Glen Soderholm in Concert

Date(s) - November 22, 2014
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Brentwood Presbyterian Church

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About Glen

When and where were you born?

I was born on Dec. 5th, 1959 in Toronto, Ontario.

What were your early formative influences?

My family has always been of family of faith. They have followed Jesus for many generations, and have done so both in poverty and prosperity. My initial church experiences were in the Pentecostal tradition, my early musical influence was found in the varieties of music that swirled through our home – Swedish folk songs, gospel quartets, Beethoven and Bach, Sunday School songs, and hymns. I am one of those fortunate ones who grew up without a deficit of love; my parents provided an emotional and spiritual security in my childhood which has shaped my approach to the world.

When did you get into playing music?

After refusing to take piano lessons (to my eternal regret), and abortive attempts upon the accordion, trombone, and violin, I finally settled upon the guitar at around thirteen years of age. The church I attended in Montreal, Quebec, had a Jesus people movement in the early seventies, so there were lots of hippie types hanging around playing guitars and writing songs. I wanted to be like them, so I started writing and singing my own songs pretty much immediately. There were coffee-houses around that provided a place to perform, and that’s where it all began. I loved pop and rock, but had a good friend who introduced me to a variety of folk, celtic, and bluegrass music which was a great discovery. Another friend was heavily into John Coltrane, Miles Davis, and Bill Evans, so jazz became another love of mine. But, ultimately, I loved singer/songwriters the best. So I became enamoured with Bob Dylan, Jackson Browne, Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell, Larry Norman, Bruce Cockburn, Mark Heard, and many others. I was learning to pay attention to lyrics, and that has influenced my own attempt to take lyric writing seriously.

What about your faith journey?

I don’t think I ever doubted that there was a God who loved me. However, like most kids I struggled with how to have a relationship of integrity with that God, and still be hip at school! In my mid-teens I started to grasp more of the love that God was pouring out and began take my discipleship with Jesus seriously. Of course, that is never a smooth or easy road, so with lots of stumbling, stops, and starts, I eventually began to develop some maturity. As I journeyed through my university years I began to ask a lot of questions, and had to wrestle with the philosophical and intellectual issues around faith and life. I came through all of that with a call to work with people in relational ministry, ending up first in Youth for Christ and then moving on to become a pastor within the Presbyterian Church in Canada in 1991.

What happened to your music?

I kept listening, writing, playing, and participating in varieties of bands as well as leading worship in churches and various events. I ultimately felt my calling was best framed by a verse from Isaiah 50:4 which says that ‘The sovereign God has given me his words of wisdom to know the word that sustains the weary. Morning by morning he wakens me to listen as one being taught.” This has shaped all the ministries that I have engaged with, and is at the heart of what I’m doing now.

Which is what?

During the thirteen years in which I pastored two congregations in the Milton area of Ontario, I recorded several CD’s and developed a part-time ministry of song and word offered to the larger body of Christ. Eventually this became a full time call which resulted in being freed to offer my gifts to the wider community of faith. I describe this work as encouraging the people of God to participate in vibrant worship which is an extension of my life calling. I am very grateful that I can travel to communities of faith around our continent and  help them reflect more deeply upon their worship.

Can you tell us about some of the music, literature, and people that enlarge your soul and feed your ministry?

Well my wife Sharon is my biggest influence. She is my faithful companion, an amazing therapist, Christ follower, mother, and house manager of extraordinary capacity. My daughters Danielle (21) and Julia (19) are delightful people, and we all wander around after Maggie our West Highland Terrier who really runs the show. My Dad, brother, and our extended family are very supportive.
I enjoy spending time listening to the recordings of Bob Dylan, the Bach Cello Suites, Bill Frisell, Shawn Colvin, Sam Phillips, Josh Ritter, Bruce Cockburn, and Arvo Part, just to name a few. I’ve always had pretty eclectic musical tastes! Some of the authors and poets I keep returning to include: TF & James Torrance, Henri Nouwen, TS Eliot, Seamus Heaney, George MacDonald, Cormac McCarthy, Jean Vanier, Kathleen Norris, Robert Farrar Capon,  Marilynne Robinson, Patrick O’Brian, Eugene Peterson, and many more.
I am grateful for many thoughtful and faithful friends who have helped me work through a Trinitarian theology, its relationship to culture, and the implications for mission, justice, and inspired discipleship.

What gives you hope?

One thing only – Jesus Christ! Paul said it best in his letter to the Colossians:
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him. He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross.       Colossians 1: 15 – 20

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