For Joy specializes in the music of hope," says Bruce Benson,
who served as St. Olaf College pastor from 1981 to 2011. "And
music has such a wonderful capacity to express hopefulness
even when it is not happy. Words struggle to do that, but music
does it all the time. Every Sing For Joy program reminds
me that music's power manifests itself in so many ways."
Before beginning his ministry
at the college, he served pastorates in Albert Lea, Minn., Billings,
Mont., and Sioux Falls, S.D. Benson holds a Master of Divinity degree
from Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minn., and a Master of Sacred
Theology degree from the Yale University Divinity School in New
During his years at St. Olaf, Pastor Benson led
seven international study programs for students; served every year
as narrator of the college's famed Christmas Festival concerts;
performed as a narrator with both the St. Olaf Band and the St.
Olaf Orchestra, as well as liturgist/reader at numerous choir concerts;
and been worship planner, presider and chaplain for the college's
biannual Conference on Worship, Theology and the Arts.
A talented writer, Pastor Benson has had his
poetry commissioned and set to music by four composers from the
United States and England. He has written adult education curriculum
for Augsburg Publishing. He has served on the Board of Trustees
of Trinity Seminary in Columbus, Ohio, and on the Advisory Board
of Word and World, a theological journal.
Now retired from St. Olaf College, Bruce is enjoying spending time with his wife Carol at their home in Northield and a cabin in the Minnesota Northwoods.