In October 2017 Eckert Presbyterian Church welcomed Rev. Nancy Howarth as interim pastor, and her husband, Steve Howarth, also a pastor.
"We appreciate being able to share life and ministry with Eckert Presbyterian. It is a privilege to be able to work with this responsive congregation," Rev. Howarth said.
Incorporating a children's sermon into morning worship, Rev. Howarth said, "I think children, as children, are a vital part of the Body of Christ now -- who we are as the Family of God now -- not just down the road when they mature."
Nancy Howarth earned her undergraduate degree at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., and her master of divinity degree at McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago. She and Steve met in baptism and eucharist class in seminary. They were married at the beginning of their senior year.
Nancy and Steve graduated from seminary in 1982 and moved to Edwardsburg (Mich.) Presbyterian Church for Steve's first call to ministry. Nancy became director of Christian education at nearby Niles, Mich.
The Howarths' son Jim was born during this time. When expecting the birth of their daughter Kate, Nancy resigned her position to stay home with their children for five years.
In 1991 the Howarth family moved to Chicago and Steve and Nancy became co-pastors at Norwood Park Presbyterian Church. During this time Steve moved through training in pastoral psychotherapy and Nancy returned to school to earn teaching credentials for elementary education.
In 1995 Steve returned to full-time ministry as pastor of Western Presbyterian Church in Palmyra, N.Y.; Nancy served as director of Christian education. When a teaching position opened in a local elementary school, Nancy accepted the position and taught for the next five years.
Steve accepted a call to a church on the east end of Long Island, in Amagansett in 2005.
Considering tuition cost for two children in college, Nancy took a full-time job in the accounting department of Wolffer Estate Vineyards and Stables, working there for eight years.
In 2014 Nancy became interim pastor at East Hampton First Presbyterian Church until East Hampton called its new pastor. Nancy then accepted a call as part-time temporary supply pastor for Springs Community Presbyterian Church in East Hampton Town.
During the Howarth family's 12 years on Long Island, son Jim and daughter Kate finished college, worked for a while on Long Island and then moved to Telluride.
In the summer of 2017 Steve and Nancy felt the time was right for them to move west.
After 35 years as a pastor, Steve welcomed a break, so Nancy sought a full-time interim pastoral position.
Nancy said, "Steve, Kate and I visited Eckert in July. I loved the church building and the manse, and enjoyed the people we met."
She was particularly drawn by the beginning of the mission statement:
"The mission of the Eckert Presbyterian Church is threefold: to our congregation, to our community and to the wider world. Among these three there is no priority, our intention being to attend faithfully to each."
Rev. Howarth added, "I love the sense of space, the majesty of mountains and mesas, the real presence of the Grand Mesa. There is so much sky! It's a blessing to be here."