Meet Our Pastor: Rev. Karen Winkel

Rev. Karen WinkelWhen people ask Karen how it is that she became a minister, she often replies with a wink “I lost the argument!” It took a long time for God to win Karen over on the ministry-thing but she’s quick to confess that she genuinely can’t imagine being happy doing anything else. Karen grew up in our denomination, the United Church of Christ, and her home church was a new church start like ours is. Karen’s been ordained almost twenty years now; before ministry, she was a counselor and advisor on a university campus in California. She received her seminary training at Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, CA, and earned an MA in Counseling at CSU Fresno.

Karen loves people, books, road trips, and served over 500 guests as an Airbnb host. She’s grateful for her upbringing in the UCC and is equally appreciative of the lessons she learned while she was away from the church. Experiences in Native American communities and a long season of Buddhist meditation both serve to inform her understanding of the life to which Jesus calls us. Karen is also grateful for a number of extended retreats at Benedictine (Catholic) monasteries where sacred silence became a trusted friend. Karen considers herself both a contemplative and an activist, and looks to Fr. Richard Rohr from the Center for Action and Contemplation in New Mexico for wisdom around balancing these two aspects of the spiritual life.

Two things you might never guess about Karen: she doesn’t have a middle name and she was born while her parents were working on the Navajo Nation in northern Arizona. One thing you’ll figure out quickly: Karen loves life in western Colorado and is thrilled to lead our congregation as we seek to be a progressive Christian community that is real, relevant, and relational.