Meet our Priest

Fr. Brian Bechtel

Father Brian started on March 1, 2021, as Priest-in-Charge at St. John’s. He walks alongside all of us as we seek to love God with all of our heart, mind, and strength, and to love our neighbor as ourselves.

Fr. Brian was born in Mesa, Arizona, and baptized in a Lutheran Church, which is his father’s religious tradition. His family moved to Fostoria, Ohio, when he was 10. He was enrolled in Catholic school and confirmed in the Roman Catholic Church.

After high school, he spent ten years as a spiritual seeker, trying to find his place in the world. He spent two of those years studying Japanese language and culture in Okazaki City, Japan. He worked for several years for Japanese industries in the US. His work involved translation, sales, and engineering support. During this time Fr. Brian practiced Zen Buddhist meditation in Ann Arbor, Michigan and Toledo, Ohio.

Having never completed his undergraduate degree, he enrolled at Bowling Green State University and majored in philosophy. During his philosophy study, he met Fr. Zeke Coughlin (our previous rector) who was serving at an church in Bowling Green at the time. Fr. Brian graduated from Bowling Green in 2014, and after a few years in discernment, he enrolled at Virginia Theological Seminary.

Fr. Brian graduated with a Master of Divinity degree in 2019 and was ordained as a priest in the Diocese of Ohio. He was served in a number of rolls at St. Paul’s (Cleveland Heights), Trinity (Findlay), and St. John the Baptist (Bowling Green).

In 2021, Fr. Brian became a member of the Community of the Mother of Jesus, a dispersed religious community in the Episcopal Church. (If you are curious, ask him about it!)


Fr. Brian’s parents are Sam and Lucia, who are retired and live in Fostoria.

He has a younger brother, Tyler, who is married and works at Steris in Columbus.

He also has a younger sister, Kendra, who is a nurse practitioner and lives in California.

Fun facts

Fr. Brian played trumpet in his high school marching band.

At age 22, he was paid $100 to be Santa Claus for a day in a Japanese grocery store (ask him about this one, too!)

His hobbies include bicycling and studying the Japanese language.