Sacred Stones Ministries consists of three United Methodist Deacons with different areas of expertise and a combined total of more than 65 years’ experience in ministry. Learn more about each of us below:

Denise Bender


Rev. Denise Bender graduated from Iliff School of Theology with a Master of Divinity and was ordained in 2005. She subsequently has completed three units of Clinical Pastoral Education at Centered Life. Ministry experiences include eight years at the First United Methodist Church of Golden, and seven years at Heritage United Methodist Church in Littleton, both as associate pastors.

Contracts currently held are with Bethany United Methodist Church, Cameron United Methodist Church and Church of the Beloved Ecumenical Catholic community. Primary responsibilities have been with faith development for all ages, mission and outreach, pastoral care and worship teams. She served for ten years on the Board of Ordained Ministry for the Rocky Mountain Conference of The United Methodist Church, with responsibility for shepherding candidates for ministry from Commissioning to Ordination.

Denise’s life partner is her husband Mike who is a civil engineer and works for the State of Colorado. They have four adult children and seven grandchildren. Spending time with the family and traveling are their favorite leisure time activities. They share their home in Denver with their rescue dogs and cat. Contact Denise

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Nani Arning


Rev. Nani Arning was ordained a Deacon in 2000 after serving as Diaconal Minister since 1984. She holds a Master of Arts in Christian Education, and has served professionally for 32 years in Kansas and Colorado. Rev. Arning is a Certified Director of Christian Education, a trained Stephen Minister, and a member of the Christian Educators Fellowship in the United Methodist Church.

Nani is passionate about nurturing and being in ministry with children, families, and adults, bringing our faith stories alive in real and tangible ways, whether through Christian education, worship, music, or caring/nurturing ministries. She has served in churches ranging from 200 to 2,000 members, in both urban and rural settings; has served as a praxis leader and mentor for seminary students; and served in outreach to a community that suffered a catastrophic natural disaster. In each ministry setting, Nani has also been a part of a building remodel, renovation, or addition; merger of two churches, and church expansion from one site to two. Her heart lies in resourcing with love and care for all she serves.

Nani enjoys reading, traveling, crafting and spending time with family and friends. She and her husband, Steve, are parents to two adult children, and live in Colorado Springs. Contact Nani

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