Rev. Knute Larson leaving The Chapel
By Colette M. Jenkins, Beacon Journal staff writer
Jeanine Larson has been saying a special prayer for her husband for the past three years.
”I’ve prayed for him to know when it was time to go, and that he would be able to do it,” Larson said. ”Sometimes I’ve whispered it alone and sometimes I’ve said it while we prayed together.”
On Wednesday evening, her husband, the Rev. Knute Larson, said the time to leave his post as co-senior pastor of The Chapel will be May 17. He will leave after more than 25 years of leadership that has motivated the spiritual and physical growth that has made the 8,000-member church the largest in Summit County, with campuses in Akron and Green.
The nondenominational church offers six worship services and more than 300 weekly activities. Although the membership meets in two locations, the church has one staff, one budget and one mission.
”This was a strong church when I came, and it is a strong church now — teaching and seeking to practice Scripture with gracious balance. God has been very good to us,” Knute Larson said. ”I had one main goal when I came and it is the same right now, for the next four months and will be for all my life: to clarify for people what the grace of God means so that they can make an intelligent decision and response about Christ and to try to teach and model how that grace shows in daily life and love.”
Larson, who will turn 68 Sunday, announced his retirement during a members’ meeting in the worship center at the Akron campus. The meeting was live-streamed to those in attendance at the Green worship center. After the meeting, an e-mail blast was sent to the membership and a letter written by Larson was posted on the church Web site, http://www.the-chapel.org.