Our History

Our History

In 1902, Rev. Curtis G. Stacy of Chicago canvassed the city of Joliet, at the direction of the home Mission, to see if there was adequate interest to start an English Lutheran Church.  At that time, all Lutheran churches in Joliet conducted worship in European languages of the immigrants.  In May 1903, Rev. Howard M. Heilman became the first Pastor of the new congregation named St. John First Evangelical Lutheran Church with a membership of 53.


On June 26, 1904, the Church council purchased two lots on Herkimer Street for $4,225.00.  The cornerstone for the new place of worship was laid on Sunday, August 4, 1907.  The interior was considered quite spacious with its seating capacity of 400, including the choir space.


Our Leadership

On October 26, 1928, the sudden death of Pastor Heilman left St. John without leadership for the first time in 25 years.  In December of 1928, a call was extended to Rev. G. Herman Cooper to lead the congregation.  Rev. Cooper remained at St. John until October of 1940 when he relocated to serve as a Chaplin in the United States Army.  At this time, Rev. William J. Boldt answered the call and was pastor at St. John until June, 1960.  On December 1, 1960 Rev. Donald L. Krueger filled the vacancy and remained at St. John until April of 1968.  The Rev. Lawrence T. Baietti joined St. John in August, 1968.


In the 1960's many vicars served their seminary internship at St. John, including the first woman vicar of the synod, Alice Morberg.


Rev. Robert L. Franklin came to St. John as pastor on July 18, 1973.  The year of 1978 was "Our Year of Decision" as members voted to relocate the church to the Plainfield area.  The original church building was sold to Joliet Township High School.  During construction of the new worship space, services were held at Crystal Lawn School.

The first service was held in the new building (located on the corner of Plainfield Road and Hennepin Drive on August 2, 1981..


In January of 1989, Pastor Peter Holmer began serving at St. John.  June of 1997, Pastor Linda Jarchow Jones was called to serve for our ever growing congregation.


A new Sunday School wing was constructed in 2003 along with enlarging our sanctuary and narthex. In March 2005, Pastor Jennifer Beamsley joined the church to focus on youth and family ministries.  The spring of 2006 Abundant Life Pastor Nichole Johnson and members of her congregation became a part of St. John Lutheran Church.  They brought with them a 17.5 acre parcel of land located on the corner of Caton Farm and Drauden Roads.

Pastor Robin Caldwell received her first call at St. John in January of 2013.  Her main focus includes adult and children's education and outreach. In July of 2017, after 29 years of service Pastor Peter Holmer retired as Senior Pastor. Pastor Jennifer Beamsley was called as Senior Pastor at a congregational meeting on November 19, 2017.   Pastor Evan Mayhew received his first call at St. John in May of 2018 with a focus on youth and young adult ministries.