Darlene Avery, aka “RevDar,” was born in Germany as a military “brat.” She moved over 10 times in her first 18 years around the United States and in Germany twice. Her earliest spiritual development was as part of ecumenical chapel worship and education; her baptism certificate says "Protestant.” She was raised in a Christian family respectful of other cultures and faiths. She was also nurtured in her passion for music and arts, and started college as an oboe major at the University of Illinois. Due to family tragedy and her father’s death from Huntington’s Disease (which would also claim her only sister’s life years later) she moved to Chicago and worked her way through Liberal Arts undergraduate studies through her 20s. During that time, she leveraged her intercultural skills into working as an administrator in international programs at the University of Chicago. Repelled by much of the Christianity she experienced in the Deep South in her late teens, she explored other philosophical paths and programs in early adulthood in Chicago. Ironically, her growth in those programs revealed her own hard-heartedness and challenged her to give church another chance. She found an activist United Methodist congregation in Chicago that partnered with nearby UCC and Lutheran congregations on mission work. It was there that her curiosity was nurtured to commitment and a call to minister to people suffering in body, mind and spirit. She entered cooperative graduate Divinity and Social Work degree programs at the Iliff School of Theology and the University of Denver, which brought her to Colorado. As she learned more about denominational polities and persuasions, she realized that the UCC was her "tribe" and restarted her ministerial discernment process: it was like coming home.
 
During graduate school and her first two years in church ministry, Darlene made connections throughout the Rocky Mountain Conference. She served in short-term, interim positions in UCC churches in Boulder, Crested Butte and Salt Lake City before moving to Colorado Springs to pastor Vista Grande UCC. While in seminary and as a local church pastor, she became very involved in La Foret youth retreat and camp ministry. She Directed La Foret Voyager Camp for 3 years and picked up her nickname “RevDar” there. For a few years, she served on the Rocky Mountain Conference Church Development and Renewal Committee.
 
The Spirit kept calling RevDar to healthcare ministry and counseling, so she answered that call, using both her ministerial and Licensed Clinical Social Work skills. She served Pikes Peak Hospice for almost 9 years, then Brookdale Hospice and founded a private counseling practice supporting complex medical patients, older adults and caregivers. Throughout her years in chaplaincy and counseling she continued to serve in church work both in education and care roles in her local church and as a supply pastor.
 
In the last year Rev. Darlene has had the opportunity to increase her supply ministry and experienced both a personal spiritual renewal and a call back to local church ministry. In chaplaincy and counseling, God has used her to help people in the secular world find strength, hope and courage. Now, she feels God calling her to help restore strength, hope and courage in the Church, to minister to a world increasingly divided and alienated. Recently at the Rocky Mountain Conference Annual Celebration, RevDar celebrated her 20th anniversary of ordination in the United Church of Christ, in the same ceremony Church in the Wildwood was celebrated for 130 years in ministry!
 
Darlene has few living relatives, but her small family is very close. Her husband, the Rev. Derek Krehbiel, is also ordained in the UCC and an LCSW. He is a full-time chaplain/social worker with Brookdale Hospice serving El Paso county. Monte, their “fur baby,” is a 90 pound brown dog adopted through the Colorado Cell Dog program, where prison inmates become dog trainers and rehabilitate shelter dogs. Darlene’s mother, Mary Anne Calkins, is an integral member of their family, as is her little dog Zoey, a 3-legged, 11-lb terrier/Chihuahua mix, Monte’s best friend

Our Pastor
Rev. Darlene Avery

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(Pastoral Emergencies)