Dr. John B. Graybill was the founding pastor of Barrington Presbyterian Church. In 1962, he left an academic career at Barrington College to lead the organization of the church. Rev. Graybill was installed as pastor on May 16, 1966, at a service conducted by the Providence Presbytery. He served the church for a decade, through the summer of 1974.
Rev. Graybill is a graduate of Wheaton (Ill.) College and Faith Seminary, Wilmington, Delaware. In 1958 he was awarded the Ph.D. degree from Brandeis University. At the time of his appointment, Rev. Graybill was Director of the Department of Bible and Theology and Professor of Hebrew and Old Testament Studies at Barrington College. In the autumn of 1962, the Providence Presbytery invited him to answer “on a temporary basis” a petition from a forming Barrington congregation. Rev. Graybill thereupon conducted the church’s first service on September 16, 1962. They met at St. Andrews chapel in Barrington. “There were 85 people present,” said Graybill, “with good vibes all around.” Eventually he resigned his professorship at Barrington College to become full-time pastor of Barrington Presbyterian Church.
Rev. Graybill was an academic, a scholar, and was assiduously pastoral as well. Tyler Johnson, once an interim pastor at BPC and a friend of the church, recalled hearing of Sunday visitors to Graybill’s church receiving Monday visits. “He was intellectual without being pedantic,” said Johnson, “a people-person, yet a true professional.” Rev. Graybill helped BPC fulfill its original goal, which was to offer “a warm, intimate, family-oriented church, providing young people with a thorough grounding in Christian education and adults with a sense of relevance of the Bible in their daily lives, in this complex world of the 20th century.” In 1984, Anne and John Graybill returned to be honored at Barrington Presbyterian’s twentieth anniversary, when Rev. Graybill was named Pastor Emeritus.
In 1970, Merc Clifton’s second-grade Sunday School class was evidence of the early vigor of Pastor Graybill’s vision. Barrington Presbyterian claimed a membership of 268 that year; 127 young people were enrolled in Sunday School.
In 1974, the splendid window that overlooks the church sanctuary became a crowning achievement of the Graybill years. The photos at left capture a few moments in the process of window making!