Anyone other than Bill Wiecher would have a tough time getting dressed in the darkness of early morning. After all, the black cassock he wears as Pastor at Pinecrest’s Christ the King Lutheran Church and the dark blue uniform of a full Colonel in the United State Air Force look very similar, except for the rows of military ribbons and medals adorning the latter. Regardless of the day, or the mission, Wiecher wears each proudly.
We interviewed Pastor Wiecher recently at Christ the King Lutheran Church, which is sited at the confluence of Red Road and S.W. 111th Street opposite Pinecrest Gardens.
Can you tell us about your background and education, Pastor Wiecher?
“I’m an ordained minister of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America with 31 years of ministry experience. I was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri and am a big St. Louis Cardinals fan. I’m a 1981 graduate of Capital University in Columbus, Ohio with Bachelor’s Degrees in history, secondary education, religion and Christian staff work. I then attended Seminary at The Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago and graduated with a Masters of Divinity. I also hold Master’s Degrees in philosophy from Fordham University and in Strategic Studies from the United States Air War College.”
Where did you serve before coming to Christ the King Lutheran Church?
“After my ordination in 1989, I took my first call as Pastor of Redeemer Evangelical Lutheran Church in New Paltz, New York, a great little parish where I stayed for nearly two decades. I am married to the Rev Wynemah K. Hinlicky, for thirty-two years, who is also an ordained minister and serves as Interim Pastor of St. Thomas by the Sea Lutheran Church in Palmetto Bay.
“Our children were born in New York and their names are Joseph, Mikaela and Liam Wiecher. From 2008-2013 my wife and I served as Co-Pastors together at College Evangelical Lutheran Church in Salem, Virginia.”
And you’re an officer in the United States Air Force as well?
‘Yes. Since 1998 I have been Chaplain in the United States Air Force Reserve. I’m a graduate of the Air War College at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama and served on active duty during the 2018 academic year as Chaplain of the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, which was a wonderful experience.
“I’m presently assigned to the recently created U.S. Space Force as a member of the Air Force Reserve in my capacity as the Individual Mobilization Augmentee to the Command Chaplain.”
What brought you to Pinecrest and Christ the King Lutheran Church?
“When my tour at the Air Force Academy ended, I took the call to come to Miami in July of 2019 to serve at Christ the King Lutheran Church. I love working with the men and women of our armed forces but I’m very happy to be back in this type of pastoral work. It’s really good to be in Miami, although we’re adjusting to the tropical weather and the interesting driving habits of Miamians (laughter).
“Christ the King has a vibrant congregation, with good community involvement, fantastic musicians and an outstanding choir. We recently performed the Wonder of Christmas, an interactive liturgical church drama about the birth of Christ that was written by some of our church members.”
What are your thoughts on faith and religion in these challenging times?
“Having faith is so important. I tell people that if you focus on the negative and let fear take over, you know what the result is going to be. God opens up great possibilities for those who take that leap of faith. I encourage those who don’t regularly attend church to be open to a spiritual direction, to try something new. It’s important for children to be introduced to spirituality, and I mean not just the words of biblical teachings, but also the magical sights, sounds, colors and music of faith.
“Our lives are so busy and so technically driven right now. Many of the later generations are seeking a place of calm in which to reflect, connect with a something bigger than themselves and experience a sense of transcendence. My suggestion is to do what has worked for 2000 years. Come to church, sit quietly and listen to what God has to say. You may get something out of it. You may not. But that’s not necessarily the point. God will work on you, I can promise you that.”
Christ the King offers two worship services each Sunday. At 8:15 a.m. worshippers gather in Ludder Fellowship Hall for a casual worship service where the message is delivered in language reflecting modern usage, complemented by uplifting music with keyboard and percussion. Holy Communion is celebrated every Sunday at the casual worship service. On Sundays at 10:00 a.m., a traditional liturgical worship service is offered in The Sanctuary, where a full choir and powerful organ music set the tone for a more formal service. Holy Communion is celebrated on the first and third Sundays of each month.
Christ the King is located at 11295 SW 57th Avenue, Pinecrest, FL 33156. Each Sunday, worship services is offered at 8:15 a.m. in Ludder Fellowship Hall and 10:00 a.m. in The Sanctuary. For more information, please visit www.ctkmiami.org or call (305) 665-5063 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.