Pastor Kari prepares for a new season
February 1, 2008
DILLON ” For everything there is a season. For Kari Reiquam, stepping down as the Pastor at Lord of the Mountains Lutheran Church marks a new season of transition.
After 10 years behind the pulpit, Reiquam recognizes that it is time to move on and is both saddened and inspired that the congregation at Lord of the Mountains has opted for change.
“The congregation has decided to take a break from the past, which I respect,” said Reiquam. “They needed a new start.”
Reiquam moved to Summit County 11 winters ago along with her husband Bryan and two daughters Annelise and Siri. Having moved from Hawaii, Reiquam has fond memories of her daughters saving icicles in the freezer, reveling in the new winter wonderland they were now able to call home.
Two years into her ministry, Reiquam was diagnosed with breast cancer. The devastating news quickly spread through the congregation and people began coming forward to offer home cooked meals and support.
“I think the congregation realized the importance of community and really came together to support me,” Reiquam said.
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The next step was chemotherapy and, after loosing her hair, Reiquam began the long painful process toward recovery with her congregation by her side.
“It is hard as a leader to show your vulnerability,” said Reiquam. “The day I took off my wig was a hard and courageous moment, and I really had to trust people to keep going.”
In the end, Reiquam was able to push through her battle with cancer and continued to inspire her congregation through her unique integration of art and spirituality.
Reiquam worked with the congregation to develop themes that were then carried out as art installations within the church. The “Tree of Life” theme transformed the church into a giant tree top canopy, with green silk leaves cascading down from the ceiling.
“It was totally right brained and a very exciting breakout from the usual,” said Reiquam. “There are so many ways one can be touched by the spirit, and it’s not just through words. That was a big part of my ministry, and I think I was able to provide a wider context of art and community.”
Her right brained approach touched many who visited the church in Dillon, and Reiquam fondly remembers one incident when her spiritual message was able to cross the country.
During a Christmas Eve service several years ago, Reiquam was delivering a children’s sermon that incorporated an old Native American hymn. To engage the children in the congregation, Reiquam distributed little toy flutes so they could play along with the song.
The next day Reiquam and her family flew to Washington D.C. for a house exchange, and while going through the airport in Washington a woman approached her with a question.
“This woman came up to me and asked me if I was a Lutheran Minister, which I thought was very out-of-the-blue,” Reiquam said. “She then pulled out the little flute from her jacket pocket and told me she had been at my service the night before. Then she told me that she promised to go out and sing God’s song in the world. I’ll never forget that. It made me realize that the little gifts you give can really impact people.”
It is safe to say that the little gifts Reiquam gave throughout her 10 years at Lord of the Mountains will continue to impact those who sat in the pews to listen.
As Reiquam prepares for the next phase of her life, she takes comfort in the idea that new spiritual journeys are always waiting around the corner.
“There are seasons to life, and this transition marks a new season for the congregation as well as me,” said Reiquam. “I believe in transition times and I plan to go out and trust that something new will come.”