Chris Kinney

First post: 10/14/2016 Latest post: 11/5/2016


A Short History of Becoming the Rolling Rev


This is a response to a friend on Facebook who loves me and asked how I became the Rolling Rev. She was worried about offending me asking about how I started using a wheelchair, just so you know I love all of my friends and family who take the time to asking wonder how I am doing.  Your love and support bring me joy, comfort, and a sense of wholeness.  Thank you all!
I do not think you’re being insensitive, and I’m sorry it took me so long to respond, I was busy there at the end of June and I forgot to answer.  I have multiple sclerosis and until they find a cure or develop electronics that help me control my limbs I use my wheels to get me where I need to go.  I had my first major incident of MS the day after Thanksgiving 2000.  I had just returned from my first call as an ordained ELCA Lutheran pastor at an American Lutheran Church in Frankfurt, Germany & The Lutheran Field Service Europe.  I was planning to enter the Air Force as a chaplain in January 2001.  The Air Force said no, when they found out I had an undiagnosed MS incident, a grand mal seizure with scarring on my brain tissue.
The doctors were not able to diagnose me until March 2002.  While waiting for a diagnosis, I did 2 out of 3 years of law school and decided that being a lawyer was not my true calling. During this time of discernment, I was employed full-time as an electronic home monitor for adult offenders in the seven county metro area. I also returned part-time to working with juvenile offenders as a juvenile correctional officer for Hennepin County. During seminary I had worked as a youth care worker for juvenile sex offenders. My work with people in the criminal justice system both juvenile and adult helped develop my pastoral care skills.
Once I found out that MS is not a fatal disease, in 2004 I returned to my calling of being a pastor in Winthrop, Minnesota, a small town 1 ½ hours southwest of the Twin Cities. While in Winthrop I also joined the Winthrop ambulance crew as an EMT.  In late 2007, early 2008, I had to go on disability, when my legs stopped working well enough for me to do all of the pastoral visitation at old country farms. I also had to stop being an EMT on the Winthrop ambulance crew. 
Now I am a supply pastor (I substitute for other pastors on vacation), I do short-term counseling, weddings/funerals, and advocacy.  I have lead a MS support group, I was on my church Council for five years, and continue to teach Sunday school.
One of the things that has bought me fulfillment is participating in a youth ministry called Teens Encounter Christ. I have been involved with Minnesota Metro Lutheran Teens Encounter Christ in one form or another since 1987. Now I’m privileged to be a part of the MMLTEC Council as a spiritual adviser. One of my friends, Brandon is the MMLTEC Council President, when he sends out a newsletter he signs off with an exhortation to Shine On to be the light of Christ in the world. When I email him I respond Shine On and I will Roll On.
 Life is good, life is full; God is good!  All the time!  God is good!  Thanks for asking!

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