John and Mary Ellen Ross

You might have noticed Mary Ellen's beautiful floral arrangements on the altar or John's occasional heckling of the preacher during a sermon, but did you know they both grew up in the same grade school? And were in the same graduating class? Naturally we asked if it was love at first sight. Mary Ellen quickly said no. But now it’s safe to say you would be hard pressed to find a more loving, generous couple.

John and Mary Ellen are originally from Pittsburgh, and after both heading off to school and coming back to start jobs they reconnected at a young adult church group. Their first date was to go into the city to see White Christmas. Yes, the one with Bing Crosby.

A surprise to no one, John’s first job was in sales, but when he realized he was about to be drafted into the Navy he preemptively went to Officer Candidate School instead. Ever eager to avoid KP duty, John has his trumpet sent up to Newport from Pittsburgh and joined the drum and bugle corp. Mary Ellen and John exchanged letters almost every day while he was away, and when she came to graduation and discovered he was being assigned to San Diego you can probably see where this is going. John came home, walked to the jeweler across the street from the bus station and asked for the cheapest engagement ring they had. He asked her mother, but didn’t really ask her… he just left the ring on a counter at her office and waited for her to find it.

Mary Ellen said it was an easy choice: he always made her laugh and was moving to the ocean. John said he was desperate for someone to do the laundry. They enjoyed being engaged for two weeks and then John was shipped off. They arranged a wedding via the mail, then the Cuban missile crisis happened and John was only able to wrangle 72 hours leave to go to Pittsburgh, get married, and get back. Don’t worry, a few months later they enjoyed a 3 day honeymoon to Vegas.

They have always been engaged in the life of their local church, singing in the choir, leading Sunday School, and generally keeping people on their toes. Mary Ellen has been a professional cleaner of teeth, lastly spending 22 years in Scituate keeping the South Shore smiling brightly. John left the Navy, was recruited by the FBI, and has been interrogating people ever since.

Their four kids were born in three different states, and their seven grand kids have some pretty incredible grandparents helping them navigate life. Their favorite family vacation was taking a Buick with six people down to Disney World to camp at Fort Wilderness.

They love the kids at Sanctuary, the sermons, Sarah’s music, the soft chairs, Graham, the soft chairs, the relaxed atmosphere, and the chairs are super comfortable too.

If they’re not at Sanctuary you can probably find John and Mary Ellen enjoying their beautiful backyard, ferrying around grandchildren, or being entertained by their awesome dog Garth.

Join us Sundays for