Historic Montgomery church installs new rector

The Rev. John Leach called to St. John’s Episcopal Church
Updated: Feb. 3, 2021 at 11:10 PM CST
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - One of Montgomery’s oldest churches has a new spiritual leader. The Rev. John Leach was installed Wednesday as the newest rector at St. John’s Episcopal Church. Leach is only the 16th rector in the church’s more than 180-year history.

St. John’s was founded in 1834 and has served as a spiritual home for many prominent Montgomery residents. Jefferson Davis worshiped at the church after he was inaugurated the first president of the Confederacy.

Born in Arkansas, Leach grew up in northern Mississippi as the son of an Episcopal priest. The 51-year-old comes to Montgomery after having served in a similar role in Collierville, Tennessee. He has degrees from Millsaps College and Virginia Theological Seminary.

In Montgomery, Leach joins St. John’s associate rector, the Rev. Deonna Neal. Together, they say they are looking for new ways to serve Montgomery, especially the downtown area. They hope St. John’s will become known as a spiritual beacon for Episcopalians and non-Episcopalians alike.

“God’s love is very present in Montgomery,” Leach said. “I hope that St. Johns will always be a sign and a symbol, not just for those who are members here, but for the entire community.”

Leach and his wife Sarah have two young daughters. He succeeds the Rev. Robert Wisnewski who recently retired after serving as rector of St. John’s for 25 years.

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