Hand in Hand Reunion

2011.04.02 Mingling2011.04.02 Patio2011.04.02 Hand in Hand Reunion attendees2011.04.02 Rand and friends2011.04.02 Party and White Tank Mtns2011.04.02 Denny and Bob
2011.04.02 God's gorgeous sunset2011.04.02 waiting for the concert to start2011.04.02 Dinner guests2011.04.02 Glory Road2011.04.02 Food tables2011.04.02 View of the party
2011.04.02 Hand in Hand Reunion_candle centerpiece

Hand in Hand Reunion, a group on Flickr.

Here are a few pics from the Hand in Hand Reunion that we held on Saturday night. There were about 70 people there, some from as far away as Delaware.

We had amazing food, wonderful fellowship, a gorgeous sunset, fun music and precious conversations all around.



Just wanted to let you know that I’m still alive.

We’ve had several out of town guests visiting over the last month or so, plus I’ve been sequestered trying to set up an invitation, web page and registration form for our upcoming Hand in Hand Reunion.  I’m happy to say that we’re in the home stretch and I hope to have it all done by this weekend sometime.

In the meantime, why don’t you check out the new Hand in Hand blog that my friend, Linda created to start gathering stories from that season of our lives back in the 70’s.  The photo above is me on the left with Shira, the group that I sang with back then.

Hand in Hand Memories Blog

In case you’ve never heard of Hand in Hand it was an evangelistic music ministry in Phoenix, AZ in the 70’s and early 80’s.  It was started by a group of friends and the band “The New Beginning” to provide a place to reach out to young people with the gospel of Jesus Christ through the music of the day.

If you’d like to see more pictures and even hear some of the music, you can also visit BernieRolfe.com

So what were you doing back in the 70’s?

I’ll probably be pretty sporadic in my blog posts in the coming weeks, but don’t go away.  I love having visitors.

More compliments online for the Exit – Glory Road album!!!

You are never going to believe that our friend, Bernie Rolfe found more comments and compliments online about the Glory Road album. For those who haven’t known us long, this is the only album that was made by the band that Terry played with in the late 70’s (when we met). They recorded it the year before we were married and it actually came out the year we were married. (There’s more to that story, but I won’t go into it here.)

It’s so amazing to find comments online from total strangers raving about the music from an album that was recorded over 30 years ago on vinyl. The internet really is a wonderful thing. You’ll see that one of these bloggers lives in Australia! How in the world did he hear of GR ?

Anyway, check out these links and enjoy for yourself…and maybe even leave a comment if you heard the album or the band (and can remember anything about it).

The Ancient Star-Song – is a guy in East Randolph, NY. He has a place where you can download the whole album of music. Not sure about the copyright issues there, but for what it’s worth.

Ascending and Descending – is written by Christopher Orczy, an Australian blogger. He also has some kind words to say about the album.

Really took me on a walk down memory lane. Such precious memories of a blessed and unique season of life. Fun times!

If any of the band members read this, it sounds like they would love to hear from you on these sites.

Hand in Hand beginnings…

My friend Barb has recently created a group on Facebook for those who were involved or interested in the Christian ministry called Hand in Hand from back in the 70’s and 80’s. She asked those that were involved there to post a bit about their story and I decided to write mine.

Unfortunately, FB doesn’t have the capacity to post this much info at once so I decided to do it here then just link to it from FB. If you have an interest and some time, go and look at some of the old photos from those hippie days. They are quite entertaining.

Hmmm…where do I start? My family moved to Phoenix from a little town in Ohio just a few short weeks before I turned 16. That would have been around June of 1974. After I was here a few months, I learned about Hand in Hand from a connection I had in Ohio that published a “Jesus Freak” Newspaper. The guy’s name was Craig Yoe (Google him sometime-he’s a crazy man even now). I had been going to a west Phoenix Assembly of God church and wasn’t thrilled with the youth group. They were all very lukewarm for Christ, having been raised in the church (not that it’s always the case). I had only been a Christian for a year, so this was NOT the place for me. Once I started coming to Hand in Hand I felt like I was home. I was thrilled to also find out that there was a church meeting there on Sunday mornings that I could attend. So sometime in the fall, I started going to Open Door and getting to know the gang.

I was one of the few single girls in the group of “regulars” and once I settled in, I became the resident kid sister to all the guys. They all seemed to be comfortable telling me about their girl problems. (What was I, chopped liver?) Really it was great. I developed some very precious friendships during that time that I still enjoy today.

Sometime in the next year or so, I really don’t remember when, Bernie decided that he wanted to start a folk band and he asked me to be a vocalist. Shira consisted of Sharon (Chesnut) Haugen (vocals), Jay Haugen (vocals & guitar), Lee Chesnut (vocals & guitar), John McDonald (vocal & drums), Apryl (Mott) Ballard (vocals), Dan Malmgren (banjo) and me (vocals).

Most of the members had a lot more musical training than I did, but I loved to sing. Problem was that I sang all the time in my car with no music, so when the notes in the song were out of my range, I’d just change the key that I was singing in, and never even realized it. I also never learned how to find a harmony in a song except in choir when there was always a group around me that I could listen to. So I’m sure that my contribution to the group was quite challenging for Bernie. I loved the experience though and am so thankful to Bernie for taking the time to work with those of us who were novices. What a patient saint he was!

God, of course, thru Hand in Hand was also key in me marrying my husband, Terry (the one with the blond hair & beard in the photo). I won’t go into the whole story, but suffice it to say that I was in a season of life when I was trying to “keep busy”. Because of that, Bernie invited me to come down and hang out at the HiH building to watch a new band practice. They were brand new and mostly a bunch of guys that I didn’t really know that well. Toni (Skiles) Brunner and I would go down and make coffee for the guys during practice and just enjoy Glory Road’s music. As you’ve probably guessed, Terry was one of those guys. Our friendship started there and was deepened in the times that I gave him rides home from practice. He didn’t have a license at the time (long story) and I lived closest to him, so I’d give him a ride home and we’d sit out in front of his apartment (that he shared with Dennis Martin) and just talk about all kinds of things…including other girls that liked him, for hours and hours. Long story short, that friendship turned into romance and here we are still together 31 years later. He’s still playing beautiful music and I’m still making coffee for him.

O.k. sometimes he makes his own coffee. It is the 21st century after all.

If you have some time to kill, visit the Facebook Group called Hand in Hand (Phoenix, AZ). It’s a collection of friends that experienced the old days of the Hand in Hand Christan evangelistic ministry in the late 70’s. Terry and I were both in bands back then. There are some pretty funny pics there.

Our friend, Bernie Rolfe has also created a website with lots of history and even quite a few recordings from that season of life. There are photos there too.

Terry’s band was Glory Road, and the band I was in was called Shira.


A Trip Down Memory Lane…
I’m starting to work on a short slideshow of the history of our church, Open Door Fellowship. I recently attended our Newcomer’s Class, even though I started attending over 30 years ago (with an 18 year absence in the middle when we lived in California).

They didn’t have a class like this when I started attending when I was 16 years old, so I went to the Newcomer’s Class just to see how they describe this unique family when people are new. It was a wonderful reminder of all the reasons that I love this place and hope that we never have to leave again.

Anyway, one of the Sundays they went thru the 30+ year history (which was fun). While they were talking thru it, I had so many pictures pop into my head of the various buildings that we met in, and the people in those “early days” when most of the attenders were hippy Jesus Freaks (in the 70’s).

So I offered to work on a slide show that they can use in future classes just to give people a flavor of where we’ve been. It doesn’t need to be anything too long because the newcomers won’t really care about too much detail, but I thought it would be fun to give them some visuals just for the big picture. So, I’m starting to try to track down old pictures.

These are a few pictures that I came across of Terry and I and friends from the “early days” when we were each singing in Christian bands. Terry’s band, Glory Road, was more rock n roll, and a little bit country rock. The band I was in, Shira, was more of a folk band. We had tons of fun.

If you notice Terry’s pictures, he goes from almost no beard to a ZZ Top-type beard. Isn’t he just so cute?

My hair was long, I didn’t wear make-up and overalls were my very favorite thing to wear. I would still wear them if I could. They were SO comfortable!

The most awesome thing about all of these memories is that we’re still in touch with most of these people on a regular basis. The picture at the top is my precious friend, Sharon and me when we were teenagers. She’s also in the center of the last picture with her future husband, Jay on the left of the picture. She is still one of my dearest friends. We also just saw two of the guys from Glory Road a few weeks ago when we went to see John, who is still playing guitar. What an amazing gift in this transitional culture to have such sweet friendships that have continued over more than 3 decades.

I really believe that much of that is due to the environment of grace that has been cultivated in this place since the beginning. Don’t get me wrong, mistakes are made and people are hurt because we’re human, but the goal is to be able to forgive and continue to love each other, no matter what. I am so thankful to be part of this amazing family of God.

In the pleasant company of dear friends…it’s like curling up in your favorite cozy chair.

Saturday night we had the privilege of hosting a small gathering with some old friends, most of which we’ve known for over 30 years. All the guys and a few of the ladies in this group were involved in a Christian outreach ministry called Hand in Hand back in the 70’s in Phoenix.

This wasn’t just some little concert that a church put on. It happened every Saturday night and for much of the time, it was held in two different locations each week. It was one of the most popular places for high school and college age kids to go if they wanted to hear amazing original music in a healthy, casual atmosphere. And best of all, it was free!

Many young people were introduced to the gospel and a non-traditional Christianity for the times. We learned how to trust God with who we were, even if we looked different on the outside.

To this day, if you ask someone who grew up in Phoenix during that time, there’s a good chance they will have heard of Hand in Hand.

We were blessed to share a common vision and passion to humbly reach out thru music to those who were searching for the answers to life’s questions.

Now we’re blessed to still be in touch with so many of those friends from the past. Interestingly, this small group of 5 couples represented parts of 6 different performing groups from those old days, many of which are still singing and/or playing for the Lord. And check out what I just found! A recent review of the old New Beginning album. You can also find Randy’s music on his website here and Dave’s music here.

We had a marvelous time catching up on our lives and continuing to dream about our future. As you can imagine, the night also was filled with large doses of love and laughter. What an honor to be able to spend our time with this precious group of lifelong friends.