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Anonymous donor saves Red Cliff church

Tamara Miller
NWS Church 6-12 CS Vail Daily/Coreen Sapp Built in 1881, the Presbyterian church in Red Cliff will be preserved thanks to an anonymous donor.
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An anonymous donor has answered the prayers of Red Cliff Presbyterian church-goers by providing the needed funds to save the 113-year-old church.Faced with the prospect of losing the local church – and town landmark – parishioner and town Mayor Ramon Montoya led an effort to gather enough funds to keep the building. What they got was a heavenly deal. A generous soul has agreed to purchase the church on behalf of Red Cliff’s small congregation. The congregation, in turn, has agreed to pay back 50-percent of the $150,000 purchase price. The real estate agent for the sale decided to forego her commission on the deal, as well, Montoya said. The chapel will be renamed the Red Cliff Community Church and will provide a worship center for a multitude of the small town’s religious denominations.

“I was so excited about it,” said Marika Cisneros, 10, who attends the church with her family. “It took my breath away. I thought we were going to lose it.”The Denver office for the church wanted to sell the Red Cliff and Minturn Presbyterian churches to free up enough funds to build a larger chapel in a more central location in the Eagle Valley, where more of the county’s population resides. Minturn’s church – in what is now the Holy Toledo store on Main Street – is gone. The blue-and-white Red Cliff church on Eagle Street was built in 1891. It’s status as one of the town’s oldest buildings made it even more important to the congregation.”That’s why we tried so hard,” Montoya said.

About six months ago, the Denver Presbytery – which owned the building – put a lock on the front door and asked the congregation to stop using it. Since then, Red Cliff’s Presbyterians have worshiped at the Gore Range Natural Science Center building, Cisneros said.The congregation is small – Cisernos said only about four or five people attend church on a regular basis. “We need more people to come,” she said.While Cisneros said she’s grateful that she’s had a place to worship in the meantime, the natural science school doesn’t have quite the same feel. The church also has an organ and piano she likes to play. The purchase is scheduled to close at the end of the month.



“We are very much looking forward to going back in there,” Montoya said. “We wanted it opened up to all the public. It is our desire to let everybody in and to provide services for the whole town.”Staff writer Tamara Miller can be reached via e-mail at: tmiller@vaildaily.com or by calling 949-0555 ext. 607.


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