Church fetes building’s 100th birthday

       Pikes Peak United Methodist Church, which traces its history to one of the Westside's earliest congregation of Christian worshippers, will celebrate its building's 100th birthday Feb. 12-13.
       A celebration dinner is scheduled Saturday, Feb. 12 at 5 p.m., and a special anniversary worship service will be Sunday, Feb. 13, at 10 a.m., followed by the removal of the century-old contents of the cornerstone at about noon. Both activities are open to the public, although reservations are necessary for the dinner. Pastor Rick Carpenter has a handful with longtime member 
Dixie Fields’ great -grandsons Kale (left) and Cash. 
Courtesy of Pikes Peak United Methodist Church
       The Victorian-style brick church is at 2927 W. Pikes Peak Ave., at the corner of 30th Street.
       “We've been on the corner for 100 years, and we're excited about our history, but we're also excited about our vision - come, love, grow and go,” pastor Rick Carpenter said. “We're inviting everyone to come to Pikes Peak United Methodist and share the love of Jesus Christ.”
       For the events, Carpenter can expect to be joined by some of his predecessors, including Rev. Emeritus Glenn McPherson, who served from 1958 to 1979 and still, at age 92, teaches the church's bible study classes and substitute preaches on occasion.
       Even longer church tenure can be claimed by Claire Ruby, who has been a church regular since about 1936 and taught Sunday School for 50 of those years. She said the church has always felt “warm and friendly” to her. She was especially fond of the church's sole female minister (Linda Patzke, 1997-2003). A prolific poet, she has written odes to all the pastors over the years as well as for the building's 75th and now 100th anniversaries.
       “Our 100th anniversary we celebrate/ Now tell me don't you think that's great?” her new poem begins.
       There is a low-key feel to the unpaid efforts that support the church's activities. “I'm the chairman of the board (of trustees),” quipped congregation member Joe Brown. “It means I get to mow the grass and shovel the snow.”
       His wife, La Vada Brown, heads up the membership committee. “This place has an unbelievable history,” she said, “with all the things that have gone on over the years and all the people that had a part.”
       When Brown's sister, Dixie Fields, goes to church on Sundays, she and her husband Earl see four generations of family. These include three sons, three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. One grandson, Jesse, was married in the church last October. “It's kind of neat really to have them all involved,” Fields said.
       According to church records, construction of the building - then called the First Congregational Church - began in spring 1904. The dedication was March 15, 1905, with the cornerstone laid Sept. 15, 1905. The original Colorado City streets were Lincoln Ave-nue and 10th Street; these changed to Pikes Peak Avenue and 30th Street when Colorado Springs an-nexed to Colo-rado City.
       The birth of the church dates back to 1879, when it was known as the Colorado City Congregational Church. Its best-known meeting place in those early years was the the original Colorado City city hall building, at the northwest corner of what is now 29th Street and Colorado Avenue.
       By the time Rev. Frank Hullinger came in 1903, the church had been incorporated as the First Congre-gational Church but was still small. In Hullinger's first year, the membership exploded from 8 to 89 members, spurring the congregation to decide it needed a building of its own.
       Key donations helped bring about the construction of the building at 30th and Colorado. Two lots were donated, and a $100 grant from Colorado Springs founder William Palmer augmented a Congrega-tional Church Building Society grant and loan to help cover the $7,000 cost.
       Free architectural services were provided by August J. (Gus) Smith, who had designed the original El Paso County Courthouse (now the Pioneers' Museum) in 1903.
       In 1917, after the annexation, the church was renamed the Pilgrim Con-gregational Church (a First Congregational Church in Colorado Springs already existed). Another change for the worshippers came in 1925, when the Colorado Conference of the Evangelical Church purchased the facility and renamed it the Trinity Evangelical Church.
       In 1946, the Evangelical and United Brethren in Christ churches merged, resulting in another name change. The present name was established in 1968, as a result of a merger with the United Methodist Church.
       In 1957, the church expanded on its east side, adding a pastor's study, Sunday school and assembly rooms. Other work included a redesigned ceiling, a change of the entrance door location from 30th Street to Pikes Peak Avenue, creation of a prayer chapel in the original foyer and a reworking of the coal bin into cupboard facilities and storage space.
       Over the years, stained glass windows have been added to the building, including several in the style of the Air Force Academy Chapel's one-inch chunks of faceted glass.
       Pikes Peak United Methodist care efforts include Westside Cares (a meals program for indigent people out of Bethany Baptist Church); Christmas presents to Westside children whose parents are incarcerated; hand-quilted lap robes for nursing home residents, baby quilts for Fort Carson families; help to people who are shut in their homes; the county's Teen Self Sufficiency Program, and a Native American mission in Kentucky.
       Among the items reportedly in the cornerstone are a copy of the church seal, a photograph of the pastor, copies of local newspapers of the time, a souvenir guide to the region, and a church manual.

Westside Pioneer article