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Ken Kellenberg (1940-2013): Thoughtful Mentor

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What’s The Impact of One Life?

97504_n0hsdwl1fy5uaopwg-01102013Different people stand out at different times in your life. Ken Kellenberg was one of those stand-out people for me, at a specific time when I was making all sorts of life choices. Ken died last Sunday.

I met Ken in college. He was the founder of a free-form church on the edge of the University of Wisconsin—Madison campus. Faith Community Church was just beginning to shape-shift and every Sunday looked different from the previous. Some days the gathering was raucous. Some days quiet. Some days a theme bubbled up through the words and prayers and thoughts shared. But every week was unscripted and very different from the previous week. There was no formula.

Every week was unforgettable—and quite possibly poisoned me for the many feeble prescriptive gatherings I’ve been part of since.

Ken and I met a few times toward the end of my undergrad days and he offered advice about jobs and faith and relationships. Ken also performed the ceremony that united Mrs. Kirkistan and I in marriage (Behold: 27+ years ago).

Once Mrs. Kirkistan and I we were passing through London on the way to or from somewhere and stopped to talk with Ken and Natalie. They were characteristically open about reservations with the particular organization with which they were working. I had some experience with the organization so we had a rich and memorable conversation.

It was Ken’s openness that retained my attention. The sharing of doubts and questions, the refusal to set out a formula. The desire to be present in the relationship and situation and to listen and to pray—these are things I learned from Ken.

Over at Men of Hope they are talking about people who have influenced them. I hope they don’t wait until their influencer has died to consider the full story.

Ken, I wish I could have said good-bye.

You’ve meant a lot, friend.


Written by kirkistan

January 10, 2013 at 9:36 am

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