2 Colo. congregations unite to build 1 church

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(AP) — For several years, two local church congregations in Silt have been without a permanent home.

And although they hail from different countries and cultures — one Spanish-speaking and one English-speaking — they are joining together to build a shared place of worship.

The Congregational Church of the Valley, in the United Church of Christ denomination, and Iglesia Puerta De Esperanza (Door of Hope Church), a non-denominational Christian church, have mingled their money, property and labor to build a new church downtown at First Street in Silt.

For several years now, both congregations have been using the community center in Silt for Sunday services. The Congregational Church of the Valley holds its service at 10:30 a.m. and the Iglesia Puerta De Esperanza conducts its service at 6 p.m.

Randy Jorgensen, pastor of the Congregational Church of the Valley, said he got together with Puerta De Esperanza Pastor Jose Rodriguez and the two felt it would benefit both their congregations if they joined forces.

“We had some joint meetings and began talking and decided it would potentially be a good fit,” said Jorgensen. “We had the property and the money and they had the labor.”

The Congregational Church of the Valley owns a parcel of land on First Street and had some money in reserves to eventually build a church.

The Iglesia Puerta De Esperanza congregation didn’t have money, but had members of their congregation that were building contractors and could provide labor.

So it seemed natural for both to come together in an effort to construct a building in which they both could worship.

“We are providing the manual labor,” said Cristina Ruiz, a member of the Iglesia Puerta De Esperanza congregation. “We’re doing the carpentry, framing and the manual labor.”

The new church has been built so far from donations of money and materials. A load of wood from an abandoned motel in Rifle was given to Habitat for Humanity, which in turn donated the material toward the construction of the new church.

Currently, the frame of the building has been completed and the roof is being installed and finished. The dream of both congregations is to open the church doors by Christmas.

“We’re going to rough in the electric and the plumbing, but we’re going to need help to finish everything,” said Meredith Robinson, head of the church council for CCV. “The problem right now is that eventually we’re going to run out of money. But we’ve had donations and good things are happening. We’re dreaming of having it finished by the end of the year, but it will all depend on financing.”

Everyone seems to be excited about their prospective new church.

The churches plan to continue with separate services — one in Spanish and one in English — but may also hold joint services on occasion, Jorgensen said.

“We’re very different congregations, but neither of us have had a place to call home,” Ruiz said. “As far as I know, everyone is excited about it. It’s pretty amazing. It’s a big blessing.”

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