Pastor Ken Albright has joined St. Thomas Lutheran Church in Palmetto Bay at a time that he feels is interesting and quite significant. He thinks God may have brought them together for a purpose.
“They are coming around to 50 years of ministry and I just turned 50, so I think it’s kind of neat that we’re both getting a new lease on life in our 50s,” he said.
Pastor Albright, who started in September 2018, relocated from a community very different from South Florida.
“I was in a suburb of Charlottesville, VA, called Palmyra,” he said. “It’s very close to Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. I had been involved in developing a congregation there. We got into the first building of the church and I stayed about six years beyond the building of the structure. My wife and I have lived throughout the Southeast, but not Florida, so we were open to a new possibility.”
They are enjoying Miami so far, especially the winter. He said there is not a lot of snow in central Virginia, but there is a lot of cold weather. But more importantly, he likes the people attending worship here.
“In terms of the congregation itself at St. Thomas, it is a very family-oriented church. They’re big on relationships, so they have a love for people…not only each other but also for newcomers,” Pastor Albright said.
“With a level of intimacy that you might not find with a larger congregation, they flourish. They support one another and they look to support their community. So I think of it as a small church with a large heart,” he added.
Pastor Albright said that St. Thomas Lutheran Church has a very welcoming environment, and that he hopes he can increase the programs they already have to help others.
“I do think there’s a lot more we can do to meet the needs of this community. I look forward to getting into the community more and more and discovering what those needs are,” he said.
He hopes to help the congregation feel more and more vital in its community through his work here and thinks they are eager to do that, but maybe just need some help in figuring out how best to go about it.
“We’ve just recently begun a men’s ministry in the congregation and provide some good fellowship opportunities for our men, but also to have a branch of outreach to be able to help some of our members in need, perhaps people who are widowed or others who have needs that the church community can gather around,” he said. “That way people don’t feel so isolated or feel as if they don’t have the resources to take care of their needs.”
Pastor Albright said that another thing they are working on is a Walk for Water. It will be partnering with an organization called Water Mission.
“It’s a charity rated very highly as far as the money going where it should be going for developmental programs and helping people in need. It helps people with clean drinking water sources around the world, so we’re going to do a Walk for Water and we hope to involve the whole community,” he said.
They plan to have the event sometime in April and want to involve other churches as well.
St. Thomas Lutheran Church is located at 17700 Old Cutler Rd. in Palmetto Bay. Worship with Holy Communion is celebrated every Sunday at 10 a.m. For information visit the website at www.stthomaslutheran.org, or call 305-232-1227.