Performers work to help clergy in crisis
What: Rescue Tour concert
When: 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 16
Where: St. John’s Lutheran Church, 424 1st Ave. S., Jamestown
Details: Free admission, freewill offering to support Shepherd’s Canyon Retreat
Information: Call 252-1198. Visit theresucestory.com, ShepherdsCanyonRetreat.org
Dave Anderson and Roger Walck will bring their Rescue Tour to St. John’s Lutheran Church with an evening worship concert on Wednesday.
The two describe their music as a blend of contemporary, gospel, hymns and old-time Sunday school songs. Anderson said he will tell his plane crash survival story and how that eventually led to creating Shepherd's Canyon Retreat to help burned out religious workers and spouses.
Jamestown is a late addition to the tour, said the Rev. Erik Weber, pastor of St. John’s Lutheran Church. The music and fellowship event is a bonus to St. John's summer concert series, he said.
“Come and bring a friend,” Weber said. “Dave and Roger will bring their musical talents to lead an upbeat and inspirational presentation of music.”
Shepherd's Canyon Retreat near Phoenix, Ariz., is an eight-day ministry for “burned-out” church pastors and spouses, teachers and missionaries, Anderson said. Pastors sometimes get “beaten up” from conflict within the congregation and it seeps into their own lives, he said.
The feedback from the clients has revealed that in seven years the retreat has helped 20 pastors decide not to quit the ministry, Anderson said. Others have said the retreat saved a marriage and a few said it saved their lives, he said.
The idea for the retreat goes back to Anderson’s childhood as the son of a Lutheran minister who served churches in North and South Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin, he said. One day he saw his father crying at home but did not know it was church related.
“I thought someone had died,” Anderson said. “But it was him who kind of died.”
Burnout comes from developing stress over management or clerical issues, depression or conflicts of all kinds, whether caused externally or self-inflicted, he said. It also comes from the emotional toll of compassion fatigue, he said.
Some of the stress on church workers is similar to the stress on people in other professions, Anderson said. But the context of church work needs a spiritual component with therapists who have experience working with people who serve God and who understand the conflicts that come with that role, he said.
Walck sings “Unbroken,” a song about how God puts the pieces of people’s lives back together. He taught theology and Spanish in California before joining Anderson five years ago.
Anderson said he has more than 5,600 performances over 43 years all around the world. In 1993, Anderson, his wife, Barbara, and five others were returning from a mission in eastern Russia when their chartered twin-engine plane crashed into the Bering Sea around 22 miles from Nome, Alaska.
The group survived nearly an hour in 36-degree water without life jackets or rafts before being rescued by commercial helicopters, Anderson said. He said he relates the story of the crash and rescue in a way that listeners find encouragement and relevance to overwhelming situations in their own lives.
“The message is to remind them that their lives are in God's hands and that they can trust God with their lives and circumstances,” Anderson said.