St. John Lutheran Church was organized as a congregation on December 12, 1954, with a charter membership of 72. For five years, the congregation worshipped in temporary quarters, most of the time in the cafeteria of what is now Kailua Intermediate School. In November of 1959, ground was broken on our present 2 ½ acre site. On June 5, 1960, the multi-purpose educational unit of St. John was complete. In 1966, an additional classroom wing was added, and the sanctuary was expanded in 1971. In 1988, we hired an interior designer who helped us redesign the sanctuary and overflow area to create more meeting and better worship space.
In 2005, after a significant fund raising effort, we were forced to abandon plans for a new sanctuary on the Makai side of our site due to escalating bid prices. In the years that followed we shifted our planning to a more affordable new community hall and office space. On March 28, 2015 we broke ground for what is now known as Grace Hall. On November 8, 2015 the first meal was served in Grace Hall to a group of homeless families, as we hosted our quarterly participation in the Family Promise Program.
St. John Lutheran Church has been served by many gifted pastors through the course of its history:
Rev. Franklin Swanson ~ 1954-1959
Rev. E. Gene Vosseler ~ 1959-1968
Rev. Ralph A. Carlson ~ 1968-1972
Rev. John C. Wetzel ~ 1972-1977
Rev. Russell A. Bolm ~ 1977-1982
Rev. Bruce P. Craft ~ 1982-1999
Rev. Kathryn A. Schlechter ~ 1994-1996
Rev. Karla M. Lundgren ~ 2000-2006
Rev. R. Kevin Kline ~ 2008-2014
Rev. Kathryn Zurcher ~ 2014 to present
Throughout the history of our congregation, we have continually strived to uphold and nurture our children and youth as they grow in the journey of faith. St. John has participated in the work of the Windward Coalition of Churches and also supported countless community organizations and ministries, including the Spouse Abuse Shelter, Family Promise, the Food Pantry and Wounded Warriors. We have also supported the ministries of our Synod and national church and have helped train, nurture and develop at least a dozen intern pastors for service. In addition, an important part of St. John’s ministry over the years has been to reach out and invite those serving in the military on O’ahu, welcoming them as part of our family of faith. In return, we have been richly blessed by their presence and their unique and varied gifts.