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Guest Editorial

Pastor Jeffrey D. Louden

It takes a community to raise a pastor. You have been gracious enough to shape me. Myles Rademan in the Park City leadership class of 2002 told us that the first task of a leader is to define reality and the last is to say thank you. After nine years of trying to define reality from the pulpit and my life through the congregation of Shepherd of the Mountains, it is now my pleasure to say thank you to this community and its wonderful people. I have decided to take some time after 25 years of service as a Lutheran pastor to just be still. This Sunday, Transfiguration Sunday in my tradition, when Jesus is made known on the mountain, shall be my last. I do not know what the future will hold, only that it will be good and full of surprises.

I asked Nan if I could say thank you in a public column and she graciously said yes. During my time here I sometimes snuck over to St. Mary’s and heard Father Bob mention "these holy mountains" in his sermons. These mountains are holy; they are special. They deserve our protection and care. To borrow a phrase from our LDS sisters and brothers, "this is the place." And what a great place and people you are. I have never lived in a community with more leaders, more interested and interesting people, more opportunities for the arts, recreation, culture and service. Park City is world-class because of its world-class people. So thank you.

The challenges we face are great: global climate change, cultural clashes, deciding whether or not to live in a climate of fear, redefining and deepening a sense of citizenship. But you are a community that has already begun to address these things. Thank you.

Thank you to our wonderful Mayor Dana and his mission to "increase the love." His passion for government that works is a great gift to the people of Utah. Thank you to all the great volunteers of this town, who make good things happen because they love this place and its people. Thank you to the Interfaith Council that works well together for the good of others. I have never experienced a better ecumenical group. Thank you to my colleagues, Bob Bussen, Jim Flynn, Bob Kaylor and Charles Robinson, all wonderful pastors, whose vision extends beyond their congregations. Thank you to the good people of Shepherd of the Mountains Lutheran, who put up with me for nine years and who will continue to be "in the mountains for good." Thank you to my daughter Emma and her mother Peggy Cain and so many more individuals and groups too numerous to mention. Finally, thank you to God, for the gift of every day, every situation, every moment, without exception.

This is the place. It has been a privilege. Thank you.


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