Staff / History


Pastor Becky Bolander

Senior Pastor

Pamela Vidal

Office Manager

Cindy Hemminger

Financial Secretary

Mark Sullivan


Sara Louk


Tracey Nycz

Senior Choir Director

Karen Abbott

Children's Choir & Handbell Director

Cheryl Sandrock

Catechism Mentor & Guitar Director

A brief history of St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church

The missionary work of Rev. George Cronenwett led to the establishment of the first Lutheran church in the community. Under the leadership of Rev. C. Raths, a simple frame building was erected in 1867 on what is now our west parking lot. On June 7, 1869, St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church was formally organized and its first constitution was adopted.

Increasing membership and lack of space resulted in a resolution in May of 1882 to replace the old frame structure with a new church built of brick and stone. It was located where the present building is located at the corner of Church and Ottawa Streets.


In the spring of 1897, the congregation authorized the hiring of the first teacher for our Christian Day School, which met in the old frame church. A new school and Parish Hall were dedicated in December, 1912. The Parochial School closed its doors in 1929, but the hall stood until 1959.

By 1923 the congregation was again outgrowing its worship space. The old brick building was razed in April of 1926 to permit construction of our present church. The cornerstone was laid in August 1926, and the beautiful new sanctuary was dedicated to the service of the Triune God on November 6, 1927 as the huge front doors were unlocked and Rev. Brandt led the congregation singing into the new building. Total cost of the new church and furnishings was $169,000.

Through the years many things have been added to the church: side pews, the communion rail, stained-glass windows, the carillon, the Schantz pipe organ, and a cross for the steeple. In 1960 the Educational Unit, built where the former Parish Hall/School stood, was dedicated. The elevator and lobby area were added in 1979.


The 125th anniversary of St. John Lutheran Church was celebrated in 1994. The grounds surrounding the church were landscaped, and a new sound system was installed in honor of the occasion.

In 1997, a new heating system was installed in the church, plus air conditioning in the church, memorial lounge, and the social room in the educational unit. The following year, the congregation voted to have masonry restoration of the bell in the bell tower, so it will once again toll freely.

The 150th anniversary of St. John Lutheran Church was celebrated in 2019. We dedicated our new digital sign, and collected donations the interior Restoration of the sanctuary. 



The beauty of our buildings cannot compete with the people within when they allow the love of Christ to shine through their words and their works.




1867-1871 Rev. Christopher Rath
1871-1873 Rev. William Rein
1873-1901 Rev. Julius Bauch
1902-1913 Rev. O.M. Bartz
1913-1947 Rev. Benjamin F. Brandt
1944-1951 Pastor Herman F. Heidmann
1951-1968 Pastor G.F. Shoup
1963-1965 Pastor R.D. Erikson, Associate
1966-1971 Pastor Norman P. Wang, Associate
1970-1979 Pastor Harold C. Rust
1974-1976 Pastor D.E. Matuschek, Associate
1979-1993 Pastor Jon M. Bell
1980-1987 Pastor Mark A. Weirich, Associate
1988-1989 Pastor Douglas Hahn, Associate
1987-2002 Pastor Richard W. Powell (retired), Visitation
1990-1993 Pastor Karen E. Stiles, Associate
1994-2004 Pastor William B. Diehm
(installed on the 125th Anniversary)
1995-2004 Pastor Ralph L. Wolfe, Associate
2005-2011 Pastor Keith A. Hunsinger
2006-2012 Pastor David J. Tinker, Associate
2013-2016 Pastor John D. Stirewalt
2021 -  Pastor Becky V. Bolander

(Most of the information was taken from "Marshland to Heartland' publication - Volume 32, Number 3)

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Northwestern Ohio Synod Stephen Ministries