Our previous pastor was Rev. Phyles. Raymond Phyles was born in Maryland in 1939. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Gettysburg College and his Bachelor of Divinity and Master of Divinity degrees from Lutheran College of Theology in Chicago. He further studied at Harvard Divinity School in Massachustts and George Wilhelms University in Germany. He served as pastor at Triumphant Cross Lutheran in Armouk, NY, before coming to Peabody to serve Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Beverly and finally St John in 1977. After serving our church for 31 years, he continued as pastor emeritus until his death in 2015. Previous pastors and their tenure with St John follow:
Prior to 1977, David Halmers, First Lutheran Church, Lynn, and David Gran, Gordon-Conwell student, had served as interim pastor and assistant pastor since 1974.
1973-1974 Daniel Leslie, Prince of Peace, Beverly, was our pastor a short time.
1969-1973 Donovan Hommen began serving while attending Boston University. Finnish language services were discontinued.
Prior to 1969, Rev. Westfield had served as our pastor. Duane Westfield (Aho) was very involved with the youth and while he was here, a boys’ basketball team was formed. His daughter Becky Comeau is currently an active member of St John. Others of Pastor Westfield’s offspring reside in the community.
1960-1963 Toivo Rosenberg. The merger which formed the Lutheran Church in America happened soon after he arrived.
1955-1960 Olaf Rankinen. English language services were begun.
1934-1955 Antii Kuusisto was called by three churches – our chuch and two Cape Ann churches.
1913-1934 Samuel Ronka served until his death in 1934.
1905-1913 Gabriel Lipsanen also served the Cape Ann congregations and the churches in Quincy and Allston.