Pastor’s Welcome

Aaron DeBenedetto


Greetings from the disciples of St. Johannes!

St. Johannes Lutheran Church (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, ELCA) is situated in the heart of Charleston’s tourist district. The City Market is two blocks away, and nationally acclaimed restaurants, hotels, and inns are a five-minute walk from the church. Horse-drawn carriages pass our doors many times each day. Gardens, tiny and lush, are a feast for the eyes.

But it hasn’t always been this way. A fire in 1838 destroyed practically the entire neighborhood. Homes were rebuilt, but for the next century it slowly decayed and became a slum. However, change eventually came. The mid-20th century saw the start of redevelopment. Ansonborough has been transformed – resurrected – to become the beautiful and hospitable place it is today.

Ansonborough’s history is like our own personal histories. Some of it is beautiful and we’re eager to share it; the slum-like parts bring shame, and we take pains to hide them. Each of us stands in need of transformation and resurrection also – maybe not through bricks, mortar, and stucco but healing and resurrection of body and spirit.

The congregation of St. Johannes has certainly had its ups and downs over the last 135-plus years. Through it all the congregation has listened to the stories of God’s mighty acts of love shown to the world most clearly in Jesus Christ. We intentionally call to mind all that God has done for us and hope is kindled anew: God still has new paths for us to travel.

We are committed to a ministry of hospitality through which we may share in word and deed the good news of God’s infinite mercy and love. We grow more excited each day about the ways God is leading this congregation to participate in God’s desire for transformation and healing in a world marred by violence and destruction.

We invite you to hear God’s stories with us, to share Christ’s holy meal, to learn to recognize God’s constant presence among us, to follow God into great and marvelous adventures of ministry in store for us.