A pastor’s wife recalls her days at ‘Old Bethany’
“We're sitting where the pulpit was.”
Although half a century has passed since Alma Moser was a pastor's wife there, she had no trouble remembering the building now holding the Old Colorado City History Center in a presentation Sept. 9.
Moser was the wife of Clifton Moser, the last Bethany Baptist Church pastor before the congregation moved in 1954 to its then- new building at 1930 W. Colorado Ave.
The church at 1 S. 24th St. was originally built by Bethany (then First Baptist Church of Colorado City) in 1900. It went on to be used by other denominations until 1993, when the Old Colorado City Historical Society (OCCHS) bought it for a museum.
Now 91, Alma talked about her memories before an audience of about 50 people, prompted by questions from OCCHS volunteers Tom Hendrix and Joanne Karlson.
The Mosers moved here from Oklahoma in 1947, when Clifton became the Bethany Baptist minister, she said. Until 1954, the Mosers lived in what was then the parsonage at 2324 W. Pikes Peak Ave. With the new church, their parsonage/home became 1818 W. Kiowa St.
Because of issues related to heart problems Clifton began having, the Mosers moved from Colorado Springs to Iowa in 1968, but returned in 1983, after which Bethany gave Clifton the title of pastor emeritus. He died in 1998. Nowadays, Alma again lives here.
“We lovingly called it 'Old Bethany,' ” Alma said of the original church, pointing to the locations for the choir, the kitchen, the nursery and where sometimes-noisy high schoolers went for services (the balcony).
She was the mother of four daughters, and in 1947 one of them was 3 years old and the other a newborn. This prompted some concern in the congregation, she learned on her first Sunday. “After the service, everyone came by and introduced themselves,” she said. “One lady's greeting was: 'I don't know what you're going to be able to do with four little ones.' ”
Alma's actions answered that question over time. She helped her husband in many of his church-related activities and also volunteered as a “home room mother” at each of her children's schools. At one point, she rememberd, she was required to be at Buena Vista Elementary, West Junior and Palmer High. “That was about the straw that broke the camel's back,” she said with a rueful laugh.
She praised her husband's dedication as a pastor. Even on family outings, they invariably would pass by a home where he felt he needed to comfort someone who was ailing. Alma recalled one of her daughters expressing the wish that just for once “we could go to Prospect Lake without stopping.”
In an interview after her talk, she gave a more dramatic example of his dedication. The day he suffered his first heart attack, in the mid-1960s, he was marrying a couple in a big ceremony at the church. Alma said she noticed during the service he seemed to be slurring his words. Only after the reception did he finally go to his wife and inform her of what had happened, and she raced him to a hospital.
Alma and Clifton Moser were married 65 years. Asked the secret to a successful marriage, she replied, “Our wedding vows were real to us. There was real love there. We worked together and respected each other.” Her husband, she added, “never said a cross word to me. That didn't mean we agreed on everything. But we could talk things out.”
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