College Ministries begin new “Healing Services”

Ben Larson ('06).

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Ben Larson ('06).

Anthony Ramón Pérez Soto, Staff Writer

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College Ministries will give a series of “Healing Services” on Nov. 5, 12, and 19. These services will incorporate music written by Ben Larson (‘06) a religion major who died in the 2010 Haiti earthquake.

Ben’s parents April Ulring Larson and Judd Larson, who was an interim pastor at Luther, have been closely involved with the development of the “Healing Services” and are hopeful about the positive effect that they can have on the Luther community.

“It started with the service ‘Behold I Make All Things New,’ which is a worship service Ben wrote while he was a student of seminary,” Judd Larson said. “We took 11 out of his 120 songs and asked Hans Peterson (’90) to arrange these songs so that they could be used in a worship setting.”

According to April Ulring Larson, Ben was committed to connecting with people and engaging in life-changing experiences through service. She believes that this healing service is much-needed and hopes that Ben’s music will facilitate the path of healing.

“We are in need of a lot of healing in our personal lives and in our communities,” April Ulring Larson said. “This is a wonderful time not just to have healing services in the evening, but to have a whole communion and liturgy that focuses on healing.”

Ben’s wife, Renee Larson, made Ben’s music available for free, which was his dream.

For College Pastor Mike Blair, these healing services aim to preserve Ben’s legacy through a combination of liturgy and songs.

“This new liturgy has music that Ben Larson wrote, and his family, along with Peterson, and Lutheran Pastor Susan Priu, developed,” Blair said. “This is a service of healing called ‘Mourning Into Dancing.’ There are songs of Ben’s that are particularly related to healing, wellbeing and wholeness and there are songs that we can switch in for those Sundays because they would fit better with the reading of that day.”

Blair hopes that the Luther community will gather to experience a different kind of service that provides them with the opportunity to find peace through Ben’s songs. He also hopes that this causes a Luther’s sense of community to grow.

“We are all supporting each other and we all struggle with different things,” Blair said. “[These services] are a way to say that we can name our brokenness and struggle together in community and that we accept and encourage one another. A service like this invites us to have some breathing space in our lives and to give thanks and gratitude for the gifts of our bodies, health and wellbeing.”

April Urling Larson and Judd Larson said that they are happy to preserve Ben’s legacy through the music he wrote during his lifespan and invite the Luther Community to join them in keeping Ben’s music of healing alive.

“What we are hoping is that it will bring healing in their lives and also for the communities,” April Ulring Larson said. “If there is any Luther student who would like to arrange any of Ben’s songs into a choral piece, I would be very interested in a conversation with them.”

The services will continue to take place once a month after Thanksgiving break.

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