New leadership at Sisters church
Last updated 1/23/2024 at 9:38am
Following a lengthy search process, Reverend Liliana Stahlberg has been called to fill the position of Rector at the Episcopal Church of The Transfiguration in Sisters. She will begin her new ministry as pastor to the congregation on February 1.
Transfiguration is a somewhat unique configuration of two separate worship styles under one authority. The 8:30 a.m. service is comprised of mainline Protestants who plan and lead the service. The 10:15 a.m. worshippers are traditional Episcopalians with the service led by the clergy.
The search committee was made up equally of members from both services.
Stahlberg will be the first woman to serve as rector, the Episcopal designation for pastor. Moreover she will be the first Lutheran to lead the 150-member congregation, which became a full-fledged parish in 1993 following its founding in 1979 as Chapel of The Transfiguration.
Called to Common Mission (CCM) is an agreement between The Episcopal Church (ECUSA) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) in the United States, establishing full communion between them. It was ratified by the ELCA in 1999 and the ECUSA in 2000. Under the agreement, they recognize the validity of each other's baptisms and ordinations.
The agreement provided that the ELCA would accept the historical episcopate and the "threefold ministry" of bishop - priest (or pastor) - deacon with respect to ministers of communicant churches serving ELCA congregations; the installation of the ELCA presiding bishop was performed through the laying on of hands by Lutheran bishops in the historic episcopate.
Born and raised in the Eastern Orthodox Church of Romania, Rev. Liliana, as she likes to be called, "...has always had a deep desire to serve God, by following The Way of Jesus, the Christ. I was born wrapped in God's unconditional love" Rev. Stahlberg said, "and that shaped my life and continues to shape it to this moment."
Her commitment to The Way of Jesus was noticed by the World Council of Churches in Geneva, where she served from 1992 to 1998. It was in Geneva that she saw ordained women of many Christian denominations. This fact emboldened her to seek seminary education and ordination in a country that affirms women's gifts. America seemed like the best choice. Women cannot be ordained in Orthodox churches.
In 2000, she came to Denver, Colorado and received the Dean's Award at Iliff School of Theology. She also earned an Advanced Theological Studies degree at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley, California.
The ELCA and the Rocky Mountain Synod in Colorado, welcomed her with open arms.
Rev. Liliana served several Churches in the Denver area, acquiring experience and adapting to American culture.
In a phone interview, Rev. Liliana said, "I feel that this new call to The Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration is the deep work of the Holy Spirit that 'blows wherever She wants' shaping and moving our world in amazing ways." She added, "I am deeply moved by the excitement of the people at Transfiguration and I share in that hope-filled excitement."
In 2004, she became a youth director at Advent Lutheran Church in Arvada. In 2007, she was hired as pastor in training at Bethlehem Lutheran in Longmont. In 2009, she was ordained to the ministry of Word and Sacrament at Highlands Lutheran Church in Denver, all in Colorado.
There she became a re-development pastor and helped that congregation grow with many families, children, and people of all ages. After six years she was asked to interview at Lord of the Mountains Lutheran Church in Dillon, Colorado for another ministry of re-development. It is there that she started a Re-Formation process that led to the healing of the congregation and new life in Christ, she told The Nugget.
Stahlberg is legal guardian for her granddaughter Rebecca, who will remain in college in Colorado. She and her husband, Bruce, a technology specialist, will take up residence in temporary guest quarters mid-February and begin the process of finding a permanent home in town.