Veteran pop singer Frankie Valens, age 70, famous in the 60s for hits like This Magic Moment and The Lion Sleeps Tonight, has taken up a new pastoral position at First Christian Church in Kansas. He told a Kansas newspaper that the position showed up suddenly while he was considering “singing his sermon” to the people who continue to come to hear him.
“I have never preached a sermon. I mean, we’ve been on the road and ministered in concert and I’ve told my testimony and stuff like that, but never in the pulpit, you know.” Valens has even been going by his original name, Frank Piper, in the Kansas community he lives in.
“I will probably always have a stigma to my name, probably always have a celebrity status attached to my name … we’re trying not to do too much ourselves at the church. We don’t want it to be a Frank and Phyllis Valens concert every Sunday, but (the congregation) keeps asking. They say, ‘We’re inviting friends, and they want to hear you.'”
Valens’ father, Bernie Piper, was a pastor at the same church in the 1970s. He told The Houston Chronicle, “Dad only stayed here two years, but people here loved them. He always wanted me and my brother to be preachers.”
Valens’ newest gospal album, Just Give Me Jesus, releases this week.