Pastor John Bjorge
Pastor John Bjorge was born and raised in a pastor’s family in Minnesota. He is a graduate of St. Olaf College and Luther Seminary, was ordained in 1990, and holds his doctorate in biblical homiletics. He has a passion for proclaiming God’s transformative message of grace and teaching in ways that “delight, inspire, and are relevant.”
He has taught preaching at Luther Seminary and has been very involved in various ministries and boards. He has served congregations in Portland, Montana, and Minnesota before coming to FLRB in 2007.
He loves to ski, travel, and be together with his family. He is married to Jill Ballo and has three tween/teenage children: Jack, Kirsten, and Peter.
Pastor John came to FLRB after coming from MN to interview and, in his words, “realizing [he’d] just met the most wonderfully Spirit-filled, Christ-centered, passionate group of people he’d known, [he] felt called by God to lead the ministry team at FLRB.” He thought if the rest of the church was filled with this kind of people, imagine what God could do? His motto is that “the church in incomplete without you!”
Laura Schleede is the Director of First Lutheran Preschool and Kindergarten.
Laura holds a Masters of Social Work (MSW) with a concentration in School Social Work. She has worked in preschool, elementary, junior high, and alternative educational settings and has experience as an educator in child and youth development.
Her love of children and passion for helping foster a positive learning environment are evident in the way she leads FLRB Preschool and Kindergarten.
Laura, along with her husband, Matt, and children Lily and Elise, are members of FLRB.
Christina Nichols is FLRB’s Office Manager.
Christina has deep roots in the Pacific Northwest–including a large extended family in Oregon that gathers together often. She enjoys spending time with her three nieces. In her free time, she is a fiber enthusiast–knitting and spinning yarn.
At FLRB, she enjoys helping the congregation and staff stay connected by keeping track of publications, crafting announcements for events, and learning people’s names!
“I love learning people’s names and their stories. I often ask people for their first and last names because it helps me to connect them in my memory. It is exciting for me to continue to form new connections within the FLRB community.”
Cathy Thomas, FLRB’s Parish Nurse, has a passion for health and serving Jesus and this has led her to Parish Nursing. She is a registered nurse, oncology certified, and recently retired.
“I feel the Lord has blessed me with skills and gifts, with love and caring, and what a joy it is to combine them all and serve in a church I love! FLRB is an amazing church to be a member of, and to serve!”
Health Ministry and Parish Nursing address not only how a person heals, but also asks, “What keeps people well and how can we assist in that process”.
Cathy serves as:
- Caring Ministries Leader
- Stephen Ministry Leader
- Prayer Teams Leader
- Nourishment Ministry Leader
- Eucharistic Ministry Leader
Terry Baird is the Faith Formation Director. Terry graduated from Trinity Lutheran College with a BA in youth and family ministry.
As the Faith Formation Director she ministers to the children, youth and families of the congregation. Faith Formation is a lifelong process and it is important that children and youth know that they are loved and valued by God.
Karen Ewing is the Bookkeeper/Accountant at FLRB. She is an experienced traveler, having lived in many places around the country since her father was in the Air Force. She and her husband live in Seattle, and have a teenage daughter.
When she isn’t busy carpooling her daughter, Karen enjoys reading, biking, and all sorts of sewing and crafts.
Joel received his B.M. from Wheaton College, IL in organ performance and his M.M. from Emory University in organ and sacred music. While teaching music in New Orleans, Joel attended Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge and received a second M.M. in choral conducting.
His immediate family lives in Albany, Oregon including his sister, Erin, and parents, Michael and Susan. Joel enjoys the outdoors and is so happy to be back in the Pacific Northwest close to his family!
Girmai Behre is the facilities manager at FLRB and keeps the church and Preschool running smoothly.
He brings a commitment to excellence in all his work and does everything to the Glory of God. Girmai has a powerful faith story and enjoys sharing his faith with others.
He also feels privileged to work in a place where he can work beside other Christians.
Girmai, a native of Ethiopia, was born into a Christian family where his parents taught Girmai and his brothers and sisters the importance of the Christian faith. When he left Ethiopia as a young man, his mother told him that no matter where he lived, to make sure that he followed Jesus.
Girmai now lives in Mountlake Terrace with his wife and his two children.