UTR: Chuck, what was your journey in becoming called to the ministry and to Christ Church Presbyterian?
Chuck: As a kid, older members of my church always went out of their way to tell me: “You’d make a great pastor.” I didn’t understand it! Why were they picking on me? What had I done to them? And, most importantly, what was I doing that made them think I would make a good pastor? Whatever the case, I plodded along in church until college. I was interested, but also somewhat aloof. But, while away at Furman University, I became deeply involved in a college ministry and local Presbyterian church. By my sophomore year, my desires had aligned with the opinions of those older saints—I wanted to serve God as a pastor. After working with college students, serving as an assistant pastor at Second Presbyterian Church in Memphis, TN, and planting Church of the Ascension in Arlington, VA, my wife and I were called to Christ Church Presbyterian in Jacksonville, FL in 2014.
UTR: Since you work together at the same church, I would imagine this has something to do with the creation of this album. With this background, how did this project come about?
Andy: When I met Chuck in 2010 in Arlington, VA, I was slowly coming back to the church after a long break. I was drawn to liturgical worship, and in particular, how music was not a tool for performance, but for collective expression. Chuck and our mutual friend Rachel Wilhelm had written some songs together, and one day Chuck sent me some lyrics. That became ‘Christ Our King’. So, in a sense, this project began almost ten years ago. We’ve written one album, and are working on a second.
Chuck: When I asked Andy to join me at Christ Church in 2018, I knew there was a tremendous amount of creative potential. However, God exceeded my expectations and dreams as we began working together. This especially came to fruition in 2019 during some deep difficulties and sufferings at Christ Church. These hymns were written in sorrow and hope; they come from the trenches of church life. The struggles and trials, triumphs and failures are all right there. Many of them are our response to the great sadness that encompasses our world, but yet the even greater hope that lies out ahead in the Gospel.