Our Pastor - Our History

Pastor Ron Green
Rev Ron Green came to St John's to serve as our Interim Pastor in November 2017

Our History - Celebrated 125 Years in 2015

An Evangelical Lutheran Mission first met July 15, 1888 on the second floor of a clothing store on Main Street supported by St John's Lutheran Church in St Paris.  Jacob Tschumy and nine other Lutherans formed the core of the new congregation and by March 1890, the congregation organized as St John's Evangelical Lutheran Church and called its first minister, Rev. P.S Swinehart.  In 1891, a frame Gothic-style church was built at the corner of Wood and Downing Streets on the site of the former Wood Street Cemetery.

The church continued to grow and became self-supporting in 1900.  German and English language Sunday schools were merged, a church choir was formed, a women's group, Brotherhood, and a young people's group - Willing Workers were organized.  In 1913, the current brick building was formally dedicated at an estimated cost of $ 18,000.  Rev. C.E Krumm was pastor during most of this time with Rev. H Melcher serving briefly

   From 1916 to 1952 St John's was served by one pastor, Rev. Simon Long.  New organizations were formed 
including the Deborah Class and Luther League.  Until 1938, pastors continued to serve both Piqua and St Paris.  As the church continued to grow, there was a need for an educational addition that was completed in 1964 to the east of the original church.  Rev. L.C Florstedt was the pastor.

  During the time from 1966 until 1990, the organ was rebuilt, in 1970 women began serving on Church Council, the Bethel Bible series was introduced, a Tentmaker was hired to work with youth, and the congregation began missionary sponsorship that continues today.  Rev. A.R Baldwin and Rev. Hilbert Piel were pastors.

  In the last 25 years the congregation faced various challenges, but St John's has endured.  Various ministries have been introduced; St John's became a sponsoring congregation of the Bethany Center which provides food, clothing, and others resources to meet community needs.  Our youth have attended national Lutheran youth gatherings and the congregation adopted its current Mission Statement: To Know God. To Grow in Faith. To Serve Others.  In October 1999, the congregation dedicated a remodeled entrance that included an elevator along with a renovated sanctuary.  During the last 25 years, the congregation has called pastors, Rev. Michael Bennett, Rev. E. Michael Easton, Rev. Linda Hume Skelly, Rev. Shannon Vogelezang, and in 2013 our current pastor, Rev Michael Havey. Interim pastors including Rev. John Swank and Rev Ronald Shreffler also served the congregation. 

   Amidst changes, our pastors continue to lead worship and preach the Good News, baptize and offer the sacrament of Holy Communion and preside at weddings and funerals.  Sunday School and Confirmation continue to be part of our education ministry along with Vacation Bible School.  Our Women's organization continues to meet for bible study and ministry and our Church Council continues to provide leadership for the congregation.  As our Facebook page says: we are a congregation linked to the past, living in the present, and looking to the future.

"The plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations."  Psalm 33:11