Thursday, June 25, 2009


Movies were important to the Jesus House.
Unfortunately we did not possess today's technology to show videos easily, especially to show short clips from movies to help enhance messages. That would have been nice, very nice. Instead, people had to depend on my descriptions of scenes from movies as I shared them in my messages. For those of you who used to go see movies because of a recommendation from me, I urge you to see UP! It is amazing. A parable about the adventure of love, which is of course the greatest adventure of all. It is also a great adventure movie.

Even with our limited technology we occasionally showed movies. As mentioned in a previous blog, the animated version of The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe was an Easter tradition for a few years. Also, during several summers we showed Francis Schaeffer's films series, How Should be Then Live and Whatever Happened to the Human Race. These were shown in their film versions thanks to Rick Mapes' friend Tom Rocklin loaning us his 16 mm projector. With the advent of video, Mike Stephens was willing to loan us his VCR for an occasional movie night. We viewed Somewhere in Time which made everyone want to fall in love. We also showed Something Wicked This Way Comes, which made everyone not want to go to a carnival.

We never got to watch Veggie Tales, which I'm sure would have been a big hit at the Jesus House. "No hair for my hairbrush..." Nor did we get to watch The Princess Bride, The Lord of the Rings, or any other of the hundreds of movies I could list that would surely be celluloid stapes for Jesus House people. So, due to the times and lack of technology advances, we missed out on a few experienes.

But, we also did not have to contend with people sitting during the concerts watching one of these movies on their cell phones...

This Week in History: Artists Who Performed at the Jesus House the Fourth Week of June

1972 - Teri Senters
1973 - The end of a blank month.
1974 - Monk
1975 - Sonshine '75 - The first year of the Sonshine Festival at the Hamilton County Fairgrounds featuring Randy Matthews, Chuck Girard, and other very early Jesus Movement artists.
1976 - Crossroads fBefore they were called Prodigal.)
1977 - Prodigal (After they were called Crossroads...)
1978 - Marc O'Hara (Never changed his name.)
1979 - Lynda Kemeny and Joe Kennedy (This night was unique in at least two ways. Joe Kennedy was the first and, I believe, the only person to ever perform at the Jesus House from a wheel chair. Lynda Kemeny was the only person to ever perform who was trained to sing opera and actually went on to a very successful opera career in Europe.)
1980 - Caroline Randall
1981 - Beth Cook
1982 - James Issac Elliott (One of the few people to sing who performed only country music, only wanted to perform country music, and even though he was from Michigan, looked and talked like he needed to perform country music. Good thing he moved to Nashville so his persona fit in.)
1983 - Rick & Hodgie.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Artists I Didn't Like

Occasionally someone will ask,
"Terry, were there artists who played the Jesus House whose music or performance you didn't like?"


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Thots from Marc O'Hara

In response to the last entry concerning death, Marc O'Hara sent me his thoughts. I loved his sensitivity and insight into responding to death. The following is an edited version of Marc's thoughts. Thank you Marc for sending this and for allowing me to include this on the Jesus House Blog.

"This week's JH blog about death brought back some memories that I thought I'd share.

I don't recall the guy's name that died on the bicycle, but I remember an incident with him. Years ago I was driving to my job in Delhi from my apartment in Erlanger. I don't know what took me to downtown Covington. Anyway, I was heading up the street to the ramp that takes you on to the lower level of the Brent Spence Bridge and I had this thought come into my mind that I was to pick up a hitchhiker. It was your friend from the Bible Seminary and he was hitching back to school in Price Hill. As I recall had a good talk about his girlfriend and a job he just took driving a Taxi and was telling me about witnessing to people. A month later I heard about the accident. I remember how full of God's love this fellow was and thinking at the time that God had called him home.

I cannot recall this other guys name. I think it was Ken. He was a good friend of Len Mink. He worked at one of the TV stations and just accepted the Lord. I met him at a prayer meeting. Like the rest of us at the time, he was full of God's Love and wanting to share it with everyone. He was killed on a Cincinnati street in a brutal beating. As I recall there was a charity that bore his name. If I think about it long enough, his name will come to me.

Rich Mullins was an acquaintance to me. I never knew him well. When I heard of his death always felt like God called him Home. Rich was one of those people that you know was special. My best memory of him was a party that Ann Sparks, Pam Moore and ???? gave at a house they rented. I think he wrote the Lake Between the Hills about that area. Ed. Note: Actually they named the house in Montgomery after Rich's song. Once again, he played a really nasty piano. But at least it wasn't green. He sure could make those old out of tune Wurlitzer uprights sing.

Back when Odor and I were hanging out Kent told me about playing music at the funeral. I had never been to a funeral with music. I was impressed.

I spent a couple of days recently with Andy Danzl doing the CD. I vividly remember Andy's beautiful wife Alice and once spending an evening with both of them. She just learned she was pregnant. Heck I think all the FCC women were pregnant that year. I moved away to Middletown and lost track of folks. I was shocked to hear Alice had died. I didn't see Andy again until about 15 years later at the Northern KY Vineyard.

I think you may have left College Hill Presby when Hal and Marsha (Lucas) Erdmann's son died in a freak accident. I think he was only 19 or 20 years old.

Deb Smith's death was a shock to us all. She was a special lady."

All the people Marc and I have mentioned were very special people who found a way into our hearts. Never does absence speak so loud as when it is as permanent as death.

This Week In History: Artists Who Performed at the Jesus House the Second and Third Weeks of June

The Second Week of June
1972 - Marc O'Hara
1973 - Another Blank Month
1974 - Rick Roberts
1975 - Jim Bankowski
1976 - Jesus House was closed for the second annual Sonshine Festival in Hamilton, Ohio at the fairgrounds.
1977 - Sharon Wilson
1978 - Daybreak
1979 - Family Night (What, you ask, is a Family Night? Usually it was an evening that allowed a variety of people to share in a variety of ways. Some sang songs, some read things or told jokes. Sometimes we included worship.)
1980 - Hymn
1981 - Steffens-Brigance
1982 - A Blank Week

The Third Week of June
1972 - Talent Night (What's a Talent Night? Similar to a Family night but in an earlier time in our history!)
1973 - Still blank after all these years.
1974 - Agape Singers (Yes, as strange as it might seem to some of you, we did actually have a group appear at the JH that had "singers" as part of their name. It was a common thing in those days but not among the JH artists.)
1975 - Variety Night (What's a Variety Night? Is it just like the "Family Night" or "Talent Night" just a different name? No, actually. A Variety Night included a collection of scheduled performers most singing 2-3 songs but they were scheduled in advance whereas a Family or Talent night was spontaneous with no knowledge of who might perform. Sounds dangerous doesn't it? It was!)
1976 - Terry Fisher
1977 - Closed for the annual Sonshine Festival.
1978 - Marc O'Hara
1979 - Closed for the annual Sonshine Festival.
1980 - Closed for Sonshine.
1981 - Sonshine, again.
1982 - Sonshine, one more time.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

On Death

We didn't think about death very much in those days.
When a death occurred, we usually did not know what to do or say.
Our very first year, a fellow student at CBS who attended the House regularly was killed while riding his bicycle. It was not an easy experience. We knew he was with Jesus but we were not sure if we needed to cry or laugh for joy. During the next couple of years we had some parents die. Kent and I even did a funeral for a family who lived a few blocks away. It was a large family, most of the kids attended the House, and the parents loved the place. When the father died, his wife asked us to lead the ceremony. Kent sang Lord of the Dance and a few other songs and I delivered the eulogy.

In preparation for the Reunion, I looked through lots of old files, one of which contained photos from my surprise 30th birthday party. (No one was supposed to turn 30 at the Jesus House!) Two of the photos include Alice Wiggins Danzl, a dear friend who came to Jesus in her early 20's. How exciting it was to see Alice leave an old life, embrace the new life provided by Jesus eventually marrying Andy Danzl, giving birth to one son, before losing her life to cancer. She was a beautiful, remarkable woman who experienced a radical change in life direction after becoming a Christian.

Lately I've been thinking about death primarily because of two recent memorial services I've conducted. One was for my Uncle Bob, my father's last surviving sibling. I posted his eulogy on my Facebook page yesterday. If you are interested in reading it you are welcome to view it there. Uncle Bob was a great man who loved his family, his community and his church. Even with those positive guides his eulogy was still difficult to write because of the family connection. Many of us are now at the age where parents, siblings and other family members will be dying. Death is never completely easy.

A death that affected many of us was the untimely death of Rich Mullins. We loved Rich for his talent, his love of Jesus, and because many times he was just plain strange. He left an impact on the Christian music industry but for those of us who heard him beginning when he was 18 years old at the Jesus House those were personal songs that continue to be remembered. I have one recording of Rich from the last 30 minutes of an evening at the House that includes songs like Lake Between the Hills. It's fun to hear him play on that really bad piano and remember his early years of performing.

You were the first to go
But not the last to leave
Maybe I'll join you soon
But if I delay
Save me a spot
And when I arrive
Let's have a beer
With Jack
And all who went before

The relationships we established all those years ago have continued in ways none of us would have predicted. Even the relationship with people like Rich continues because of the bonds of love that were forged through many hours of prayer, conversation, music, meals shared and all the other elements of a life shared together. One of the verses I read at Uncle Bob's funeral is Philemon 7," Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you have refreshed the hearts of the saints." That verse applied not only to Philemon and my Uncle Bob but also to Alice, Rich and all who have allowed the Holy Spirit to flow through you to encourage and refresh others.

This Week in History: Artists Who Performed at the Jesus House the First Week of June

1972 - John Gould
1973 - Another blank month on the old Jesus House Concert Performers Calendar!
1974 - Not sure who sang, but 80 people attended!
1975 - Randy Moody
1976 - John Gould (The weekend of Dave & Deb Cain's Wedding!)
1977 - Madison Getman Jr and his Band of Angels.
1978 - Rich Mullins
1979 - Caroline Randall
1980 - Godshadows
1981 - Larry Bubb
1982 - Rod Ellis & Reaching Out
1983 - Risen Son