By Mary Owen
7:30 p.m. Sundays through August
Silverton United Methodist Church
A local music ministry is making strides at melding people’s lives with God’s grace and glory.
“It’s about creating a setting for folks to nurture their faith through a more musically-oriented service,” said Pastor Linda Quanstrom about Dirt Road to Glory, an inter-denominational summer music outreach on Sunday evenings at 7:30 p.m. at Silverton United Methodist Church.
The idea of nurturing spiritual lives through music was birthed when Quanstrom heard Scott Ostlund and his friends play at his grandmother’s funeral last October. When Sibyl Kruger passed away, her family approached Quanstrom about their funeral plans. Ostlund said Quanstrom captured “our stories, memories, sadness and joy in just one week.”
“The ability to completely capture what our family couldn’t put into words immediately made me want to plug into this church,” said Ostlund, who was raised a Christian all of his life and leads a local youth group.
“I was very impressed,” Quanstrom said of Ostlund and his music. “As I got acquainted with him and his family, and as they became more involved at church, it occurred to me that this young man might be interested in assuming some leadership with respect to worship and music. We’ve wanted to establish something that would appeal to and reach out to folks who would not necessarily consider attending a regular, more traditional Sunday morning worship service.”
Ostlund, a 20-year-old marketing student at Portland State University and intern for the Rose Quarter and Portland State athletics, rallied to Quanstrom’s call and Dirt Road to Glory, an offering of music, fellowship and community was born.
“The name attempts to link the idea of our routine, daily, sometimes rough-going lives – the ‘dirt road’ part – with the idea of God’s grace and glory,” Quanstrom said. “Nurturing our spiritual lives helps us in our journey and gives us hope of making it to a meaningful and God-honoring, God-blessed journey.”
Ostlund called Dirt Road to Glory a means of “keeping a genuine heart,” he said. “I’m excited to know each person is being affected separately and diversely through these gatherings. Cliché as it may sound, we want folks to clap for Christ, not the musicians, and we want people to ponder because of the spirit, not just the pastor.”
The group, a mix of college musicians that includes a guitarist, ukulele player, drummer and keyboardist, performed “Sailing on a Ship,” a song by Phil Wickham. Christiana Zollner, a music education major at Willamette University who attends St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Mount Angel, played violin and sang with Ostlund.
“The worship blessed me,” he said. “It took some people out of their comfort zone, and others into a state of critical thought, both aspects of faith that are of utmost importance.”
For Quanstrom, “Meeting and watching these young people rallies a great deal of hope in me,. We are exposed to so many negative comments about the ‘younger generations’ and hear so many stories of young folks losing their way, it’s fortifying to meet so many really fine, thoughtful, talented and committed young people.”
Ostlund noted the outreach has strengthened his own faith. “There is a great community of leaders and help with this, and it has strengthened my commitment, knowledge and ability to connect through music. I’ve always loved to play music, but this has given me so much more depth to what we play.”
Both hope to continue the music ministry, according to the time both have to give to it. As summer ends, all involved will re-evaluate their mission and options.
“I expect this summer is not going to be the end of Dirt Road to Glory,” said Ostlund, who plans to stay involved as his schedule permits. “I have no intention of fading from the SUMC community.”
For the two dozen or so congregants of all ages, kids to oldsters, who come to hear the music of Ostlund and friends each Sunday night, that’s good news.
“The feedback has been very positive,” Quanstrom said. “Most people say, ‘We love it!’”
For more information on Dirt Road to Glory, call Quanstrom at 503-873-6517.