Area native to sing at Our Savior’s Sunday

Published 8:39 am Friday, September 9, 2011

Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Austin will welcome Austin native Bret Hesla to Rally Sunday worship on Sept. 11.

Helsa will lead congregational singing and share some of his original music during morning services.

Hesla has been performing, song leading, and writing music for more than 20 years. He is a founding member of the nationally acclaimed Bread for the Journey, a Minneapolis-based music group specializing in global songs of faith, hope, justice and inclusion.

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As a nationally known songwriter, Hesla writes music for both congregations and social change groups. He has a regular position leading singing and writing songs for Advocating Change Together, a St. Paul group working to advance the human rights of people with developmental disabilities. In the early 1990s, Hesla performed at the Hormel Nature Center as part of his work with the Land Stewardship Project of Minnesota, touring the state with a song and slide show highlighting ecology and care of the land. His original songs of faith, care of the earth and social justice appear in numerous publications and recordings, including the 2006 Justice Like a Base of Stone. With his new organization, Minnesota Community SINGS, Hesla is working to promote community singing around the state, building on the legacy of public community sings that put Minnesota on the map in the 1920s and 30s. They currently have a grant from the state to lead a series of community sings in the Minneapolis parks this summer. “We’d love to find a way to work with folks in Austin to lead a big community sing in this community as well,” he noted.

Aside from his music work, Hesla serves as coordinator of the Heart of the Continent partnership, a coalition of agencies and nonprofits collaborating to promote the long-term health of the public lands and towns of the border lakes region of MN/Ontario (including the Boundary Waters Wilderness Area).

Hesla and his wife Jaimie Bennett live in south Minneapolis with their two children Sam and Rose.

Our Savior’s Lutheran is located at 1600 W. Oakland Avenue in Austin. Service times are 9 and 10:30 a.m. All are welcome.