Fifty-two years ago the Heiens each moved to the San Louis Valley in southern Colorado, Carl to take his first full time pastorate after graduating from Phillips University Seminary and Sharon to finish her degree. They met through their churches.
The two churches encouraged the union between Carl and Sharon (Carey) Heien. One was First Christian Church in Alamosa, Colo. where Sharon was active and attending school at Adams State College (now university). The other was First Christian Church in Monte Vista, Colo., where Carl called to pastor. Though the church ladies secretly tried to set up several meetings, the two finally met on their own and began dating. One Saturday evening, three or four months later, Carl proposed in his office after the two worked on the next morning’s bulletin. Eight months later, July 13, 1963, they were married in Sharon’s home church in Clifton Colo.
While living in Monte Vista Sharon taught voice at Adam’s State, substituted in the public schools and taught privately. Their first son, Carl Jr., was born while they were there, and was a year and a half old when they were called to Burlington, Kan. It was while they were in Burlington a second son, Mark, made his welcomed entrance into the family.
First Christian Church in Haysville, Kan. called Carl as pastor, and Sharon taught junior high music, private music lessons and worked with and traveled with Children of Light, their youth singing group.
The next move took them to Fredonia, Kan. where they lived for thirteen years, Carl as pastor of First Christian Church and Sharon worked with music in the church, schools and community. This included a youth choir, Maranatha, that involved teens from several churches and traveled in concert.
The next part of their journey brought them to Centerville in 1987, Carl as pastor of Drake Avenue Christian Church, Sharon as Minister of Music. Seventeen years later Carl retired. That only lasted a year when he began serving as interim pastor at Fairview Church of the Brethren where he soon became the part time pastor. Now he serves as coordinator of the newly formed Pastoral Team. Sharon is also one of the pastors on that team.
Both Carl and Sharon have been, and are still involved in local community services and activities as well as area Christian organizations during their 25 years here. Sharon still teaches private piano and voice and co-directs the annual Nativity Pageant.
Both sons were ministers. Carl Jr. served as short-term missionary to several countries. Later he and wife Renee were missionaries to Tanzania until having to return to the U.S. because of health concerns. He died in January of 2007. Mark was youth minister for many years in California, Kansas and Washington state. He also pastored a church he planted in Washington. He was a real estate agent and broker and now lives in Seattle, working in sales for a title and escrow company. His daughter, Hannah, the Heien’s only grandchild, graduated from high school this spring and lives with her father in Seattle.
The Pastoral Team and friends of Fairview Church of the Brethren will be hosting a reception for the two on Saturday, July 20. It will be held in the Drake Avenue Christian Church Fellowship Hall from 1-3 p.m. The public is invited to come share in the celebration and enjoy refreshments and visiting.