Kenn Nilsen of Shenandoah Second Wind is an ordained Lutheran minister, serving part time at a small congregation in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. He received his love of woodworking from his father, also a clergyman, at a very early age. The black and white photograph shows Kenn beginning his apprenticeship with his dad in Berlin, New Hampshire. Both men pursued similar career paths, and engaged the same means to get to them, practicing carpentry to work through school and then as a therapy to relax. The two dismantled an old carriage house on Long Island and rebuilt it into a summer home near Hudson, N.Y. in the 1960's.
Then was born the idea of recycling old, unwanted buildings into items of beauty and utility. Today Kenn continues to recover the wood from old structures and creates totally new pieces that carry on the history.
There is a decided spiritual side to Kenn's work. Not only is it good stewardship of God-given resources, it is also faith in ever re-creating God's habit of renewing, regenerating and resurrecting people. Don't ask for discounts for nail holes or other flaws in the pieces you see. They tell the story of a past life. They recall the scars in the hands of the carpenter of Nazareth, which after his "recycling" told the story of his life among us. They no longer hurt, and symbolized who he is, and what he came to do.