KENDALLVILLE — A native of Fort Wayne, the Rev. Philip Rigdon will be installed as senior pastor of St. John Lutheran Church today at 2:30 p.m.
The church and school are located at 301 S. Oak St., Kendallville.
Responding to God’s call, Pastor Rigdon, 46, and his wife Jamelyn left the Sunshine State for northeast Indiana.
“The Lord made it clear to us that he wanted us to serve here and St. John extended to us a call,” he said. “It’s nice to be here.”
His initial goals are to get to know the people of St. John and learn more about where St. John is coming from and its opportunities.
“I’d like to reach out to the members who aren’t active right now,” he said. “We’d like to work on building up the congregation and the school.”
Providing preschool through 8th grade, St. John Lutheran School has about 175 students.
He was born in Fort Wayne and baptized at Bethlehem Lutheran Church where he was a member until taking his first call from the seminary.
He attended Bethlehem Lutheran Elementary, Concordia High School, also in Fort Wayne, and graduated from Concordia University Chicago with a degree in Lutheran secondary education: social science.
He served as a missionary and English language teacher in Taiwan, Republic of China, for 2 1/2 years, teaching at Concordia Middle School. Upon his return, he served Bethlehem Lutheran Church as Ministry of Outreach and then took a call there to teach middle and junior high school. During his tenure, he attended graduate school, earning a master degree in elementary education.
Hearing the Lord’s call, he entered Concordia Theological Seminary and completed his studies in May of 2008. He was ordained at Our Shepherd Lutheran Church and School in Avon, Indiana, where he served until October of 2015. Soon after arriving at Our Shepherd, he met his wife, Jamelyn, a native of Indianapolis. They were married in 2010.
Before coming to St. John, he served as senior pastor of First Lutheran Church and School in Clearwater, Florida.
He enjoys playing guitar, art, reading, exercise and coffee, and is also a published author. His works include “Under the Bridge to the Seeds of Light,” a fantasy adventure for young readers, and its sequel, “Lewis Warner Finds the Doom Prophet.” Both stories include Christian themes. He has also published with Concordia Publishing House. His monthly blog on Sunday School ministry appears at sundayschoolmatters.org/category/teaching-the-faith.
His latest book is “Jesus Cover to Cover,” a daily devotional highlighting the ministry of Jesus Christ in the Old Testament. All books are available directly from him.
“We are very happy to be here,” he said. “I am looking forward to meeting other members of the clergy. Kendallville is very beautiful and it’s just a nice place to be.”