Leader of the Band

April 24, 2003
Leader of the Band
By Howie Mansfield
Chris Padgett to Perform St. Matthew’s with a Mix of Music and Personal Testimony

EAST SYRACUSE — Chris Padgett is coming to the Syracuse Diocese with his unique message and ministry. Padgett, a nationally known recording artist with the Christian rock band “Scarecrow and Tinmen,” will perform a free concert at St. Matthew’s Church, 229 W. Yates St., on April 27 at 7 p.m. Padgett has given talks and presentations at diocesan and national youth rallies as well as World Youth Day in 2000 and in 2002. Life is quite busy for Padgett, a father of six children and a M.A. theology student at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio. “God opened the doors for me to do this,” Padgett said. “I try to reach kids where they are at in their lives and let them reflect. I’ve been speaking and playing music about 99 percent of my work time now and it’s going really well. I’m very excited about that.”

Padgett said this isn’t his first trip to Syracuse. “I really enjoyed coming here before and I want to give them something new,” said Padgett. A singer, songwriter and passionate individual, Padgett has one solo album “Follow.” He is also currently working on a number of books for different age groups. Father Richard Prior, parochial vicar at St. Matthew’s Church, said bringing in a motivational speaker and musician can help parish youth look at their own faith. “Youth Ministry has been a priority since I’ve been here. We’ve done a youth rally with other people from outside of the parish. This is just one more thing for the high school students,” Father Prior said. “Chris has a great reputation and we are excited to have him here.”

Padgett presents various topics to the students. He incorporates personal experiences into his talks, sometimes being “open and vulnerable” but hoping to reach out to the youth. “I want to get on their wavelength,” he said. “It is my desire to encourage the Body of Christ. I want to present the Gospel to them and help them to understand their own faiths.” One of Padgett’s talks is entitled “Choosing the Father.” This talk looks more deeply at individual choices and how they affect one’s life and the people around them. “We all make poor choices and those have repercussions for the future, but we don’t know that at the time we make the choice,” he said. “The theme comes from the Prodigal Son. There are choices that affect you and there are ones that are beyond your control.”

A second talk “Get Out of the Boat” describes Jesus’ love for His people. “Jesus reaches to us. In all things, Christ is present,” Padgett said. “Some of the stories I tell are comedic, but others are realistic. I allow space for people to reflect about God, to have an encounter.” After the talk, Padgett sits down at the piano and plays some praise and worship songs for the youth in attendance. “We abandon ourselves to God,” he said. “I ask the audience to participate with me and we have a great time.” Padgett is a convert to Catholicism and he includes that journey into his talks. “I became Catholic because of the authority given the church. Christ’s authority given within time to the Apostles to preserve the church in faith and morals from error is unmatched,” he said. “In my Protestant tradition, all would say the Scripture is their final authority, but it is really their interpretation of the Scriptures that is. This is why there are so many denominations, all claiming to understand how to live and interpret God’s word. In a matter of a few hundred years, the splits and divisions have continued while the Catholic Church continues to have unity in faith and morals.”

Padgett said that Scarecrow and Tinmen, formed in 1994, still perform on occasion. They will be playing at the National Catholic Youth Conference in Houston, Texas from Nov. 13-16. Scarecrow and Tinmen has two nationally released albums, “No Place Like Home” and “Superhero.” Family responsibilities and other opportunities have led band members to different parts of the country, he said. “I live in Ohio and right now, I feel called to this solo ministry,” Padgett explained.

For more information on Chris Padgett, visit http://www.chrispadgett.freewebsitehosting.com

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