Karen Gibson: Craig church has 'been a blessing to us'

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To the Church in Craig:

Dear friends,

Just as St. Paul wrote to the Church at Philippi, I write to you: Twenty years ago in summer 1994 when our children had graduated from Rifle High School, I moved to Craig. My husband, Phillip Gibson, Jr., already had lived here two-and-a-half years by himself, transferring here as an MSHA Coal Mine Inspector.

It was going to be great living together again on a full-time basis. We moved into a nice house on Cedar Circle. I still was attending nursing school at Mesa State College. At least I still would be home on the weekends and could attend church where Phil had started serving as the part-time pastor of Friendship United Methodist Church.

Phil paved the way for me to meet people.

The church also provided a great avenue for meeting people, working on committees and having a new purpose in life. They helped support me on my short mission trip to Mozambique, Africa, in 1996 after graduating from nursing school.

And, for the most part, whatever suggestions we imagined, with prayerful discernment, they were willing to support, to try, to go forth and do.

We had a very active youth group. The youth group went on really neat camping trips. Together, we went to Glenwood Springs and Steamboat Springs Youth weekend events and slept on church floors overnight.

They did the 30-hour famine weekends and inspired other churches to join in with them, to make it community-wide. There were other ecumenical worship activities that they also did together.

They made floats for the Christmas Parades and took youths to Estes Park for the United Methodist event called “Up with Youth.”

These were just some of the events that took place from 1995 to 2000 or a little later. Wow, what a busy time we must have had.

One challenging event our church did was start SHARE Craig. It was an ecumenical activity. We never dreamed that we would end up asking St. Michael’s Catholic Church if we could use their fellowship hall, but when we outgrew the other churches in just a matter of two months we had to go looking for a larger space.

Without the help of many other churches we would never have been able to see it develop into the amazing community-building event that it was.

I went into the ministry around late 1999, first serving in Oak Creek for 7 1/2 years, and then coming back to serve part-time at Friendship UMC with my husband, Phil. Coming back to Craig and really becoming involved with the community since 2007, I have discovered a whole new level of servant ministry.

I have had the opportunity to serve on the board for Love INC the past six years, and almost seven years with the Craig Chaplains Corps for the Craig Police Department and Moffat County Sheriff’s Office and the Ministerial Alliance.

I thank those of you who have read my articles these past seven years on the Religion page, you have been great cheerleaders. I have been molded and shaped by some really great mentors here in Craig. I learned about a different kind of ministry with the Rotary Club, along with the leadership training that they have provided.

In all these different arenas there always is some learning that takes place. I am really appreciative of all your patience, understanding and love. The church and this community have shaped and prepared us for our next assignment.

Jesus sent the workers out two by two in Luke 10: 1-2, and that is what I feel is happening to Phil and myself. We are commissioned by God to go to Conesville and New Moscow, Ohio, where we have been appointed and will have the opportunity to serve the United Methodist Church in each of these communities.

May God bless all of you, as you have been a blessing to us.

Karen Gibson, co-pastor of Friendship United Methodist Church.

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