Tag Archives: Rev Dan Bollerud

Beer & Hymns – Sunday – November 4, 2018

The next Beer & Hymns sing will be held Sunday, November 4, 6:00 p.m. at Mo’s O’Brady’s in the Huffman Business Park next to Carrs/Safeway. This a tremendously successful event which features camaraderie, and singing wonderful hymns, something many of today’s churches no longer offer.  Retired Lutheran Pastor Dan Bollerud has encouraged this event into a tremendous asset for the local community.

There is no charge to attend, but donations are accepted for Lutheran Social Services of Alaska. The previous Beer & Hymns raised over $11,000 in just two-hours.  Mo’s food is always delicious and features many “down home” favorites.

I urge you to get there early or you might not be able to find seating.  At the last Beer & Hymns I was among others who were unable to find seating and left.  Personally, I’m not eager to stand for two-hours during a hymn sing.  In my opinion, this wonderful event has possibly outgrown its venue and should consider moving.

I hope this event is as successful as the last one!


Beer and Hymns – This Sunday! Come join in this joyous experience and help your neighbor at the same time!

This Sunday, April 22, retired Lutheran Pastor Dan Bollerud presents 2018’s first “Beer and Hymns” in Anchorage.  A wonderfully social and spiritual event, it has raised $63,000 over the past four-years. These funds have gone to Lutheran Social Services of Alaska (LSSA), which provides a panoply of services to Alaskans. Most importantly, LSSA’s Food Pantry supplies thousands of Alaskans with needed nutrition.

Pastor Dan hopes this Sunday’s event will raise over $7,000 to push the four-year total over $70,000.  There is incredible comradeship in singing hymns, dining together, and experiencing the joys of Christian fellowship. Jamie Berge’s masterful piano playing, along with Pastor Dan’s rich baritone, compel enthusiastic  audience participation.  Oh, by the way, these hymns are not sung mournfully as some local churches often do, but with an up-tempo spirit and richness they rightfully deserve.  There is intense competition among those present to request their favorite hymns.  Everyone is accommodated.

Mo’s O’Brady’s Restaurant in the Huffman Business Park next to Carr’s Huffman is hosting this Beer and Hymns once again.  There is no admission.  An LSSA representative will be present to accept donations via check, cash or a card reader, and to answer your questions about their services. At the last Beer and Hymns, over $11,000 was raised in the two-hour event.  I plan on being there as well.  If you’d like to discuss issues regarding local churches, seek me out. The event starts at 6 p.m. and concludes promptly at 8 p.m.  Spiritual highs are no-charge. My hat is off to the generosity of local Christians of virtually every faith who support this awesome event!


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

Ready to Sing Hymns? Beer and Hymns Coming on Sunday – 10/8/17

One of my favorite events, Beer and Hymns, is coming back, this Sunday, October 8. It benefits Lutheran Social Services of Alaska (LSSA). It’s held at Mo’s O’Brady’s Restaurant in the Carr’s Huffman Business Plaza. Google Map  Things get rolling promptly at 6 p.m. so be sure to arrive early to grab a table and seat; they go fast!

Pastor Dan Bollerud, retired pastor of Christ Our Savior Lutheran Church, leads the singing with his marvelous baritone voice. Jamie Berge, pianist extraordinaire, will tickle the ivories in a delightful manner. I hear John Klapproth will play along with guitar & harmonica. Attendees choose from over 60 hymns in a special hymnbook. It’s all about requests!

Lutheran Social Services of Alaska provides a variety of services to Alaska families including a local food pantry. Alan Budahl, LSSA executive director will be on hand to answer questions regarding their activities, and accept your donation. No fees charged for this wonderful event, and attendees end up donating a respectable sum of money between 6 and 8 p.m. Recent Beer and Hymns events have seen $7,000-$10,000 donated during this brief time.  I find it very interesting how singing praises opens the purse strings.  Meeting new friends and greeting old friends is a key part of the charm of this worthy get-together.

Pastor Dan usually asks for a roll call of the various churches represented. I’m continue to be amazed by the great diversity of faiths there. It’s common to hear Catholic, Episcopal, Pentecostal, Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist, and Presbyterian churches, to name a few, chiming in to register their faith community.

If your heart needs an uplift, I urge you give this event a try. A few people are put off by the juxtaposition of beer and hymns., Martin Luther is famously quoted as saying, “It is better to think of church in the ale-house than to think of the ale-house in church.”  Mo also has plenty of non-alcoholic beverages, and O’Brady’s tasty dinner entrees.  I’ll be there and would love to meet you if you choose to come.

Chris Thompson



10-minute Church! Is that possible?

10W on Soundcloud

Anchorage pastors sometimes surprise me with insights of connecting to people spiritually. Pastor Dan Bollerud, retired Lutheran (ELCA) pastor, came up with one such idea over six-years ago.

When he was pastor at Christ Our Savior Lutheran Church (COSLC), he was approached by a couple in search of worship materials to take and use on a summer trip for their private devotions.  This linked an observation he had that “20-somethings” missed church, but didn’t come often.  Through dialog involving the question, “What would church look like if you started from scratch?”, he developed a mini-church service to be recorded and distributed to members via CD. When deciding upon a name for this new program, wife Jan suggested calling it a 10-minute worship, the time it took her to drive to work.  So, the name 10W was born for the 10-minute worship service. Initially, it was copied onto CDs and placed in the church narthex for anyone to take. In fact, at my first visit to COSLC, Pastor Dan gave me such a set of those CDs. At that time, each CD contained services for all of the weeks of the month.

Lectionaries are used by many churches to cover the scriptural flow of the church year, including major events and celebrations. Last Sunday, for example, was Pentecost and has specific scriptural references to follow. This coming Sunday is Trinity Sunday.  Initially Pastor Dan started using the Revised Common Lectionary for the 10W but about four-years ago, added the Narrative Lectionary. Both versions are still used.

Liturgical Format
Each 10W service follows the liturgical format of a Lutheran Service. Pastor Dan begins each 10W with a song which fades out partway through.  A variety of spiritual music is used, but only with the permission of the musicians presented. He released the Revised Common Lectionary version of June 11’s service yesterday. You may listen to it via this link.


Titled “How Do I Love Thee”, the introductory music by Dakota Road is “Dance with Me.”  After a brief introductory statement, he offers prayer before commencing the gospel reading.  After the gospel, he presents a brief homily distilling each Sunday’s theme.  This particular homily dealt with Trinity Sunday. Following the homily, a statement of faith (apostles creed or other) is recited.  Personal prayers come next, in true liturgical fashion, thanking God, praying for the world and nation, the community, the faith community, friends and family, and for help in specific ways.  The Lord’s Prayer immediately follows, along with a concluding blessing. The service ends after the second part of the introductory song is completed.

To receive the 10W, sign-up via the following link. (www.10worship.blogspot.com) You will then receive it by an email twice a week, Revised Common Lectionary and Narrative Lectionary.  When you received the emailed service click on the link provided and you’ll be taken to Soundcloud to hear the 10W. By using the search tool on Soundcloud, you can type “Bollerud” and find all of the 10W’s posted with them.  I just open the Soundcloud app on my mobile phone and listen directly.

Other Pastors Contribute
Several other area Lutheran pastors support Pastor Dan by doing occasional 10W service recordings. Pastor Julia Seymour, Lutheran Church of Hope and Pastor Martin Eldred, Joy Lutheran-Eagle River lend their talents to this wonderful spiritual vehicle from time to time.

10W’s have been a blessing to me and I highly recommend them to you as well. It’s not often we experience true innovation like this in Alaska.

Pastor Dan continues to explore new vehicles to encourage spiritual development in our media-driven culture. I wish him well, and to the other ELCA pastors who support this wonderful spiritual tool. If you are aware of unique spiritual practices and tools to share with a wider audience, please write me at churchvisits@gmail.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.

Beer and Hymns – November 22, 2015

Beer and Hymns, that fun fundraiser sponsored by Christ Our Savior Lutheran Church, will be held again Sunday, November , 2015.  Mo’s O’Brady’s restaurant in the Huffman Business Park adjacent to Carrs Huffman store will see the music starting at 6 p.m., lasting until 8 p.m. The format is that you come with family and friends, order a meal and beverage of your choice, and sing hymns led by Pastor Dan Bollerud.  I guarantee you will find new friends at this fundraiser for Lutheran Social Services of Alaska (LSSA).  Credit cards are accepted and you will have not be sorry you came.

LSSA uses donations to fund food for those in need with weekly distributions in town.  I’m proud of what LSSA does in our community.  Find out more about their mission and objectives on their website http://www.lssalaska.org/.

See you there!

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.

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.