The Community Church Feeds My Soul
I was fascinated to read the History of Jackson County Colorado Volume on North Park Church History by Adah B. Bailey. I understand there is a copy in the library. The copyright is 1946, so, needless to say, it is early history! The Methodist Episcopal Church in Walden in this book tells us the Rev. I.F. McKay had been preaching at Rand at the Methodist Church when folks sought organization of a class in Walden. Mrs. Bailey reports he did organize a class on November 29, 1895. The book chronicles the pastors for many of the North Park churches, and includes individual stories of them and their families. I found it fascinating reading. Many of the early pastors came from places I have served and lived!
I have known many of the United Methodist Pastors that served Walden. I grew up in Western Kansas, moving on Nov. 22, 1963 (the day John F. Kennedy was assassinated) to Loveland, Colorado, where my mother still lives. I graduated from Loveland High School in class of 1968 and then CSU in 1973. Carl Schuler and I discovered we were both at CSU about the same time!
I went to seminary at Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, CA and graduated in 1977 with my M. Div. My final year of my M. Div. I served the Merino/Atwood charge out by Sterling and got the two courses I was short for my degree while serving there the first year.
I came to serve Walden after I had taken Honorable Location in Laramie in 1997. In 2011 I
was asked to help serve Walden part time also, when they couldn’t afford a full-time minister. I truly appreciate the reaching out and caring spirit of North Park Community Church. From supporting Emmanuel and Florence in their medical mission work in Africa, to a grandson and wife helping build schools in Liberia, to helping fill backpacks for food for kids and the food bank for families in Walden. reaching out. With many of our folk wintering elsewhere, and summering in North Park we truly do reach out.
I also appreciate all the music that the church is involved with. There is a special gift, which I thank the Lord for often, in singing and playing and reading music. I am so blessed to have shared the platform with Gladys Dodge, and her talent. And the many others who continue to share, Patty and Carl, Bucky, Bonnie, and others who my memory is not calling forth. The musical sharing last month was great, and sharing it with other churches and community folk helps bring us together to appreciate what God has given us. The art work within the buildings, the shared work of folk who now live in other communities, the presence of God with us in all our times together. Many of us appreciate the Facebook connection when the miles get in the way!
I like coming to Walden, where the travel, the people, and the Spirit of God feed my soul and invite me to share my journey of faith as I share the Word of God to any and all we encounter. God Bless all as you experience the broken and painful places we recall in the Good Friday narratives to the Spirit opening encounters at the Empty Tomb on Easter Morning.
~Gary Wilkins, North Park Community Church Pastor