St. Ann's Mission Statement:
We Strive to grow in faith and positively impact each person in our community with Gods love. In order to achieve this mission we will:
a. Seek to become more like Christ by working around the celebration of the Eucharist through worship, sharing, caring and social justice
b. Provide opportunities for service, outreach and improvement in our community
c. Actively reach out and welcome all persons and recognize their individual gifts
The Parish of St. Ann's was established in November, 1905 and incorporated on April 14, 1906. Many years have passed and things have changed since its establishment as a Mission Church. Physical facilities have both moved and grown substantially over the years. But through these years there has remained three constants: The strong faith in God, the constant support from our parishioners and the endurance of our majestic oak tree. We may be justly proud of the many achievements leading to and including the construction of the beautiful Parish Centre in recent years. But most of all we are proud of the many parishioners who over the years have made this a loving parish faithful to God and Community.
The original site of this modest country chapel was on Noteboom Avenue where it was built on land purchased with a loan of three thousand dollars. It was established at a time when Browns Mills was a village favored by many Philadelphians and other city folks as a beautiful summer resort, a place to get away from the hustle of the work-place and unhealthy air of an early industrial city. It also provided a healthy environment for the treatment of those suffering from tuberculosis.
In 1947 the land on Trenton Road was purchased and the original Church was moved to this location in 1950. At that time a basement, annex and sacristy were added. The extension of the old wooden church resulted in an "L" shaped building. It was not unusual when reciting the "Our Father" for parishioners in one arm of the building to hear an echo from the other section, whose voices often lagged. Yet with all its short comings, the old Church and Hall served the people well for many years. Finally, recognizing that its useful life was passed, plans were made to erect a new Church. After many months of planning and preparation, a campaign was held to build a new Church. The Building Fund Campaign was approved and endorsed by John C. Reiss, Bishop of Trenton, on October 15, 1984. The new Church was completed in 1986 and provided seating for over 400 plus a cry room and daily chapel.
Following the completion of the new Church, the old Church was converted solely into a Parish Hall. During the next 14 years it provided space for our organizations and community to meet, along with our weekly bingos on Thursday afternoons and Friday evenings. The Parish Hall often needed repairs and was at the point where it was no longer safe for group activities, nor did it permit easy accessibility for the handicapped. A Building Committee was formed in 1998 to review architects, plans, etc. for the possibility and feasibility of building a New Parish Centre.
In 1999, the architects; Kanalstein Danton Associates of Cherry Hill, New Jersey, and the construction company; Roland Aristone, Inc., were hired and plans were drawn for our new Parish Centre. On April 2, 2000, we kicked off, with much success, our Building Fund Campaign. After almost a year, all approvals were obtained and our groundbreaking ceremony was held on March 25, 2001. On May 19, 2002, the New Parish Centre was officially opened with the Blessing and Inauguration by the Most Reverend John M. Smith, Bishop of Trenton.
In September 2002, we successfully opened Centre Oak Preschool, located on the first floor of the Parish Centre. The preschool has 4 rooms and educates a total of 60 three year olds from the Community year round. It is operated under the direction of Ms. Kathryn Nicholls, Director and employs approximately 15 staff
As the years have gone by, one begins to reflect on the impact that this little parish has had on the people of Pemberton Township. There is no doubt that the faith of the community has grown and strengthened through the years. It has been a faith expressive by the good works that this community does for its neighbors, especially the homeless and marginalized. The assistance given to the number of families is possible because of the selfless dedication of the volunteers managing the St. Ann's Food Pantry. The parishioners of St. Ann's are happy to assist their fellow townspeople in their needs.