The Rev. John (Jack) Lipphardt, who for the past 32 years has been a leading force at The House of the Carpenter on Wheeling Island, has been appointed as senior pastor of the Johnson Memorial United Methodist Church in Huntington.
United Methodist Bishop Ernest S. Lyght appointed Lipphardt, effective July 1, 2008, to lead the multi-staff congregation and a variety of ministries and programs.
“This is an interesting transition for me,” said Lipphardt, a Wheeling native. “My heart has always been in the local parish, but I have absolutely loved working with a mission project. Of course, I have loved the city of my birth and my time in public office. I am very grateful for the support I have had both in public life and in my ministry here at The House of the Carpenter.î”
Lipphardt leaves Wheeling with mixed emotions.
“I will miss the mission and ministry of The House of the Carpenter, particularly our staff and wonderful volunteers. Yet I look forward with great anticipation to a ministry with the congregation at Johnson Memorial,’’ he said.
Lipphardt served on Wheeling City Council from 1979-2000 and was mayor from 1992-2000. He was the last mayor appointed by City Council under the previous charter, whereby the council selected one of its own members to be a presiding officer and to conduct other mayoral duties. In 1992, the new city charter provided for the general election of the mayor by the public. Lipphardt was the first to serve in this elected office, which had a stronger authority — particularly in the area of economic and community development. He was re-elected in 1996. Term limits prohibited him from running for a third term.
The Rev. Gary R. Beale, executive director of The House of the Carpenter Inc., said, “Jack is being appointed to one of the premier pulpits in West Virginia United Methodism, and we are very pleased and proud of this new assignment for him.
“Jack was instrumental in several key developments in Wheeling, including the Hope VI housing project that eliminated Grandview Manor and replaced it with modern homes in North Wheeling and at Wheeling Heights,” Beale added. “He also led the efforts for the city’s support of land banking and for the construction of shell buildings to house prospective new businesses, all of which were successful. I look out my office window every day and see the results of Jack’s leadership with the city and the (Wheeling National) Heritage Area Corp. to develop Wheeling’s wonderful waterfront. These are just a few of his successes with city government.
“In his role as minister to the community with The House of the Carpenter, Lipphardt took the lead in the organizing efforts that created Wheeling Health Right, the Wheeling Area Coalition for the Homeless, and Project CAPE (Children and Parents in Education). He also developed West Virginia’s pilot guardianship and conservatorship program for people who have mental limitations, people who are elderly with declining capacity and those with mental illnesses,”î Beale said.
‘‘We began our efforts at organizing Wheeling Health Right in 1986,’’ Lipphardt said. ‘‘When it opened, it offered a clinic one night per week in a Sunday School room at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church. Now it serves 17,000 clients in five counties.’’
Robert F. Campbell, president of The House of the Carpenter’s Board of Directors, said, “Rev. Lipphardt is an outstanding individual who knew how to walk in and out of places of power and authority but never forgot those on the margins of society or those in the church he loves. He brings a strong conscience to everything he does, and the reputation of The House of the Carpenter in the community and through the general United Methodist Church across the United States is largely due to his ministry here.î”
Campbell is the former head of Local 3 of the Carpenter’s Union and former Co-chair of Project BEST.
The Rev. David Erenrich, Northern District superintendent of the West Virginia Conference of The United Methodist Church, said, “The Bishop and Cabinet spend enormous amounts of time assessing the gifts and graces of pastors and the strengths and needs of congregations. We are very confident that we have made the right assignment in appointing Rev. Lipphardt to Johnson Memorial.
“It is a good fit. Jack has 32 years of loyal, committed leadership in the mission arm of The United Methodist Church here at The House of the Carpenter, and we know we are sending him back to his first love, which is the local church,”î Erenrich continued.
“Jack is the definition of a ‘city boy,’ and this appointment will match his gifts and graces with a large downtown congregation that is looking for a leader who will help them solidify their identity as a community of faithful people reaching out to the greater region with the love of Christ and his Church.î”
Photo by Fred Connors
Leaving Wheeling to become senior pastor of the Johnson Memorial Methodist Church in Huntington, W.Va., is the Rev. John (Jack) Lipphardt. Here, the former Wheeling mayor and City Council member stands in front The House of the Carpenter on Wheeling Island, where he has served as associate director. The House of the Carpenter provides food, clothing and other needs free of charge to those in need.