Living Light of Peace (Arvada, Colorado, USA)
In 1961 the Arvada Mennonite Church was established in the northwestern Denver suburban area as a congregation in the General Conference Mennonite Church’s Western District Conference. The church was one of the congregations that developed as an outreach to the large influx of I-W men to the Denver metropolitan area during the 1950s and early 1960s. During the early I-W years many General Conference Mennonite I-W men who were assigned to the Denver area attended the local Church of the Brethren and First Mennonite Church of Denver (MC). The Arvada congregation’s establishment emerged from a feasibility study conducted by Peter Dyck and George Stoneback on behalf of the Western District’s Home Mission Committee on 8-10 October 1956.
On 5 June 1957, Donald G. Wismer accepted a call as the pastor of the Denver Mennonite Fellowship which would later be renamed the Arvada Mennonite Church. The Denver Mennonite Fellowship was officially organized on 29 September 1957, and began to meet in a Seventh-Day Adventist church. In 1959 the congregation selected a building site in Arvada, and the Western District Conference aided in the property’s purchase. The Arvada Mennonite Church dedicated its new building on 14 August 1960, and was officially organized under a new constitution on 1 January 1961. Only two of the 41 charter members were not Mennonites by birth or marriage. The congregation soon became self-supporting and reported 106 members by 1979. Outreach continued through a Voluntary Service program and a strong peace and justice witness through the years, with the most recent effort to help plant a Hmong Mennonite Church in 1997. Arvada Mennonite Church became a charter member of the Mountain States Mennonite Conference (Mennonite Church USA) in 2006.
The Arvada Mennonite Church has been extensively involved in peace, justice, and social action efforts. In 1968 the congregation promoted the Arvada Ecumenical Forum to facilitate community discussion of open housing, racism, and capital punishment issues. During the early 1970s members of the congregation were actively involved in protesting nuclear weapons production at the Rocky Flats Plant near Denver. During the mid-1970s the congregation helped to establish the Arvada Resource for Ministry and Service, an ecumenical coalition dedicated to meeting human physical and financial needs. The congregation was actively involved with establishment and development of Yarrow Gardens, a 50-unit low-come apartment complex completed in Arvada in 1976 by the Mennonite Housing Development Corporation.
Arvada Mennonite Church is dually-affiliated with the Church of the Brethren, and it met jointly with Spirit of Joy Fellowship Church of the Brethren. In 2010 the congregation had an average attendance of 35. Perry Ferris served as pastor at that time. In 2012 the congregation considered closing after the pastor left, but determined to change together with the Spirit of Joy Fellowship. In April 2013 they formally merged with Spirit of Joy under the name Living Light of Peace.
Haury, David A. Prairie People: A History of the Western District Conference. Newton, Kansas: Faith and Life Press, 1981.
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).
Yoder, Kelli. "New Name, New Hope for Survival at Colo. Church: Deciding not to Close, Merged Brethren, Mennonite Group Makes a Fresh Start." Mennonite World Review. (13 May 2013). Web. 15 May 2013. http://www.mennoworld.org/2013/5/13/new-name-new-hope-survival-colo-church/?page=1.
Address: 5927 Miller Street, Arvada, Colorado 80004
Website: Arvada Mennonite Church
Pastors of Arvada Mennonite Church
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MLA style: Unrau, Harlan. "Living Light of Peace (Arvada, Colorado, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. May 2013. Web. 19 June 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/arvada_mennonite_church_arvada_colorado_usa.
APA style: Unrau, Harlan. (May 2013). Living Light of Peace (Arvada, Colorado, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 19 June 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/arvada_mennonite_church_arvada_colorado_usa.