Fr. John is a second career priest, attending seminary after a 24 year Air Force career as a KC-135 navigator. While still in the Air Force, John and Sheila were involved in youth ministry. They started ministries at three different churches and both served as the diocesan youth minister at different times. Sheila also was the director of the Happening program, a spiritual renewal movement for high school students, and both served as counselors at church camp with high school students for many years. This involvement with youth taught John and Sheila that there are a lot of hurting people out there, and gave them a heart for those who are struggling.
They both thought that their ministry would continue to be in working with youth, and training others to do the same. However, God had a different idea and called John to ordained ministry and the planting of a church. John graduated from Nashotah House Theological Seminary in May of 2010 and was ordained a deacon the week after graduation. Grace Anglican was born in their living room in June of 2010.
We continued meeting in homes around the area until feeling God’s call to Edwardsville and developing our relationship with Newsong Fellowship, who were wonderful hosts for two years. We have since felt God calling us to move further south in the Metro-East area. We met for a time in John and Sheila’s home while we discerned God’s desire for our next step. God answered our prayers and led us to our current location in Collinsville, where we began worshiping during Holy Week 2014.
Outreach has been an important part of our ministry since its inception. We currently work with Habitat for Humanity, where John is President of the Board of Directors, Restore StL’s Workday, which is an opportunity to share our gifts with immigrants and others in need in South St. Louis, and Sacred Creations, which is an organization that works with people with mental illnesses resulting in homelessness. We are exploring outreach opportunities in Collinsville and Fairmont City, where we hope to begin a tutoring program this Fall.