Joe Agne, pastor of the Cedaredge Community United Methodist Church, loves to play Santa Claus. He's featured on the Back Page this week.
Agne has served as the pastor of CCUMC since July 2016. He is also a member of the Cedaredge Rotary Club, is an advisory board member of the Grand Mesa Arts & Events Center, and is active in the Surface Creek area. "I love it here," he said of the area, though it does take work for him to be here. The church hired him for three-quarters time, and he retains his home in Gilpin County, 275 miles from Cedaredge. He's here three weeks out of the month, and home just one week a month.
More than geographical distance, Joe can sometimes find himself at odds with the community socially and politically. When he was seeking another church to serve, he asked his bishop to be placed in a conservative church and a conservative community. "Our country is so balkanized," Joe said. "We need to learn how to really listen, across differences. To listen to each other, not try to talk each other into anything, not try to change each other, but listen to each other's stories. I have this strong sense that everyone has a story but not everyone has someone who will listen to their story. I want church to be a place where everybody's story is accepted, approved of, received. I feel like in the church, when we're sent to a community, we're sent to be a pastor to the community, not just to the local church."