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.