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John Dorhauer
John Dorhauer
Conference Minister, Southwest Conference UCC


John Dorhauer was born and raised in St. Louis. The oldest of seven children, he always had a strong sense of call. He graduated from Cardinal Glennon College with a philosophy degree but ultimately decided that he was not called to be a Catholic priest. After he graduated, he entered a time of discernment. He explored teaching and considered missionary work.

As he prepared to become a Mary Knoll Missionary, he went to a wedding and met the woman who became his wife. Not long after his wedding, his brother in law made an observation that changed the course of his life. “He said to me, ‘…just because you are no longer Catholic, does not mean you are no longer called.’ It was one of those moments. As soon as he said it, I knew my life had changed again.”

"It was more than just a campus – it was our home."

John and his wife started looking at seminaries. “We decided that the only option available to us was a place that fit our beliefs. The moment we discovered the United Church of Christ we knew it was what we needed – it was exactly what we were looking for.”

John and his wife-who were expecting their first child – moved to campus in the summer of 1984. “My first class was Greek. I was absolutely enthralled. I was continuing what I felt was my life’s calling.”

His field education was transforming. “I knew I wanted to be a pastor. I had the opportunity to work for several amazing pastors. I intentionally chose mentors who had prophetic voices and pastoral care skills, specifically Rudy Raber, Nancy Livingston and Buck Jones.”

Both of John’s sons were born during his time at Eden. “It was a great place for our family and our boys. It became the place that everything I believed in was confirmed. I no longer felt like a renegade.”

John believes that Eden prepared him well for his calling. “Eden equipped me to interpret scripture and preach faithfully and with integrity – this is central to good ministry. Thanks to Eden, I learned how to preach well, to take a piece of scripture and find core truths…and to translate them into something meaningful.”

John and his family—including Molly, their third child—returned to the Eden campus while John served as the Associate Conference Minister for the St. Louis Association of the Missouri Mid-South Conference. “Eden is the place where I raised my kids. We spent three wonderful years here. It was more than just a campus – it was our home.”

In the spring of 2008, John became Conference Minister of the Southwest Conference, UCC.