PASTOR. Pastor Judy, has served as pastor of churches in Scotland, Wyoming, California and Colorado for over twenty- five years. She graduated from Princeton Theological Seminary and received her Doctor of Ministry, from McCormick Theological Seminary, where she received the John Randall Hunt Award for outstanding thesis. Prior to that she was a music educator in Georgia and Kansas public schools, where her choirs earned highest honors. She has directed choirs and praise groups her entire life. She believes in the sovereignty of God, the saving grace of Jesus the Christ, and the power of the Holy Spirit to change lives. She is married to Jim Packard, a retired CPA, with whom she golfs, travels and sings with the Larimer Chorale. They are the good parents to Killer and Punk, two very bad cats.
PIANIST. Kathy is a Fort Collins native and loves all things Colorado. Growing up, she studied piano for 10 years and was fortunate to participate in "Multiple Piano" concerts for 6 years, under the direction of the CSU music department. Playing piano was a favorite hobby until she was asked to consider playing piano for LaPorte Church. It was something she never considered previously, but felt a burning desire to try. In her mind she committed to one year after accepting the challenge. That was August of 2006. She has since resumed piano studies at the Piano and Guitar Institute of Fort Collins and feels that playing music to worship God in all His Glory is what she was meant to do. Kathy retired from CSU after 30 years in Business and Financial Services. She likes watching football and movies, baking bread, reading, knitting and walking outdoors.
CHURCH GOVERNANCE. In the Presbyterian system of governance, pastors and elders are both ordained to ministry. Pastors are Teaching Elders and members may be ordained and called to active service as Ruling Elders. LaPorte Church is governed by a Session consisting of seven Ruling Elders and one Teaching Elder. Ruling Elders are elected to three year terms. The Session is responsible to provide for the preaching of the Word of God, the administration of the Sacraments and the nurture of the community of disciples. The pastor may pick the hymns, choose scripture for worship and moderate session. Our session has four committees: Worship and Christian Education, Community Life, Mission and Building and Grounds. Jim Packard is our Treasurer.
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). For over 200 years, Presbyterians have been responding to the call of Jesus Christ, taking the gospel into all the world and bearing witness to Christ’s saving love to the ends of the earth. Today the Holy Spirit is still on the move, calling us to share in what God is doing in the world. As your partner in Christ’s service, the Presbyterian Mission Agency is faithfully working to inspire, equip and connect the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in its many expressions to serve Christ in the world through new and existing communities of faith, hope, love and witness.
The history of LaPorte Presbyterian Church cannot be separated from the settlement of the Cache La Poudre Valley and the front range of the Rockies. LaPorte was named by French trappers who would meet at the gateway (LaPorte) to the Poudre Valley. Antoine Janis, one of the first settlers in the area wrote in 1844: "the streams were all very high and the valley black with buffalo...and I thought the Poudre valley was the loveliest spot on earth...." At one point, LaPorte was the county seat before it and the Collins Fort were moved further east.
Presbyterian missionaries were among the first to preach and establish churches in Denver and throughout the Rockies. In 1900, a Presbyterian missionary named W.H. Schureman established a Sabbath School in the schoolhouse in LaPorte. Three months later, on September 23, 1900, the Boulder Presbytery formally organized the First Presbyterian Church of LaPorte, Colorado. There were 38 charter members, 14 of whom came from the Covington and Falloon families.
The first building was across the street from the post office. Early years were challenging with flooding, two fires that destroyed church records and the 1918 flu pandemic which forced the closure of the church. Even so, the church provided a gym for the school and a place for the community to hold meetings.
Another fire in 1955, forced the congregation to move to the present location, across the road from the schools that had been built through CSU. Like many mainline churches, the congregation experienced rapid growth in the 1950s and 60s. Over the years the church served weekly communion and developed a variety of programs including dance ministry, clown ministry, contemporary music ministries, Bible studies and a LOGOS program for youth.
LaPorte Church continues to serve the Lord and the community by hosting various groups including AA, 4H, Boy Scouts and community meetings for county groups and homeowner’s associations.
Photo courtesy of Tom Dills, www.tomdills.com
The Overland Trail, Stage Coach Stop at LaPorte, CO.