Rev. Randall K. Bush to explore intervals

What does it mean to explore “intervals of faith?” In music, an interval is the difference in pitch between two sounds. In a minor 2nd interval, the two notes sound fine in a scale but are dissonant when played together simultaneously. What theological insights occur when you pair that interval with the story of the Tower of Babel? A major 7th interval opens up the world; it is the sound of jazz and possibility. 

If paired with the Apostle Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians exploring the wisdom of God, how does the world expand? 

“Each sermon will focus on theological/biblical ideas illustrated through comparisons to a specific musical interval,” said the Rev. Randall K. Bush, Chautauqua’s chaplain for Week Two. 

A piano performance major in college, Bush will use a piano to illuminate his sermons. 

Bush will preach at the 10:45 a.m. Service of Worship and Sermon Sunday, July 3, in the Amphitheater. His sermon title is “Intervals of Faith (Major/Minor Thirds): For Everything There is a Season.” He will also preach at the 9:15 a.m. ecumenical worship services Monday through Friday in the Amp. The topics of his sermons include “Intervals of Faith (Minor 2nd): Dissonant Yet Necessary Words,” “Intervals of Faith (Minor 7th): Resolutions Today,” “Intervals of Faith (Perfect 4th): Perfection, Really?,” “Intervals of Faith (Tritone): Resolving Tensions,” and “Intervals of Faith (Major 7th): Expanding What’s Possible.”

Bush is the interim head of staff for Woods Memorial Presbyterian Church in Severna Park, Maryland. 

Previously he served 16 years as the senior pastor of East Liberty Presbyterian Church, referred to as The Cathedral of Hope, in Pittsburgh.

A native of the farming community of Paola, Kansas, he graduated from the University of Kansas with a piano performance degree. He studied at music conservatories in Salzburg, Austria, and Cologne, Germany. He graduated from Princeton Theological Seminary, and his first call was to work with the Presbyterian Church of Southern Africa in Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe. Bush has also served First Presbyterian Church in Racine, Wisconsin. He completed his doctorate in theological ethics at Marquette University. 

Bush is the author of The Possibility of Contemporary Prophetic Acts: From Jeremiah to Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, Jr. and has published many book chapters, newspaper essays and sermons. He taught university and seminary courses in pastoral care, Christian ethics and prophetic preaching. He has received several preaching awards and recognitions, including the 2017 Hosanna Preaching Prize and the 2011 International “Food for Life” Preaching Award. He was invited to preach for Day 1 radio. 

Through leadership with the Covenant Network of Presbyterians, he has worked for full inclusion and marriage equality in the Presbyterian Church. 

Bush is married to Beth Johnstone. Their two children, Ian and Charlotte, have both worked at the Presbyterian House on the grounds. He still finds time to play the piano, especially the repertoire of Chopin, Brahms, Gershwin and Rachmaninoff. 

“I am grateful for any opportunity to promote and serve Christ’s gospel of justice, global peace, creativity and reconciliation,” he said.

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The author Mary Lee Talbot

Mary Lee Talbot writes the recap of the morning worship service. A life-long Chautauquan, she is a Presbyterian minister, author of Chautauqua’s Heart: 100 Years of Beauty and a history of the Chapel of the Good Shepherd. She edited The Streets Where We Live and Shalom Chautauqua. She lives in Chautauqua year-round with her Stabyhoun, Sammi.