Rev. John Guest retires from Christ Curch at Grove Farm

christ church at Grove Farm congregants gather with Rev. John Guest and his wife Kathie prior to his final sermon. Photo by Tom Steiner for The Citizen

Rev. John Guest, senior pastor and rector of Christ Church at Grove Farm delivered farewell comments, along with his final sermon, to congregants on Sunday, Dec. 26, ending his work in those positions he has held for nearly the entire 15 years that the church has existed in its Duff Road location.

The Ohio Township church was formed in 1995 with approximately 120 people worshiping each week. Under Dr. Guest's leadership, attendance has grown to four Sunday morning services with the current participation of more than 1,500 people.

Dr. Guest was born and raised in Oxford, England, "…just an ordinary lad from London," as he described himself in his farewell remarks. At the age of 18, while studying to be an engineer, he attended a Billy Graham crusade and committed his life to Christ. Shortly following his ordination, he moved to the United States as part of a Christian rock band, “The Exkursions.”

He began his ministry in Pittsburgh nearly 40 years ago, serving as youth pastor and then, shortly thereafter, as senior pastor and rector of Sewickley's St. Stephens Episcopal Church for more than 20 years.

As co-founder of Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry (TESM), Guest had the opportunity to influence the Episcopal Diocese in Pittsburgh. During a very turbulent time in the Episcopal Church, he held firmly to conservative Biblical values and helped to establish a reforming influence nationwide.

Guest has authored 10 books on the Christian lifestyle and is currently working on his memoirs. In addition, his Sunday morning messages have been broadcast on the WORD FM, “LifeFOCUS with John Guest” radio ministry for a number of years.

He also participated in the Lausanne Committee on World Evangelism and co-founded the South American Missionary Society. Additionally, he helped found the Coalition for Christian Outreach (CCO), a ministry designed to support and equip young Christian college students. That organization stills exists today, reaching out to more than 84 colleges in Pennsylvania, as well as several nearby states.

In his final address as pastor, Guest noted, "Stepping down from leadership is a major transition for us all."

Working through that transition, Phyllis and Jim Franks of Ohio Township, 10-year members of the church, hold fond memories of their pastor.

"John is a visionary, an incredible evangelist who has preached all over the world and cares about people like none other. Every person he meets is no more important than the next. We have been blessed to have him as our pastor and friend and will miss him like crazy, but wish John and Kathie a happy, relaxing, and adventurous retirement," Phyllis said.

Guest will continue to serve as minister-at-large with the church, and he has accepted the position of seasonal chaplain at Ocean Reef Community in the Florida Keys.

In closing remarks in a letter he recently sent to his congregation Dr. Guest wrote, "Christ Church at Grove Farm will remain our spiritual home. Kathie and I plan to remain members of our church and worship here when we are in town. And, I will welcome the opportunity to be back in our pulpit from time to time. Our prayer is for the Lord to continue to bless our church ministries and all of our dear friends. Thank you for the opportunity to serve you. God bless you."

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