A mission founded by a “legendary” Episcopal priest is profiled by local media in Utah, some seventy years after it began.
According to the lore of the St. Christopher’s Mission, Father Liebler chose his red-rock outpost after spending many summers on the road in an old Ford station wagon. Looking for just the right place, he roamed the West, Father Red said, “to check out the land and visit with people, visit different tribes, see where the need was greatest. And he found himself drawn to this place.”
Now Father Red is carrying on the work of Father Liebler. One of his duties is baking bread before each Sunday service, which is held in a much more modern church than the one Father Liebler started with. The bread is for people who come — or who can’t come — to church.
The mission also addresses gaps in the social services available to the people living around it; “people have forgotten how our system is supposed to deal equally,” says the the Rev. Richard Stevens, known as Father Red.
Navajo people drive from miles around to use the mission’s water pump, and a mobile food pantry goes out to them.
Father Red promises the mission will continue, with new programs to deal with tough social problems like domestic violence and alcoholism. The mission also provides agricultural land where Navajo families learn to grow crops and meet some of their nutritional needs.