St. John Lutheran
"Greetings in the name of Christ crucified. That's what we
confess, preach, and teach here at St. John Lutheran
Church: Christ crucified. Jesus was crucified because our
sin needed to be punished. Instead of punishing us for our
sin, God punished His very own Son and set you free. As
you look at my photos, you can see that life changes us.
God also changes us. I never thought that serving a
congregation as a pastor would ever be part of my life. But
it has been for more than six years."
Howard Jess Gleason was born on February 8, 1953 and
passed away on January 22, 2013. He was baptized on April
5, 1953. Howard grew up in Michigan as part of a
step-family. His church upbringing was strong Baptist with
lots of strong law. He didn't date much because he couldn't
go anywhere or do anything. Dancing was a sin. Going to
movies was a sin. So was playing cards.
Pastor Gleason married my high school sweetheart, Diana,
at an early age, left home, and left the church. Eight years
as a submariner in the Nuclear Navy took them all over the
United States and parts of the Pacific. During that time, they were blessed with two
children: Andrea Diana and Howard Jr. But no church. No presence of God in his
children's life. After the Navy, we settled in Two Rivers,
Wisconsin, where he went to work for Wisconsin Electric
Power Company at their Point Beach Nuclear Plant.
Howard's wife felt that they should get back to church.
He wasn't so sure. They did. He didn't. But, God sent
Pastor Kenneth Dowdy to their house.
Pastor Dowdy was the pastor of Good Shepherd Lutheran
Church there in Two Rivers. That is where his wife and
two children were going. In their discussion, Howard told
pastor Dowdy that he smoked and drank, he played
cards, danced, and went to movies. "God wouldn't want
me. I'm not good enough," he said. Pastor Dowdy replied
In 1990, his daughter was in college and his son was a junior in high school. At that time,
Pastor Gleason knew in his heart that God was calling him into the ministry. The next
year, he enrolled in the seminary at St. Louis, Missouri. Howard served his vicarage at
Grace Lutheran Mission in Cloverdale, Indiana. They called him back as their first
pastor in 1995. God blessed the Gleason family greatly at Grace. Grace built its first
facility in 1998 and continues to do Word and sacrament ministry.
In July of 2001, God's people at St. John Lutheran in Burlington, Illinois called Pastor
Howard Gleason to serve them as their pastor. He accepted the call and was installed at
a beautiful service on the afternoon of August 5, 2001. God has brought us together to
reach out and share the Good News of Jesus with the world...that includes you.
Pastor Gleason faithfully served his Lord in his ministry, in his personal life, and with his
family. He was a caring, loving man who sought to show the world the love of God in all
that he did. He will be greatly missed.
"Come to worship so you can hear how God loves you. There are no qualifications." God
brought me back into his church and so my life as a Lutheran began. For the next ten
years I was involved in all aspects of Good Shepard Lutheran Chuch.