Fundraising committee for Vail chapel takes shape
Campaign seeks to raise $10 million for improvements
Pastor Tim Wilbanks, President of the Vail Religious Foundation, on Monday announced the members of the volunteer advisory committee that will steer fundraising efforts related to the Vail Interfaith Chapel’s $10 million 50th Anniversary Capital Campaign.
“This volunteer committee supports restoring and maintaining our beloved Chapel, and values it as one of Vail’s cultural and historic centers,” Wilbanks said. “We are so grateful for their support, not only financially but with their time and energy over these next two years.”
Vail Pioneer Rod Slifer was one of the first to volunteer to help the chapel. Slifer brokered the land deal in the late 1960s when the original chapel building was built.
“My wife Beth and I have been passionate about the importance of the Chapel in our community for decades,” Slifer said. “Vail’s community heart is part of what separates Vail, as a place to live, from other ski resorts. The chapel is not only a center of faith, but a community center used by over 50,000 people per year for arts, education, personal growth, reflection and culture. It is one of the most important community-use buildings in our town.”
Vail Mayor Dave Chapin represents the town in this project and led the Vail Town Council in passing a proclamation which designates the Vail Interfaith Chapel as one of the town’s cultural and historical centers.
“The town of Vail is excited to actively participate in the process of ensuring safe and solid construction that aligns with our efforts to implement environmentally friendly, useful spaces,” Chapin said. “The chapel is such an important part of our history, and the town will support it to ensure it stays intact for years to come.”
Additional committee members include Wilbanks, along with Johannes Faessler, Dr. Stephen Laird, Elizabeth Meyer, Michelle Taylor, Celynn (“Missy”) Krueger McClarrinon, Vail Police Chief Dwight Henninger, Father Brooks Keith of member congregation the Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration, and Pastor Carl Walker, who headed up the 1996-99 fundraising for the chapel and is former pastor of Mount of the Holy Cross Lutheran Church, which also worships at the chapel.
“The Vail Interfaith Chapel is weaved into the fabric of Vail, and without it there would be hole in our sense of community,” Faessler said. “The Sonnenalp Resort has benefitted greatly from the weddings that have taken place there, and many of our guests regularly attend worship when they visit. The chapel is an inherent part of retaining Vail’s unique history, especially as a wonderful place to live. We, as a community, want to make sure we remember our roots, and have touchstones that ground us when looking at our quality of life.”
Michelle Taylor, daughter-in-law of Moose and Anne Taylor and wife of their son, Craig, sees the Vail chapel as one of the most iconic elements in Vail and one of the most important to renew and protect for the future. The Taylor family has been coming to the Chapel for 35 years, and the chapel has filled their lives with many memories. She would like the next generations to be able to have similar memories of Vail Chapel and for this reason, the renovation is important to her.
“These renovations are needed at the Chapel for safety, ensuring its future ability to serve the community with spiritual enrichment and the other numerous support services that take place within the Chapel premises,” Taylor said. “Public support of this project is needed as the chapel is the center of life and vitality in Vail. We all need to join together to achieve this goal.”
A community center
Six congregations of both Jewish and Christian faiths call the Chapel home for regular worship services that serve approximately 34,000 residents and guests of the Vail Valley annually. The ministry building houses office space for these congregations but is also a year-round community center as several non-religious entities use the site daily including support groups such as Alcoholic Anonymous, Bravo! Vail, Vail Symposium, and as an emergency shelter by the Vail Police Department for many that are stranded during I-70 closures.
Approximately $7 million in construction projects is needed to secure the structural integrity and longevity of both the 50-year-old Chapel and adjacent Ministry building. Projects include roof replacement, parking lot repaving and snowmelt, solar panels, Restore the Gore efforts on the Creekside spaces, a memorial area, window replacement, original electrical and HVAC system replacements, ADA access, elevator replacement, and other interior remodeling to update fixtures, improve storage space, and create higher use efficiencies.
For more information about the 50th Anniversary Capital Campaign, go to http://www.vailchapel.com or call 970-476-3347.