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Saint James Lutheran Church Calls Pastor John Locke to Lead Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) Congregation in Fayetteville, NC.

Fayetteville, NC, December 04, 2014 --( The congregation of Saint James Lutheran Church voted to call Pastor John Locke as its pastor. He joined the congregation on Monday, October 6, 2014, according to Gary Crecelius, congregation council president. He was installed on Saturday, November 29, 2014 at 2:00 p.m. at Saint James, with a reception following the ceremony.

“We are very excited for Pastor Locke to join our congregation and guide us on our spiritual journey at Saint James,” Crecelius said. “He is compassionate and humble. He is a gifted preacher, teacher, mentor, and counselor. These are essential qualities for a pastor leading a unique congregation representing both North Carolina natives and military families that may only call Fayetteville home for a few years.” Saint James has about 350 members and is the only Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) congregation in the city of Fayetteville, home to Fort Bragg. “We are honored by his acceptance of our congregation's call and look forward to our walk together in Christ,” continued Crecelius.

Pastor Locke grew up in Catawba County, NC and graduated from the University of North Carolina (UNC)-Chapel Hill in 1977. After 20 years working in the family business, he followed God's call to seminary and attended Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in Columbia SC, graduating and being ordained in 2005. Prior to his call at Saint James, he served as Pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church in Vale, NC for nine years. He is married to Anna Lisa Johannessen, and together they have five adult children and two wonderful grandchildren.

“God has called me as a second career pastor to lead, teach, preach, and walk with a congregation in their individual and collective callings,” said Locke. “My wife and I were drawn to Saint James because of the sense of spirituality and faithfulness that we felt among the people we had met. Our initial impression of St. James as a congregation where people want to be involved and want to be the church, not simply attend a church service, is proving to be true. We feel God's call to be involved in God's mission to the Fayetteville community and the world through the people of Saint James Lutheran Church.”

Pastor Locke is currently a member of the Synod Council of the North Carolina Synod ELCA and participates in the Convocation Planning Team. He is a past member of the Lincoln County Ministerial Association and served as its liaison to the board of Christian Ministry for Lincoln County.

Saint James partnered with the North Carolina Synod to manage the 18-month call process, led by an eight-member Call Committee. As part of this process, a congregational study was conducted that identified the needs and vision of the congregation. Pastor Locke succeeds Pastor Louise C. Hilbert, who retired in May 2013 after 14 years of ministry at Saint James. The Reverend Terry Dorsey served as interim pastor since Pastor Hilbert's retirement and up until Pastor Locke's call to serve at Saint James.

Saint James Lutheran Church invites all to worship with Holy communion for all baptized on Sunday mornings at 10:00 a.m. Coffee and connectivity begins at 8:30 a.m. with Sunday School for all ages at 9:00 a.m. To learn more, visit, email or call (910) 484-8052.

About Saint James Lutheran Church

Founded in 1936, Saint James Lutheran Church is the only Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) church in the greater Fayetteville area. Our mission is to spread Christ's message of love, forgiveness and reconciliation. We are a community of disciples seeking to live out our faith in our daily lives. We worship, study, serve, give, pray, encourage and invite others to be a part of this exciting path of discipleship. All are welcome in this place. Learn more at

Contact Information:

Krista K. Sabol


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Saint James Lutheran Church

Communications Ministry

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Geographic Code:1U5NC
Date:Dec 4, 2014
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