Early 2007. Several years ago we began to have conversations with a friendly young man named Matthew Hunt. He wanted to re-release the Servant catalog, six records that had been written, recorded and toured between 1976 and 1990. We said no many times but Matt gently persisted. As technology advanced we began to get the odd email asking if we might be the Owen and Sandie from Servant, and in the last two years the number of emails grew exponentially. It seems that those young folks we ministered to years ago are now older and interested in finding the music that helped shape their lives. Getting feedback about our ministry after all of these years has been encouraging. To know that those many years were not a waste of time, or simply a crazy young idealistic pursuit, but true ministry that bore good fruit in spite of us. God is truly amazing.

We asked ourselves, Do we really want to open that door again? Do we want to take the time to wade through boxes and boxes of photos and clippings? Do we want to attempt to patch together a time line and remember what happened when? And what about making a website which would be the logical venue to share this story? What would be the purpose behind all this effort? The answer we arrived at is this—we feel it is important to preserve a history for our families and friends, and the testimony of Jesus for that particular generation. How can we forget the many expressions of His amazing love through all of those years? Ourselves and many others were shaped by those experiences, and are forever changed. We are who we are today because of the work that Jesus did in our lives during that rich and rugged season.

This site is a brief look into that portion of our lives. Looking back has been both fun and tearful. There are lots of images, and although the site focuses on the band in particular, there is a brief portrait of the intentional community that was central to the band members' lives. This community, initially called the Highway Missionary Society and later the Servant Community, was foundational to the band and without its inspiration and support, Servant would not have existed.

A note of caution—memories are a funny thing. It is a daunting task to sketch a history, so many things are working against the effort. Our memories tend to function less well as we get older. An attempt to skim across the surface of events, will always leave things out, some of them very important. The audience that the history is intended for will perhaps define whether some things make it in or not. More life was jammed into that season of our lives than one can hardly imagine. As the years have gone by, some things have been lost along the way; we have become separated from many friends and events. While this is our best effort to remember, we are bound to have some of it wrong, and there will be many who deserve the richest thanks and appreciation who will likely be left out. We are confident however, that God in his faithfulness remembers.


1977-Vancouver concert, the early days
1979-Oregon coast, album photo shoot
1981-Oregon, song writing break

In the mid 70’s after working in Europe and the U.S. in full time ministry, we (Owen and Sandie) moved to Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, Owen’s home town. Jesus movement veterans Jim and Susan Palosaari, who had initiated several ministries in the U.S. and Europe, had just moved there to begin a new ministry. We were invited, we were excited, and we were pregnant.

There we were, four of us, in a living room dreaming and planning out ministry opportunities on Vancouver Island. Before long others had joined our little fledgling community and coffee house ministry where the seeds of a band began to take shape. To us, playing music was all about communicating the love of God through a medium our generation could understand. The fact that we lacked talent, or had very little training as musicians, was a hurdle but not an obstacle. We loved music and were passionate about sharing the love of Jesus, believing that this fervor and the Holy Spirit would be all that was needed. This blissful ignorance gave us the courage to patch together our first rag tag version of Servant.

The old axiom for rock bands rang true—"for whatever skill you lack, you can always make up for it with volume". Regardless, people would listen and we took the music to public places both locally and across Canada, eager to see people drawn into conversations about Jesus. Crazy as it seems, many were led to the knowledge of God this way, their lives transformed. In fact that was Bob Hardy’s story. A concert in a park, a rock solid encounter with Jesus and he walked into a new life, into our van, and later into the band as an additional vocalist.

These were the early days of what has now become a large and flourishing industry. There was very little of a contemporary Christian music scene to speak of when we began—you could count the artists doing this full time on one hand. Few booked concerts, except for worship gatherings in churches, so we played in public venues like parks and bars. Often local churches would put us up, allowing us to sleep on their floors. Our band and crew somehow survived on $25-$200 a night. To continue our nomadic life of ministry, we often took seasonal jobs as migrant workers picking fruit or delivering flyers between gigs.

From the very beginning we were drawn to theatrics. Theater was not new to us, as we had worked together in Europe with the Palosaaris, developing a rock musical called Lonesome Stone and a festival called The Greenbelt Music Festival that still goes on today. Jim’s theatrical background provided the vision and his personality provided the momentum. The combination of Jesus, rock music and theater was new to many and we heard frequent criticisms. Years later, lighting systems and theatrical effects were to become the standard in efforts to reach a generation of concert goers.

When Shallow Water, Servant’s first recording hit the market in 1979, it was on red vinyl as well as eight-track and cassette. To launch this effort Paul Jenkinson began booking the band across the U.S. It was a grueling tour, four and half months on the road, 25+ concerts per month, and seemingly a million miles in an international travel-all pulling a homemade wooden trailer. Paul and Jim thought if you weren’t performing, it was a day off—regardless of the fact that you spent 20 hours of your day off traveling down the road. Oh those were the days! Despite injury, illness, vehicle problems, broken equipment, emotional weariness, weather, separation from family and little money, we endured... eventually dragging our bone-weary selves back home.

1982-multi-media tour
1983-Oregon, on the land
1984-Light Maneuvers shot

Fortunately, time on the road helped the band improve. Whether touring with a multi-media show, like Sam Smith and his Heavy Light show projecting on screens behind the band, or with a world class laser show we shared our hearts and we gave our best.

The band toured rigorously between 1976 and 1990 and recorded six records in all. Originally based out of Oregon, Servant was part of an intentional Christian community, known initially as the Highway Missionary Society, and later as the Servant Community. This Christian community shared in common the missionary vision that characterized Servant’s ministry. With their support and that of our booking and management team we were able to get the band off the ground, and to sustain it for all those years. Our life in community together was our anchor and our joy, the heartbeat that offered a glimpse, however human at times, into God’s eventual kingdom.

After a decade of strenuous road life and many other hardships, we attempted to consolidate the community and its many teams. In the mid 80’s the band and much of the community relocated from Oregon to Cincinnati, Ohio. The move however did not work the magic we had hoped, and families and friends weary from many transitions, soon began to leave. It became apparent that this season of our lives was over, and one day we gathered the last of the group together to bring the community chapter to an end. There was a moving last meeting that brought hope and healing for our futures and we parted ways. This was difficult for many of us who intended to share this life together into our old age. We (Owen and Sandie) were there from the first day until the last and felt a great grieving at the loss of that dream.

For several more years the band continued without the community. With Bob already gone, replaced by Eric Odell, and then over time with the loss of David, Bruce, Matt, John and Susie, and eventually Gary, Rob and Lori, we had to decide the fate of Servant. For a brief season we enjoyed having Tim Spransy and Tim McAllister both play guitar with us. Sam “Evan” Evans joined us on drums and added some spice to our lives and our performance. And soon after Matt left Randy Brown joined us on keyboards for three years, actually finishing college while meeting us at concerts and juggling a very complicated life.

As we continued to look for more permanent members to keep Servant on the road, Randy introduced us to some musicians out of the Akron, Ohio area. First Ric Hordinski joined us on guitar and we whisked him off to tour Australia. Soon after Linford Detweiler and Brian Kelley joined us on bass and drums. This was the last grouping of Servant. Our concerts were mostly on weekends while band members worked in other venues.

It soon became obvious to us that Ric, Linford, and Brian were not only much more talented as musicians than we were, they were also much more eager to hit the road. We remember sitting in our living room with the band talking about the future. The new troops were young, gifted, creative and full of passion to play music full time. We were older, road weary, had two growing children and suddenly it all became clear, the end was in sight. We blessed them to go on and committed to doing one last concert together in Banff, Alberta, Canada, in 1990. This is where we would say our final goodbye to Servant, beginning and ending in Canada. After Servant ended we became avid supporters and fans of their new band, Over The Rhine and later Monk as well.

This was a hard season of change. In a few short years we suffered the loss of our home in Oregon, our community of lifelong friends, and then finally the band that had been the focus of our lives for almost fifteen years. We struggled to regain our footing and find our identity in God alone. In our 30’s we found regular jobs and went about the business of learning how to live out our faith in unfamiliar ways. Not wanting to live in the past, we closed the door on Servant tightly, and began to ask God to grant us a future to live into. He, as always, was faithful to us, and we are enjoying our lives, our work, our family, and our faith community here in Cincinnati.

1985-New York
1986-on tour

As this is written, Sandie is a massage therapist and has her own practice; Equilibrium3; Owen is a graphic designer and stays connected to the music industry through CD packaging design with Visual Fluency. Active in the emerging church, we are part of a spiritual community that connects as a network of house churches in an urban neighborhood of Cincinnati, Vineyard Central. Matt Spransy and his wife Siv, reside in the Madison Wisconsin area and are involved in music and mentoring youth. David Holmes is married and lives a quiet life in Victoria where the band started. Bob Hardy and his wife Michele live in Southern California and are involved in ministry there. Rob Martens and his wife Lori live on Vancouver Island just north of Victoria, John and Susie Jenkinson who are marriage and family counselors live in the lower mainland of British Columbia. Gary Summerbell lives in Edmonton, Alberta with his wife Florence. Lori, John and Susie, and Gary were all key members of the Servant road crew—without the sacrifice and service of these and many others, there would be no story to tell. Eric Odell and his wife Teresa reside in Cranston Rhode Island where Eric works in marketing for a technology company.

Bruce Wright, sadly died of cancer in Victoria in 1993. If you never saw Bruce do his Holy Roller Blues routine, you missed a seminal moment. Truly the lose of a great pioneer.

In 2006, a limited amount of the first four recordings were released on CD. This site was put together to preserve a history for our families, and the testimony of Jesus for that generation. Jesus, and His amazing love reached down and changed our lives. Through His grace we let that seed of truth flow out of us touching others. Many times it was not easy, we were often sleep deprived, sick from exhaustion, surviving horrible accidents, amidst pregnancies and vehicle breakdowns, and lack of money, but through all these things He was present. Let it be known that He used us, a scraggly crew of passionate lovers of Jesus to go into the highways and byways and invite others in. The only ability that God needed was availability.

You can do the same.

Immersed, Owen & Sandie Brock
Cincinnati Ohio, 2007.

Sandie, Caleb and Owen. Wilderville, Oregon 1979

Photos: J.Wolliscroft, S.Cowper, C.Briscoe, R. Jaffe, C.Callis, M.Wilson and unknown

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