September 13, 1954, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.


A lifelong Presbyterian, John Dalles has lived in Pittsburgh, Coatesville, Lancaster, and State College, Pennsylvania; and South Bend, Indiana. He received the Bachelor of Science in Architecture from Pennsylvania State in 1976. While engaged in a semester abroad in Petworth, England, he sensed a call to the ministry. An architectural designer before divinity studies, he received the Master of Divinity from Lancaster Theological Seminary in 1982. During seminary, he served as a resource consultant for the original Parish Resource Center in Lancaster.

Ordained in Highland Presbyterian Church, Lancaster, on August 1, 1982, John’s first call was to serve the First Presbyterian Church of South Bend, Indiana, as associate pastor. Responsibilities there included worship leadership and preaching, administration of mission and memorial endowment disbursement for mission (over $130,000 annually), minister for education and pastoral care (Diaconate), coordinator of new member outreach and staff liaison to the church owned resident camp. He served the area council of religious organizations, was a member of the Worship Task Force and Discipleship/Church Life Committee of Wabash Valley Presbytery, member and awards chairman of the St. Joseph County Scholarship Foundation, and founding member of Notre Dame Civitan and the South Bend, Indiana, Habitat for Humanity.

In December 1986, Dalles was called to Fox Chapel Presbyterian Church, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where his duties included worship leadership and preaching, programming for spiritual growth, congregational life, administration of pastoral care, adult education, Stephen Ministry, and new member outreach (with annual membership increases of 100 or more). In May 1994, Dalles received the Doctor of Ministry degree from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary for his work in the area of pastoral leadership in the multi-staff church. While at Fox Chapel, he instituted an annual community prayer breakfast, served on the Presbytery’s Preparation for Ministry Committee, and as liaison to an area rehabilitation center. He wrote and edited In Life and Death We Belong to God, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) study resource on end-of-life issues.

Since May 1997, Dalles has served as pastor and head of staff of Wekiva Presbyterian Church, Orlando, Florida, an active and growing congregation in its 26th year. Accomplishments during his pastorate have included a major capital and facilities expansion, growth in new members, and the implementation of new staffing and programs at every level of the congregation’s life. He has chaired the Theology and Worship Committee of Central Florida Presbytery for the past three years.

Dalles has written numerous articles and many published hymn texts. His hymns Come, O Spirit and God Bless Your Church with Strength! are in the 1990 Presbyterian Hymnal. His lyrics are also in: The New Century Hymnal, The Moravian Book of Worship, Worship Together (Mennonite Brethren), The Covenant Hymnal (Evangelical Covenant Church), The Book of Praise (Presbyterian Church in Canada) and The Australian Book of Praise II. He has written anniversary hymn texts, including: Presbyterian Heritage Sunday, Augsburg, Goshen, Maryville, Tusculum, Wilson and Knox Colleges, American University, Pittsburgh and Lancaster Seminaries, Peachtree Presbyterian Church, the Lutheran World Federation and the Presbyterian Association of Musicians. A member of the Hymn Society, he has been listed in national and world editions of Who’s Who since 1997. Two of his anthems are on a CD by composer Bob Moore entitled Like a Whisper in the Heart. His other works include:

  1. As Christ the Little Children Blessed
  2. Bless the Ones Who Nurture Children
  3. Change Your Church, O God, to Be
  4. Come, O Spirit
  5. God Bless the Work Your People Do
  6. God, Bless Your Church with Strength!
  7. God Is the One Who Calls
  8. God, Renew Us by Your Spirit!
  9. May God’s Love Be Fixed Above You
  10. O God of Love, Grant Us Your Peace
  11. O Seek the Lord in Prayer