Pastor Michael Albrecht
Pastor Michael J. Albrecht was born in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1955. His father, his grandfather and his great-grandfather were Lutheran ministers.
After graduating from Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary in 1982, Pastor Albrecht taught German and American history on the high school level for one year. Then he was assigned to start a new mission congregation in Houston, Texas. That is where he met his wife, Donna. All five of their children were born in Texas.
Pastor Albrecht came to Saint James in 1990. He currently works with the Education Committee and the Missions Committee. He recently visited the Bible Faith Lutheran Church of India for the tenth time. He has also made three trips to Prague in the Czech Republic, where our missionary friends, Pastor David Jurech, Pastor Tomas Zivny and Pastor Tony Booker are working.
Pastor Albrecht has a special interest in church history, especially Martin Luther and the great Reformation of the 16th century. He has also done research in the writings of Prof. J. P. Koehler and the Wauwatosa Theology, which flourished in the 1920s.
Pastor Thomas Volker
Pastor Tom Volker was born and raised in Western Minnesota in the small town of Herman. After graduating from Herman-Norcross High School, Tom attended Concordia University in Saint Paul, MN. After college, he enrolled for seminary training at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis and graduated in 1997 with an M.Div. degree. Tom then enrolled in the Clinical Pastoral Education program to serve as one of several chaplains at the LaClead Groves Nursing Home in St. Louis.
In 1998, Tom received his first call to serve as an Associate Pastor at Signal Hill Lutheran Church in Belleville, IL. It was during his four years there that Tom married his wife, Verna, on February 26, 2000. Getting married in that year made it easier for him to remember how many years they have been married.
In 2002, Pastor Volker accepted the call to be the Assistant Pastor at Peace Lutheran Church in Columbus, NE. During the six years of service there, God blessed Tom and Verna with three sons, Avery, Jonah and Simon. The last son was born two weeks before the Volkers left Nebraska to serve a dual parish in South Minneapolis—Mt. Zion and St. James.
He served these congregations as their sole pastor for almost 10 years. During that time, he also served as a Circuit Visitor to the local Lutheran congregations for six years and enjoyed the opportunities that this form of leadership afforded. God also gave Verna and Tom their daughter, Sage, during those years.
Tom has loved being a pastor and serving Jesus Christ in this capacity. He loves the people he gets to work with while relishing in the opportunity to remind them of the presence of God in their lives. He has grown to love serving the community God puts him in, meeting new people and, if the Holy Spirit permits, being a positive witness of Christ's love in and for the people of this world.
Pastor Dale Critchley
Pastor for Youth & Family Ministry & Evangelism
Thankful to be husband of Teresa since 1994 and father of six daughters, Pastor Dale has served at churches in Wisconsin, Iowa, and Ohio after receiving his Masters of Divinity degree from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis in 1998.
Pastor Dale served as Lead Director of the Iowa East team of the Ongoing Ambassadors for Christ and the LCMS Iowa District East’s Board of Congregational Services and Board of Missions as an Evangelism Specialist. As one of the first Lutheran pastors to make his sermons available to listeners worldwide via podcast, listeners from around the globe have downloaded his sermons, including thousands in China in spite of the Chinese government blocking access at times. Committed to personal spiritual growth through multigenerational mentoring and relationship-based outreach, he developed DiscipleQuest to allow congregations anywhere to begin spiritual training in their context. He continues to seek innovative ways to bring the Gospel into the lives of others that the love of Christ may fill them to overflowing into the lives of still others.
Pastor Richard Stadler
Pastor Stadler was born in Flint, Michigan, graduated from Swartz Creek High School and attended the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, majoring in pre-legal studies. After the sudden death of his twin brother Bob in 1963, he transfered to Northwestern College, Watertown, Wisconsin, to prepare for the Seminary. He had been on the State Championship Debate Team in high school and had also debated at the University of Michigan where he was chosen to represent the University against the Touring Oxford Debating Team in 1963. Before beginning the seminary, he taught English Composition for a year at Dr. Martin Luther College, New Ulm, Minnesota. He then completed his training at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, Mequon, Wisconsin, graduating in 1971. During his seminary training, he served part-time vicarages for congregations in the San Francisco Bay area, Lake Geneva and West Allis, Wisconsin. He also coordinated the inner-city evangelism project for seven inner-city congregations in Milwaukee in 1970 and 1971.
Pastor Stadler was assigned as the first pastor of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod in Tennessee, serving Rock of Ages Lutheran Church in Nashville, and planting a WELS mission congregation in Memphis, Tennessee. He also served as a civilian chaplain to WELS military personnel at Ft. Campbell, Kentucky and Millington Naval Air Station, Memphis, Tennessee. He also served as the chairman of the Wisconsin Synod's Commission on Youth Ministry.
He was called to Saint James in 1975 and installed on October 19, 1975 as associate pastor with the founding pastor Carl F. Bolle and Senior Pastor Iver C. Johnson. He also served as a part-time campus pastor at the University of Minnesota for the Wisconsin Synod for four years.
The congregation called Pastor Stadler to assume the responsibilities of Senior Administrative pastor in 1990, when Pastor Johnson moved into partial retirement. In 1995, he and his colleagues, Pastor Johnson and Pastor Albrecht, were suspended from membership in the WELS, as was the congregation in June, 1995, for disagreeing with the Synod's published position on the roles of men and women. He and Pastor Albrecht and Saint James continue to serve as independent, evangelical, confessional Lutherans, not affiliated with any Synod.
In 1999, he spent a 3-month sabbatical in Jerusalem studying the architecture of the temple in first century Judaism and exploring the Dead Sea Scrolls with Scrolls translator Dr. Martin Abegg, at Jerusalem University College. He spent another 3-month sabbatical in Jerusalem in 2009, studying historical geography of the Bible, modern Hebrew at a Hebrew Ulpan, and archeology of Temple Mount. He and his wife Cheryl have led tours to Israel. Pastor Stadler has also made eight trips to India, visiting congregations of the Bible Faith Lutheran Church of India, a mission supported by Saint James. While there, he teaches in the Seminary, preaches in the congregations and since 2007, has also taught at the Symposium for Pastors in Guntur. He served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Metro Lutheran, a pan-Lutheran newspaper published in Minneapolis, serving as President of the Board for three terms, from 1999 until its dissolution in 2015.
On September 1, 2013, Pastor Stadler was installed into a part-time Call at Saint James and Michael Albrecht was installed as Lead Pastor of Saint James. He is called to teach a Sunday Bible Class and to organize and conduct all the Monday Evening SonRise Worship services, and preach for most of them. He also assists in other ways as needed.
During his free time, he enjoys traveling with his wife Cheryl to interesting places, especially Israel, making memories with their grown children and 10 grandchildren, reading, writing songs, playing golf, and studying Hebrew, Arabic, the Dead Sea Scrolls and Second Temple archeology.
One of my favorite verses in the Bible is John 3:17 "For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him." This verse humbles me as to what God has done, not just for me, but for the whole world. His great love for His broken creation was made complete in the sacrifice of His Perfect Son, a free gift to all people. Christ conquered death and the grave so that we may be made whole daily and adopted as sons and daughters by God.
God has blessed me with my husband Dana and three amazing kids. My prayer is for youth and people of all ages to experience God's blessings of hope, forgiveness, peace, strength, joy and love each and every day of their lives.