Rev. John Holst has been a part of the ministerial staff of five United Church of Christ churches in the Midwest. He joined the congregation at Zion United Church of Christ in Marion on February 16, 2009. Pastor John is committed to parish ministry because he believes congregations are the primary conduit God has given us to participate in God’s work in the world. John says living as a Christian is joyful, challenging, perplexing, and at times risky way to live one’s life. He has said he feels blessed to guide others on their Christian journey.
John and his wife Sara have lived in Illinois most of their lives, venturing out twice to neighboring states to offer pastoral leadership to congregations in the Minneapolis and St. Louis, though they consider Illinois home. John and Sara grew up in a loving congregation in Moline, IL at First Congregational Church, which nurtured them into ministry. In 1985 that Moline congregation chose them to be short term missionaries to Dumagete, Philippines. Since then John and Sara, an early childhood educator, have led mission experiences across the United States, Haiti and the Dominican Republic .
John graduated from the University of Illinois in Springfield (B.A.) and Chicago Theological Seminary (M.Div). Rev. Holst was chosen to be part of the Robert Schuler Institute of Preaching in 2005.
John has been an active member of the Marion Ministerial Alliance and the Boyton Street Community Center. He is called to serve the working poor. He has offered leadership to three Habitat for Humanity Boards overseeing the build of 14 homes. He has also served two terms on the Conference Council of the Illinois South Conference, United Church of Christ.
Each summer since high school John becomes Pastor Skippy for a week or two at a United Church of Christ church camp leading high school adventure camps to places like the Canadian boundary waters, Starved Rock State Park for technical rock climbing and repelling, wilderness camping all over the Midwest, or on mission trips to places like Back Bay Mission, John’s Island, or Haiti.
John loves to spend time with his wife, family and friends relaxing in the backyard. He considers himself a pretty good cook and gardener, and when he finds time he loves to hit that little white ball around with his friends.
Choir Director Diane Lazorchak
Zion’s Choir Director, Diane Lazorchak, is deeply rooted in Zion’s history. She is a fifth generation descendent of Charter Member, John Kaeser. She is also the great, great niece of Zion’s first pastor, the Rev. Edward Schweizer. Diane started directing the choir in 1986. She also directs Zion’s Instrumental Ensemble, has served as Interim Bell Choir Director, and has directed numerous Christmas cantatas and children’s musicals. She is the mother of two very active adult children and is a high school math teacher. She invites and encourages anyone who likes to sing to join in the fun and fellowship of singing in the choir. She only asks that “you sing a note on the page and make a joyful noise unto the Lord!”
Bell Choir Director Gail Jones
Gail was one of the charter members of the bell choir in 1991, and began directing the choir in approx. 2002. She believes that music plays a vital role in enhancing each person’s worship experience, and she hopes you'll come join in that experience!