by Rev. Thandiwe Dale-Ferguson
On Saturday evening, Oct. 1, 120 friends and members of the historic congregation now named Cairn Christian Church, gathered in Lafayette, CO to dedicate a newly renovated sanctuary in their formerly Greek Orthodox building. It was the culmination of a long process beginning with a move to the location in 2010. Besides the removal of the traditional gold domes and enlarging the space, the congregation created a sweeping curved chancel with large glass doors and windows leading out onto an outdoor baptistery and memorial garden area complete with a water wall. They opened up the ceiling to include a sky light the full length of the sanctuary. A labyrinth was created in the center of the sanctuary by members of the congregation, using a stencil, and brown paint over blue stained concrete. A raised area for the choir was added to one end and an area for the band at the other end and a brand new AV system installed. Four communion tables and four pulpits were designed and built out of mahogany by one of the members and new communion ware created by another. The result is a spacious, earthy, bright, warm, modern room with a clear sense of connectedness to creation and spirituality and the opportunity for flexible and diverse worship. Full story and photos
The dedication service honored the longest serving members of the congregation, including Rachel Shepherd, member for 71 years, and the members who had the vision to move to the new building. It also honored the many new members who have joined the congregation since the move. A celebration of the many members who contributed time, talent and tithe to the completion of the project was part of the worship. It went on to involve half the congregation, at least one member of each family, in a laying on of hands around the entire space as a dedication prayer was led. The ceremony was attended by Central Rocky Mountain Region’s Interim Regional Minister Rev. Dean Phelps and Executive Director of the Colorado Council of Churches Adrian Miller. A festive reception followed.
The congregation was founded in Boulder in the late 1800’s and has worshipped in four buildings over the years. Their 2010 move was from the historic mid-20th century building near the campus of Colorado University in Boulder, to the former Greek Orthodox building in Lafayette. For five years the congregation settled into their new home in Lafayette under the leadership of Rev. Dr. Charisa Hunter-Crump, took on a new name, Cairn Christian Church (formerly First Christian Church, Boulder) and a new vision, mission and values statement. They also started exploring how to use the proceeds from the sale of their former building. In 2015, they hired a second full-time minister, Rev. Thandiwe Dale-Ferguson, to lead ministries to children, youth, young adults and families and to head up the peace and justice ministries of the congregation. They also established an endowment for scholarships at Phillips Seminary in Tulsa, OK. And finally, they decided to remodel the building. Construction on the sanctuary started in fall of 2015 and concluded in fall of 2016. Plans for a remodel of the rest of the building are being considered.