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PC(USA) leaders pay tribute to ‘Chip’ Andrus for his profound contributions to the church’s liturgical life


‘A truly remarkable life’

November 24, 2018

The Rev. Dr. Charles “Chip” Andrus celebrating Easter communion. Veronica Dodge

In just 51 years, the Rev. Dr. Charles “Chip” Andrus lived a truly remarkable life. He died the weekend of Sept. 8, after a lengthy battle with cancer.

Chip was the associate for worship in the PC(USA) Office of Theology & Worship (2002–06) and served churches in Arkansas (2006–11) and New York (2011–18). He led the band Soul Highway, played everywhere from sanctuaries to saloons, wrote numerous songs, and recorded three albums of original music — Let It Rain Down, It’s All Good and The Place We’re At. He was a caring pastor, insightful teacher, creative spirit, captivating storyteller, active community servant, loving husband and father, and cherished friend.

Like the rivers he loved to float, Chip ran deep. Among his many other accomplishments, he made profound contributions to the liturgical life of the Presbyterian Church. In April 2017, I spent three days talking with him about daily prayer. He helped me understand the baptismal rhythm of daily prayer, how it is a daily practice of dying and rising with Christ.

Just a year later, I witnessed him living out that deep faith in his final months, leading the people of God in song at the 2018 General Assembly. I give thanks that Chip’s baptism is complete. In the words of the funeral liturgy, “All of us go down to the dust; yet even at the grave we make our song: Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.”

Chip Andrus at his final General Assembly, St. Louis, 2018. Michael Whitman

Here are some additional reflections from friends and colleagues who have benefited from his wisdom and gifts:

Chip had a gifted way of communicating to church leaders the fundamental shape of the liturgy as Word and sacrament, otherwise known as the “ordo.” His passion was infectious, his spirit genuine and his insight penetrating. — David Batchelder; Pastor, West Plano Presbyterian Church in Plano, Texas

Chip was one of a kind and mere words don’t do him justice. He brought his kindness, smile, wicked sense of humor and deep knowledge to the office of Theology & Worship every day. I’m better for having known him, and I am heartbroken that he’s gone. — Penny Franklin, Executive Relations Coordinator, Presbyterian Foundation

Chip had the unique gift of inviting people from all walks of life to see ourselves in light of the claims of the gospel on every aspect of our lives. His creative ability was particularly striking in the ways he engaged, challenged and deepened those who longed for contemporary expressions of worship by showing them rich and diverse ways in which our communal prayers, music and action can be embodied. — Paul Galbreath, Professor of Theology, Union Theological Seminary in Charlotte, North Carolina

I will always be grateful to Chip for his largeness of spirit that has revealed itself to me in his generous hospitality and welcome. He fully introduced me to the richness and rhythm of daily prayer. I can hardly reach for my copy of the Book of Common Worship — Daily Prayer without remembering Chip’s fine teaching and faithful example. — Christopher Q. James, Pastor, New Hope Presbyterian Church in St. Charles, Missouri, and Member, North American Academy of Liturgy

With his well-used guitar, husky voice and mischievous eye-twinkle, Chip did not look like what most people imagine when they hear “liturgical reformer.” Yet his irrepressible enthusiasm when it came to weekly eucharist and daily prayer snuck up on people, helping them see how such simple everyday practices of hospitality and attention to God’s word can transform the world. — Martha Moore-Keish, J.B. Green Associate Professor of Theology, Columbia Theological Seminary

Through his unique style, humor and musical gifts, Chip opened Presbyterian eyes to new and different ways of being faithful. He converted so many of us to the practice of daily prayer. And his unwavering convictions about the baptized life deepened our wells of sacramental understanding. — Kimberly Bracken Long, Editor, Call to Worship: Liturgy, Music, Preaching, & the Arts

David Gambrell, Associate for Worship, Theology, Formation, & Evangelism, Presbyterian Mission Agency

Today’s Focus:  Chip Andrus, worship leader

Let us join in prayer for:

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Barry Creech, PMA
Jayne Culp, OGA

Let us pray:

Gracious God, may the hungry in body and spirit be fed; may the lonely, forgotten and often rejected find a place of renewal; and may those battling mental illness or addiction be freed to walk in the light of a new way of living. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Daily Readings 

Morning Psalms 122; 149
First Reading Malachi 3:13-4:6
Second Reading James 5:13-20
Gospel Reading Luke 18:9-14
Evening Psalms 100; 63

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