Peace Church welcomes Rev. John Granchie to the pulpit

Faith leader, veteran hopes to incorporate outreach to area sports teams into ministry

Rev. John Granchie (back) of Gladbrook’s Peace United Church of Christ pictured in mid-February speaking to Gladbrook-Reinbeck secondary students about ‘overcoming obstacles and achieving greatness’ as part of his motivational outreach. PHOTO COURTESY OF GLADBROOK-REINBECK SCHOOLS

GLADBROOK – Members of Gladbrook’s Peace United Church of Christ welcomed 2024 by installing a new faith leader, Rev. John Granchie who gave his first sermon from the Peace pulpit on Sunday, January 6.

Pastor Granchie assumed his new role at Peace following the passing last August of Rev. Timothy Ayers.

While he’s not from Iowa, Pastor Granchie previously served in the state from 2017 to 2019 at the storied Little Brown Church in the Vale near Nashua.

“We always felt called back to Iowa,” Pastor Granchie told the newspaper of his and his wife Deb Granchie’s decision to return to the Hawkeye State. “I had never been to Gladbrook other than driving through. We love it here … I had talked to several other churches in Iowa over the summer but none of them felt like we should be there, then we found Gladbrook and we are home.”

Before Gladbrook, the Granchies were in Gregory, South Dakota for two years where Pastor Granchie served as the lead pastor at Union Congregational Church after moving there from Wyoming.

Prior to Wyoming, the Granchies lived in Pennsylvania where they helped care for Deb’s ailing father. They spent almost three years there at Chewton Christian Church.

But long before Pastor Granchie, a native of Youngstown, Ohio, ever set foot in Iowa – or in a pulpit – he served in the United States Air Force for five years during the first Gulf War following his high school graduation in 1985.

“I accepted the Lord as my Savior while serving in the Air Force. With no real plans [of] what to do after the military, I began working in various jobs but nothing felt right. I continued to grow my faith and served the church I was at as the Men’s Ministry Director, and felt I was being called into ministry.”

Shortly thereafter, Pastor Granchie earned his undergraduate degree in biblical studies through Trinity Bible College and then his Master’s of Divinity from Denver Seminary. He was ordained through the Evangelical Church Alliance.

The first congregation he served was Bridge of Hope Assembly of God in Boardman, Ohio, where he spent about seven years as an associate pastor before making his inaugural move to Iowa.

But after spending so many years moving about the country, Pastor Granchie said he is now ready to make Gladbrook his long-term home both professionally and otherwise.

“My plan is, God willing, to retire from this church 13-15 years from now.”

Pastor Granchie said serving a smaller community like Gladbrook allows for more connection.

“Smaller communities are very relational. Not that bigger communities are not but it feels more personal to me in smaller towns.”

He hopes to make community outreach a big part of his work as a small-town pastor particularly when it comes to local athletes.

“I plan to do motivational speaking for local sports teams. My style of ministry is to be very community-centered. I challenge my church members to be out in the community daily showing people the love of Christ – actions speak louder than words.”

To that end, Pastor Granchie has already started building his outreach. He recently stopped by Gladbrook-Reinbeck High School to visit with the secondary health classes about ‘overcoming obstacles and achieving greatness,’ according to a post on the district’s Facebook page back on Feb. 19.

“I mainly work with high school football, basketball, and wrestling teams but also talk to various classes in school districts that invite me out.”

While Pastor Granchie said he doesn’t have any changes planned for Peace Church in the near future, he will be starting a midweek Bible study in September as well as adult Sunday school.

In addition to his wife Deb, Pastor Granchie has an adult daughter Noel and a brother who both live in Ohio, while Deb’s mother lives in West Virginia.

He harbors a fierce love for teaching the Bible, he said, but also enjoys baseball, Hawkeyes football, hiking, and – “most of all” – eating pizza.

When asked if he had a favorite hymn, he said the lyrics of “How Great Thou Art” – which is based on a Swedish Christian hymn – have always moved him.

The version of the hymn made popular by the evangelist and Southern Baptist minister Billy Graham begins with the opening verse, “O Lord, my God, when I in awesome wonder / Consider all the worlds Thy hands have made / I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder / Thy power throughout the universe displayed.”

Of all the places Pastor Granchie has been, Peace Church is certainly thankful he’s chosen Gladbrook to call home.

Peace United Church of Christ is located at 201 Johnson Street in Gladbrook. Rev. Granchie may be contacted by email at peace@iowatelecom.net, or by phone at 330-881-5592.