“We fell in love with Colorado,” said the Rev. Russell Fletcher, senior pastor at United Methodist Church of Evergreen.
After serving a church in Paonia for several years, Fletcher and his wife, Diane, have just moved to Evergreen to minister to the congregation. He preached his first sermon at the church this past Sunday.
Fletcher is a native of Mississippi, where he served for 40 years with Methodist congregations.
After visiting Colorado, Fletcher said he began exploring opportunities in the West.
“It was almost a mystical experience,” he said. “I believed I could go there and make a difference. … God and I had that conversation back and forth.”
Fletcher brings experience with expanding the membership of congregations for which he has served.
“Every church I’ve ever served has grown,” he said.
“Every church needs to grow,” Fletcher added. “This church has not yet met its potential.”
While he has been a pastor of much larger congregations, the one in Evergreen is almost three times larger than the church from which he transferred in Paonia, which had 150 members.
Fletcher said it will take time to learn the Evergreen church and its needs.
“I try to diagnose where the church is, and take it one step further,” he said.
As a Growth Plus consultant in the Methodist denomination, Fletcher has led more than 100 camp meetings and revivals. He has also led seven teams of volunteers on missions to Mexico, Appalachia and to a Ute reservation in the Four Corners area.
Fletcher also has been active in five Rotary clubs and is a Paul Harris Fellow in the organization.
“I love people, and to be around people,” he said.
Fletcher received his education for the ministry at the Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta.
Before embarking on a career in the church as a young man, Fletcher said, he had some hesitation.
“I fought it for three years,” he said. “I wanted to be a college teacher. But God wanted me to be a pastor.”
Fletcher has taught Bible studies at two community colleges in Mississippi in addition to his pastoral duties.
His wife, Diane, has an extensive background as a youth and child-care director in the church.
The Fletchers have a daughter, Dr. Priscilla Grissom, a grandson, Kyler, and a son-in-law, Kevin, who live in Superior.
Contact Sandy Barnes at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 303-350-1042.