Pastor Jeff Wakeley

     Grace and peace to you.   I am looking forward to many fruitful years together building up the Body of Christ in Woodland Park.   

     I have a passion for people to know God’s grace and love. Too many people have a distorted understanding of who God is.  They think that because of who they are or what they have done that God could not possibly love them.  That is so far from the truth.  God loves everyone.   Everyone is part of God’s Kingdom.  That is why God’s grace, prevenient, justifying and sanctifying, is paramount.  It is in that grace and love that I hope we can build the church.

     I was born in Texas (My Dad was in the Air Force) and baptized in the Methodist Church and went to Sunday School where I learned the many stories of God’s love in the Bible.  My family later moved to Connecticut where my parents were raised and I attended a Congregational Church, UCC.   

     From an early age, I had a love of music and so when I graduated high school I went to Westminster Choir College where I was Vocal Major in Music Education.  I was privileged to sing with some of the greatest musicians in the world in New York City.  It was at Westminster that I met my wonderful wife, Colleen. She grew up in the Air Force.  When her father retired they moved to Colorado Springs, where Colleen attended First United Methodist Church.  The day I graduated from WCC was the day Colleen and I married.  We moved to the Springs and quickly involved ourselves in the life of the church.  That first summer in the Springs, I can remember driving the church bus each day up Ute Pass through Woodland Park to the Wesley Ranch outside of Divide.  

     My first job was as a Vocal Music Teacher K-12 out on the plains of Colorado.  Eventually, my interest turned from public school music to church music and I became a Music and Youth Director in Texas and Oklahoma.   After doing that for four years I felt God’s call to enter the ministry.  In 1987 I was appointed to my first church as a Licensed Student Local Pastor and attended Phillips Seminary.   After graduation, I served churches in Oklahoma and in Central Pennsylvania.  I am an Elder and Full-member of the Susquehanna Annual Conference. 

     In 2008 I retired from the ministry. Colleen and I moved back to Colorado to be close to our daughters, Shannon and Meghan.  Colleen was a Computer IT Architect for a Medical IT company and I became a full-time ski instructor at Breckinridge.  Ski instruction was something I started doing in Pennsylvania part-time.

     Even though I was an FT ski instructor, I was called upon from time to time to fill in for pastors.  In 2014 I was called upon to fill the pulpit at Merritt Memorial UMC in Denver.  I soon became their regular pastor and stayed there 2 years until the Conference closed it.   When I started there were 6 members in worship.  When it closed we had grown to 15 members. 

     It was not long after that God called me to resume my call and ministry and I was appointed part-time to First United Methodist Church in Great Falls, Montana.  As it happened, my youngest daughter lives in Great Falls too.  I have enjoyed an active and fruitful ministry here for four years.  First Great Falls is an urban church located in the heart of the third-largest city in Montana.  During the Pandemic, much of our ministry has been focused on helping the growing problems of the houseless in Great Falls.  By the way, First UMC has a Facebook Page.  Our worship service is on Facebook Live every Sunday morning starting at 9:30 pm. Oh besides preaching each Sunday I also play the guitar in the service. 

     Being in mission and service to those in need is a deep passion of mine.  I have led a number of Volunteers in Missions Trips including leading the first two teams out of Central Pennsylvania to help with the recovery efforts after Hurricane Katrina. This is something for which I am very proud.

     I hope this gives you an idea of who I am and what I am about.  I will close by sharing my encounter with a young man who was an atheist.  I was retired and attending a Bible study that was held in a local bar.  I was the oldest member of the group.  I introduced myself to a young man who had come with his
girlfriend who was a regular member of the Bible Study.  He made it a point to tell me that he didn’t believe in God.  I replied, “That’s OK, God believes in you!”

God believes in you and the church and God has a purpose and mission for everyone and every church.  I know that under Pastor Steve’s leadership you have started to discern that purpose and mission.  I hope that I can fill his shoes and help you continue to learn more about your purpose and mission and
together build the church that God wants you to be and serve the people that God wants you to serve.

   I look forward to being with you soon.  In the meantime “Keep the faith."

Yours in Christ

Pastor Jeff