May 4, 2022

 

 

Zion Lutheran says goodbye to long-time pastor

 

news photo

Pastor John Davenport, with his wife Lynn, began serving at Zion Lutheran in 1995. Zion Lutheran Church Photo

Pastor John Davenport retires after more than 26 years

By KELSI DAVIDSON

Pastor John Davenport retired Sunday after serving the Georgetown community at Zion Lutheran Church in Walburg since 1995. 

Mr. Davenport was born and raised in Austin. He graduated high school in Del Valle and from college at the University of Texas. He then went to seminary in St. Louis before serving as a pastor in McAllen, from 1983-1988.

While he preached in McAllen, Mr. Davenport became a chaplain reservist before entering the Air Force full time in 1988.

 “I loved being a pastor in uniform,” he said. “It was awesome having a chance to represent my faith family in the larger brotherhood and sisterhood of the Air Force.” 

Near the end of 1995, Mr. Davenport accepted a position at Zion Lutheran Church in Georgetown, and moved to town with his wife and three young children. His two older children entered Zion’s school immediately, with his two-year-old joining the pre-k as soon as he was old enough.

 “Our kiddos grew up on the campus,” he said, and the whole family lived on church property for 20 years.

When Pastor Davenport began at Zion, there were two identical services once a week, and the school served about 150 students. Enrollment is now nearing 250, and the church is finding more space for more students, as well as building a new worship center that is quickly filling.

“It’s a good problem to have,” he said. 

Zion now also offers a variety of services, both traditional and modern. Mr. Davenport attributes the growth of the school to the wisdom of the principal, Thomas Wrege. For the growth and expansion of the church. He credits Marc Profant, the director of worship and music. 

“This is the house that Marc built,” he said.

Mr. Davenport delivered his last sermon this Sunday, May 1. He said he is excited for retirement, but also expressed how deeply he will miss the people and the church. 

“Zion is a remarkable place in terms of worship style, in terms of staff, in terms of facilities,” he said. “Zion is so blessed to be where she is today.”

Mr. Davenport talked about how amazing it has been to see the growth of the church, and the growth of people’s spiritual depth, “their capacity to use faith as a plank in their platform” and their ability “to live out their faith.”

Mr. Davenport and his wife will be taking a step back from the church “for a season” to allow the new leadership to find the same home he and his family did so many years ago. 

“The church needs to be anchored in the Lord Jesus, and not in one person that comes and goes,” he said. 

“I am excited about the history of Zion, but I am so excited about the possibilities of Zion. Her best days are in front of her. It’s been an honor to serve these good folks, and I am eager to see what God has in store for them.”

As for Mr. Davenport, he looks forward to the days ahead for himself as well. He and his wife will now be able to travel and visit family more often. He looks forward to reading for pleasure and is even considering substitute teaching in the future. 

“People ask me what I’m doing next,” he said. “I tell them, ‘Whatever I want!’ ”

Mr. Davenport remembered his first day at Zion when the old pastor turned to him and his family, fresh from military life with three kids ages 10 and under, and said, “Pastor Davenport, welcome home.” 

“That meant a whole lot,” he said. “It’s probably in the back of my mind even now.  Zion is not a perfect place, but it absolutely is a Grace place. Grace makes all the difference.”