Saint Barnabas graced with new priest |

Saint Barnabas graced with new priest

Post Independent/Kara K. Pearson

When Torey Lightcap graduated from seminary school in Austin, Texas, in the spring of 2004, he and his wife, Jacqueline Whitney-Lightcap, knew they wanted to move back to Colorado. Two years later, they finally found a home at Saint Barnabas Church in Glenwood Springs. “Early in the spring of ’04 we were expecting to move back to Colorado,” Lightcap said. “But with four graduates (from seminary school) and only one opening in Colorado it didn’t look too good.” So, after graduating from the Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest with a Master of Divinity degree, Lightcap took a position as the associate rector at Saint James the Apostle Episcopal Church and Day School in Conroe, Texas. Lightcap’s time at Saint James began when the priest took a sudden medical leave of absence.

“I was about two months in when the priest had a thrombotic embolism and had to take a six-month leave,” Lightcap said. “My first crack out of seminary, and I was at a church with a day school and a lot of foot traffic. I had a beard at the time, and it had no gray hair in it before her leave, but after that it did. It was a great experience, though, and it affirmed that I was where God wanted me to be.” Just about the time that Lightcap began his work at Saint James, the Rev. Nina Stasser of Saint Barnabas left the congregation for other endeavors. That started the process of bringing Lightcap to Glenwood Springs. “The process is a bit of a ritualistic thing,” Lightcap said. “The priest visits with the vestry of the church, which is a sort of board of directors. Then it was the church’s choice, my family’s choice and the choice of the 10th bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Colorado, who appointed me to the position.” And so began the Lightcaps’ journey to Colorado. Torey’s calling, however, came years earlier. “At the age of 15 I felt like God was calling me to be a pastor,” Lightcap said.

Growing up in Weatherford, Okla., Lightcap was raised as a Southern Baptist. He graduated high school and went to study journalism at Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee. “Three years into my education I discovered the Episcopal church,” Lightcap said. “The preacher was a woman, and she was wearing this hooded robe and I thought, ‘What are these people, monks or something?’ But this religion gave me the ability to question religion, and when I got that connection, I felt like I was home.” He received his bachelor’s degree in journalism in May 1994 and continued his education at Oklahoma State University, where he received his Master of Science in mass communication in December 1996. Then, he and his wife moved to Castle Rock, Colo., where he worked as a Web site designer. “So I guess you have to ask, what was the lag in becoming a priest?” Lightcap said. “Life is just preparing a person for the next thing to come. God is intimately involved in every aspect of life, and the reason is that I just needed to grow up.”

After he had “grown up,” he followed his faith and became a priest. “It never felt like it was forced,” said Lightcap. “The raw material of your work is your life. To be on a divine mission and to be here to help people understand that we are human and that we all struggle is a great challenge and a privilege.” Since he, his wife and 2-year-old son, Gabriel Jacob, came to Glenwood Springs in June, they have embraced the community that has offered them a place to call home. “I hope to help and inspire us to all be of service for one another,” Lightcap said. “I’ve been here for such a small amount of time and am still getting familiar with the community, and everyone is so healthy here. The congregation forces me to be out in the community and to be a part of the activities. That is a positive thing.” Besides his responsibilities with the church, Lightcap has had time to enjoy simple pleasures like reading and taking walks in the morning. Jacqueline works for the Glenwood Springs Community Center, which allows Torey to spend more time with his son. He enjoys his netflix subscription and is part of a group of preachers that discuss movies over the phone. And the time he doesn’t spend doing these things, he thinks about the church. “I can’t remember who said it, either Wild or Shaw,” he said. “‘I want to be thoroughly used up when I die.’ I couldn’t agree more.”

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