I'm Pastor Lacey. I've been serving St. John's since June 15, 2021. I'm glad you've visited our website to learn a little about our congregation. Below you can read a little of my story and how I ended up serving as a Lutheran pastor in North Central West Virginia. You can find my contact information by scrolling to the bottom of this page.
The Lord bless you and keep you!
My name is Stanley Lacey. I was born on March 15, 1994 to Andy and Carolyn Lacey in Montgomery, AL. On October 29, 1994, I was baptized into Christ at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church in Tallassee, AL. I grew up Roman Catholic, received first Communion when I was seven and was confirmed Roman Catholic when I was in seventh grade. During that time, I developed a strong belief based on Holy Scripture that God was present, active, and working in Baptism, Confession, and the Lord's Supper.
Since receiving first Communion, I often felt a desire to serve God and His people as a pastor. This desire grew to the point that I was considering leaving the University of Alabama during my sophomore year to begin seminary studies on the path toward being ordained a Roman Catholic priest.
It was during this time that I met my first practicing Lutheran who would eventually agree to be my wife, Payton. We started spending time with one another at various inter-denominational functions. I remember remarking once that it was great to be around other Christians in college, but it was a shame that they didn't believe Christ's words when He tells us that the Lord's Supper is His Body and Blood for our forgiveness. To my surprise, Payton agreed with me.
At this point, I thought that I had found a way to make her convert to Roman Catholicism. I had been taught my whole life that there are essentially two branches of Christianity: 1) The Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox, and 2) the Protestants. Until meeting my first Lutheran, I thought that all Protestants explained away what God's Word said about things like Baptism, Confession, and the Lord's Supper. I thought they all believed that the Lord's Supper and Baptism were simply symbolic acts of obedience rather than places God promised to be present and working to save us. I also thought that this was the fault of men like Martin Luther.
After having more discussions with Payton and reading the Book of Concord (the Lutheran Confessions) for myself, I realized I found something I didn't know existed. I discovered a group of Christians that believed those things I always held dear from the Scriptures but rejected those teachings that I always struggled to defend on the basis of the Bible. I discovered Christians that did not throw the baby out with the bathwater when the Reformation of the 16th century took place. This was a group of Christians that firmly believed that the Church has always and will always exist. They did not start anything new. Whatever was taught and practiced in the Church Catholic that agreed with Scripture and pointed to Christ as the Savior of all humanity was retained by these Christians. Whatever didn't was rejected.
When I walked into a Confessional Lutheran Church for the first time I saw vestments, I heard ancient hymns saturated with Biblical teaching, I heard Biblical preaching, and I witnessed the historic liturgy. I finally found an iteration of Christianity that took tradition seriously while always maintaining the Scriptures as the only rule and norm of faith that could not be wrong. Over seven years later, I am a pastor in the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod serving St. John’s Lutheran Church in Bridgeport, WV!
I am thankful for my parents and the way they raised me. I am thankful for all my teachers. I am thankful for my priests who gave me the Body and Blood of Christ, heard my confession, and forgave my sins in the name of Jesus. God was preparing me through their ministry to discover Confessional Lutheranism. I am thankful for my wife who never got fed up with my challenges and who has stuck with me going on seven years now. And I am thankful for the faithful Christian witness given by the power of the Holy Spirit for thousands of years.
No matter how dreadful things have looked in the Church’s history, God has kept her safe and kept her firm in His Word and faith. He will continue to correct us and forgive us by His Word until the Last Day when all causes of sin and division will finally be destroyed. On that day the unity of the one holy catholic and apostolic Church that we know by faith will be known by sight as well. Come, Lord Jesus!
This is just a sample of my own journey of faith. I am sure you have your own. I pray that all of us at St. John's can be a part of your journey as well, as your relationship with God and His Church grows!
I'm always happy to be of help. Whether you need someone to talk to, need to find out what resources are available in our community to meet your needs or you're trying to find a church family to join, I'm here!
Call or text 304-608-3597