History of The Asylum Ministries
The history of the Asylum Ministries begins with Cornerstone Music Festival in 1998.
Joe Kopnick began The Asylum at Cornerstone Festival in 1998 as a place for those who were a part of the xnet goth webring to meet in person in the physical world for the first time. It did not take long for the Rose Kurkzab and Zoe Karraker to grow the Asylum into something so much more though – A Refuge for Misfits and Oddballs of many shapes and sizes… Over the years, the Asylum has taken many forms and even now CONTINUES to change shape and form daily.
Starting in 2007 The Asylum began a ministry relationship with Loyal Thurman and his ministry, Hope for the Rejected (Now Renamed to Unified Underground). Some of you may remember Loyal coming into the Asylum that year and participating in the Goth Makeovers we were doing to raise money for the ministry. Since the very first Unified Underground Conference in 2007, Asylum has participated in the conferences ranging ranging from prayer support, promotion, consulting, and even speaking at the conference itself. For a few years, our 501(c)3 status and faith covering was even through Hope for the Rejected (now renamed as Unified Underground).
In some regards, we are currently a year round, event-based ministry focused on the Goth and related Sub-Culture(s) with passion and vision for Reaching Lost Souls. In 2008 Benjamin Rau and Elizabeth Thompson were asked to take over leadership of the Asylum’s prayer team/ministry. While at this time we were little more than a prayer by EMAIL NEWSLETTER, over time we would add Facebook, Skype, Cell Phones, and whatever other technology we could adapt to our use to establish what has become an international, multi-media prayer network. At times this has meant periodic prayer groups and at others it has meant 24/7 prayer meetings all in support of The Asylum, her ministers, and her people.
Following Cornerstone 2009, the Asylum leadership team prayerfully named The New Generation of Leaders: Bill and KJ Fanum and Benjamin and Elizabeth Rau. One of the first things we did as a team was to answer the question for ourselves: “What would you do… if all expenses were paid, and money was no object… what would you do with the Asylum?” every one of the 4 of us had the exact same answer: “Pack it up and take The Asylum on the road… become a full-time, traveling, tent ministry.” This has become the dream at the center of all we do and all we strive for as a team, a ministry, and a family. This dream has turned into a driving passion for Biblically grounded and driven Revival and Deliverance… Just imagine: Old school revival tents intertwined with carnivals and gypsy caravans… Cities of tents as far as the eyes can see!
One of the Steps we took toward this end was to team up with Nailed to the Cross’ Christopher Middendorf and Quincy Faith in Action’ Patrick Mike Quigley, who would be the greatest allies The Asylum would have over the years of scrutiny and ministerial labor. What this partnership gave the Asylum is use of QFIA’s 501(c)3 status, accountability and advice from ministers much more experienced than we were, and a spiritual/faith covering that would anoint and watch over us when we were out in the field doing ministry. From this point on, Patrick Mike Quigley and Christopher Middendorf advisers, consultants, and friends to The Asylum’s Leaders… As these first actions were made, the proverbial ball began to roll and this is where the first strides of our prayer network’s growth began.
Our first years as the Leadership of the Asylum we completely dedicated ourselves and our ministry to prayer, worship, revival, and deliverance. We have hosted Holiday Celebrations Such as a Passover Seder at First Church of the Living Dead and Worship on All Hallows Eve at Wheatland Salem United Methodist Church. In Addition to Cornerstone Music Festival and the Unified Underground Ministry Conference, the Asylum has also been part of gatherings at Ikthus Music Festival, Anvil Music Festival, and First Church of the Living Dead… and many others…
By 2012, when the LAST Cornerstone Festival came around, we were not only a recognized and important part of the Festival; but we were the first party involved in what would eventually become known as AudioFeed Music Festival (It was our idea) which is looking toward its 7th year of Festivities this year (2019 now; where does the time go?!). You see, as Goths, we looked for the beauty in this death as we do in so many other deaths and sought to be part of the new life that the LORD was going to begin.
In faith, the Asylum as a team and as a family dedicated ourselves in the Spring of 2012 to make something happen in July 2013 over 4th of July Weekend, even if it meant we would be the only ones present in the middle of a corn field… The first person to give us support and encouragement for this idea was “Mamma” Linda Olson who agreed to let the “Goths” take over her farm house for the week. Mamma Linda’s farmhouse, built in the 1800s, was going to be transformed into a Goth Mansion: we were going to hang fabric, light candles, and drink an obscene amount of caffeinated beverages while enjoying fellowship, family, and good discussion over our 4th of July Family Reunion. By the time Cornerstone Festival 2012 actually happened Mamma Linda had it on her heart to commit to another year of her annual Pig Roast and one by one bands and individuals and stages came to us, wanting to be part of whatever was going to happen at Mama Linda’s farmhouse over 4th of July in 2013…
As a team, we have had it laid on our hearts to build our foundation and infrastructure up in Twin Cities, MN; SW Chicago Suburbs; and Kewanee, IL … Although, like our prayer network, our ministry network also spans the entire globe and is ever evolving and growing to adapt to where and how the LORD is leading us…