“I use little kids books in sermons. Kids books aren’t always just for little kids,” says Carla Gilbert, and that sums up everything unique about Carla Gilbert. She is a chaplain at the Saint Joseph Berea hospital where she uses her love of people, unflinching kindness and friendly humor to lessen the pains of sick and injured patience.
Attending University of Colorado Boulder as a medical researcher, Carla became interested in church involvement. She spent more than 10 years as a pastor and teacher at United Church of Christ in Idaho where she continued her progressive beliefs by preforming multiple gay-marriage ceremonies before moving to Utah for eight years. Carla fell in love with Berea when she and her husband, Kevin Burk, came to visit her son, Kent Gilbert, pastor of Union Church.
"We fell in love and bought a home on the vacation," Carla says.
Carla believes everyone is equal and the word of the Lord is all about being caring and respectful of each other, no matter what someone believes.
“Everybody is worth everything," she says. "They are all God's children."
Carla is a bell ringer and an active member at Union Church. A sign outside the church reads, “Welcomes all. No Kidding. No exceptions.” That is how Carla uses lives her life – open and accepting of all with a welcoming smile. She has her own presence and humor that is relaxed, fun and confident. She supported the proposed ordinance 18-14, ”. . . which revisions and addition prohibits decimation based on sexual ordination or gender Identification . . .”
She regularly goes to city hall meetings to make her presence known and keep the topic on the minds of city officials.
“I make a difference that’s important, but I’m not the only one who can," Carla says. "That keeps me humble.”
Mary Fischer, 75, of Carson City, Nevada, (left) reunites with her University of Colorado-Boulder roommate, Carla Gilbert, 76, of Berea. Mary and Carla have been friends since 1955. "I haven't seen her in at least five years," Gilbert said.
Carla Gilbert checks bible passages as she writes a sermon for the upcoming funeral of a friend's mother.
Carla Gilbert (left) says a prayer of healing and thankfulness for Dana Sparks, 54, of McKee. Gilbert is the chaplain at Saint Joseph Berea Hospital. "I make a difference and that's important," Gilbert says, "but I'm not the only one who can; that keeps me humble."
Carla Gilbert offers a bite of ice cream to her husband, Kevin Burke, at Union Church. They have been married for over 17 years.
Carla Gilbert right reaches for the hand of another bible study goer as they prepare for closing prayer at Union Church.
Carla Gilbert kisses her husband, Kelvin Burke, 60, before leaving the house. "We pray together at every meal and most every night," Gilbert said.