By Brandan Robertson
Interim Communications Associate, Mountain Sky Area
In a new video from the Mountain Sky Area, Bishop Karen Oliveto reflects on her recent 8,000-plus mile tour through our conferences and shares her vision for our future together.
Dear brothers and sisters of The Mountain Sky Area,
Thank you for the way you have warmly welcomed me to this area since September 1. In worship, over meals, in brief meetings in the narthex or in the hallway of the education building, I am grateful for the Holy Ground we’ve stood on as we’ve gotten to know each other. Since arriving to the Mountain Sky Area, I have travelled throughout the districts, with the district superintendents as awesome tour guides. We have covered the farthest regions of our area, driving nearly 8000 miles and visiting with clergy and laity from more than 300 churches.
I’ve been in deep prayer as the tours have concluded. What have I learned? Where is God at work? How is God calling us to engage our communities in ways that infuse them with the love of Christ?
Here are some of my thoughts as I reflect on the tours:
- Our small, rural churches are an essential presence in their communities. We must do all we can to keep these churches vital and healthy;
- We are a diverse area, defined by differences in geography, theology, race, ethnicity, languages, classes. This diversity is a reflection of God’s infinite imagination. When we live into the fullness of our differences, respecting and learning from each other, our spirituality deepens and our discipleship grows;
- There is a longing to engage our neighborhoods more fully: how do we share the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ with our neighbors in ways that make them want to know more?
- Hunger is very real in most of our communities, and our churches are responding in a variety of ways: free meals, food pantries, and more. How do we not only feed the hungry, but challenge the systems that create haves and have-nots?
- Many of our churches are located in remote areas. How can we strengthen our connection through technology, so that geography doesn’t isolate us? With that, how can we be less “Denver-centric”?
- Many of our churches are small and struggling. What does stewardship look like in the 21st century? How can we grow generous givers who want to join their resources with others to infuse the world with God’s love as the Body of Christ?
I look forward to longer conversations with you (We are already planning next year’s gatherings!). God’s Holy Spirit is in our midst!
Holding you in my prayers as we live into Beloved Community together.