A church in Clearwater is about to get an infusion of rock-star inspiration.
Anberlin singer Stephen Christian has been hired as a worship leader at Calvary Church's Clearwater campus, the church announced Tuesday morning. The leader of the recently-reunited Winter Haven emo group will return in the coming months to Central Florida with his wife, a Pinellas County native, and their three children.
"I could not be more excited to move home and invest in the community as the worship pastor at Calvary Church." he said in a statement. "From Anberlin to my own worship projects, music has always been an intricate part of my life and to be able to utilize my passions for Jesus Christ at a church as incredible as Calvary is an unbelievable opportunity."
Church spokesman Mark Norris said Christian will be responsible for planning the music, video and other creative aspects of services at Calvary's campuses in Clearwater, Seminole and East Lake. He'll lead a staff of a dozen employees and scores of volunteers, working with bands, vocalists and other creatives.
"Stephen is a worship leader in the truest sense," Norris said. "He's coming to Calvary to help people experience God's presence. Music is a huge part of it, but not all of it."
Anberlin founded in Winter Haven in 2002, but broke into the mainstream consciousness with several releases on Christian alt-rock label Tooth & Nail in the mid-2000s. Five of their albums reached Billboard's Top 20, with the single Feel Good Drag hitting No. 1 on the alternative songs chart in 2008. They pulled three stints on the Warped Tour in addition to headlining their own international tours.
Anberlin broke up in 2014, but recently announced they'd be reforming to open for fellow Central Floridians Underoath at the Yuengling Center on Dec. 14. Several members have settled in Tampa Bay — including, now, Christian.
The singer begins his new role with the church on Jan. 6, at both the 9:15 and 11 a.m. services. Click here for details on the church.
— Jay Cridlin