People sometimes ask for my profile. So here’s me…
Why is “Justyn” spelled with a “y”? Perhaps because I am curious – why? Why am I me and you you? If we all evolved from monkeys, why are there still monkeys? What is love and why does it hurt so much when I loose it? What is the meaning of life and who says it even has a meaning? How can I live life to the full? Why is the secret of happiness a secret? Is there a time limit on the predictions in fortune cookies? What happens when I die?
I purchased a guitar from a thrift shop when I was 16 and learned 3 chords. With them I founded “The Peacemakers” – one of the very first Christian rock bands in the UK. That was way back in the early sixties when the Beatles still had sort hair. We recorded several albums, which you can still experience on YouTube (but I wouldn’t)
In 1967 I married Joy, the most beautiful girl in the world. We are still married and she still is.
My Dad died in 1970 and we took on the running of Hildenborough Hall, a hill top mansion just outside London. Each week we invited all-comers to join us for the weekend to explore the answer to life and each week we visited Schools around the UK to ask the question.
We moved to Canada in 1982, and have made it home ever since. I was never much good at being a church pastor, though I did give it a go on a couple of occasions. I don’t fit well in a box, so we established a society named “Upstream” and under that banner, led a team of young musicians, dancers and actors on a 5-year pilgrimage of reconciliation from Vancouver Island to Newfoundland. That same concern for reconciliation inspired us to lead a delegation from twelve denominations to genocide-ravaged Rwanda.
In between times I have enjoyed writing several books, including “Love your Neighbour, for God’s sake” and “Honest Doubt, Real Faith”, and most recently – “To Make an Old Story New” and “To Make a Long Story Short.”
I used to call myself a preacher, but then realized that the only part of a talk anyone ever remembers is the story, so now I am just a storyteller. Anyway the Bible was originally written as a story before theologians and preachers chopped it up for sermon fodder. Jesus was famous for telling stories so being a storyteller OK by me.
So that’s me.
We have just celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary and 3 of our Grandchildren modelled our wedding gear.
A long time ago we were slim!
Now what do I have to offer you? Well there’s the books, but then there’s me. I’d love to come and tell my stories in your home with your neighbours and friends. I’d love to come to your church or camp. Do you have a special event for which you need a speaker or storyteller? I’m your man! Just give me some gas in my tank, and I’ll be there. I didn’t pay to learn these stories so I don’t charge to tell them.
But if you want to do things properly, how about inviting the whole gang? I love to work with Russ Rosen and Brett Zigler…
Music and story shows with musicians Russ Rosen and Brett Zigler.
Check out the media page
With the world teetering on the brink of war, this is an invitation to come to the Peace Table.
The show is part story, part music. I tell the story of the Last Supper – the most revolutionary and redemptive story of all – the story that has shaped our world.
My intention is to make us feel like we are all there, to laugh and cry and experience the passion. I put myself into the boots three characters involved; Pete, Tommy and Jude. Each represents an aspect of today’s society – the religiously prejudiced, the financially covetous, the arrogantly ignorant. Yes, it’s serious content, but if you can’t have a good laugh on the way you might as well stay home, eh?
Russ is the minstrel who brilliantly weaves songs around the characters; music by Johnny Cash, Leonard Cohen, Graham Ord, and Les Miserable along with songs he himself has written to complete the embroidery in living color. Brett plays just about every instrument known to man and his musical genius delights the senses.
It seems we are living in a broken world, desperately in need of healing, and hope. PeaceMeal presents this timeless invitation in a fresh way that seems to give no offence but draws newcomers to the friendliest place on the planet –The Table
We would be thrilled to come to your community, your home, theater, church, or school. Make it a party! Invite your friends! Better yet – invite your enemies, your religious antagonists, your social rivals. Strike a blow for peace!
I want to Dance – Another music and story show.
A hilarious, romping reenactment of the healing of the panhandler at the Beautiful Gate of the Temple.
The story (as usual, told by me) features Fred, a life-long member of the Beggars And Disabled Person’s Union (BADPU) describing how all his fellow union members were healed, while he was ignored. Magic, the paraplegic, got up and walked; Mable quite the oldest profession and went straight; Buffy, the blind man, saw 20/20; Lazer, the dead man, lived. But poor old Fred always wanted to dance, but nothing ever happened for him, till one day…
This is a family event that gets everyone from granny to the kids out of their seats and dancing with joy. Russ has the ability to get bums out of seats, to move our feet, and to shake it all about. The music is upbeat and the story is hilarious and the message is timely. It asks the big question: “What do you want Jesus to do for you?” The answer to that question is yours to give.
We first gave this presentation at Missions Fest Vancouver as an inspiration to children and whole families to take Jesus’ offer to a needy world: “What do you want Jesus to do for you?”
So we offer this as an ideal presentation for a family service, Sunday school, community happening, summer outdoor event in the park event, family camp.
Christmas Tales – A Christmas music and story show.
This is a rollicking Christmas event like you have never heard it. You’ll find yourself laughing and crying as you are drawn into the true meaning of the season. Together the music and stories weave a delightful tapestry of the first Christmas for all the family to enjoy.
Russ and Brett will have you singing along with the traditional carols and inspire you with their original music. I tell the stories of the various characters involved like I was them, lending each color with an appropriate voice: Joseph – the Cockney cabinet maker, Angus – the tight-fisted Scottish innkeeper, Dick – the dancing shepherd, Balthazar – the wise man from the East – “from Toronto, actually” and many others.
Russ and Brett have been the feature performers at Vancouver’s Rogers Santa Claus Parade for the past 7 years and know how to turn a Christmas Parade into a street party. For Christmas Tales they nimbly weave together both the festive and reflective carols throughout this upbeat and down to earth production.
Over the past four years Christmas Tales has been booked at over 100 venues to play throughout the holiday season from Victoria to Edmonton, down the Fraser Valley and up the Okanagan in prisons, night clubs, churches, living rooms and schools. “Angels is popping all over the place!”
We’d sure love to come to celebrate Christmas at your place.