Pastor John Demaree was appointed to our church starting in July 2017 as the newest pastor to serve the Ramona United Methodist Church. Pastor John grew up over 2,000 miles away in Franklin, Indiana, a small town in central Indiana. Unlike many of his classmates, Pastor John grew up going to church regularly and, early on, felt a calling to go into the ministry. He graduated from the University of Indianapolis in 1991 with a degree in Philosophy. However, Pastor John wasn’t always on the pastor track. After graduation, he attended a year at Purdue University in their Graduate Technical Theatre Program, and then worked as a lighting designer for a full summer and fall season at a professional theater in Virginia.
That was in 1992, the same year that Hurricane Andrew ravaged Florida. The call for help and great human need re-awakened God’s call in his life. He applied and was accepted into a missionary program within the United Methodist Church. They sent him to California in 1993 as a missionary serving in the La Verne/Pomona area east of Los Angeles. A few years later, Pastor John attended the nearby seminary Claremont School of Theology where he got his Masters in Divinity in 1998.
Pastor John has been serving a variety of United Methodist churches mostly in the San Diego area for 20 years. He and his wife, Jennifer, have enjoyed getting to know members of the church and the community. John and Jennifer have three children between the ages of 12 and 20: Joanna, Jonathan, and Ryan. Jennifer is a full-time employee at Rady Children’s Hospital as an editor of websites and publications. Pastor John still has his hands in the theatre world helping with the theatre groups his youngest, Joanna, is involved with: Christian Youth Theater and the Young Actors’ Theatre. He is also Chaplain and an Assistant Scoutmaster in Jonathan’s Boy Scout troop in San Diego.
Pastor John finds the peace of God in his other favorite activity, backpacking. He has solo hiked the John Muir Trail, a 220-mile trail from Yosemite to Mt Whitney, once in 2010 and again in 2015. In summer 2016, he backpacked for 10 days with his son, Jonathan, and 15 other Boy Scouts in northern New Mexico.
His favorite scripture is the Great Commandment: to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, your soul, and your strength; and to Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27). In a world filled with hurting people, God’s love and mercy are so needed.