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Chapel ready to rock 'n roll for My Father's House

by: Carole Archer, Pastor Milt Buckelew, left, his daughter, Lacey Ferguson, Wade Crain and Darren Rice belong to The Chapel’s Renegade Worship Band in Troutdale. The group plays contemporary Christian music both at the church and at various area venues.

Wade Crain, 39, plays guitar for the Lord, but is not too sure he's all that holy. Looking around at his fellow members in The Chapel's Renegade Worship Band, he muses for a moment.

'I'm not nearly as godly as all these people,' he says. 'I just love to play.'

His heart seems to be in the right place, though, as he prepares to perform with the band from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 4, at the church. Formerly at Reynolds High School, the church moved in September to the Troutdale Market Center, just down the road from Mt. Hood Community College on Stark Street.

Pastor Milt Buckelew - sometimes called 'leader dude' by the band's younger members - leads the church's worship ministry and plays guitar in the band. He says the concert was originally intended as a test run of the new facility's sound system, one of many features in the state-of-the-art worship space, which also boasts two video screens and a multi-colored lighting system.

Now, however, the pastor says the concert is much more than an acoustics assessment - it's a benefit for My Father's House, a family shelter in Gresham. Admission to the concert is three boxes or cans of food, he says, with food and monetary donations going to the shelter.

'Sometimes churches can be inwardly focused,' Buckelew says. 'It was a way to make it about something more than just us.'

Cathe Wiese, executive director of My Father's House, says she's thrilled that the church is stepping up on behalf of her nonprofit organization. At the concert, Wiese will present a video detailing the work at My Father's House and will also briefly speak about the positive impact it has had in the lives of one family.

The band members, who play at services regularly and who have played concerts outside the church as well, believe music has made a positive impact on their own lives. Buckelew's daughter, Lacey Ferguson, 20, is one of the band's vocalists, and says preaching the gospel through music puts her in a heavenly state of mind.

'When I'm up there, it's the one place I feel closest to God,' she says. 'It's just me and God, and it's just amazing to me to get that out of leading people in worship.'

Darren Rice, the 17-year-old keyboardist who plays an imaginary drum kit as he speaks, expressed similar sentiments.

'I come so much closer to the Lord when I play,' he says. 'It's easier for me to worship when I'm playing an instrument.'

The band, which includes several other people as well, plans a show of contemporary Christian music, with a rock edge. The group will perform songs by such modern artists as Chris Tomlin and Matt Redman.

'There's some things that can be expressed in a more traditional sense, but sometimes playing it loud and in a rock style carries more energy,' Rice says.

The church seats up to 350 people, Buckelew adds, but he suspects most of those who come to the show won't be getting too comfortable.

'I imagine there will be a quite a few who will be unable to stay in their chairs,' he says with a chuckle.

'Hey,' Wiese adds, 'it says to dance in the Bible.'