector of St. Cornelius' serving from 1938-1977. It is the oldest church building in continuous use in Dodge City.
The Reverend John Seatvet, Rector
Fr. John is a cradle Episcopalian and spent his formative years in the Colorado Springs, CO area. His family relocated to Wisconsin while his father, the second Rector of St. Cornelius, attended Nashotah House Theological Seminary. While in Wisconsin, Fr. John graduated from St. John’s Military Academy and then attended Kenyon College in Gambier, OH. From Kenyon College Fr. John returned to the Milwaukee area and became an iron pourer at Grede Foundry for five years.
After several years, Fr. John left Grede Foundry and enrolled at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, graduating with a BA in Economics. In 1979 Fr. John moved to Dodge City, KS and was hired as a Regional Marketing Representative for High Plains Publishers and covered a sales territory consisting of large parts of Oklahoma and Texas.
It was during one year at High Plains and while backpacking in the Grand Canyon that Fr. John had a long conversation with God about enhancing their relationship. After returning from the Grand Canyon, Fr. John talked with Bishop Mike Milliken about the steps to ordination. Fr. John was accepted at Nashotah House Theological Seminary, the same seminary his father attended. Upon graduation, Fr. John was ordained as a Deacon then as a Priest by Bishop Mike Milliken. Fr. John was then called as the sixth Rector of St. Cornelius’ Episcopal Church.
Fr. John and Jeanette, his wife of twenty years, have a blended family of four adult children: Diane, Jennifer, Andrew and Sarah. They also have four grandchildren: Kylie, Dylan, Kayah and Jonathon.