Johnold Jay Strey is the son of Johnold and Rayola Strey of Cedarburg, Wisconsin, where their family were members at Redeemer Lutheran Church. Pastor Strey attended Calvary Lutheran School in Thiensville and Kettle Moraine Lutheran High School in Jackson, graduating in 1993. He began his formal education for the pastoral ministry at the former Northwestern College in Watertown Wisconsin, then continuing at Martin Luther College in New Ulm, Minnesota, graduating in 1997. Pastor Strey continued his education for the ministry at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary in Mequon, Wisconsin, graduating in 2001. As a part of his seminary training, he was assigned as vicar at St. Paul’s First Lutheran Church in North Hollywood, California (part of Los Angeles proper) during the 2000-2001 school year.
Upon graduation from the seminary, Pastor Strey was assigned to serve Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Belmont, California (near San Francisco). He was ordained and installed on July 15, 2001. During his time at Gloria Dei, he pursued additional education at Santa Clara University, graduating with a Master’s Degree in Pastoral Liturgy and Liturgical Music in 2009. He served Gloria Dei for a total of ten years, and then accepted the call to serve St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Citrus Heights, California (near Sacramento), where he was installed on July 3, 2011.
While serving as a pastor in California, Pastor Strey also served the WELS at large in a number of capacities. He chaired the Northern California Delegate Conference from 2002 to 2015. He particularly contributed in the area of worship. Pastor Strey was the Arizona-California District Worship Coordinator from 2006 to 2016. He served on the three-pastor committee that introduced Christian Worship: Supplement to the WELS from 2006 to 2008. He has given presentations at the triennial WELS National Conference on Worship, Music, and the Arts in 2008, 2011, and 2014. Since 2007, he has served on the team of presenters for the WELS School of Worship Enrichment. He is currently a member of the Rites Committee of the WELS Hymnal Project. Pastor Strey is also authoring a book to be published by Northwestern Publishing House on the subject of worship.
Johnold Strey and Emily Gresens were married on June 17, 2000. Emily is the daughter of Daniel and Phyllis Gresens of Appleton, Wisconsin. Emily graduated from Wisconsin Lutheran College in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education and Music Education in 2000. She taught Kindergarten at the former St. Matthew Lutheran School in Milwaukee for one school year. She then taught music and choir at Bayside Middle School in Foster City, California, from 2001 to 2003. During those same years, she also sang as a soprano in the San Francisco Symphony Chorus. Since 2004, Emily has taught Music Together, an internationally-known research-based music education curriculum for small children and their caregivers. After teaching for three different Music Together centers in the San Francisco and Sacramento areas, she opened up her own center in Citrus Heights in the fall 2014, which she operated for the past two years. Pastor and Emily have been blessed with four children: Lydia, who turns 13 next month; Julia, who turns 9 this week; Kurt, who turned 4 at the end of August, and Claire, who turned 2 earlier this month.
On June 12, 2016, Crown of Life Lutheran Church extended a divine call to Pastor Strey. He accepted the call on July 3, 2016. His installation today expands the church staff at Crown of Life to two full-time, permanent pastors, in order to meet the needs of a growing congregation in a growing community. May the Lord of the Church continue to bless Crown of Life congregation and its ministry team with faithfulness to his Word and Sacraments and eagerness to carry out the gospel mission of the Church!