Nederland Community Church welcomes new pastor
The Nederland Community Presbyterian Church (NCPC) celebrates 110 years of service and ministry to its members and the community this year. Along with this milestone, they also welcomed a new pastor into their midst, Reverend Zachary Hancock.
Each denomination and place of worship has different methods of calling a minister or priest for their congregations. The Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA), of which NCPC is a part, has very specific means that a congregation should follow to find or call a new pastor in their churches. The process may be long, but the pastor nominating committee endured as did the congregation.
Call it the hand of God, or a good time, or it was just meant to be, when Pastor Hancock heard that a church in the Netherlands needed a part-time pastor. Intrigued and interested, he puts his name on the list to be considered. Hancock had returned to his home state of Colorado with his family during the pandemic and was not currently serving any congregations. He thought it was time to put on the pastor’s stole again when the NCPC asked him to fill his position as a part-time pastor.
Pastor Hancock is a fourth generation Coloradan and the third generation born in Greeley. He graduated from Loveland High School in 1992. The University of Colorado – Boulder recruited him to run for them during his college years. He ran cross country and track for the CU Buffs and was a four-year-old letter winner in the 800 and 1,500 meters. Hancock has many memories of Sunday morning practices on Magnolia Road which he called Outer Magnolia, a reference to Outer Mongolia. It was a high, remote, dusty road to run on Sunday morning for these CU runners.
When he was not conducting, Hancock was graduating and earning degrees in history and education.
Hancock did not follow the traditional path to becoming a pastor. He had lost interest in the church he had to attend when he was growing up. After graduating from CU-Boulder, he began teaching English and IB history at Poudre High School in Fort Collins. There, he decided to move to Canada to study theology at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia. He did not go there with the intention of becoming a pastor. However, sometimes God calls us in a way we least expect and he earned a Master of Divinity and then was ordained to the PCUSA.
Not one to follow tradition, Pastor Hancock went to Bend, Oregon to serve at another type of church called the Common Table, which was a nonprofit pub. He later served as pastor at Central Presbyterian in
Denver. Pastor Hancock also served at the Lake Forest and Lake Bluff Community Church in the North Shore area of Chicago. Pastor Hancock is not afraid to test the waters of the non-traditional and the traditional when it comes to church life.
Pastor Hancock and his wife wanted to return to Colorado. They have family in the area. Pastor Hancock has family who have lived in Coal Creek Canyon since 1964. His memories of coming to the mountains as a child are still fresh in his mind. He well remembers one of his first camping trips with his father in 1982 to Brainard Lake. They climbed Mount Audubon. He can still smell the cool, clear mountain air. And as he puts it, see “Audubon’s meteoric rise at such a young age.” The mountains marked him a lot.
Later, in his early twenties, he thought, like many at that age, that he and a friend could walk the Indian Peaks waiting for the moon to rise and moonlight back down. A fun trip they thought. They have never seen the moon. They had no warm clothes or sleeping bags. They spent a cold, windy night waiting for dawn before they could descend. The harsh reality of the mountain was learned.
Hancock leads an active life with his wife Lydia Holzman and their two children Henry and Frances. They live in Lyon and Hancock bikes these days in the mountains around Gold Hill, on Sugarloaf, Magnolia and on the Switzerland Trail. He will race the Ned Gravel event on July 9 and the Leadville 100 MTB this year. He also enjoys fly fishing in local streams.
Asked about NCPC as a congregation and its plans, Pastor Hancock says he is here to listen to what the congregation and community have done well and their priorities. He wants to be part of continuing to build on their strengths. He wants to know what is important to people. He hopes that NCPC will continue to be an asset and a blessing to this community, as it has been for so many years.
Pastor Hancock wants to help church and community members on their spiritual journey. He says, “We are here to help you on your spiritual path. He understands that spiritual journeys are different for different people sharing that one of his personal and spiritual highlights was a close encounter with the Dalai Lama at McLeod Ganj Monastery in India.
Pastor Hancock easily puts you at ease with his warm and caring personality. His sermons and conversations are thoughtful and thought-provoking. He is a humble man who wants to continue the ministry that the Community Presbyterian Church of the Netherlands has brought to the community for so many years. He hopes that the CNPC community can be a refuge for people and a place of joy and friendship.
Let us warmly welcome Pastor Hancock and his family to our community.
Nederland Community Presbyterian Church is located at 210 N. Jefferson Street, Nederland, Colorado. For more information, see their website http:// nederlandcpc.org/, call 303-258-3579 or check out their Facebook page https:// www.facebook.com/ Nederland cpc. Sunday services are at 10 a.m.