The Reverend Vera E. Guebert-Steward, pastor of Evergreen Lutheran Church at 5980 Highway 73, is a person I’ve heard lots of good things about during my years of living in Evergreen. However, my first personal contact with her occurred just a couple of months ago when she conducted the funeral for my friend PK Worley, a beloved and well-known person in Evergreen who died suddenly. The dignity and sensitivity emanating from Pastor Vera, and her ability to provide a framework of emotional support and spiritual solidity during this event attended by hundreds of people really helped me understand why she is such a revered person in our community.
Pastor Vera has been head pastor at Evergreen Lutheran Church for 10 years, and under her tutelage the church has expanded its congregation and has extended its already broad contributions to Evergreen and the greater mountain community. She gives the credit for these successes to her staff, the members of her Congregational Council, and the numerous volunteers who have served on church committees. But it is also clear that her leadership skills and vision have helped pave the way for the continuing development of a vibrant community church.
Pastor Vera emphasizes that her church is very intentional about being inclusive. They reach out and welcome people who are culturally diverse, including ethnically, racially or from different sexual orientations. She is grateful for the welcoming ambiance that her congregation has created for new people visiting the church.
She is also equally happy about the many ways that her church is involved at the community level. Evergreen Lutheran Church has done some amazing things for our community! It’s a happening place and there often are community events taking place on the church grounds. The Grove Sale which occurs on a yearly basis has become a tradition up here. Over the 22 years since it started, the proceeds from this yearly rummage sale have netted almost a half million dollars and the church has shared these proceeds with many local nonprofit organizations such as Mt. Evans Hospice, EChO, Mountain Resource Center, and the Mountain Pregnancy Center; it has also given emergency donations to individuals in need.
The church has also donated funds to the Seniors’ Resource Center and Mountain Peace Shelter. And for this Thanksgiving they prepared and shipped 66 boxes of small gifts and necessities through Treats for Troops.
A second, newer event that occurs at Evergreen Lutheran Church is the Alternative Gift Fair. Evergreen Lutheran provides the physical location and gets lots of its members to volunteer and also partners with a number of other churches in the area to make this event a success each year.
Each year her alma mater – Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley, California – honors one parish pastor for distinguished service. In September of this year, Pastor Vera was presented with the Distinguished Alumni Award for Parish Ministry.
Pastor Vera has been married to her husband Mark Guebert-Steward for many years and is very appreciative of the unwavering support he has offered her in her role as pastor. It’s great to have them in our community.