Jesus didn't wear Chuck Taylors, But Pastor Wilson Does

Jesus didn't wear Chuck Taylors, But Pastor Wilson Does

Pastor Jessy Wilson, who was recently installed as an SMP pastor serving at Bethlehem, Delmar, spent time talking with Carol Mittelstaedt.

Pastor Jessy Wilson, who was recently installed as an SMP pastor serving at Bethlehem, Delmar, spent time talking with Carol Mittelstaedt.

Jessy was born, raised, and has spent his life in the Albany area, never living more than 20 minutes away. He grew up in the village of Ravena, a town with precisely two traffic lights, and currently resides in the town of Selkirk in a house that his grandfather built. He and his wife, Jennifer, have been married for almost 27 years and have two adult sons, Ian, 23, and Logan, 20. Jennifer is the CFO of an NPO that provides services and housing for homeless veterans. Ian works for a floral wholesaler, and Logan is studying Biology/Pre-veterinary Medicine at SUNY Fredonia in western New York.

As a student in the SMP program, Jessy does admit to not having a lot of free time, but when he does get a few minutes, he enjoys reading, cycling, and building Lego.

A fun fact is that he collects Converse Chuck Taylors, and his current collection contains 27 pairs of sneakers, including three that were custom-made for him. In the photos, Pastor Mark Mueller, Bishop Lecakes, and Jessy are all wearing Chucks at his ordination.

Jessy says, “I was not always a Christian; I spent much of my life outside the Church and was led to the Church through conversations with a coworker. I began attending Bethlehem Lutheran Church because it was close to my house, and I had played basketball there as a youth. The Holy Spirit planted the seeds of faith at BLC, and I found myself wanting to learn all I could about the Christian faith. Pastor Jacob Heine suggested the Lay Deacon program to me. That was my first step towards, and the first time I felt the pull of, pastoral ministry.

“I became a Lay Deacon in 2012. Over the next ten years under the mentorship of Pastor Mueller, I grew in faith. I constantly struggled with the call to ministry, never quite seeing how I could leave my career as a software engineer and commit myself to church work. Late in 2018, our assistant pastor took a call, and Bishop Lecakes and Pastor Mueller took that opportunity to meet with my wife and me regarding the SMP program. This prompted a period of family discussion and a whole lot of prayer. With my family's blessing, I applied to the SMP program in the spring of 2019 and was accepted. I took a full-time position at the church in July of 2019 and began my studies in the fall.”

As a person who once stood outside the church, Jessy’s real passion for ministry is outreach. Many of the people in his town and surrounding area are unchurched. Many do not even have a rudimentary knowledge of Jesus. Finding ways to connect these outsiders with Jesus so that they, too, can know the joy and peace he has in Christ is what gets him out of bed in the morning. Over the past two years, as Jessy has worked in ministry, he has also found great joy in pastoral care. For him, this is the part of ministry where deep relationships are built, and these relationships build up the whole church.

Jessy hopes and dreams that he will prove worthy of the gift given to him in his ordination. “It is my hope and dream that my congregation always experiences the love of Christ through me and that my mouth always delivers the Gospel as God intends it to His people. I hope and dream that we will grow in faith together, and together we will expand the kingdom of God.”

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