Monday, January 5, 2009

The CHPC Connection

The Jesus House had a connection to College Hill Presbyterian Church off and on throughout our 14 years. In those days CHPC had a "coffee house" called the Back Door. The name was derived from the fact that the entrance was in the back of a building next door to the church. The front of the building was a Audi dealer. The space is now part of the CHPC parking lot. Some of our musicians were borrowed from the Back Door. There were differences between the Jesus House and the Back Door: they had tables & chairs, we had pillows; their walls were painted black, ours were white; their musicians were playing background music while people talked and ours was a concert setting where we did not want people to talk. We thought we were better. They thought they were better. We were both good.

The very first night we opened the featured singer was someone from CHPC although his name has been lost even though a recording exists. He was a folksinger with a guitar.

One Sunday afternoon a young couple from CHPC showed up at the Jesus House with bags of groceries. Their Sunday School class decided that morning to take up an offering and provide food for the JH staff. Since none of us had paying jobs that summer, we ate what ever food happened to appear in the kitchen. We were very grateful for the generosity of that class.

At the end of the first summer we co-hosted an outdoor event at Devou Park in Northern Kentucky that included a line up of Jesus House artists, Back Door artists and Young Folk, the high school choir from CHPC. I co-organized the event with Rob Jackson who was serving on Summer Staff at CHPC that year. That fall Rob enrolled at Gordon College outside of Boston. Not sure what Rob is doing these days although I know Gordon College is still in full operation because I've sent them tuition money the past few years. My daughter graduated from there in May.

The Devou Park event was not well attended. I think there were more musicians than audience. It would not be the first time that happened nor that last. The Cincinnati Enquirer reported on the event and blamed the low attendance on a feud we had with the Children of God in Clifton. Just goes to show, you cannot believe everything you read. I did not know anyone affiliated with the Children of God!

The affiliation with CHPC continued in an off & on manner until November, 1983. The final 15 months the JH was open we had a very close relationship. Mostly this was due to me joining the staff at CHPC to run the college & singles ministries while continuing on the JH staff. It is good that I was single in those days. I also continued to travel to perform concerts and speak at retreats. It was really too much but I did not know it.

As I review the history of the Jesus House it is good to recognize how much we gained from various church affiliations. I think we were a stretch for some churches to understand but a place like CHPC was so kingdom minded that they supported and endorsed us even if we made them a little uncomfortable.

The Week in History: Artists Who Performed at the Jesus House the First Saturday of January

1972 - Closed (January 1)
1973 - Teri Lillivig & Vicki Eaton (a couple of Forest Park High School students.)
1974 - Terry Fisher
1975 - Bob Clark & Tony Ross
1976 - Crossroads (No, not the church, the band who later became Prodigal!)
1977 - Randy Moody (aka Moods, now a Nashville resident)
1978 - One Lane Road (Country Rock from Northern Kentucky)
1979 - Rick, Hodgy, & Tom (Later known as Mana?)
1980 - Deny Brigance (Producer of the JH Reunion Recording Project!)
1981 - Steffens-Brigance
1982 - Geoff Thurman
1983 - Larry Bubb

1 comment:

Gail F said...

Hello there --

I publish a weekly electronic newsletter for College Hill and I would like to publish some of this post and, with your permission, link to it. I think many new residents would like to know this bit of CHPC history, and that many long-time residents would like to reminisce.

I can't find an email address for you, so please email me at this address:
and let me know. If you have any other memories of CHPC you'd like to share, we would love to hear them and I'm sure the newly revived College Hill Historical Society would love them as well.

Thanks -- Gail Finke for the College Hill eNewsletter

(this blog came up on our daily Google Search, that's why I'm here)