Like many of our resident artists, Rev. Ken didn’t truly discover his affinity for painting until he moved to Concordia. Unlike many of our artists, the retired minister has been involved at Concordia for almost 60 years – as a volunteer pastor, member of Concordia’s Board of Directors and now as a resident.
Ken, originally from Quincy, IL, attended the LCMS (Lutheran Church Missouri Synod) Concordia Theological Seminary in Springfield, IL. In 1956, he was called to form a church in Centereach, Long Island (about 60 miles from New York City).
While getting his church up and running was plenty of work, Ken was able to use his artistic nature and eye for design as a pastor. He had been a craft manager as a camp counselor in college, and found he could create felt banners for his church as well as fully decorating his parsonage.
“Ken has always been artistic,” said his wife Charlotte, who married Ken in 1960. “He always had different ideas of how to decorate the church, especially at Christmas and Easter. Some of the church members would tease him and say, ‘He’s a frustrated interior decorator.’”
In 1964, Ken was called to a new church, so he, Charlotte and their two sons moved to Calvary Lutheran Church in Murrysville, PA. Though he remained very busy, Ken still kept up with his creative hobbies.
“In my free time, I liked to pursue different projects,” Ken said. “I would hook rugs, make crafts out of garage sale finds and collect driftwood and beach glass.”
Ken remained at Calvary until he retired in 1993, and it was while serving at this congregation that he first became involved at Concordia.
“Back then, pastors in the greater Pittsburgh area were asked to do at least two Sunday services at the Concordia chapel because there were no full-time Concordia chaplains yet,” Ken said. “They even gave us $3 for gas, which I think got bumped up to $5. It was volunteer work for us. After I retired, I was asked to be on Concordia’s Board of Directors, which I did for six years – two successive terms.”
Because of their long history with Concordia, when Ken and Charlotte started to look for a retirement community, they knew where they would be moving.
“We saw this place grow through the years,” Charlotte said. “We even attended the dedication of the Haven building we now live in. We have never regretted moving here once – it was a good move.”
After moving to Concordia in 2010, Ken started going to the Haven Art Classes and discovered watercolor painting. Despite only having done a few paint by numbers kits before, he quickly became adept at watercolors and has now completed at least 150 paintings during their 10 years as Concordia residents.
Ken’s painting in Concordia’s 2020 calendar combines art with another one of his hobbies: travel.
“I chose to paint that picture because it reminded me of a trip Charlotte and I took to Japan with my seminary roommate and his wife,” Ken said. “We spent 17 days visiting the six or seven stations where my seminary roommate had served as a missionary. I remember how intricate and beautiful their gardens were.”
The Hoeners have also been on a Reformation tour to Germany, Israel, the National Parks of the Southwest, the Canadian Rockies, Niagara Falls and 49 of the 50 states. Though their days of major travel are over, Ken continues to create – including 10 paintings during this year’s pandemic alone.
“It’s a calming activity that is very rewarding,” Ken said. “You can start something and bring it to fruition.”
To learn more about the retirement living options offered at the Concordia Haven Apartments on our Cabot campus, visit www.ConcordiaHaven.org or schedule a tour today. Call Peggy at 724-352-5378 or message us through the contact form on our website. To request a free copy of the 2020 Concordia Calendar, “Brush Strokes 2,” call the Public Relations Department at 724-352-1571, ext. 8268.