Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Kent Odor

The first Saturday of December, 1971 Kent Odor made his second appearance at the Jesus House. At that point we had no way of knowing that the following fall, Kent would join the staff, nor that he, Chris Adams and I would embark on our career as adamsfishyodor, nor that Kent would become a life-long friend.

Kent and I met in the library at Cincinnati Bible Seminary (now Cincinnati Christian University). Kent was interested in the Jesus House because he was a singer/guitar player who, while in high school, traveled throughout Michigan singing for churches, camps and youth groups. Kent was also a PK (preacher's kid) whose family had deep roots in the christian church/church of christ restoration movement.

In those days Kent played a little nylon string acoustic guitar that, given its small size, had a surprisingly deep, booming sound. His voice had incredible range as he could sing very low but also had a strong falseto. adamsfishyodor never really used his vocal talents, primarily because of my inability to sing harmony, but hopefully he gained other valuable experiences.

Kent joined the Jesus House Staff in the fall of 1972 and remained until fall of 1975 when he and Marcia married. His impact on the Jesus House was profound. He introduced us to the concept of small groups and created the first Jesus House small group in the summer of 1974 by teaching the book, Body Life, written by Ray Steadman. Kent is also responsible for demanding that we include personal quiet times at our Conglomerate retreats. In addition, Kent created Family Nights on Wednesday evenings. No one knew what was planned week to week at Family Night because Kent had so many ideas and never told us in advance what to expect. Family Nights introduced us to making donuts, tie dying t-shirts, making bagels, painting the pipes in the basement, and many other activities that I no longer remember. Kent recognized the importance of creating social opportunities for people to interact with one another. His drive for social networking was evident whenever adamsfishyodor headed out for concerts and found we had 2-3 additional carloads of people invited by Kent.

Since his years with the Jesus House, Kent has served a variety of churches: Fellowship Christian Church, First Christian (St. Louis, Michigan), East 91st Street Christian Church (Indianapolis), Willow Creek Community Church, Canyon Ridge Christian Church (Las Vegas) and now the Springdale Vineyard (aka the Mothership) in Cincinnati.

Kent has grown into an extremely wise leader with an unlimited capacity to understand ministry.

He and Marcia have four children and one grand child.

Yes, Kent will be at the next reunion concert, May 2, 2009. You will have the opportunity to hear his great singing voice on the Jesus House Recording Project.

This Week in History: Artists Who Appeared at the Jesus House the First Saturday of December
1971 - Kent Odor, Doug Adams
1972 - Linda Page
1973 - Jim Bankowski (with special guest Mike Wilshire)
1974 - Ross Johnson (solo night)
1975 - Morning Star
1976 - Deny Brigance
1977 - Creation INC. (Christian Theater)
1978 - Deny Brigance
1979 - (Record is blank. Not sure what we did.)
1980 - Peter Leighton (St. Nicholas Day!)
1981 - Sonrise
1982 - Christmas Arts Variety Show
1983 - Jama

A Life-Changing Experience
You will notice that Jim Bankowski performed the first Saturday of December in 1973. During the second set that night, Jim, along with his musical guest Mike Wilshire, led us in a medley of Christmas carols. That was the first time I consciously realised the spiritual impact of all those songs about Christmas. I had a life-changing worship experience as the beauty and truth of each of those songs became clear. I have always been grateful to Jim & Mike for that experience which continues to shape my appreciation of Christmas.

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