Eckelkamp grew up Catholic but was impressed by the Episcopal Church after he started visiting St. Thomas and St. Bartholomew Episcopal Churches in New York City. St. Bart’s has a long history of ministering to the LGBTQ community. Eckelkamp says he is drawn to our denomination because it has the same ritual and less guilt, and it places more emphasis on social justice.
Except for three years teaching middle schoolers, he has spent his life working in music making and musical instruments.
In Catholic school, he started playing for school Masses in kindergarten and continued playing for Masses for about 20 years. He has performed on the organ, piano and French horn all over Missouri and has toured with a high school show choir, Sound Waves and Express out of Troy. Their work can be seen on YouTube.
He also worked on sales and performance for Yamaha pianos and was a classroom accompanist with the Lincoln County, MO, school district.
At present, he is also a staff member for Christopher Soer Pipe Organs in Union, MO, where he helps to build and maintain organs and collaborates with musical artists. Employment at Soer has taken him around the nation to work on organs.
He lives in St. Louis Hills and commutes one hour daily to the Soer company.
Eckelkamp met members of the congregation the weekend the Rt. Rev. Deon Johnson, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri, was visiting. “Immediately, it felt like a warm and inviting place. People went out of their way to say hello and welcome me, without knowing who I was,” he said.
Asked what he wants to do at John’s, he replied: “I want to meet the congregation where they’re at ….I want to make the Eucharistic celebration more prayerful. I want to become part of the fabric of what makes St. John’s unique… Everyone has been so forthcoming, I feel I’ve been able to get a decent handle on that already.”
Eckelkamp holds an Associate of Fine Arts Degree in Music from East Central College in Union, MO, where he studied piano under Dr. Jennifer Judd.
His Bachelor of Liberal Studies Degree is in Music and Gender Studies from the University of Missouri-St. Louis, where he studied piano under Alla Voskoboynikova and Ken Kehner.
Various members of the St. John's congregation contribute to this blog. For editorial suggestions, contact Jeff McIntire-Strasburg at firstname.lastname@example.org
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