The Rev. Canon Lou Blanchard of the Episcopal Diocese of Colorado recently officiated at the institution of Rev. Dr. Leigh F. Waggoner as Rector of St. Barnabas of the Valley Episcopal Church in Cortez. The Rev. Andrew Cooley, missioner for the Southwest Region of the Colorado diocese, preached.
Rev. Waggoner was called to St. Barnabas in January, having served in the Diocese of Eau Claire in Wisconsin. She received her master of divinity degree from Seabury-Western Theological Seminary in Evanston, Ill., in 2003. For seven years she served St. Johns Episcopal Church in Sparta, Wis. Under her leadership, the congregation recognized that the needs of the areas Hispanics, both religious and temporal, were not being met. The congregation reached out to them, and a thriving Spanish-speaking congregation was developed.
Waggoner also oversaw the development of an Hispanic resource center, Lugar de Reunion, that has provided thousands of hours of education and assistance to help Latinos in the area integrate into the dominant society while maintaining their culture. Waggoners work with, and on behalf of, the local Hispanic population earned her the 2010 Seeds of Justice Award given by a coalition of faith communities in the Greater LaCrosse, Wis., area that works to build a more just and healthy society. In 2010 Waggoner earned her doctor of ministry degree, also from Seabury-Western, with a focus on congregational development.
During the celebration at St. Barnabas, symbols of the ministry Waggoner shares with the members of St. Barnabas were brought forward by parishioners. Jean Martin and Bruce Johnson presented a book of biblical readings. Elta Wilson brought forward an icon to represent prayer. Dotty Wayt presented a stole to represent the reconciling presence of Christ. Other symbols were presented by Susan Dees, Betsy Jones, Sally Tomkins, Nancy Colbert, Judy Osterhoudt, Lynn Soukop, Jerry Hart and children of the parish. A potluck meal followed the service that was attended by parishioners, visitors from St. Pauls Episcopal Church of Mancos, as well as a number of out-of-town guests.
St. Barnabas is a church whose mission it is to be a place where Christ is recognized and served in all people. They do that through being an open and welcoming community that values diversity in all their membership and through their many ministries that serve those in need in our community.
For more information about St. Barnabas, call 565-7865.