It has been a "Long and Winding Road" that has brought me to this calling in life; the pastor of St. John's Lutheran Church. From the beginning I would have said that none of this would be possible, but God had other ideas. I am overjoyed to be the shepherd of this amazing flock, and humbled that the Lord would choose to put me in this place. What follows is the road that has led me to this point.
By the grace of God I was given life and emerged onto this earth March the 17th of 1958 in La Crosse, Wisconsin. As a child I grew fascinated with everything associated with the weather. The road led to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, majoring in Meteorology. I Graduated in December of 1979 and continued in the Master’s Degree program. It was in my college years that I met my wife Kay. We were married on May 22nd of 1982, a cold and wet day in Reedsburg, WI, and we have now been married for over 35 years.
My first professional position was as a Meteorologist with Weather Central Inc. of Madison, WI. That began on Super Bowl Sunday of 1982. The 49ers beat the Bengals in that game. I worked my way up to the position of Meteorologist on the weekday evening newscasts by 1985 for WKOW-TV of Madison, and in 1986 was awarded the Broadcast Seal of Approval by the American Meteorological Society (AMS). In 1989 Kay and I, along with our dog Rusty, moved to Sacramento, CA where I took the position of Meteorologist on the weekday early morning and noon newscasts at the NBC Affiliate. January 13th of 1991 our one and only daughter, Beth, was born. We did not receive the user’s manual. Our next move was nearly all the way across the country. In September of 1993 I took on the role of Chief Meteorologist at the NBC station in Atlanta, GA. I remained in that position until September of 1996, when a management change resulted in my contract being renewed.
I was out of the TV weather business for about a year and a half, during which time I picked up a couple of short term consulting jobs, and spent nearly a year working for the Internal Revenue Service in Atlanta. Liberation from the IRS came with a call to return to TV as Chief Meteorologist for ABC 25 of Jacksonville, FL. We moved to the beach in November of 1997, and remained there until 2000. The Federal Communications Commission changed the television ownership rules to allow for “duopolies” (one corporation owning two television stations in a market) on November 15th of 1999. It was on that very day that the sale of our station to the owner of one of our competitors in the Jacksonville market was announced. We all knew what that would mean…they would be putting us out of business…so it was time to search for employment again. In this instance there was no unemployment compensation received, as the sale was not completed until March of 2000, and in late February I had accepted the position of Chief Meteorologist at KHQ-TV here in Spokane, subsequent to the closing of ABC 25 in Jacksonville.
In early April I loaded up the dog (now Dixie) in my pick-up and we headed across country, 2900 miles to Spokane. Kay and Beth joined me in early June, after the completion of the school year. We have now lived in Spokane for 14 years, and call it home. I earned Certification as a Broadcast Meteorologist from the AMS (a new program) in 2007. In April of 2009 I was notified, after 9 years that my contract at KHQ-TV would not be renewed. Again, no unemployment was needed as I was offered and accepted the position of Ministry Director here at St. John’s Lutheran Church. That September I entered into the Specific Ministry Pastor program of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod through Concordia Theological Seminary of Fort Wayne, IN.
The spiritual side of my life began just a few weeks after my birth, as I was baptized at 1st Lutheran Church of La Crescent, MN (Wisconsin Synod-WELS) at about 6 weeks old. I was raised in the Lutheran Church, transferring to Grace Lutheran of La Crosse, WI upon our move across the river, and was confirmed in 8th grade by Rev. Gerhard Albrecht (no relation). During my college years I attended…occasionally…the Wisconsin Student Chapel, and upon my marriage to Kay (She grew up LCMS) we joined St. Andrew’s Lutheran of Middleton, WI (WELS…I won!). When we moved to California we, shall we say, we drifted a bit, but once we knew there would be another Albrecht in the house our Church life was re-energized and we joined St. Peter’s Lutheran of Elk Grove in 1990. It was an ELCA church that was in the process of withdrawing after the merger. They voted to align with the AALC (American Association of Lutheran Churches) which was forming at the time. Upon arriving in Georgia we quickly settled in at Oak Road Lutheran of Snellville (LCMS…ultimately, Kay won…that’s the way it always seems to work out), and this is where our service in the church took off. I served as the President of the Church Council for nearly 4 years, while teaching Sunday School. Kay was active in the areas of youth, fellowship and social ministry. It was at our Church in Jacksonville though where I first began to believe that I might be hearing the call to ministry, over 15 years ago. I served as the Chair of the Board of Elders and had a very close relationship with the Pastor, Rev. Kristopher Whitby. The period of the mid to late 90s was a time of great spiritual growth, which carried into the years after the turn of the century here in Spokane. That call to ministry continued to get louder and louder as I served here at St. John’s as congregation president, lay minister, teacher and occasional preacher, along with a number of other areas. The timing was never right though as I always had a signed agreement giving my word that I would remain employed at KHQ-TV. That all changed nearly eight years ago, as the time had now come. I began full-time service in the Church in June of 2009, and in September enrolled in the Specific Ministry Pastor Program through the Concordia Theological Seminary of Fort Wayne, IN, and was ordained as pastor of St. John's on January 8th of 2012. As of August 2013, after 4 years of study, I crossed the finish line on my formal pastoral education. I continue to seek the guidance of the Lord as I walk down this new path of serving Christ and his people. I look forward to what the Lord is doing in my life, and to the new pathways that he is going to be leading me down.