Godspeed, John Davenport

Zion Lutheran’s Pastor Enjoying Retirement

Ask any regular attender at Zion Lutheran Church about former Pastor John Davenport and the answer is always the same: “He’s really good at remembering names.”

“When visitors come, he has a way of repeating the name and maybe attaching some side remark,” Gene Buchhorn says. “It doesn’t matter if he’s in his job or out socially—he practices that religiously.”

Rosanne Capdeville, his former secretary, says it is a gift that shows how much he cares about people and connects with them, whether they are regular attenders or first-time visitors. John has provided that care since 1995, when he began shepherding Zion after a stint as an Air Force chaplain. “When I came to town, I was excited about the history of Zion and excited about the possibilities. I’ll go out the door with the same sentence on my lips,” he says.

Life at Zion

Zion, located off FM 1105 in Walburg, held a farewell service May 1 for John, who says he is honored to have had the chance to serve the church while knowing “it’s time for me and Ms. Lynn to have a chance to enjoy the next season of life.”

From visiting church members in the hospital to ministering to families impacted by the Jarrell tornado in 1997, members recall how John was always there for them when they needed him. That was especially true for Bonnie McNemar when she faced a near-death experience six years ago. “He saw us through that very difficult time,” she says, remembering how he sat with her when she was in the hospital, holding her hand, reading scripture, and praying over her.

Since John came on board, Zion has expanded membership, school enrollment, and staff, as well as undergone two building projects. In 2000, they added classrooms and connected the church and school, and the second added a modern worship center in 2021.

While he will miss shepherding the church, which will be 140 years young this year, John knows the church will continue to thrive.