Posted by: Johnold Strey | April 23, 2010

Call Received (Calvary; Thiensville, WI)

I informed my congregation of the following news via email, and my family and friends and a number of fellow pastors are now aware of this news also via email as well as Facebook.  So now I’ll talk about it briefly here on my blog.  On Monday, April 19, 2010, I received a divine call from Calvary Evangelical Lutheran Church in Thiensville, Wisconsin, to serve as an associate pastor.  Those who know their way around the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod will have no trouble identifying Calvary congregation, but for those less familiar, here are a few basic details.  Thiensville is a small village located north of Milwaukee and surrounded entirely by the larger city of Mequon.  Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, the seminary of the WELS, is located on the Mequon-Thiensville border, and Calvary is about a half-mile from one of the seminary’s two entrances.  Calvary also operates a preschool and grade school.  Ironically, I was a student at Calvary Lutheran School when I was in grades 1-8.  However, my family and I were not members of Calvary, but were members of another nearby WELS congregation that does not have its own school. 

Here is the letter I sent to Calvary congregation, which will be read in their post-service announcements this weekend:

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Dear members of Calvary Evangelical Lutheran Church:

Alleluia!  Christ is risen!  He is risen indeed!  Alleluia! 

On Monday evening, April 19, I received a divine call from the voters of Calvary Lutheran Church to serve as an associate pastor.  I am humbled to receive your call and grateful for the opportunity to consider how my gifts may best serve the kingdom of God.  I have already been in communication with Pastor Scheuerlein and your church president, and I will continue to speak with your leaders as well as the leaders and members of the congregation I presently serve regarding the two calls I now hold.  I respectfully ask for your prayers during my time of deliberation, and I will keep you and your congregation in my prayers as well.

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever!  Amen.”  (Ephesians 3:20-21)

Blessings in Christ,

Pastor Johnold J. Strey 

Calvary’s call is the second that I have received since I arrived in Belmont nearly nine years ago.  The first call came just under two years ago, and was a call to serve as an associate pastor at Grace Lutheran Church in St. Joseph, Michigan.  This blog was less than a month old when I received the call from Grace, and I commented about the call in a blog post at that time.  Pretty much everything I observed in that post bears repeating with this call, although I will simply refer you to the post from July 3, 2008 rather than rewriting all of my comments again here.

While I’m not restating all of the points from that old post again, I do think that one point needs to be highlighted.  The deciding factor in this deliberation will be — must be — where I can best serve the Lord in his kingdom with the particular set of abilities he has given me.  As many readers are aware, Thiensville is just a stone’s throw away from my hometown, Cedarburg.  I suspect that there might be an assumption that proximity to “home” will play a role in my decision.  I’ll tell you right now: It won’t.  As far as I’m concerned, home is wherever my wife and children are, be it Belmont or Thiensville, be it California or Wisconsin.  Furthermore, it would be terribly unfair to both congregations if I made proximity to extended family a criteria for my decision: The ministry here at Gloria Dei would not be given due consideration in the deliberation process, and the ministry at Calvary would be put at risk because the new pastor was more concerned about personal matters than the pastoral call they have extended.  At the end of the day, the question I’m going to answer is this: “Where can I best serve God in his kingdom with the talents and abilities he has given me?”  Period.

I will  be in contact with Calvary’s leadership and with the district presidents of the WELS Southeastern Wisconsin and Arizona-California Districts to discuss these calls.  I have also scheduled a meeting for the members of Gloria Dei to discuss the new call as well as the ministry they have called me to carry out here in Belmont.  In the meantime, I would appreciate your prayers as I consider where I will serve in Christ’s kingdom.



  1. Good Evening Pastor:
    All of us at Calvary Lutheran Church send to you, your family and your congregation our prayers as you deliberate this call.
    God’s Blessings
    Greg & Janis Gralewski

  2. Pastor Strey:
    Well said about your deliberation process. I wouldn’t expect anything less of you.

    May God lead you to answer His Call, be it to Calvary or Gloria Dei, in His time.

    Don & Carol Borgwardt


%d bloggers like this: