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The Gilpin community welcomes Rev. Dr. Scott

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New Pastor at St. James United Methodist Church

By Jaclyn Schrock

St. James United Methodist Church in Central City has officially welcomed Reverend Dr. Scott J. Schiesswohl as their new pastor. He is happy to be back in the Evergreen area where his roots run deep and his great-great- grandparents homesteaded. He also has some dear family and friends nearby, including those who have left their legacy before he was able to move back. Still, much of his blood relatives remain in the Grand Junction area, where he was raised, and in Denver.

Dr. Scott knows that Jesus focused on the common people. These are the ones Jesus chose to be near him as disciples. St. James has been diligent in their 160 year history to seek to care for those in need, the common people; miners, teamsters, families, laborer, travelers, and those who have influence. He looks forward to perpetuating the sharing of community by caring for our neighbors, as Jesus modeled.

Although there have been many moves in his life, he feels at home in the mountains since his family long ago immigrated from the Alps of Austria and Southern Germany. The four boys first came to Chicago. One brother stayed in Chicago, one went on to San Diego, and the other two being mountain men came to Colorado about 1859-60. The area of fruit orchards they developed was very successful, into the 20’s northwest of Evergreen Lake. When the area became too crowded in the early 1900s, they sold their homestead now known as Troutdale and moved to Grand Junction and Fruita in Western Colorado. Dr. Scott’s great-grandfathers and grandfathers continued to be involved in fruit orchards and land business there.

Dr. Scott’s grandfathers were all connected with trade and service with the Native Americans of the Western Slope and Eastern Utah. One worked for the May Company as a trader with the Native tribes of the region. Another was a dentist, first in the Four Corners region, and then later in Grand Junction. He traveled in a Model A Ford, providing care for indigenous families and later serving the Hispanic migrants who came to the Grand Valley for the fruit harvests. Dr. Scott fondly remembers festivals and ceremonies they were able to participate in when he was a child. This profoundly influenced him to learn to find common ground with others, many of whom would want to build barriers of hostility or separation.

This care for the people and land continued while studying at the Iliff School of Theology. Colonel John Chivington, who lead the horrors of the Sand Creek Massacre in Southeastern Colorado was also a Methodist preacher. More than 160 years later the United Methodist Church engaged in an Act of Repentance, and Dr. Scott worked on this project to share the power of grace and understanding with those native descendants of the massacre. Seeking a resolve for the incident, which even forced Territorial Governor Evans to resign, and bringing to light what history had hidden, enhanced the learning of ways to seek the Lord’s grace and forgiveness.

Dr. Scott’s journey of life has brought many notable accomplishments, skills and certifications of qualifications. Beginning with an Associate Arts degree from Mesa College in Grand Junction, he went on to Drake University in Des Moines, IA and University of Colorado, Boulder where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Performance and Music Education. In Colorado Springs at the University of Colorado, he completed his Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology.

From 1979-1982 Dr. Scott served as a youth pastor in Grand Junction churches near his family. He then moved to Denver to complete a Master of Divinity from the Iliff School of Theology, while also serving as interim pastor at several churches and working as a community organizer with the low-income churches through the Denver Urban Ministries.

Between 1984-88 he was the Executive Director of the Wyoming Church Coalition. Following that, he served as the Executive Director of Indiana Council of Churches until 1991. These ecumenical state-wide bodies comprised over 25 faith traditions: Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Islamic, and other faith traditions.

In 1992 at Methodist Hospital of Indiana, Dr. Scott developed a comprehensive Clergy Family Wellness program for spiritual, psychological, physical, and financial assessment. He provided training and facilitating of the program until 1996, when he accepted the Sr. Pastor position at First United Methodist Church of New Castle, IN.

2000 saw Dr. Scott appointed as Sr. Pastor of Park City Community Church in Park City, Utah. At this time he also served as Interfaith Chaplain for the 2002 Winter Olympics and Paralympics.

Back in Colorado in 2003-09, he served as the Senior Pastor of the Evergreen United Methodist Church. Again working through the Iliff School of Theology, focusing on issues of Sept 11, 2001 and the role faith played for airline families as they returned to the skies, he completed his Doctorate of Philosophy on Pastoral Care and Counseling, in 2006.

Dr. Scott has served on many committees with the Rocky Mountain Conference, now called Mountain Sky Conference. He has worked with Native Americans studies and advocacy groups, missionaries, social justice issues and relief efforts, and led numerous study trips to Israel/Palestine and other parts of the world.

Starting his new ministry at St. James this July, he continues to serve on the Board of Trustees for the Mountain Sky Conference and as a trustee for the Frasier Manor in Boulder.

Gilpin County and St. James Methodist welcomes Dr. Scott to the community.

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