Making Music and Memories

by Florence Yaeger, MHCF Vice President

Beloved Mile Hi Church Music Director Emeritus and Growth and Development Coordinator, Kent Rautenstraus, discovered in 1981 that the Universe was intent on ensuring that he followed his musical heart instead of his analytical mind. Although he played in his first wedding at age 12, Kent had no intention of becoming a “starving musician,” and instead opted to go into banking. However, a mathematical fluke cost him his job.

Around that time, his music teacher, coincidentally a friend of Dr. Fred Vogt, recommended to former Music Minister, Jack Kastle, that Kent play at a Mile Hi memorial service. Shortly afterwards, Kent started playing part-time and, in 1990, he began full-time work at the church – trading in his blue and white pinstriped suit forever for black and white piano keys. And the rest, as they say, is history!

A job isn’t the only thing he gained through Mile Hi. Kent met his beloved wife, Kathleen, in 1984, during a church trip to Mexico that he organized. He was immediately taken with her kindness, depth of perspective, and her ability to fully embody the teachings.

Kathleen, too, worked in the banking and mortgage industries and was employed as a paralegal for a time. Through the years, they have worked together as Religious Science practitioners and as founders of a travel company based on their mutual wanderlust, sharing their love for the world with our church community.

An ear for music, coupled with her keen eye for photography, led Kathleen to recently develop her first CD of spiritual thoughts, Lens of Love, accompanied by Kent’s original music. Although she has studied numerous great spiritual teachers over the years, she gathered gifts from both Dr. Roger Teel and Dr. Joe Dispenza’s meditation practices to vision the creation of her CD concept.

Formerly an employee of the church bookstore, Kathleen is now one of the associates at the Prayer and Care Center and serves as a Practitioner Representative with her fellow practitioners. Her recent volunteerism in feeding the homeless in downtown Denver also birthed a new desire to work with the homeless in some capacity.

Kent and Kathleen’s daughter, Melody, grew up with the Mile Hi teachings. She enjoyed many years working in the youth department and credits that period with growing her skills and confidence. She’s a writer and editor and just started her first full-time job working in France as a teacher’s assistant, teaching English to children ages 5-8.

It’s no surprise that some of their favorite Mile Hi memories are related to music. For Kent, seeing John Denver at the church was unforgettable, as were his first two Sundays of playing in “the big house” (the new sanctuary). Kathleen reminisced that when Kenny

Loggins played, it was “like being in a house concert in a living room at the Vogt Center.”

A particularly poignant memory for Kent occurred on Christmas Eve in 1984. He was only in his 20s and his mom was in hospice. Dr. Patty Luckenbach and a group of Mile Hi’ers went to her bedside to talk to her and sing Christmas carols. He was astounded that those with families of their own would take time out of their busy lives on Christmas Eve to comfort his mom. It was a turning point for him.

So what do you do to deepen your connection with Mile Hi Church and give back even more? You become a Nautilus member! Kathleen said she decided to join at Spirit’s nudging, akin to that emotional stirring she felt to become a practitioner. It was as if consciousness called them to expand in new ways to serve the church. Kent recalled all the people that supported and nurtured him over the years, through the goodness that is the essence of Mile Hi. The Rautenstrauses decided that they heartfully want to pay-it-forward for the future generations who will evolve and grow in these teachings.

If you’re considering becoming a Nautilus member, it’s easy to do. Kathleen’s advice? “Stop, drop and pray.” To be able to contribute to the legacy of this work is powerful. Our engagement with religious science principles helps eliminate some of the fears that many of us are experiencing these days. It’s a way to keep connected to that higher consciousness in so many ways as we walk through life.

In addition, Kent reflected on the “seventh generation principle,” a Native American belief that what you do affects the seven generations that follow. His message to those beautiful beings to come is, “The teachings here are transformative; dig in, make your home and see consciousness continue to evolve throughout the planet.” In his new Growth and Development role, Kent is helping to ensure the growth of Mile Hi and extends an offer to support anyone with questions.

It’s the idea of dreams fulfilled for upcoming generations that spurs Kent’s belief in serving Mile Hi through the Foundation. In fact, Kent performed at the White House in 1999 – a high moment in life, by any means. But what affected him as deeply was that he was serendipitously paired with a soloist from the Center for Spiritual Living in Redondo Beach, California.

In that moment, playing at the White House, both religious science members saw the larger meaning behind truly living your dreams – that these teachings fueled the belief that you can do or be anything. It was a beautiful demonstration of coming together.

Not surprisingly, Kent has a tendency to receive messages through song lyrics. One that related to becoming members of the Foundation’s Nautilus group was via a song from the musical, Pippin: “They say the whole is greater than the sum of the parts it’s made of…well, if that’s true of anything, it’s true of love.”

And there’s no greater love than what this community has for the teachings of Mile Hi Church.


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