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For new Church of the Hills pastor Richard Aylor, Evergreen is the perfect place to be.
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The East Coast native felt the call to move west toward the Rocky Mountains and to find a congregation that wants to actively reach out to the community.
For Church of the Hills, Aylor is the perfect pastor for the congregation.
“We hoped for a new pastor who was warm, welcoming, kind to the existing congregation and attractive to newcomers,” said Christi Todd, an elder of the Presbyterian church who served on the pastor selection committee. “He already has exceeded our expectations.”
Aylor joined the church on Buffalo Park Road near Highway 73 in June after church officials considered a pool of about 30 candidates for the pastor position. He replaces Susan Boucher, who left Church of the Hills last year to return to the East Coast for her husband’s job.
“The things that attracted us was (Aylor’s) extreme warmth and ability to listen,” Todd said. “We felt there was a spiritual maturity there that was impressive. He made everybody feel very comfortable.”
Aylor said a goal is to provide better ways to reach out to the community. He hopes to try Theology Pub where people could gather over drinks to discuss faith or a hiking ministry to combine faith with one of his favorite pastimes, hiking.
He also hopes to create better access to worship services, especially since technologies developed during the pandemic have provided other avenues for connection.
He also believes in reaching out to youth in the community.
“We need to support them,” he said. “The church can be an answer — a way to help the youth of the community by being a support system.”
In addition to hiking, he likes to snow-shoe. Plus he has joined Evergreen Chorale.
He hopes to bring more creativity to worship, hoping to tap into other services.
Todd said the congregation wants to be welcoming — to meet people where they are and provide support and spiritual guidance. Aylor, she added, has a heart not only for the congregation but for outreach in the community.
Aylor explained the congregation wants Church of the Hills to be a beacon of hope.
“We want to share the love of God and light in the midst of everything that is going on in the world," he said.
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