A Historical Sketch – 1995-2018
2011: Pastor Tony Minear and Pastor Katie Jo Fuller were installed at St. John Church on January 16 th .
Associate Pastor Katie Jo Fuller became the first female settled pastor to serve St. John Church. On January
23 rd St. John’s Community Care celebrated their 25 th Anniversary with a gala celebration at the Gateway Center.
Biker Sunday was a new event on July 7 th …first church, then a ride, and lunch! The Board of Christian
Education name was changed to Youth Ministries in June. The Evening Circle celebrated 70 years of service,
and the Women’s Guild disbanded.
2012: Spirit of Sharing or S.O.S. community outreach meal program began on June 7 th serving 15 patrons.
Associate Pastor Kathryn Johanna Fuller is ordained on January 22 nd in her home church, First Congregational
United Church of Christ, River Falls, Wisconsin. The Evangelism Committee is renamed as the Welcome
Team. HHH Summer Camp began with feeding lunch for local needy children. The congregation approved a
proposal to replace the sanctuary sound system and for the purchase of additional audio-visual equipment for
$54,000. Pastor Jim Donahue was named Minister in Residence.
2013: St. John’s Community Care Adult Day Care program opened a new site in Edwardsville. Pastor Linda
Coulson returned to temporarily serve as Pastor of Visitation. On July 21 st Heritage Sunday was celebrated and
Pastor Emeritus Donald Sabbert was the guest speaker. The Governance Task Force was formed to develop a
framework for a more efficient and effective model of running a church.
2014: Learning Tree Preschool is voted #1 preschool in the Collinsville area. In July, Pastor Tony Minear
performed a same-sex marriage off campus. In September a special congregational meeting was held to
discuss the constitutionality of Pastor Minear’s actions. St. John’s Community Care sponsors “Senior Moments
2015: Congregation participates in Conflict Transformation Process with help from Rev. Mike Southcomb and
the Illinois South Conference. WWJD or Women Wine Jesus Devotion begins on January 18 th at the Villa
Marie Winery. Faith in Action moves into the former Seminary Apartments. Learning Tree Preschool
celebrates 40 years. Sue Blumberg retires after 25 years of service as the church office coordinator. Dr. Todd
Pettit resigns after 8 years as Director of Music Ministries. St. John’s Community Care celebrates 30 years of
2016: Pastor Tony Minear resigns in October with an effective date of January 31, 2017. In April, Tom Doctor
is hired to become the Director of Music Ministries.
2017: Dr. Marvin Morgan is called to St. John Church as Intentional Interim Senior Pastor. Amy Rhymer is
hired as church receptionist/pastor’s assistant, as well as John Hawn as Director of Music Ministries.
Transition Committee is formed to assess the past and lead us to consider the future direction of St. John
Church. Pastor Donahue became a supply pastor for area churches.
2018: Congregation approves the sale of the former Seminary Street property to Faith in Action. Bill Yanousek
retires as Superintendent of St. John Cemetery after 45 years of service. Transition Team presented a thought
provoking skit entitled, “Who Will Fill my Shoes?” A consultant was hired to determine if a Capital Campaign
is needed. Meetings and discussions were held regarding the word “evangelical” in our name. A new digital
sign was purchased with excess funds from the Charity Auction.
Blessings from the Past – Opportunities for the Future
A Historical Sketch – 1995-2018
1995: The position of Coordinator of Volunteer Ministries was established and Don Shaffner was hired
to fill the position. On March 26 th the first of the Extra Step Offerings, with One Great Hour of Sharing,
Emmaus Homes, and Hoyleton Children’s Home being the beneficiaries. May 12 th the Women’s Guild,
Evening Circle, and Men’s Fellowship sponsored a Charity Dinner. Children’s Church, a new program,
began on September 10 th . The thought behind the program was establishing a tradition of worship and
nurturing the faith.
1996: Starting Over, a six-part support program for recently widowed people was begun. The Board of
Christian Education and the Learning Tree Preschool hosted an Appreciation Dinner for the teaching
staff. Earl Turner, long time Sunday School teacher was honored for his service. On May 17 th , Pastor
Stabenfeldt graduated from Eden Seminary with his Doctor of Ministry degree and the congregation
celebrated with him. The Learning Tree Preschool completed its 20 th year of service and celebrated this
milestone in the June 30 th service. The first classes in 1976 had 43 students and in 1996 there were 156
1997: A memoriam gift of white stoles was given to the pastors to be worn for Easter and Christmas
seasons. After 9 years of dedicated service as Director of Music, Karen Cliff resigned to become Music
Director of St. Paul’s UCC in Oakville, MO. Karen was honored at a farewell reception on July 20 th . On
Reformation Sunday, October 26 th , sixteen new members joined the church.
1998: The Long Range Planning Committee presented plans for the Centennial Addition. Mitzi
Montgomery was hired as Director of Music. Pastor Sabbert celebrated his 30 th year at St. John Church.
Funding for Collinsville Faith in Action began with a $2500 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson
1999: The Music Committee selected a new hymnal for the congregation, The Worshipping Church.
Capital Stewardship Program brought in gifts and pledges of $974,300. Using memorial gifts, the Altar
Committee purchased Kerry Oil Candles for the altar, standing candelabra, and wall sconces. An
Intergenerational Building Project Committee was appointed by the Church Council.
2000: On November 19 th the Centennial Addition was dedicated, making all levels of the church and
educational building handicapped accessible. The congregation held concentrated presentations
regarding the ordination of homosexuals and same-sex unions. On November 26 th , ground was broken
for the building that now houses our Home and Community Care program. The Intergenerational
Building Committee (now called Faith Hall) worked on plans for a new facility. Don Shaffner, the first
Coordinator of Volunteer Ministries, retired after 5 years of service.
2001: Home and Community Care Building was completed and dedicated on November 4 th . Don
Shaffner’s former position of Coordinator of Volunteer Ministries was evaluated and two part-time
professionals were hired: Vicki Donovan to lead the new Rotation Model Sunday School Program and
Christy Pursell to become Coordinator of Volunteer Ministries.
2002: An “Ecumenical Event” featuring representatives from the Bahai, Islam, Judasim, and Christian
religions was sponsored by St. John Church. Special thanks to the Christy Pursell, Coordinator of
Volunteer Ministries. An auction was held by the St. John Outreach Committee for the benefit of the
Sunday School and St. John Community Haven Program. In April, the church had a Confirmation
Reunion. Former Pastors participated in the service, which was followed by a covered dish dinner and
2003: May 25 th saw the retirement of Pastor Donald Sabbert. His ministry which spanned from 1968
through 2003 was celebrated with many events. In the fall, Dr. David Beebe arrived as Intentional
Interim Minister. Pastor David Stabenfeldt had back surgery due to an accident. Adjustments were
made during this time of injury, surgery, and recuperation.
In 2004: A Transition Committee was appointed to work with Dr. Beebe. The committee first reviewed
the historical past of St. John Church, and then worked to design a self-study of the congregation. Focus
group meetings were formed to determine the future of the church. A Search Committee was selected to
choose a new Senior Pastor. Ground breaking services were held for Faith Hall. Pastor Stabenfeldt
celebrated 25 years as Associative Pastor of St. John Church.
2005: Faith Hall was dedicated on July 17 th completing the final phase of the Centennial Long Range
Plan (Our Vision, Our Faith, Our Future). On August 17 th Pastor David Stabenfeldt filled one of the Co-
Pastor positions. Dana Callahan was hired as the Faith Hall Director on September 9 th . Faith Hall
walking program began on November 1 st . Rick Skelton was recognized for 20 years of service as
custodian of St. John Church. He was presented with the “Keeper of the Keys” sash during the service.
2006: The Contemporary Worship Committee held its first Mosaic service on January 27 th in Faith Hall.
In February, Rev. David Schnepf accepted the call as Co-Pastor. The Happy Wanderers Group was
formed. Retired Pastor Donald Sabbert and the late Rev. Christian Kuhlmann were honored as Pastor
Emeritus of St. John Church on October 1 st in a special church service.
2007: On January 9 th , the outreach ministry Homework, Help, and Hoops began. Directed by Dana
Callahan and many volunteers from the church, many students from Unit 10 were tutored weekly.
2008: Pastor Schnepf resigned in May and Pastor Stabenfeldt resigned in September. Both accepted
other positions. In October, Rev. Tom O’Connor and Rev. Linda Coulson were appointed as Interim
Senior Pastor and Associate Pastor respectively. Transition and Search Committees were formed. On
June 1 st Todd Pettit was selected as the Director of Music upon the retirement of Mitzi Montgomery.
2009: In September, St. John’s Cemetery celebrated 100 years of service to the church and the
community with a celebration at the cemetery. JoAnn Barger was recognized for her 40 years of
dedicated service to the ministering of children in the Sunday School. The St. John library celebrated its
50 th Anniversary. The Search Committee began a nationwide search to find a Senior pastor. Dana
Callahan took over the role of Director of the Sunday School in September.
2010: Christy Pursell resigned her staff position as Shared Ministry Coordinator in May. On August 27 th
Pastor Tony Minear accepted the call of Senior Pastor. Pastor Katie Jo Fuller was hired as the Acting
Assistant Pastor. Shirley Highlander, the Learning Tree Preschool Founding Director, retired after 34
years. Homecoming/Rally Day was held outdoors under a tent for 350 people on September 12 th . St.
John church participated in the Collinsville Christmas Open House Tour in December.
1970: The Congregation voted to buy the Rader property on the corner of Clay and Goethe Streets
1970: April 1 st brought Rev. David W. Groenemann of St. Charles, Missouri to St. John Church as an
Associate Pastor. He, his wife Joy, and daughters Anne, Lynn, and Lisa were welcomed at a tea on
April 5 th and followed by the installation of Rev. Groenemann on May 3 rd .
1970: In May, 200 graduates from Collinsville High School were honored at a baccalaureate service,
using the theme, “Bridge over Troubled Waters”.
1971: Ordination of son of the church Robert Blumberg into the Christian ministry on June 13 th . June
20 th marked Bill Hart’s 20 th year as organist. Rev. Sabbert presented Choir service pins to Earl Best,
Tillie Rebeck, Beulah Stephens, Marceline Booth, Irene Kunnemann, Bernice and Floyd Sperino.
1972: On June 24 th , a special service of recognition observed Rev. Kuhlmann’s 50 th Anniversary of his
ordination into the Christian ministry. In July, Mr. L.P. Whitlock received special recognition as
custodian upon his retirement.
1973: The duplex parsonage was sold for $61,500. This money, added to the building fund receipts
of $99, 298 allowed St. John Church to reach its goal of “debt free in 73!”
1974: The burning of the mortgage on the Church sanctuary was celebrated on April 21 st leaving a
debt-free status. In May, the congregation voted to proceed with building plans for the education
building at a cost of $500,000. Groundbreaking ceremonies for the educational building were held
on December 15 th . The Women’s Guild celebrated its 80 th Anniversary.
1975: Cornerstone laying ceremonies for the new Education Building were held between services on
June 15 th at the southwest corner of the new building. Pastor Emeritus C. H. Kuhlmann passed away.
He was buried in the family plot in St. Marcus Cemetery in St. Louis, Missouri. The Education
Building, which cost $485,000 was dedicated on November 23 rd . Hearing aid devices were installed
in the sanctuary. The Healing Community Board was founded.
1976: Learning Tree Preschool opened its doors to its first 43 students. Shirley Highlander was the
first Director. This same year saw the first Maundy Thursday portrayals of the Last Supper by the
men of the congregation.
1978: Participation of laity persons in church service. St. John Church helps organize “Meals on
Wheels” on January 2 nd . Announcement of the Otto J. Trautwein gift to the church of about
$359,000. Otto was confirmed in 1898 – just four years after the church was organized. St. John
church members joined other churches in participating in Meals-On -Wheels, a service offered to
persons unable to provide meals for themselves. Rev. David Groenemann submitted his resignation
as Associate Pastor to serve as Pastor of the First Congregational Church in Austin, Minnesota. After
8 ½ years, Rev. Groenemann preached his final sermon and was celebrated with a potluck dinner
and an evening of humor, appreciation, and tributes to Dave and his family.
1979: Rev. Sabbert earned a Master of Divinity degree from Eden Theological Seminary in June. In
recognition of this achievement and with appreciation for his spiritual leadership, he was honored
with a reception on July 8 th . Rev. Sabbert was presented with a 1978 Chevrolet Station Wagon.
1979: Rev. David Stabenfeldt was called to St. John church as Associate Pastor in September. The
congregation welcomed him, his wife Pam, and son Joshua, when he gave his first sermon here on
December 9 th . The young people of the church enjoyed many mission trips with Dave and the Youth
sponsors. Pam became a valuable employee of Home and Community Care and member of the bells.
Joshua, Sarah, and Rachel grew up in this church.
1980: In March, the congregation voted to purchase the Welle property adjacent to the church
costing $48,000 and the Harrison property on Seminary street for $30,000. Organization of
Clowning for Christ group. In September, the church celebrated the 200 th birthday of the Sunday
School with a performance by the Clowning for Christ group, a picnic, and evening entertainment.
1981: St. John Church assumed co-sponsorship of a Cambodian refugee family with the First
Presbyterian Church, Collinsville, and the UCC, St. Jacob, Illinois. A Cherub Choir (36 young voices)
was formed with Mary Ferguson serving as Director. Bill Hart was honored for his 30 years of
service as organist. The local Food Pantry was established by the Ministerial Alliance of Collinsville
1982: The establishment of a $20,000 Endowment from the Trautwein Estate for a scholarship at
Eden Seminary. January 31 st , church services were cancelled due to the worst snowstorm in 70 years.
1983: The church celebrated the 20 th Anniversary of the Dedication of the sanctuary on May 1 st . Rev.
Russell Miller, pastor at the time of the dedication in 1963, was the guest speaker. On September
27 th , a surprise event overwhelmed Rev. Sabbert and his wife Anne while honoring his 20 th year of
ordination, and his 15 years as Pastor of St. John Church, the 20 th anniversary of his graduation from
Eden Seminary, and their marriage! A meal was served and choirs presented a music program.
1984: The 90 th Anniversary of the Church was celebrated. Dedication of west wing, which gave
elevator service to Fellowship Hall, and added a choir room and street level rest rooms.
1985: Homebound Care (now known as St. John’s Community Care) was established. Karen Odle
was the first Executive Director. Chris and Al Jones retired and Rick Skelton was hired in July as
1989: St. John’s Historical Committee held its first official meeting. Microfilming of the church
records was completed.
1990: On October 28 th , Joyce Skelton retired as church secretary. She was recognized during a
church service for her 26 years of efficient and loving work in all areas of the church. Joyce and
husband Rich have many memories as her position of secretary served through five ministers. Sue
Blumberg became the new secretary. Pastors Sabbert and Stabenfeldt received a note of thanks from
Anderson Hospital for participating in the Chaplaincy Program. The Caring Team, a newly formed
group of church folk, supplement the pastors’ visits to the shut ins.
1994: 100 th Anniversary of St. John Church was celebrated throughout the year: special programs,
Celebration dinner and entertainment at SIUE Meridian Ballroom for 600 people – St. Louis
Cardinal catcher Darrell Porter was the Keynote Speaker. A special hardcover anniversary book was
Sunday, December 2nd
1 st Sunday of Advent – with Communion
9:00 am Traditional Worship
10:30 am Mosaic Worship
Sunday, December 9th
2nd Sunday of Advent
9:00 am Traditional Worship
10:30 am Mosaic Worship
Sunday, December 16th
3rd Sunday of Advent
9:30 am Blended Worship – Christmas Cantata
Sanctuary Choir & Children of St. John
Friday, December 21 st 7:00 pm
The Longest Night Worship
Reflective service honoring memories of loved ones and the hope
brought with the birth of the Christ Child.
Sunday, December 23rd
4th Sunday of Advent
9:00 am Traditional Worship
10:30 am Mosaic Worship
Monday, December 24th
Christmas Eve Worship with Communion and candlelit “Silent
4:30 pm Mosaic Worship
6:30 pm Traditional Worship
11:00 pm Traditional Worship
Giving Tree – Junior and Senior High Youth Group is Sponsoring
The Giving Tree, located in the Narthex. Each tag contains information about a
child and their designated Family #. You will take the tag off the tree and sign
your name on the sign-up sheets at the designated number. All gifts will need
to be wrapped with the tag attached and delivered to the church by December
9. The youth and teachers will be assisting. If you have any questions or if you
have a local family you know of in need, please contact Ginger Schantz at
email@example.com. Thanks for all your support!
Each December, the Sunday School children collect mittens and hats for
the children from Hoyleton and Kindercottage Ministries. There is a
Mitten Tree located in the Lounge Area across from the Parlor and in
front of the Preschool Office (the old Sunday School Office) on the
lower level of the Education Building.
Please consider donating to our Giving or Mitten Trees this year. Both trees are located in the Narthex. Giving Trees will have tags you can take and bring back with gits for a family in need, Mittens will be delivered to Kindercottage in East St Louis.
Adult Bible Study Options are below
Join Pastor Katie Jo for an 11-week Bible study about the book of Daniel from the Old Testament. Daniel lives his life as a follower of God in the secular world of Babylon. The Bible study will be on Mondays at 1pm in the Parlor starting September 10 through November 19. Bring your Bible.
Please join Pastor Morgan every other Wednesday evening for Bible Study. We will meet in Fellowship Hall at 6:00 pm. Light refreshments will be served.