St. Mark's welcomes new pastor

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The new priest at St. Mark's Episcopal Church reads Dickens, likes to ride horses, and hunts.

And she's got one other interesting hobby.

"My congregation will probably kill me for saying this, but I'll tell you anyway," the Rev. Melinda Bobo said over coffee.

"I'm a belly dancer."

Although Craig's newest reverend doesn't have concrete plans to teach belly dancing anytime soon, as she did at her previous church in Minnesota, she still has plans for her new home.

Bobo arrived in town last week and delivered her first sermon as the church's new priest on Sunday, preaching from Jeremiah.

The job should prove interesting because her congregation is composed of two denominations -- Episcopal and Lutheran. Although the denominations emphasize different points of theology, the basis of the theology is essentially the same, Bobo said.

"The Lutherans and Episcopalians have formally agreed we're working for the same things," she said.

For now, she's getting to know her congregation and learning what activities are important to them, where she can fit into the picture and what gaps she can fill.

Bobo grew up in Dubois, Wyo., and considers herself a Western girl. Dubois has a population of about 850, but Craig still reminds her of her hometown.

She worked as assistant rector at St. Martin's By The Lake Episcopal Church in the suburbs of St. Paul, Minn., but the hunting and horseback riding enthusiast knew she needed to return to the West.

Bobo earned a bachelor's degree in political science and a master's degree in English literature from Purdue University.

She taught freshman and sophomore composition and literature classes at several small colleges for seven years before attending Seabury Western Theological Seminary in Evanston, Ill.

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