Staff of The United Church of the San Juans
I was born and baptized in Freeport, Illinois and lived with my family in various Illinois locations (following my father’s career as a public school administrator) until we finally settled in a suburb of Chicago during my high school years. I graduated from Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin, where I deepened my love of words and language, theatre and music. I met my husband Ken on a theatre trip to Stratford, Ontario, in 1980 and married him in August of 1983. Within the week, we moved to Virginia so he could attend graduate school at the University of Virginia and stayed a few more years when he accepted his first associate professor position in the Theatre Department at Virginia Tech.
My work supporting him through grad school launched me into a human resources career which continued to blossom when we moved to the Twin Cities in the late 80s. My work in human resources led me to pursue a Master’s Degree in Education at the University of Minnesota in the 90s that focused on human resources development. Not long after that, congregational involvement and deepening faith led me to Luther Seminary in St. Paul and ordination as a pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in 2005. I served King of Kings Lutheran Church in Woodbury, Minnesota, as an associate pastor before assuming the role of senior pastor at Redeemer Lutheran Church in White Bear Lake, Minnesota, in 2008, where I served for ten years. In 2018, I was delighted to accept the call to serve as pastor of the United Church of the San Juans, where the congregation’s mission of inclusivity, compassion, faith and unity strike a chord with my values and passions – and where the people have already found a place in my heart.
Theatre, music, film and literature continue to be passions . . . you’ll often find Ken and me at the theatre, even when he’s not involved in the production! We also enjoy traveling to new places, biking and skiing and simply being outdoors. Exploring the San Juans and the greater southwest will be a marvelous adventure for us as we make Ridgway our home. We have one son, Hunter, who lives in Portland, Oregon, giving us the best excuse possible to travel to the northwest as often as we can.
While growing up and being confirmed in a Lutheran Church in Ault, Colorado, I occasionally assisted and preached for our pastor. Many people were convinced I would continue in ministry, but I chose to attend the Colorado School of Mines and become an engineer, geologist and land surveyor. I often wondered if I had neglected following where I was being led at an earlier time. Fr. Bruce Laird, at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Ouray, preached a sermon about a Deacon having one foot in the world and one foot in the church. This struck a chord with me and, once again, I heard and felt the calling to be more actively a part of the church. I was ordained in 2009. Combining this with Kairos Prison Ministry; conducting services monthly at Sunrise Creek in Montrose; serving at times at St. John’s, Ouray, St. Paul’s, Montrose, St. Luke’s, Delta, and even at UCSJ for the past several years, Ecumenical Ministry has continued to be part of our family’s life.
When I was in my late forties, I experienced a strong desire to connect in a deeper way with God. I found myself saying, “I want to really know God, not just know about God.” Our children were all grown and moving on to other things in their lives, and I began to look at possible ways to address my desire. My decision became clear when I spent an explorer’s weekend at United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio. Their motto was “Where the Spirit Moves,” and so it did for me! I enrolled in their Master of Divinity program and spent the next few years as a commuter student thoroughly enjoying every moment of study and learning I could absorb. In 1999 I graduated with a focus on Spiritual Formation and began my work as a Spiritual Director in Cincinnati, Ohio where I worked with those who desired to connect with God in deeper ways. Shortly thereafter Mick and I relocated to this area where I held various Spiritual Formation retreats in our home for interested persons. That endeavor was later overtaken by a focus on working to help establish UCSJ here in Ridgway and on becoming ordained as a deacon to the specialized ministry of Spiritual Formation in the United Methodist Church.
I was born and raised in Salem, Oregon in a Christian family and the Baptist Church. Following University, I became Presbyterian and felt the call of God to ministry, attending Fuller Seminary with a master’s degree in Theology and later a Doctorate in Counseling from Claremont School of Theology. I served l0 different churches over the course of 45 years mostly in the Southern California area. The last 12 years I was an Intentional Interim minister to six different churches helping them in a time of transition between permanent pastors. I met and married Brenda in l963. She had been an airline hostess and from a Jewish background but Presbyterian as well.
We had three boys, Derek, Damon, and Kirk each married today and successful in their vocations. Brenda and I retired in 2002 to Ridgway and opened an Antique Store in Ouray. Some Christians in the area indicated they were dissatisfied with the churches around, met and I volunteered to be their pastor for two years at UCSJ. Eight years later we had purchased property and built the current sanctuary we meet in each Sunday, all paid for in full. I felt blessed to be a part of this church’s beginnings and continue on now as a participating member. While the term Pastor Emeritus is an honorary title without compensation, I nonetheless stand ready to help out at UCSJ where needed and or asked.
The Lord has been good to us over the years and I cherish opportunities to serve Him so long as able and give Him praise.
Nicole moved to Ouray County in 2011 from New England. She graduated from The University of Vermont with a degree in Environmental Studies with a concentration in Sustainable Business. She has enjoyed working with the community in her role as administrative coordinator at the Ouray Ice Park. In her free time, you can find Nicole skiing, hiking, cooking, and organizing. She looks forward to meeting and connecting with the members of The United Church of the San Juans.
Office hours: Tuesday through Friday from 8:30 AM to 1:30 PM
Our family of four moved to Ridgway on April 25, 2020 in what we—Mike, my husband, Elliot (8) and Margot (5)—would soon learn was no gamble at all, but rather one of the most beautiful decisions we have ever made. This opportunity was just one of many doors that opened for us. If you’re from Denver, where I was raised, you’ll understand when I say that our journey has felt like driving down Colorado Blvd. with nothing but green lights.I am a music teacher, musician, composer, mindfulness instructor, yoga instructor, and people-supporter with more than 28 years of experience that I am thrilled to bring to UCSJ.
I was raised in the Catholic Church. Lots to say about that! But at the end of the day, my experiences as a Catholic have shaped who I am and what I am searching for. I believe that the creative, inclusive, and welcoming structure of UCSJ is the best possible next step in my spiritual journey.
My experience is very broad, but one theme remains clear: my work in this world is to help other people be their best. This is where I am the most in service of God and where I feel His love most deeply in my heart. Music is how I pray, and I am so incredibly honored with this opportunity to pray with you!
After scouting out the south-western US for a place to retire, Sue and her husband Burt discovered and fell in love with Ridgway. They bought a lot in Pleasant Valley in 1993, built a house and moved to Ridgway in 1995 from Southern California. Sue spent her career as a computer programmer for Lockheed (where she met Burt) and then as a partner in Instant Data Systems where she wrote customs accounting systems for small companies. Once in Colorado, Sue started her own business doing bookkeeping for general contractors before becoming the Treasurer for UCSJ.
In 2003 a group of Christians in our area met to discuss the possibility of starting a new church to serve the needs of people, love Christ, focus on more traditional worship, and respect and be open to others.
Worshipers from all Faiths are Welcome! Worship service is Sundays at 10 AM.
295 N. Lena Street (Corner of Lena & Charles Streets), Ridgway, Colorado 81432
PO Box 295, Ridgway, CO, 81432
Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays
8:30 AM – 1:30 PM