Pastor John Matthews came to Grace Lutheran Church in the Fall of 2003, having formerly served congregations in Afton, Moorhead, and Brooklyn Park, Minnesota.
In addition to serving as a parish pastor since 1975, Pastor John was a US Army Reserve Chaplain in the 1980s. He has served as a Police Chaplain for various municipalities throughout his entire career, including Moorhead, Brooklyn Park, Burnsville, and Washington County. John has also served as an adjunct professor of religion at Augsburg University’s Rochester Campus for more than 15 years.
Pastor John’s area of graduate specialty is on the life and legacy of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a twentieth century German Lutheran pastor, theologian, and anti-Nazi dissident during World War II. His first book, Anxious Souls Will Ask . . . the Christ-Centered Spirituality of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, was published by Eerdmans in 2005. At the request of Lutheran University Press, Pastor John published his second book as part of their “Theology for Life” series: Bonhoeffer: A Brief Overview of the Life and Writings of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. (Lutheran University Press, 2011)
Beyond the parish ministry, Pastor John has been actively involved in the International Bonhoeffer Society, having served as the President of the English Language Section. He has also been deeply involved in Jewish-Christian relations for over 30 years, serving on the ELCA Consultative Panel for Lutheran-Jewish Relations between 1990-2000, as well as in Christian-Muslim relations, receiving the ‘Building Bridges’ award from the Islamic Resouce Group of Minnesota in 2015.
Pastor John is a graduate of Concordia College (Moorhead, MN), Luther Seminary (St. Paul, MN), having done post-graduate study at the International Center for Holocaust Education at Yad Vashem in Jersualem. John and his wife Patty have five children and 10 grandchildren.