Methodist Church hosts new building celebration July 25
July 19, 2017
The community room in the recently completed Spiritual Life Center at the Heart of Steamboat-United Methodist Church features custom stained-glass artwork and a contemplative prayer labyrinth.
After a decade of dreaming and planning, followed by 16 months of construction, the congregation of the United Methodist Church in downtown Steamboat Springs is hosting an open house celebration for the community to see the expanded church.
"We're thrilled to have the building completed. It's been a long process, and so many people have worked hard to make it happen," said Pastor Tim Selby, who has served at the church since 1993.
The come-and-go celebration for the community is set for 5 to 7 p.m. July 25 and will include light refreshments and live music in the church's new Spiritual Life Center at Eighth and Oak streets. The recently completed, 5,600-square-foot addition was built by HLCC Construction Co., of Steamboat Springs, led by company partner and longtime church member Travis Holmquist.
The church expansion features a spacious and modern kitchen, enlarged nursery, a bright adult Sunday School room to replace a windowless basement space, a colorful teen room, additional restrooms and a community room with custom stained-glass art work and a contemplative prayer labyrinth designed in the carpeted floor. The courtyard patio adds a memorial brick ring that includes the names of the 31 previous pastors in the church's long history.
The expansion also allowed for some renovations to the existing church, including improvements to the fellowship hall and repairs of a leaking roof above the now-enlarged music room.
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Along with the celebration, the congregational leadership is introducing an enhanced church name, Heart of Steamboat-United Methodist Church, to denote both location and mission.
"This church has been in the heart of Steamboat since 1895, and we dream of being in the heart of this community for another 122 years," Selby said.
Selby said the church building was overdue for an expansion to meet congregational needs and regular use by community groups. The church offers a venue for many musical rehearsals, performances and recitals, as well as for groups ranging from a Parkinson's exercise class to Girl Scouts to bridge players to quilters. The church is also home of the Har Mishpacha Jewish Congregation of Steamboat Springs, with services on Friday nights and Saturday mornings.
"We want to provide space for healthy, life-giving activities that benefit people from all walks of life," Selby said. "Our church strives to be an inclusive community where all people are welcome. Our dream is that the new building will help us to serve that goal and the people of Steamboat."
Construction started on the project in April 2016 with the demolition of the 1965 church parsonage on the south side of the lot. HLCC reported that 70 percent of the subcontractors and suppliers for the project are from within the Yampa Valley.
Initial funding for the Spiritual Life Center came from a gift from the estate of past church member Vernon Summer. Remaining funding for the approximately $3 million expansion came from church-goer contributions, sale of a previous parsonage in Steamboat II and a generous $200,000 matching challenge gift from a church couple.
According to the church's history books, the local Methodist congregation was founded in 1895, when circuit rider Rev. F.G. Boylan arrived to form a small group. The land where the church stands was purchased in 1896 for $350. The first church building was constructed at a cost of $4,000 in 1901 and 1902 by James H. Crawford, of the founding family of Steamboat Springs.