In association with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA), Christus Victor Lutheran Church (CVLC) is a traditional church offering worship service each Sunday. Worship includes Holy Communion, organ music, an anthem from the choir, a children’s sermon and an adult sermon based on the Bible. Our active congregation serves each other, the church, our community and the world. We gather for special events and celebrate the seasons described in the Church Year Calendar.
Pastor Ben Krey was called to be the Pastor of Christus Victor Lutheran Church in January 2017 and started on March 15th, 2017. Before moving to Durham, Pastor Ben served as the pastor of Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Philadelphia from 2009. In his baptism, the Holy Spirit gave him gifts for evangelism. Pastor Ben loves to talk to people outside of the Church and especially loves building relationships with people of different cultures. Though he only speaks English, he loves finding ways to communicate Jesus' love through actions to those who do not speak English. In doing so, he experiences Jesus in their smiles and hospitality.
In Philadelphia, Pastor Ben lead his small congregation (with a BIG GOD) to resettle 250 refugees. He and the congregation were also leaders of Philadelphians Organized to Witness, Empower, and Rebuild (POWER, a community organization and affiliate of PICO). After over 5 years of work and building relations with politicians and community allies, POWER celebrated when the Philadelphia airport workers unionized in 2017. Pastor Ben remembers the airport workers who pushed wheelchairs, making less than minimum wage, and could be fired if they asked for a tip. Now they have hope and a living wage.
The church in Philadelphia was in the Lawncrest neighborhood, which was a great place to meet neighbors when walking to and from people's homes, the local shops on Rising Sun Ave, or community meetings. Lawncrest was one of the most racially diverse neighborhoods in the city in 2009, but the congregation was almost entirely white when he arrived. He led the congregation to grow in cross-cultural relationship building, and experiencing Jesus in others; and the congregation was transformed into one of the most diverse congregations in the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod, with members from Pakistan, Liberia, Trinidad, Iraq, Congo, Columbia, Dominican Republic, as well as African Americans and still a lot of White Americans. There were people of all ages, genders, sexual orientations, and religions (especially Muslim and Hindu from the refugee resettlement work) active in the congregation, because they were really welcome and experienced the love of Jesus in real tangible ways.
Pastor Ben was dean of the Northeast Philadelphia Conference of ELCA congregations from 2013-2017, and focused on creating cooperative ministries between gifted but struggling urban congregations. He volunteered as a police chaplain for the 2nd Police District of Philadelphia.
Pastor Ben is excited to be in South Durham where there is also a great diversity and many flavors to life! His better 7/8ths and best friend is his wife, Pastor Marissa Krey. They love to play card and board games together, and are always happy to deal in another friend. They have two people-loving cats, Argyle and Boitnoit. They welcomed their son, Jonah, a gift from God, in 2019.
Pastor Ben was born in Bristol, CT and grew up in Waterbury, CT. He graduated from Northeastern University in Boston, MA with a dual degree in electrical and computer engineering with a minor in mathematics. Through many conversations with his college roommate, Lutheran Campus Ministry and the Lutheran Student Movement, God stirred up that he might have a calling other than engineering. At Resurrection Lutheran Church in the Roxbury section of Boston, during his first worship service with Philip, his little brother in a little brother-big brother program, Pastor Ben's heart exploded inside his chest. God got his attention! He now knows God was telling him that urban and diverse ministry among the poor is what God is calling him to do. It is where he sees God's grace and Jesus on the cross the most clearly. He graduated seminary at the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia (now Union Lutheran Seminary) in 2008. And he lives to help individuals and congregations experience the transformative power of God's grace.
Knowing Jesus gave everything on the cross, Daniel 3:16-18 further inspires Pastor Ben to live faithfully, no matter the cost. At Christus Victor Lutheran Church, he works to help this congregation fearlessly trust God, accept all others, themselves, and their calling to give comfort.
2008 Master of Music from Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, MD)
Simon Zaleski has served as CVLC's Music Director since 2008, after moving to Durham following receipt of master's degrees in harpsichord, composition, and musicology from the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore. A specialist in Renaissance, Baroque, and Celtic music, he has performed on harpsichord, organ, piano, viola, viola da gamba, and recorder and brings some of this music to CVLC. Over the past few years, he has performed with many early music ensembles in Baltimore and at Duke and UNC. A rather geeky list of hobbies, perhaps influenced by growing up in the Seattle area, includes history, fishkeeping, Star Trek and other sci-fi, and games of all sorts--and there is always another musical instrument to learn!
On August 28, 2019 Sarah began working at Christus Victor Lutheran Church. She lives in the Parkwood neighborhood and loves it! Sarah and her husband Johel also work in the community pastoring a Latino congregation since 2013. Their 3 children have attended Music Camp at Christus Victor and learned so much. Sarah is in the church office at Christus Victor Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9 AM- 2 PM. Let me know if there is any way I can help!
Fearlessly trusting God, we accept all others, ourselves, and our calling to give comfort.
In the sixties, the Lutheran Church in America decided to center a new mission in Southern Durham, just a few miles from the developing Research Triangle Park. Worship services began on September 11, 1966 and were initially held in the Parkwood Elementary School. The church building, with its prominent baptismal font and 20-foot altar, was dedicated in 1970. The first charter was signed by 14 families. Today, we are living out God's Mission on the shoulders of those who started and sustained this congregation over the years.