Meet our Staff!

Rev. Ernest B. Sheldon

Rev. Ernest B. Sheldon


Pastor Rev Ernest B. Sheldon is from Fortville, Indiana. Upon graduating from high school, Pastor Ernie served the next twenty years in Army Special Operations (Green Berets). While in the Army, he earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Campbell University.

He retired from the Army in 1997 to attend Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in Columbia, South Carolina. He graduated with a Master’s degree in Divinity in 2001. He has served a number of congregations in North and South Carolina and has been at St. John’s since 2013. 

Pastor Ernie lives in Bermuda Run with his wife of 38 years, Jan. They have two children, Bryan and Emily, two grandchildren, Ollie and Sawyer, and a cat named Carolina. Pastor Ernie enjoys golf, travel, cooking on his big green egg, NASCAR, and all UNC sports.   

Darin Kennedy

Darin Kennedy

Organist and Choirmaster

Darin has always had a deep passion for music. He began taking piano lessons at age seven, and organ at age eleven. Darin also joined The Choir School at St. Peter’s at age six, a program that runs deep in the Anglican choral music tradition, where he completed twelve years of rich learning and extensive choral discipline. Having sung many concerts and church services in the United States and abroad, including Salisbury Cathedral, and St. Albans Cathedral, England, UK, he was exposed to many styles of church music, and felt drawn to become a church musician and performer.

Darin is currently Organist and Choirmaster of St. John’s Lutheran Church Statesville, and evening Tazie pianist of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, Charlotte. Having earned an Associate’s Degree in Fine Arts, with an emphasis in organ, Darin hopes to attend UNC Charlotte to further develop his career as an Organist and Musician.

Susan Free

Susan Free

Church Administrator

Susan Free has been a member of St. John’s Lutheran Church since birth. She was one of the first group of babies that were baptized when the “new” Church was built. Working with the youth of St. John’s for 19 years was one of the most rewarding experiences of her life. She is always thrilled to see what the kids are doing with their lives or seeing them when they come back to visit. They had some awesome experiences going on retreats, to conferences, and on mission trips. She can even tell you which carpets were the softest to sleep on in the halls during lock-ins.

Susan’s “real” profession was teaching school. She received her teaching degree from Appalachian State University and her Master’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. During her 33 years in education, she taught every grade from 2nd to 10th. Susan retired from teaching in 2012 but came back as a substitute in 2014.

Our Mission & Vision

St. John's is a Christ-Centered, Mission-Driven Community.

We believe that the mission of the Church is to preach the Gospel and to make disciples for Christ. We believe that making disciples — in our congregations, in our communities and nations, and around the world — must be a priority of the Church in the present age.