Alfred Loaring-Clark was rector of Saint John's for 24 years, until his sudden death at the age of 51. Mr. Loaring-Clark died in March of 1952 and was buried in the chancel of Saint John's. Undoubtedly, those who knew "Tib" Loaring-Clark as their rector and friend are among "those who've been members since Central was a gravel road." But many others who subsequently have come to Saint John's are recipients of his legacy as well.

After the untimely death of Mr. Loaring-Clark in March of 1952, the Associate Rector, the Rev. Wallace M. Pennepacker, was appointed by the vestry to serve as acting rector and later called to succeed Mr. Loaring-Clark as rector. Penny, as he was affectionately known, was rector for 31 years, until his retirement in 1983. Penny continued his valued service in the diocese, including appointments as a Canon to the Bishop and as an Interim Rector. Following his second retirement in 1990, Penny was named Rector Emeritus. The Rev. Wallace Pennepacker died in late 2001.

In 1984 the Rev. Stewart Wood was called as the third Rector of Saint John's and served until 1988 when he was elected Bishop Coadjutor of Michigan, subsequently to serve as diocesan bishop. Stu was succeeded by the Rev. James M. Coleman. Jim returned to Memphis, where he had grown up and been ordained deacon, to serve as the fourth Rector of Saint John's. His tenure as rector from 1989-1993 was cut short by his election as Bishop Coadjutor of the Diocese of West Tennessee. He was seated as the Second Bishop of West Tennessee in 1994 and served until his retirement in August 2001. In 1994, the Rev. L. Noland Pipes, Jr., former Canon Missioner of the diocese and the founding rector of Church of the Annunciation in Cordova, was called to serve as fifth Rector. Noland's retirement was effective June 2002. After serving as interim rector for one year, the Rev. John W. Sewell was called as the sixth rector of Saint John's. During the last five years of Sewell's leadership, Saint John's was recognized as one of the top workplaces in Memphis.  John Sewell retired from fulltime ministry in 2018 and has since started a local nonprofit, Act II.

Saint John's has been a fertile field for developing clergy and lay leaders in the church and in the community. Its membership is well represented on leadership committees and boards of church, community, cultural, and civic organizations. Since 1953, numerous people have been ordained as deacons at Saint John's Church, later to be ordained as priests.

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Saint John’s Episcopal Church
3245 Central Avenue | Memphis, Tennessee 38111
Phone (901) 323-8597 | Fax (901) 327-9032