March 2, 2020mynorthnews.org/new-blog/2020/3/2/redeemer-and-harrison-give-emotional-send-off-to-beloved-pk
Redeemer and Harrison give emotional send off to beloved ‘PK’
By David Pierini Staff Reporter
Pastor Kelly Chatman’s pulpit was at Redeemer Lutheran Church, but he never believed his ministry was the four walls of the sanctuary.
For more than 20 years, Chatman saw his church as the Harrison neighborhood. He brought housing and job training to its needy, built youth programs that nurtured scholars, artists and musicians and mentored a new generation of ministers ready to stand with people to combat racism, LGBTQ discrimination and other injustices.
The neighborhood came to him Saturday, Feb. 22, packing the pews and balcony to say goodbye to the pastor affectionately known as "PK." Chatman gave his last sermon on Feb. 16. He is forming a new nonprofit in North Minneapolis to train local churches to uplift and support their neighborhoods much as Redeemer has.
Redemeer has begun a search for a new pastor and will also need to find an executive director for Redeemer Lutheran Life Center, the nonprofit Chatman started to bring transitional housing, youth programs and workforce development, such the bike and coffee shop known as Venture North.
“If there is one word that describes Pastor Kelly, it’s prophet,” said Mark Hanson, an ECLA bishop emeritus. “He is not the kind of prophet that sees the future. He is the kind of prophet who speaks his mind and truth in cultures of deception and lies. You are a prophet with enormous heart that breaks open again and again with compassion and mercy.”
Hanson was just one of a line of speakers who paid tribute to Chatman during a twohour service in late February. Ministers paid tribute to a humble servant, whose only lapse in humility is when he makes chili (he thinks his is the best).
Musicians performs songs wrote especially for the sendoff. An artist stood near the front of the church, painting a canvas symbolizing how the church helped the community blossom.
Chatman had the day off from speaking; he needed all the strength he could muster to dole out hugs. In a video tribute, Kelly expressed gratitude in his characteristic understated manner.
In 2012, he was among a group of religious leaders who stood against a proposed marriage amendment in Minnesota. “I want people to strive to make this world on this day a better world for the next day,” he said. “I love god and I love people.”