By Will Grandbois
Sopris Sun Staff
In the 40 years since its founding, The Church at Redstone has had just three pastors, and the fourth is planning on similar longevity.
Chris Moon is in the process of taking over from longtime pastor Bruce Gledhill, who is moving to Woodland Park with his wife, Connie, at the end of the month.
“I’ve loved being in Redstone and being with this church and getting to be who I’ve been for the last 17 years,” Gledhill said. “I couldn’t ask for anything better.”
Gledhill grew up in Kansas, and although his family was active in the church, he was more interested in chemistry than ministry until his senior year of high school.
“To my surprise I felt that God’s will for me was to be a pastor,” he recalled. “I feel like my experience has verified that.”
He attended a four year Christian college, added a bachelor’s in Elementary Education from Kansas State to the mix and came to Colorado in 1984 to do graduate work at the Denver Seminary. The next year, the family was asked to help a group that was starting a church in Eagle. There, they got involved with Eagle County Charter Academy, where they both worked for several years.
The call back to the church came from Jim Jarman, who was looking for someone to “cover a few Sundays in Redstone.”
“Here I am 17 years later,” Gledhill chuckled.
It was a surprising fit, as the family had actually thought about going overseas to escape the “denominational, competitive” aspect of most domestic churches. The Church at Redstone didn’t have any of that.
“It’s an independent church and it’s very focused on serving the community,” Gledhill observed. “It was really what I wanted to find and it was in my backyard.”
While he had enjoyed public education, it had been challenging not to be open about his faith, and the new role gave him an opportunity to teach in a different way. His reach extended well beyond the folks who came to Sunday services, and he has been deeply involved in many aspects of the unincorporated community. He’s particularly proud of the church’s proactive fund to help those in need — and there’s plenty of need.
More than a year ago, however, he realized it was time to move on.
“It was as clear to me as my initial sense of calling into the ministry,” he said. “I have a deep peace in my heart that this is the right time.”
With seven grandkids on the other side of the Divide and his connection to Redstone indelibly tied to his job, that suggested a move. The Gledhill’s plan to more or less retire, though what that looks like is up for grabs. It won’t involve a lot of golf — they’re more fans of racquetball and biking — and they fully expect to find a way to be involved in Woodland Park.
“We are waiting to see what God shows us to do,” Gledhill said.
Meanwhile, he’s glad to see the church in good hands with Moon, who was selected from among hundreds of applicants and has had an unprecedented chance for a slow transition.
“We knew from the beginning that we’d have to do it right, and I think we have,” Gledhill said.
“We think he’s as good a fit as I have been for Redstone and for the church.”
Moon’s story has some echoes of Gledhill’s: a Christian upbringing in Kansas with other passions before the becoming a pastor. For Moon, that meant a journalism degree and 10 years as a reporter and editor at periodicals like the Topeka Capital-Journal and the Wichita Business Journal. Then he felt “God’s nudge” and got a masters in theological studies before going into the ministry in 2011.
“I wasn’t sure what he was calling me to, but it was a clear and persistent push,” he explained.
“Studying God’s Word, teaching it and preaching it — I really found fulfillment in that.”
He acknowledges that the Bible doesn’t speak to every issue.
“We believe God gives the holy spirit to fill in the gaps — that every prompting that’s truly from the spirit is consistent with his word,” he said.
Moon spent the last three years in a little church in eastern Kentucky, but thinks Colorado is the right place to settle down for the long term.
“Everything really lined up in Redstone — what they were looking for and our needs,” he said.
His four kids, ages 14, 12, 10, and 9, are excited about the move, and the whole family is enjoying adjusting to Crystal Valley time.
He hopes to live up to the legacy Gledhill and his predecessors have left — and the spirit of the congregation.
“What was really impressive about the church was the number of people who seem to be really deep in their faith and care about each other and their community,” he said.