Mountain Community Mennonite Church (Palmer Lake, Colorado, USA)
|Mountain Community Mennonite Church
The Mountain Community Mennonite Church was established in Palmer Lake, Colorado, not only as an outgrowth of the Beth-El Mennonite Church of Colorado Springs but also to serve as a place of worship and fellowship for area Mennonites and to provide an avenue for outreach to the communities – Palmer Lake, Monument, and Black Forest —of the Tri-Lakes area some 20 miles north of Colorado Springs. Previously, Mennonite Voluntary Service personnel, teachers, social workers, and others came to the Tri-Lakes area to work at Frontier Boys Village, located five miles north of Palmer Lake. In 1977 a house fellowship for area Mennonites was formed and met regularly for worship, study, and fellowship for approximately 1.5 years.
In 1981, interest in a church in the Tri-Lakes area was rekindled as more Mennonites moved out of urban Colorado Springs and Denver to northern El Paso County and southern Douglas County. Thirty-two individuals began meeting to explore interest and commitment to beginning a new church in the Tri-Lakes area. Most of the people were currently attending Beth-el Mennonite Church. Others were not attending anywhere. Both Rocky Mountain Conference and Western District Conference leaders provided consultation and support.
In March 1982 the Beth-El congregation appointed Rick Shellenberger and Rick Pankratz to evaluate interest for starting a new Mennonite fellowship in the area. After three months of study they presented to the Beth-El membership a feasibility report that endorsed establishment of a new congregation. Twenty-eight adults in the Tri-Lakes area, most of whom had been or were still part of the Beth-El congregation, signed the report. Accordingly, Beth-El encouraged formation of a congregation in the Palmer Lake/Monument community.
On 3 October 1982 the first service of the Mountain Community Mennonite Church (which was dually affiliated with the Rocky Mountain Mennonite and Western District conferences) was held at the Romoca Lodge in Palmer Lake. Later that month, on 31 October, a service of celebration was held with some 140 persons in attendance. During the service, Tim Detweiler, former associate pastor at Beth-El Mennonite and then employed .25 time by the Rocky Mountain Mennonite Conference as youth pastor, was licensed as the first pastor of the Mountain Community congregation.
The new congregation met for worship at Palmer Lake Town Hall, soon moving into the gym at Palmer Lake Elementary School. When the school district decided to remodel the school, the church moved to the Chapel at Pine Crest where services were conducted until the congregation completed its own newly-constructed building in 1987. The meetinghouse, which was dedicated on 7 June 1987, is of informal design with a multi-use sanctuary.
Tim Detweiler served as the congregation’s first pastor on a .75 time basis for the first several years before becoming full-time. In 2006 the congregation became a charter member of the Mountain States Mennonite Conference. In 2007 the congregation’s average attendance was 70. Approximately one-half of the congregation was raised in the Mennonite tradition, and the other half in other faith traditions.
Gingerich, Mark, and Tim Detweiler. "New Fellowship Begun in the Rockies." Gospel Herald (28 December 1982): 898-899.
Unrau, Harlan D. In Pursuit of Land, Health and Mission: A History of Mennonites in the Mountain States Region. Printed in Canada by Blitzprint Inc. 2007.
Address: 643 Highway 105, PO Box 502, Palmer Lake, Colorado 80133
Website: Mountain Community Mennonite Church
Mountain Community Mennonite Church Ministers
||Years of Service
|Tim Detweiler||October 1982 - mid-1990|
|Douglas Smith (interim)
|Roger Richer||December 1992-31 May 1996|
|Don and Jan Rheinheimer||1 January 1997- March 2007|
©1996-2013 by the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. All rights reserved.
MLA style: Unrau, Harlan. "Mountain Community Mennonite Church (Palmer Lake, Colorado, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. August 2010. Web. 18 June 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/mountain_community_mennonite_church_palmer_lake_colorado_usa.
APA style: Unrau, Harlan. (August 2010). Mountain Community Mennonite Church (Palmer Lake, Colorado, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 18 June 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/mountain_community_mennonite_church_palmer_lake_colorado_usa.