John Peters Webster
1921 - 2013
John Peters Webster 1921-2013 West Hartford

The Rev. Dr. John P. Webster, born in Bangor, Maine on July 20, 1921, died January 27, 2013 at his home in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. He was ordained a Congregational minister by the Hampshire Association in 1946 and served as pastor of churches of the United Church of Christ in Williamsburg, Massachusetts, Wilton, Maine and West Hartford, Connecticut over a span of thirty years.
Mr. Webster was a graduate of Amherst College, Bangor Theological Seminary, Hartford Theological Seminary, Andover Newton Theological School, and the Institutes of Religion and Health in NYC where he completed a three year residency in Pastoral Psychotherapy in 1976. He was licensed as a clinical psychologist in Massachusetts in 1977, began his private practice, and was a founder of the Pastoral Counseling Center of Franklin County, Massachusetts. He was a diplomate of the American Association of Pastoral Counselors and was actively involved in the church life of the Pioneer Valley as guest preacher, moderator of the Hampshire Association of Congregational Churches, and as interim minister in Springfield, Dalton, Whately and Amherst.
Mr. Webster served on the Board of World Ministries of the United Church of Christ, the trustees of the Hartford Seminary Foundation, Bangor Theological Seminary, and the Blanton-Peale Graduate Institute, and as the Moderator of the Connecticut Conference of the United Church of Christ. He was a poet and the author of the book Rekindle the Fire – Antidote to Burnout.
Mr. Webster is survived by his wife Phyllis Smith Webster, their daughter Deborah Caimi, their son-in-law Paul Caimi and two grandsons, Matthew and Anthony John Caimi, all of Chagrin Falls, Ohio. Another daughter, Joan Elizabeth, died in 1965. He is predeceased by his brother, Daniel Webster, and sisters Alice Sinclair, Betty Webster, and June Brown.
A memorial service will take place on Saturday, June 8, 2013 at 11:00 AM at Center Church in South Hadley, Massachusetts. Online tributes can be made at

Published by The Middletown Press from Mar. 5 to Mar. 6, 2013.
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6 Entries
John is a mentor, teacher, counselor and most of all a Beloved Brother in Christ for me in all Eternity. I bless his soul with grace and mercy. Alleluia!!! John is Risen!!!
Rev. Elizabeth Upton --- Newbury Vermont
December 5, 2013
As a young child in West Hartford, CT, I lived in a very challenged family, and John was my pastor and father figure. I used to sneak from the Sunday School into the “big church” to hear his sermons – his spiritual messages were inspiring to people of any age. As I grew older, he mentored me in my journey towards ordination, and came back to First Church in West Hartford to officiate at my wedding. One of my most poignant memories of John was in a spiritual direction session during my years at Yale Divinity School. I had become very close to the Roman Catholic Dutch priest, Henri Nouwen, as well as to two Roman Catholic nuns with whom I was living. I was confused and concerned about what my powerful spiritual experiences with Henri and with my Roman Catholic sisters meant about my identity as a perspective pastor in the UCC. And so when I next met with John, and in a spirit of almost-contrition, I confessed my spiritual kinship with my Roman Catholic sisters and brother, and my wondering whether this meant that I had strayed too far from my UCC roots to be acceptable as a candidate for pastoral ministry. John's response was as freeing and empowering as it was surprising: “I'm so delighted that your faith is constantly exploring and growing; if we don't allow our beliefs to be challenged by the beliefs of others, our God becomes just another version of ourselves.” John will be sorely missed….
Barbara Greten
March 16, 2013
So sorry for your loss. Many great memories of the years you lived across the street. He will be missed.
Paul LaRochelle
March 14, 2013
He helped save my life growing up as a teen through therapy. He was funny and patient with me. He is one great man and will miss him. Just found this out now.
Keith Stanisiewski
March 9, 2013
I always enjoyed his humor. He never preached without a joke. Thanks John for the memories. Love to the family.
March 9, 2013
My name is Tom Fiske. My sister,Carole, and I lived, worshipped, and sat for Joan occasionally in W. Htfd. I remember most the High School Choir of 120 young people who would lead the Processional to sit and sing under the leadership of Gordon Stearns. And, sometimes, quite frankly, nod our heads at Rev. Webster's sermons....( Kids! whadda they know!! ) Fond thoughts that I've remembered all these years since the mid-50's to mid-60's.
March 8, 2013
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