Father Kevin Anderson, pastor of Christ Our Light Parish and a musician, will debut a CD of original arrangements of favorite Christmas songs during the parish’s “One in the Light” Christmas Gala, a fundraiser for the Princeton/Zimmerman parish.
The CD features sacred classics in a contemporary style, such as “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” and “Silent Night.”
“Enchanting is the best word I can think of,” Father Anderson said.
The event — an evening of fellowship, food and music — will be held Friday, Nov. 30 at the Crown Room at the Wellstead of Rogers in Rogers, and features a catered dinner followed by Father Anderson’s performance.
“The setting will be very festive. We’re hoping people will get out their Christmas, or their best dress. They don’t have to, of course, but it’s meant to be a dress up affair,” Father Anderson said. “It’s just an elegant gala. It’s really meant to kind of kick off the Advent season.”
And just as exciting as the event itself is the reason for the fundraiser. Christ Our Light Parish has embarked on a building project that will bring parishioners — who have been worshipping at two separate campuses for the past eight years — under one roof.
The parish formed in 2010 through the merging of St. Edward in Princeton and St. Pius X in Zimmerman.
“It’s been a great transition,” Father Anderson said. “But one of the things Bishop [John] Kinney asked us to do at the time was to consider worshipping at one site.”
Parish leaders looked at options, but didn’t move ahead on anything until an outside party expressed interest in buying the south (Zimmerman) campus in 2014.
That purchase ultimately fell through, but the parish continued to look at moving to one site, conducting listening sessions and a feasability study.
“The whole idea of building a new building kept [parishioners] on board. The vast majority are definitely on board,” Father Anderson said.
The One in the Light Capital Campaign was launched in 2017 with a goal of $5 million for the initial phase.
With funds already raised through the first phase of the capital campaign, the parish on June 29 purchased 107 acres of land in Baldwin Township, halfway between Princeton and Zimmerman.
“It’s very exciting,” Father Anderson said. “With all that we had to go through merging everything, we kept saying we have to trust the Holy Spirit, working through the leader of the diocese.”
Though there is no groundbreaking date set yet, the funds raised at the gala will help grow the down payment to begin construction. The first phase will include the worship area and gathering space, as well as possible room for temporary offices. Phases two and three will follow and include classrooms, a large social hall and permanent offices, as well as meeting rooms and a gymnasium.
During the event, special pricing will be available on the “One in the Light Christmas” CD, which will not be released until that evening.
For the CD, Father Anderson collaborated with accompanist Nate Mathews, with whom he has worked on previous projects, to create the collection of sacred music with a contemporary, reflective feel, he said. Mathews will perform with him, as well.
The concert will feature a raised stage in the middle of the ballroom, so there won’t be a bad seat, Father Anderson said.
He has performed many of the arrangements on the CD before in different environments, as part of a liturgy, for example.
“What’s different about it is that the music is, I think, just enchanting.” Father Anderson said. “It’s just a little different feel, that I think people will enjoy.”
Tickets to the One in the Light Christmas Gala are $100 per person or a table sponsorship is available for $1,000 (10 seats). Tickets can be purchased at Christ Our Light Parish offices in Princeton and Zimmerman, or go online to www.christourlightmn.org and click on the “Events” heading for details.