Pastor Mark Johnston was installed as Pastor of Our Savior's Lutheran Church on November 1, 2009. Here is a brief biography:
Pastor Johnston is the son of Rev. Robert Johnston. During his early years he moved quite often with his father being a pastor. Born in Kitchener, Ontario, he soon moved to Merrill, WI, and then to St. Paul, MN, where his father served as professor at Concordia College. When Mark was eight years old his father accepted a call to serve as headmaster of Concordia College, Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia. After spending five years “down under”, the family joined the Wisconsin Synod and moved to Milwaukee.
Mark Johnston graduated from Northwestern College in Watertown, Wisconsin, and in 1978 he graduated from the Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary in Mequon, Wisconsin. In 1975, while studying for the ministry, Mark Johnston married Jane Gurgel and through the years they were blessed with five children. His pastoral work took him to Bowdle, South Dakota – Deltona, FL – Waunakee, WI – and Spooner, WI, before accepting a call in 2004 as missionary to Blantyre, Malawi, Africa, to establish Beautiful Saviour Lutheran Church.
The African congregation was created as an English speaking congregation in the largest city in Malawi to serve the increasing number of English speaking people. His wife, Jane, was also quite active in mission work, serving as organist, teacher, and using her skills as a registered nurse for a weekly “health hour.” On Friday afternoons many African orphans and local children would come to hear a Bible story in our "Children's Hour". Often as many as 35 children would squeeze into the room to have the unusual luxury of coloring Bible story sheets and making simple projects. Pastor Johnston also produced a weekly television broadcast over the one TV station in the nation of Malawi.
t was Missionary Johnston's goal to organize Beautiful Saviour congregation with leadership structures and programs for the congregation then replace himself with an African pastor. In November of 2008 Pastor Pemebeka was called and is presently serving the congregation. Missionary Johnston, his wife, and their daughter, Rebekah, returned to the United States in 2009, feeling satisfied that they had completed the work before them.
Pastor Johnston also serves as the First Vice-President of the W.E.L.S. North Atlantic District.