As you may have heard, and definitely have heard if you read this site with any consistency, the band Petra has decided to retire. “After 33 years of music and ministry, Christian rock pioneer PETRA will come to a close. December 2005 will mark the end to a ministry that has boldly and consistently proclaimed the gospel in the United States and abroad. The decision to retire the band was mutual by all members. The band has impacted generations of musicians and fans alike over the years with over seven million CDs sold, four Grammy Awards, 10 Dove Awards and an induction into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame. PETRA, initially formed in 1972 by Hartman on vocals and guitars, paved the way for the rock genre perhaps more than any other in the Christian music industry. Though a rotating cast of musicians comprised PETRA’s lineup over the years, the band is closing 2005 strong with over 20 albums to its credit, the latest being the 2003 Grammy-nominated Jekyll & Hyde.”
Petra truly was a ground-breaking band. I have often heard stories of their first albums being sold behind the counter of Christian bookstores because mixing Christian lyrics with rock music was considered exceedingly controversial in the early 1970’s. One does not have to look far to find stories of people who have been positively impacted by the ministry of Petra. And I am one of them. I have often written about the profound impact Petra had on my life while I was just a teenager. What is particularly inspiring about Petra is that the focus of the band was always on ministry. The songs and concerts were always God-centered, seeking to take the attention away from the band and to focus it on God.
But, it seems, all good things must come to and end. After many years of sliding sales and reduced popularity the band has decided to retire. While I am sorry to see them go, I do agree that the time is right for them to make their exit.
I think it would be fitting for us to honor Petra for the impact they have had on the lives of so many. Thus I would like to declare December 30, 2005, the day of their final concert, “Petra Appreciation Day” across the blogosphere. Of course I have no authority to declare such a day, but I am hoping that other bloggers will participate by posting their memories of the men and ministry of Petra. If you would like to participate, either by posting on your own blog or by posting some other way (perhaps by posting in the forums on this site or another), please let me know either by sending me an email or by replying to this thread. I hope that together we can honor a band who dedicated thirty-three years to honoring God through their music.