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Rev. James Kraus
Minister of Music & Leadership Development

What do you love about your role as Minister of Music and Leadership Development at St. Joe First UMC?

I enjoy working with people of all ages. I enjoy encouraging people to use their gifts in God's service - musical gifts or otherwise. I enjoy providing opportunities for people to build, develop and use their gifts. I am thankful for the opportunity to serve the Lord myself as a musician and as a pastor.

What is your favorite Bible verse?

Life verse: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your strength and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path." Proverbs 3:5-6

For trouble: "Count it all joy when you fall into diverse tribulation (various problems,) knowing this, that the trying of your faith works patience. And let patience have her perfect work that you may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing." James 1-3

For faith: "You have shown me the path of life." Psalm 16

What is your favorite book or movie?

"The Hiding Place" by Corrie Ten Boom; "The Lord of the Rings Trilogy"; the Harry Potter series (I read with my kids); "The Chronicles of Narnia" by C.S. Lewis; "The Space Trilogy" by C. S. Lewis; "Mere Christianity" by C. S. Lewis (can you see a theme here?); anything by C.S. Lewis.

I have enjoyed the movies based on all the books above, but I also enjoy films that deal with history. I enjoy foreign films, especially in German, since I can follow both the German and the English subtitles. The "Sissi" movie series about the Austro-Hungarian Empress are interesting to me since Lorie and I lived in Hungary. The first movie is like the "Sound of Music" in popularity all over Western Europe. I am married to a Russell Crowe fan so I've learned to enjoy several of his films. I can also be a Sci-Fi nut so I enjoyed the Matrix series, all the Star Wars films and anything time travel.


What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

I like to travel. We will go to Chicago now and then which is fun with family and friends. We have a family member who gives us tickets to the Lyric Opera in Chicago and we get to go a few times a year. I also enjoy gardening some. As a musician and especially a composer, I always have music in my head and when I have free time music is usually a part of that.


Do you have a favorite vacation spot?

Like I said, I like to travel so I am happy almost anywhere. However, we most enjoy being with our extended families in Louisville, KY, Youngstown, OH and Washington, D.C. (my hometown area - I was born in D.C.). That being said, a few years ago we had the opportunity to visit family and sites in Southern California. I was told I would love or hate the desert. I personally LOVED it. I didn't mind the dry heat and I found the desert fascinating and beautiful. Maybe it was one too many episodes of Twilight Zone when I was a kid.


What type of music do you like?

Well, my first choice would be classical. As a composer I like to hear what is new out there, too - both classical and pop. My wife is a huge fan of U2, so I listen to them quite a bit. We're also major fans of the Christian rock group, downhere.


What is your favorite thing about St. Joe First UMC?

I love the people here. I have been here since 1993 and have developed some great and meaningful relationships with many people from this church.

Tell us about your family.

I am married to Lorie, the love of my life. We met in Hungary where we were serving as short term missionaries for two years. She taught English and Drama in high school before our children were born. She directs the children's choir here and she also teaches voice privately and substitutes in the schools. Jacob and Esther both play several instruments (usually willingly) and enjoy some sports. Jacob likes football and Esther loves swimming.


Share one random fact about yourself.

I got to play on one of Bach's clavichords at the Bach Museum in Leipzig, Germany when I was in college. I asked the curator if she let anyone play it and she said, "No, you're the first one who ever asked!"

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