High Altitude Christmas Worship on Skis

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Pastors in blue, dad in white, me in brown.

Rode the Copper MountainAmerican Eagle quad lift up the mountain today in time for mountain top worship. Just down from the lift puts you at the “nature center” (state park speak for “chapel”), an open air viewing structure built by Copper Mountain Community Church members a few years ago. Their goal is to continue providing worship for employees and guests of Copper on the mountain.

I’m not certain, but my impression was about half of those in attendance for worship are employees of Copper in some capacity. The rest of us just happened to be on the mountain at the right time and skied up to sing some hymns and pray.

Prior to building the chapel, the community church used to gather under some trees near a cross (still standing) just down from the lift.

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Worship at 11,000 feet in December is cold, bright, and beautiful. For our prayers, we prayed with eyes open looking out over the Gore Mountain range. I think the service lasted about 30 minutes. We sang simple praise songs from the songbook they distributed. In observance of the 12 days of Christmas, I requested Joy to the World. They sing Go Tell It On the Mountain basically every Sunday, for obvious reasons, but of course it was especially meaningful today on the first Sunday after Christmas. The sermon, very brief, was thoughtful. Considering The Good Samaritan and the Christ Hymn of Philippians, we were offered a glimpse of what it might mean to consider humility as our new year’s resolution for 2013.

The pastor who delivered the message, Dick Jacquin, took the photos above. They update their banner weekly with a photo of the worshiping community. An altogether friendly gathering appropriate to context. We wanted to pray. We also all wanted to ski. This allowed space in the midst of good Sabbath recreation for good Sabbath worship.

Very cool ministry. They especially work to reach the employees of Copper. They hand deliver homemade cookies to every worker at every lift Sunday mornings, and offer two services, one down hill at 8:30, one mountain top at 12:30. In addition to the cookies, they organize a monthly community meal (the day before paychecks are issued), which usually has 300-400 folks in attendance.

I think this is what you call indigenous missional ministry. Great stuff. Meeting the needs of the employees and residence of Copper in a way that builds community and goes to where they are. That it requires skiing all the great slopes of Copper to get to the lifts is, as the pastors say, a small sacrifice.

To learn more about the congregation, and see some great photos of their community, visit: http://coppermountaincommunitychurch.org/

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