Tag Archives: Beer & Hymns

Beer and Hymns – Fun and Successful!!!

Pastor Dan Bollerud leading and Jamie Berge playing piano at Beer and Hymns

Last Sunday night featured fellowship, conversation, tasty food, and wonderful hymn singing. Oh, and the best part, over $11,000 was raised in two hours by this cheerful crowd of Christians from multiple churches and denominations.  The proceeds of the fundraising went to Lutheran Social Services of Alaska (LSSA) whose executive director, Alan Budahl, made the round of tables with an iPad collecting donations of those present.  Alan mentioned how great the need was at this time and how helpful these contributions were in meeting that need.

It was a capacity crowd in Mo’s O’Brady’s restaurant. Empty seats were in short supply as the evening progressed. Pastor Dan Bollerud led the singing using a new song-sheet compilation of hymns old and new.  Jamie kept up the tempo at the piano, while John filled in with guitar and harmonica.  I feel like a broken record when I say it just keeps getting better and better, but it’s true. Trust me, you won’t hear hymn singing like this in most churches.

Pastor Dan told me the next Beer and Hymns will likely be in the spring, and many of us can’t wait. While many local evangelicals concentrate on getting people saved and baptized, our friends the Lutherans fill our community with love, grace, and a social gospel which reaches out to the poor and those in hunger. Thank you Lutherans for this expression of love for the Other.

Chris Thompson
churchvisits.com

How to show Christian values at work — without talking about religion

As I visit churches, many sermons I hear lack practical application to our daily lives with demonstrable clear takeaways. They don’t give biblically down-to-earth advice and admonition to guide the daily lives of Christians, to encourage and enable them to be as distinctive as were the early Christians.

In my church visits here, I recall hearing only one sermon full of practicality containing admonition for maintaining one’s physical, mental and spiritual health. Obesity, diabetes and heart disease, for example, are on the upswing. Yet, many church dinners tend to be unhealthy, reflecting a lack of knowledge about the link between diet and disease. Why, for the most part, would churches remain silent on practical advice and knowledgeable practices to their flocks?

Last Sunday, I was treated to another practical sermon at The Crossing in Chugiak. Titled “An Honest Day’s Work,” it was given by Dave Lemaire, a layman with deep roots in men’s ministry. A lifelong Alaskan, Dave has operated businesses and worked in a variety of positions in the transportation industry from the Kenai Peninsula to the North Slope. In July, I wrote about Dave and Michelle Lemaire’s Copper River Float Ministry in this column.

Introducing Lemaire, The Crossing’s senior pastor, the Rev. Brad Rud, said he’d invited Dave to speak about being a Christian and work. My first-ever sermon on this topic, it fascinated me.

Early in his sermon, Lemaire, holding up his Bible, repeated a frequently used statement at The Crossing: “This is my Bible. It is the word of God. In this book are the keys to an abundant life, a joy-filled life and eternal life. I will take God at his word. Amen.”

Early on he cited Ephesians 2:8-10: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Lemaire stressed that we’re “God’s handiwork,” his masterpiece. Other key texts used to support his talk were Colossians 3:22-4:1, Titus 2:9-10, 1 Peter 2:15-21, and 1 Timothy 6:1-2. Supported by this Scripture, he proceeded to provide a framework for employer and employee conduct and relationships.

Breaking down the day of the average American to 8.9 hours working, 7.7 hours sleeping, 2.5 hours of leisure, one hour on household needs, 1.2 hours caring for others and one hour of doing other things, Lemaire said work offers our best opportunity to affect more people for Christ than any other daily activity, adding our work should say much about our character.

If we’re doing an honest day’s work, people will see Jesus in us. Throughout his talk, Lemaire told of multiple work instances in his and others lives where employers saw honesty in their work habits, opening the door for employers to understand true Christians can represent Christ just by performing their work justly.

On the part of employees, Lemaire underscored the toll employee-theft takes on businesses — $20 billion yearly, while break-ins and thefts by customers’ cost businesses — $13 billion yearly. He stressed employees should not steal, be dedicated to their employers and work with sincerity, as God is always watching, and others too.

In a past work life, I worked with businesses to address time-theft, estimated by many researchers to be 10 percent of what the average employee is paid. While not quantified specifically, Lemaire addressed time theft, time wasted on the job, texts, emails and other personal business at work supported by Scripture points.

Working responsibly during our work time, not wasting time, being responsible with employer resources, being obedient and respectful, giving our best, being loyal and letting our work point people to Christ were all Scripture-driven points Lemaire underscored.

He summarized the gist of being a true Christian in the workplace by this statement: “We make the message of Christ effective in the workplace without preaching the Gospel.” Personally, I’ve worked for “Christian” employers who were anything but Christ-like in the workplace.

He stressed fairness in the workplace works both ways. Similarly, employers should treat employees in the same way employers themselves wish to be treated. This means being honest with them, paying them fairly and with integrity. Employees need to see employers demonstrating their own work ethic and making good business decisions. He cited the need for employer loyalty to employees, by not threatening them or always appearing to be looking for replacements.

Lemaire’s sermon can be watched online at vimeo.com/187096414. Covering much ground in 33 minutes, he offered great advice for anyone. Think of it. If rightly followed, Bible studies, face-to-face witnessing, or personal testimonies would be of less importance if more employees and employers followed this advice. In an encouraging manner, Lemaire shared stories of employees expecting to be fired for making mistakes, but not losing their jobs when they honestly came clean with their employers.

This message needs to be heard at many more churches.

Beer and hymns this Sunday

Hymn singing at the “Beer and Hymns” events has proven to be a blessing to those who participate. Unfortunately, I’ve heard Anchorage pastors denounce this event as a beer bash; it’s anything but. Rather, it’s a coming together of people of faith to sing praises to their God and to show financial support for Lutheran Social Services of Alaska.

Participants pay for their meal and beverages, sing hymns for two hours and donate money. Between $6,000 and $10,000 are raised in this short time several times a year.

Event founder, retired Rev. Dan Bollerud, formerly of Christ Our Savior Lutheran Church, is the driving force behind it. Recently he said that, “With all the anger and rancor that we are surrounded with, as seen daily on the news, you might feel the need for a healing experience. The Gospels call us to reach out and care for the least, the lost and the lonely in this world. This time will allow you an opportunity to reach out to these children of God in the fellowship of friends.”

If you like good food, great hymns and heartfelt fellowship, the last Anchorage Beer and Hymns evening for 2016 will be held 6 to 8 p.m. Sunday evening at O’Brady’s in South Anchorage. I’ll be there too.

Chris Thompson is a religion scholar who visits local churches and writes about his experiences and matters of faith on his blog, churchvisits.com.

The views expressed here are the writer’s own and are not necessarily endorsed by Alaska Dispatch News, which welcomes a broad range of viewpoints. To submit a piece for consideration, email commentary(at)alaskadispatch.com.

Six inspiring things from Anchorage faith organizations in 2015

During my forays into the local faith community in 2015 I experienced an intriguing mix of sights, sounds, venues and celebrations. This week I’ll briefly describe some that made lasting impressions. Next week I focus on my perennial quest regarding what I’d like to see churches tackle in 2016.

These impressions are mine alone, and omission isn’t intended as a slight to any faith-based organization in Anchorage.

Faith community support of social causes

As the years go by, I’m increasingly enthusiastic when local faith organizations and their members go out of their way supporting charitable causes such as Thanksgiving Blessing, Crop Hunger Walk, food banks and food distribution programs, kids programs, etc. There is sufficient need in our community, and these efforts show that, for the most part, Christian organizations walk the talk. When Christ Our Savior Lutheran Church periodically holds two-hour Beer and Hymns events, more than $5,000 is raised for Lutheran Social Services of Alaska. Church food drives are incredibly successful too, such as when St. Mary’s Episcopal Church collects donations of more than 4,000 jars of peanut butter plus other food items during the year.

Catholic celebrations mark years of progress

The Archdiocese of Anchorage held several important celebrations this year. One marked the 100th anniversary of Holy Family Cathedral, and the 50th anniversary of the Archdiocese of Anchorage. Many artifacts of local church history were on display, accompanied by colorful presentations by many local Catholic leaders. The ceremonial Mass at Our Lady of Guadalupe marking Archbishop Roger L. Schwietz’s 75th birthday (and 25th anniversary of his ordination as bishop) was full of music, co-celebrating archbishops and bishops, and many priests. The investiture ceremony of the Royal Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre, presided over by a cardinal, was a spectacular peek into church history.

Orthodox visits impressed me deeply

The Eagle River Institute at St. John Orthodox Cathedral during August afforded opportunities to learn about orthodoxy, and its history, especially Syrian-born Rev. George Shaloub’s lectures on Middle Eastern Christianity. With the Syrian refugee crisis in the headlines at the moment, it’s too bad more local Christians did not hear his messages. Vespers, held after supper each day, provided music and liturgy harking back to apostolic times. A recent visit to St. Tikhon Orthodox Church delighted me. The hour and a half liturgy was supported by an all-male choir singing in four-part harmony. The Russian Christmas celebration at St. Innocent Russian Orthodox Cathedral was filled with music and liturgy, my first experience with starring, a beautiful Orthodox tradition brought from Ukraine.

Church worship experiences in middle schools

New churches (church plants) meeting in middle schools were a pleasant visit focus. Clark, Begich, Wendler, and Hanshew middle schools were the focus of those visits. They pay a standard Anchorage School District rental rate for use of the multi-purpose room for adult meetings and classrooms for the younger kids. Churches must bring everything needed and set up every Sunday, taking it all down after, but it works beautifully. Many of these locations provide better settings than some of our local churches. In each of these services, the proportion of millennials was greater than in an average church. I’ve been personally blessed by the number of these services I’ve attended, never feeling the absence of a dedicated brick-and-mortar church as a disadvantage.

AFACT support of Medicaid expansion

Earlier this year, Anchorage Faith and Action Congregations Together challenged the state Legislature with words and prayer at the Legislative Information Office to expand the Medicaid system on behalf of the working poor who slip through the cracks. AFACT, a local coalition of 14 local congregations, worked tirelessly on behalf of expansion. In the end, expansion of the health-care program did happen. When I attended the AFACT celebration at St. Anthony Catholic church in early fall, I was impressed with the passion this dedicated group expressed. I was especially taken with Pastor Julia Seymour’s remarks referring to “social junk.” She’s right. It’s so easy to criticize and ignore those among us we regard as not worthy of our consideration. However, everyone counts in our society, or it begins to rot from the center.

Longevity of senior pastors in our community

My interview with All Saints Episcopal’s Rev. Norman Elliott as he reached his 96th birthday was a true delight. His tireless devotion to his church, and the spiritual lives of those in our hospitals, should be an inspiration to us all. It’s not often we get to know a living church legend; Elliott certainly fits the bill. His stories of pastoring and teaching in the villages, coupled with flights of daring in the parish airplane, are fascinating. Whenever he digresses into the poetry of Geoffrey Anketell Studdert-Kennedy, which he manages to slip into most sermons, he becomes a different man. Elliott is devoted to God and to his church. Retired Archbishop Francis T. Hurley celebrated his 45th year as bishop this year. I’ve had the privilege of interviewing him several times, and like Elliott, he was a flying priest who ministered to a far-flung area. Both have interesting tales of serving God by airplane. The Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church celebration of Pastor Alonzo Patterson’s 45th anniversary as their pastor and 66th anniversary of being a pastor was a warm and effusive display of love for their pastor. Many guest pastors were on hand to add their congratulations and thanks to God for Patterson’s many years of service. The musical tributes were warm and from the heart. It was an exceptional event to have experienced.

Chris Thompson is a religion scholar who visits local churches and writes about his experiences and matters of faith on his blog, churchvisits.com.

The views expressed here are the writer’s own and are not necessarily endorsed by Alaska Dispatch News, which welcomes a broad range of viewpoints. To submit a piece for consideration, emailcommentary(at)alaskadispatch.com.

Beer and Hymns funds caring causes – 9/13/14

What could be a better way to raise funds for a great cause than to dine, drink and sing hymns, all in a friendly atmosphere in a local restaurant? For the past two years, Christ Our Saviour Lutheran Church has offered this delightful fundraiser for the entire community at Mo’s O’Brady’s in the Huffman Business Park. Immensely successful, each of the two events raised over $5,000 for Lutheran Social Services of Alaska, which distributes these and other funds on behalf of those in need in our community.

LSSA emphasizes four program areas: food pantry, direct assistance, Association for Stranded Rural Alaskans and emergency housing.

The food pantry is LSSA’s largest program, providing food assistance through their pantry and mobile pantry sites. Last year they distributed 528,000 pounds of food to 36,757 people. LSSA also partners with Food Bank of Alaska to leverage their donations to acquire items from the food bank, stretching the donation dollars. According to the food bank, LSSA is one of their largest partners.

The direct assistance program helps clients obtain state IDs, birth certificates, prescription medication and work-appropriate clothing.

The emergency housing program provides transitional living for homeless men, preparing them for sustainable employment and housing.

The Association for Stranded Rural Alaskans provides emergency shelter and transportation for people in financial hardship who are stranded in medical facilities outside their hometowns.

As you can see, Lutherans in Alaska have big hearts, hearts that reach out to those in need, directly caring for them. Beer and Hymns is one way that goal is achieved.

Martin Luther ignited a reformation in Europe that transformed religion. His belief in the proper use of beer was as strong as his Reformation theology. From this humble Catholic priest grew the roots of the Protestant Reformation and the Lutheran Church. Luther was a great writer of hymns, penning more than 35 of them, including “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.” He was also a proponent of the consumption of beer and ale. My favorite Luther quotes are: “Whoever drinks beer, he is quick to sleep; whoever sleeps long does not sin; whoever does not sin enters Heaven! Thus, let us drink beer!” and “I’d rather my people were in the alehouse thinking of church than in church thinking of the alehouse.”

Dan Bollerud, pastor of Christ Our Savior Lutheran Church, commenting on the event, said, “Beer and Hymns is less about drinking beer than it is about being the public voice of church in the world. It is about having a good time and enjoying ourselves. It is about community and gathering together. It is about being the church in the world.”

This year’s Beer and Hymns starts 6 p.m. on Sept. 21 at Mo’s O’Brady’s, concluding at about 8 p.m. With no admission charge, those attending sit in groups at restaurant tables and order from the menu. The singing also starts at 6 p.m. with Jamie Berge playing piano and Pastor Dan leading the hymns, using special hymn sheets for the occasion. It’s a lively event ending with the ever-popular Reformation Polka, sung to the tune of “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.” LSSA staff are on hand to collect donations from attendees — cash, checks or credit cards. Attendees bring family, friends and neighbors. Jamie plays the piano in a lively manner, keeping things on track. Church member Nick Kittleson provides the sound system.

It’s well known in this community that I visit churches and blog my impressions of those visits on a regular basis. The people at this event and the churches they represent show warmth and graciousness I rarely see in our community. If more Christians acted in this manner, locking arms and confronting the social issues in the area, there would be more Christians. Clearly these people “walk the talk.”

Many churches across the U.S. and abroad have adopted Beer and Hymns as a collective action to invigorate congregations, staving off declines. An NPR piece last year quoted Leah Stanfield of Fort Worth, who comes to weekly gatherings such as these. “I find the love, I find the support, I find the non-judgmental eyes when I come here,” she says. “And I find friends that love God, love craft beer.” Sounds a little like Martin Luther, doesn’t it?

A Minnesota Public Radio story earlier this year talked about a Fargo-Moorhead Methodist church that meets monthly in a bar to attract younger people to Christ. “Every time I come away having gotten to know somebody better than I did before, whether it’s a new person or somebody I’ve known for a long time,” said the Rev. Cody Schuler, who got the idea from a Denver church. “It’s what church is really about and that’s community.”

This Beer and Hymns will be my third outing. I love this event and what it is doing for our community. If you come, come early. The seating is limited, but you’ll not regret you went.

 

Chris Thompson is a religion scholar who visits local churches and writes about his experiences and matters of faith. You can find his blog at churchvisits.com.

Mystery Church Shopper observations could help Alaska churches – 9/6/14

During the past decade I’ve aggressively visited churches in Alaska and beyond observing church treatment of guests and members. My ADN Church Visits blog has evaluated over 100 churches using four criteria: warm welcome, hospitality, music that’s not merely entertainment and well-delivered, Bible-based sermons.

A recently released study mirroring my approach was featured in a fascinating Christianity Today article titled “Mystery Shoppers Rate Church Size.” The study itself was performed by Faith Perceptions. Its mystery guest program used unchurched mystery guests who were paid $45 to visit churches and evaluate them in 16 categories: community awareness, signage, greeting upon arrival, pre-service atmosphere, seating, music, in-service greeting, message, speaker, post-service atmosphere, information, friendliness, children/youth ministries, diversity and outreach, likelihood of return and overall experience. These are similar to the kinds of observations I’ve used in my blog for many years.

The food pantry is LSSA’s largest program, providing food assistance through their pantry and mobile pantry sites. Last year they distributed 528,000 pounds of food to 36,757 people. LSSA also partners with Food Bank of Alaska to leverage their donations to acquire items from the food bank, stretching the donation dollars. According to the food bank, LSSA is one of their largest partners.

The direct assistance program helps clients obtain state IDs, birth certificates, prescription medication and work-appropriate clothing.

The emergency housing program provides transitional living for homeless men, preparing them for sustainable employment and housing.

The Association for Stranded Rural Alaskans provides emergency shelter and transportation for people in financial hardship who are stranded in medical facilities outside their hometowns.

As you can see, Lutherans in Alaska have big hearts, hearts that reach out to those in need, directly caring for them. Beer and Hymns is one way that goal is achieved.

Martin Luther ignited a reformation in Europe that transformed religion. His belief in the proper use of beer was as strong as his Reformation theology. From this humble Catholic priest grew the roots of the Protestant Reformation and the Lutheran Church. Luther was a great writer of hymns, penning more than 35 of them, including “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.” He was also a proponent of the consumption of beer and ale. My favorite Luther quotes are: “Whoever drinks beer, he is quick to sleep; whoever sleeps long does not sin; whoever does not sin enters Heaven! Thus, let us drink beer!” and “I’d rather my people were in the alehouse thinking of church than in church thinking of the alehouse.”

Dan Bollerud, pastor of Christ Our Savior Lutheran Church, commenting on the event, said, “Beer and Hymns is less about drinking beer than it is about being the public voice of church in the world. It is about having a good time and enjoying ourselves. It is about community and gathering together. It is about being the church in the world.”

This year’s Beer and Hymns starts 6 p.m. on Sept. 21 at Mo’s O’Brady’s, concluding at about 8 p.m. With no admission charge, those attending sit in groups at restaurant tables and order from the menu. The singing also starts at 6 p.m. with Jamie Berge playing piano and Pastor Dan leading the hymns, using special hymn sheets for the occasion. It’s a lively event ending with the ever-popular Reformation Polka, sung to the tune of “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.” LSSA staff are on hand to collect donations from attendees — cash, checks or credit cards. Attendees bring family, friends and neighbors. Jamie plays the piano in a lively manner, keeping things on track. Church member Nick Kittleson provides the sound system.

It’s well known in this community that I visit churches and blog my impressions of those visits on a regular basis. The people at this event and the churches they represent show warmth and graciousness I rarely see in our community. If more Christians acted in this manner, locking arms and confronting the social issues in the area, there would be more Christians. Clearly these people “walk the talk.”

Many churches across the U.S. and abroad have adopted Beer and Hymns as a collective action to invigorate congregations, staving off declines. An NPR piece last year quoted Leah Stanfield of Fort Worth, who comes to weekly gatherings such as these. “I find the love, I find the support, I find the non-judgmental eyes when I come here,” she says. “And I find friends that love God, love craft beer.” Sounds a little like Martin Luther, doesn’t it?

A Minnesota Public Radio story earlier this year talked about a Fargo-Moorhead Methodist church that meets monthly in a bar to attract younger people to Christ. “Every time I come away having gotten to know somebody better than I did before, whether it’s a new person or somebody I’ve known for a long time,” said the Rev. Cody Schuler, who got the idea from a Denver church. “It’s what church is really about and that’s community.”

This Beer and Hymns will be my third outing. I love this event and what it is doing for our community. If you come, come early. The seating is limited, but you’ll not regret you went.

Chris Thompson is a religion scholar who visits local churches and writes about his experiences and matters of faith. You can find his blog at churchvisits.com.

 

Great hymn singing is not dead in Anchorage

Many readers have written asking for names of churches offering music formats not harsh, overly loud, consistent with Scripture and based on spiritually uplifting hymn format singing.

Many evangelical churches used to offer hymn singing formats where a 10- to 15-minute period of congregational singing, called “song service,” commenced the worship service. This style is dying out for lack of gifted song leaders and musicians who can perform this music in a spirited, uplifting and inspired fashion. When done well, a song service can be the most member-active portion of a church service.

Liturgical churches Catholic, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Episcopal, Methodist and similar congregations may offer some of this style of music interspersed throughout their services, but it is often performed in a doleful, draggy funereal manner. I recently received an email from a new Anchorage resident, transplanted from another Alaska city, looking for a good song service music format.

Who has the Best Song Service? 

“I have so enjoyed your running commentary on local churches. I’m new to Anchorage, and looking for the church with the best song service. Any “flavor” will do. I’m looking for a mighty Spirit here. Being a missionary kid, I’ve learned to keep my spirituality my own business. I can attend almost anywhere, realizing the kingdom of heaven is within. I do love traditional hymn singing, such as “Like a River Glorious,” “He Hideth My Soul,” “A Mighty Fortress,” etc. I grew up in an Alaskan church in another city. The only thing I miss is their hymns and Scripture songs. My former church plays their hymns at double speed now due to a new pianist since I grew up there. It would be nice if a search of “best church singing” would yield a result. God bless you for your continued service to Anchorage!”

Not many Anchorage churches offer what you are looking for. Many churches have dumped people-friendly song services for entertainment-format praise bands and choirs. I personally know several Anchorage churches that offer what this reader is looking for, and do it well.

A great song-service and a well-delivered sermon are what many people seek in a church service. Instead of offering a search of “best church singing” send an email request to ChurchVisits@gmail. com to obtain a list of churches offering great song services. One of those churches is Great Land Christian Church, which offers one of the best song services in town. It is led by a group of young singers who present an a capella group of hymns and songs that are theologically strong, not Bible camp-style music and so well done that virtually every person in the congregation can be heard following their lead and singing.

The two “Beer and Hymn” sings offered by Christ Our Savior Lutheran Church in 2013 offered some of the best hymn singing I’ve heard in many years. More than a hundred people sang great hymns of the church for several hours with unrestrained joy in a restaurant setting while raising close to $10,000 to support the Lutheran Social Services food bank.

 Only a piano delivered the musical accompaniment, while the singing was led by a talented pastor who knew how to sing and lead the music. Occasions like these are infrequent but indicate many seek participative music, not theologically weak “music as entertainment” delivered at eardrum blasting levels. Seek and you will find!

Chris Thompson is a religion scholar who visits local churches and writes about his experiences and matters of faith on his blog, Church Visits, at adn.com/churchvisits. Email him at churchvisits@gmail.com.

Original ADN Article
http://www.adn.com/article/20140131/church-visits-great-hymn-singing-not-dead-anchorage

Beer & Hymns for LSSA – Sunday@6:30 pm

Christ Our Savior Lutheran Church (COSLC) Christ Our Savior Lutheran Church (COSLC) is hosting its 2nd Beer & Hymns session at Mo’s O’Brady’s, 1501 Huffman Rd., Sunday, November 10, 2013 at 6:00 p.m.

A most fitting date, Sunday is also the 530th anniversary of Martin Luther’s birth. From this humble Catholic priest grew the roots of the Protestant Reformation and the Lutheran Church. Martin was a great writer of hymns, penning over 35 of them, including “A Mighty Fortress is Our God”. He was also a proponent of the consumption of beer and ale. My favorite Luther quotes are “Whoever drinks beer, he is quick to sleep; whoever sleeps long, does not sin; whoever does not sin, enters Heaven! Thus, let us drink beer!” and “I’d rather my people were in the alehouse thinking of church, than in church thinking of the alehouse.”

It’s simple. You come, admission is free, buy food from O’Brady’s tasty menu, along with your favorite beverage, including adult beverages. Eat, drink, and sing during a this two-hour hymnfest. Freewill donations to LSSA’s food bank can be made during the hymn sing (no pressure). Last year just under $5,000 was raised. LSSA is well known for making a sizable dent in meeting the needs of those in our community who cannot feed themselves and/or their families in these trying times.

COSLC members are among some of the most personable and friendly church members in town. Pastor Dan Bollerud shares that “God is not confined to our churches. Worship comes in many forms. Come join us for food, fellowship, and fun, knowing that with Christ and your brothers and sisters, all are one”. I’ve come to know Pastor Dan as a marvelous connector, has a great voice, and leads the music during the singing. He can also direct you to some great brews. I guarantee you’ll make some new friends at this event. I’ll also be there enjoying this wonderful time, and recording my impressions for the Church Visits blog.

You can download this illustration in a larger format below.

Beer & Hymns: Great Fun & Successful Fundraiser

From the opening notes of I Love to Tell the Story, to the closing notes of We Are Marching in the Light of God, Beer & Hymns this past Sunday proved to be a wonderful experience of singing, dining, and raising funds for LSSA.

Over $5,000 was raised with additional funds yet to be counted. According to my calculations, around 100 people attended this inaugural event at Mo’s O’Brady’s. Sponsored by Christ Our Savior Lutheran Church, Beer & Hymns was widely attended with representatives from many Anchorage congregations. Entire families enjoyed the food, fun, and fellowship at Beer & Hymns. O’Brady’s staff, and owner Mo, clearly outdid themselves with fast service, excellent food, and great humor.

COSLC’s keyboardist Jamie Berge did an awesome job of playing each hymn on the church’s Clavinova. Playing for the majority of two hours, she nailed it while Pastor Dan Bollerud sang and directed the group assembled the entire two hours. Pastor Dan has a pleasing bass voice which kept us all on track. If you love good, old-fashioned hymn singing, this event was for you (and can be in the future)!

LSSA Director Allan Budahl shared how the need for food aid in our community has outstripped the supply. Underscoring this need, LSSAalso sent food and funds East after hurricane Sandy. I’m so impressed with what LSSA does in our local community.

Moneywise, as a frame of reference, the amount of contributions donated to LSSA Sunday night equals the cost of one person going overseas on the average short-term mission trip. Many short-term missioners essentially are taking a mission’s tourism trip and not significantly helping solve the true needs of their target trips. It’s reassuring the funds collected Sunday night will be distributed in direct aid, mostly for food, to help those in our community in desperate need of assistance.

COSLC’s pastor, Dan Bollerud, shared three reasons for the success of this event.
1. Beer and hymns…How can you go wrong?
2. It is a way to be the church out in the world, and to show a different side of the church to the world.
3. It is a fun way to have a fundraiser for a great organization like Lutheran Social Services Food Bank.

My congratulations to a solid church and community-spirited attendees for a job well done! I can’t wait until the next Beer & Hymns.