About Ordinary Voices
The idea for Ordinary Voices was actually forged in the Sunset Park neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. Peggy and I went to serve as youth and hospitality directors at Trinity Lutheran Church in Sunset Park. It was a church founded by Norwegian immigrants at a time when Brooklyn had more Norwegian residents than Olso. But the neighborhood around Trinity changed. The Norwegians were replaced by Puerto Rican and Dominican families new to the neighborhood.
Our job was to help the congregation grow its presence in this changing neighborhood. We did this through conversations. We interviewed community leaders in the neighborhood—teachers, coaches, police officers, social workers, store owners, pastors and other youth workers. Then every evening, we walked up and down the streets talking to families sitting on their stoop.
As a result of those conversations we learned the needs of the neighborhood. We stopped holding VBS and developed an 8-week summer day camp program. The families needed supervision, not spiritual education. However, meeting the childcare needs provided a new opportunity for spiritual growth. The children needed after school supervision and homework help. So, instead of a youth group, we started an after-school program. In listening to the needs we were able to provide hope for people in their lives.
a COMMUNITY of people
Hungry for Spiritual Meaning
We all crave community because it provides a sense of security, hope and belonging. Community has a variety of forms and can be experienced in a variety of ways.
The internet provides a unique type of community. Through it, we can connect intimately with people we don’t even know. We are able to connect with strangers when we discover a common experience in life.
the importance of
My journey has included a wide variety of experiences in different places. It includes Ohio, Minnesota, New York, Pennsylvania and Iowa. I’ve worked with children, parents, young adults, retired adults and nursing homes residents. It includes working with teachers, corporate executives, fireman, police officers, community organizers, farmers, pastors, priests, and small business owners.
I’ve served rural, urban, and suburban communities. My experiences have also crossed over racial, social and economic lines. From theses experiences I feel I can bring an insight that is less likely to be defined by a single demographic or denomination.
Today, I live in Newport, MN with my wife, Peggy. We have two children, Britta (25) and Peter (23). We have a passion for the wilderness and the city. I love to be engaged with people, but I also deeply enjoy the peace of solitude. My hobbies include photography, hiking, biking, and non-professional personal home improvement.