St. John’s Baptist Church

Worship | Sundays @ 10:30am

From the Heritage Room: The St. John’s Staff in the 1960s

The 1960’s were a decade of change in the country and the community. The church’s response to these changes were led by our Senior Minister, Dr. Claude Broach, who came to St. John’s in 1944 during a tumultuous period in the world and remained at St. John’s for thirty years. The church was also led by other very talented and dedicated staff members, some of whom were at St John’s for most of the decade.

The position of Associate Minister was created when Rev. Roberts (Bob) began his ministry in January 1960. Bob was a 1943 Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Wake Forest and received a Bachelor of Divinity degree from Southern Baptist Seminary in 1948. He served as the director of the Baptist Student Union at North Carolina State from 1946-1957 and from 1957-1950 he was also a Visiting Professor in the Department of Religion and Philosophy. From 1957-early 1960, he was the Assistant Pastor at First Baptist Church of Raleigh, North Carolina. While at First Baptist he was the Director of Youth Activities and served as the Interim Pastor for a brief period in 1959. While attending seminary, he met Harriet Ratcliffe. They were married on November 22, 1944. During his 23 years at St. John’s, a lot of his focus was on outreach ministry. He worked with Miss Anita Stroud who ran an afterschool program in her neighborhood. He eventually served on the Boards of the Anita Stroud Foundation, Habitat for Humanity, and Crisis Assistance Ministry. After his retirement from St. John’s in 1983, he continued to volunteer in these ministries. On November 23, 1997, the church honored the Lasaters by renaming the Fellowship Hall to “Bob and Harriet Lasater Hall.”

Jo Ann Setzer, the Youth Director who came to St. John’s in 1958 resigned in June 1962. She was followed by Miss Clyde Templeton who served in the position for a year. Rev. Guilford (Gil) Daugherty who began his work at St. John’s in December 1962 was the first Minister to Youth. He had an AA degree from Campbell College, a BA degree from Wake Forest, and an M. Div.  from Duke University Divinity School. Before coming to St. John’s, he had served at several North and South Carolina churches as pastor and youth minister and as the State Royal Ambassador Secretary for the South Carolina Baptist Association. He resigned in September 1964 to become the director of Alumni Affairs for Campbell. James (Skip) Anderson then was called as Minister to Youth and remained in that position until 1972. He held a BA from The Citadel and a Bachelor of Divinity from Southeastern Theological Seminary. Immediately before coming to St. John’s, he was the Minister to Youth at Wake Forest Baptist Church in Winston-Salem.

After seven years, Paul Langston resigned as Minister of Musi in early July 1960. Al McClanahan was called the end of July and began his ministry in September 1960. The following information about Al is from his daughter, Marcie-

Al attended Vanderbilt and Peabody College in Tennessee. He met his wife Betty while singing around the piano at the Peabody-Vanderbilt Baptist Student Union and they were wed in 1952. After marriage, Al and Betty went to Louisville, where Al attended the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. It was here that he met a very influential figure in his life, Paul Langston. 

In 1954, Al was called to First Baptist Church of Oak Ridge, TN as their Minister of Music.  While happy in Oak Ridge, a different position awaited Al and his family. In Dr Claude Broach’s words, “During the summer of 1960 it became apparent that a small crisis had befallen St. John’s: its esteemed Organist and Minister of Music Paul Langston had been called to Stetson University as chairman of the Department of Music. Dr Langston mentioned that the one fellow that he knew could do the job was on Albert McClanahan. He put me in touch with Al, and the rest is history!” Al served in his position until 1991.

The first Minister to Children at St. John’s was Ruth Rodgers who began part time in 1956 and soon became a full-time staff member. Ruth retired in 1982. She was originally from South Carolina and had been a teacher both in South Carolina and at Newell High School in Charlotte.  The Family News during the decade had an article every week about children. Sometimes these were about children’s activities. At other times, they were articles about parenting, particularly about parents’ involvement in the spiritual lives of their children. She also presented programs on Sunday and Wednesday nights relating to raising children and the religious education of children.