When Marsha Hansen decided to incorporate her music skills and theological education into a ministry, her brother-in-law gave support and advice. Encouragement from a family member may not seem like much ... unless you happen to be related to Keith Richards.
A year after Marsha married Rodney Hansen, an ELCA pastor, her sister-in-law married Richards, the guitarist for the Rolling Stones, suddenly making her related to one of rock 'n' roll's most notorious men.
But Hansen has never seen the side of Richards that the public does. "I met Keith in 1982 when he and Patti were dating," Hansen said. "I couldn't have named one member of the band back then. From the beginning I was so impressed with his character. He's been so consistent as a good family member.
"It's funny to see it from the inside because you couldn't ask for a better person to know or to trust."
Hansen said when she told Richards about her desire for a music ministry, he encouraged her to sing in front of more people and to feel secure about her talent.
Since then Hansen has followed his advice, performing in churches throughout the San Diego area. She also assists her husband when he is a guest pastor (Rodney Hansen is currently between calls).
"I think music is not an adjunct to worship but part of it," Hansen said. "Sharing music that is not only Christian but also represents my cultural heritage helps bring more of my experience of the role Christ [has played] in my life."
Hansen, with a little help from Richards, is working toward her first record deal and is recording her second CD. But Richards has been more than just a musical adviser.
"Marrying into this Norwegian family, I felt like an outsider," Hansen recalled. "Keith ... made me feel comfortable. He would be the one to lean over and whisper, 'It's OK,' and squeeze my hand."
Hansen's CD, I Know the Lord's Laid His Hands on Me (Orchard), is available through www.amazon.com.
© 2013 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers