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UCSJ Staff

Staff of The United Church of the San Juans

Pastor Melinda

Rev. Melinda A. Veatch


The Reverend Doctor Melinda A. Veatch began serving our church in February of 2023. She is an ordained Teaching Elder in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A) on June 30, 1996. She and her husband, Glen Ely, moved from Fort Worth, TX, to Grand Junction just a little over five years ago and live happily in the shadow of the Colorado National Monument.

Melinda earned her Bachelors and Master of Arts in Education degrees at Austin College in Sherman, TX. Before beginning her training for ministry, she worked as an editor in educational publishing. After receiving her Master of Divinity degree at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, she served as Associate Pastor at a congregation in the Dallas-Fort Worth area of Texas for 10 years, she served as the executive director of a county-wide faith-based non-profit based in Fort Worth.

In addition to working collaboratively with others, she loves hiking with friends, exploring new places, traveling, and being part of the community around her.

Bob Larson

Deacon Bob Larson

Minister of Missional Outreach

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.

Kathy Graff

Deacon Kathy Graff

Minister of Spiritual Formation

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.

Dick Engdahl

Rev. Dick Engdahl

Pastor Emeritus

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.

Shirley Didier

Administrative Assistant

Church Office Hours (970.626.5803)

Monday, Wednesday, and Friday

9 AM to 1 PM

I was born in Los Angeles but raised in Flagstaff, AZ where we attended the Federated Community Church, my family’s affiliation was Presbyterian. In College I spent a lot of time exploring the Catholic Church but kept drifting back to the Presbyterian church. Living in Illinois for 14 years, I served several years as a deacon in a local church – heading up youth programs. After moving to Oregon for another 31 years, I was finally able to move to Ridgway in 2018. My work life has revolved around youth in the juvenile justice system and with victims of crime. My leisure time was (and still is) spent with beloved dogs, quilting, gardening, and camping while raising two daughters. Now having a grandson, life is full.

Katy Kristoffersen

Katy Kristoffersen

Director of Music

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!

Sue Stern

Sue Stern


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.