Gypsum’s Alliance Moving hosting sale to help struggling First Lutheran Church | VailDaily.com

Gypsum’s Alliance Moving hosting sale to help struggling First Lutheran Church

EAGLE — To paraphrase the esteemed figure of fiction Albus Dumbledore, help will always be given in Eagle County to those who ask for it.

Last week, First Lutheran Church of Gypsum asked and Andy Clark, of Alliance Moving Systems, responded. Now all that's needed is a few hundred locals and visitors who need some high-end furniture for their homes to come out and shop on Saturday, Feb. 10.

This story begins 130 years ago, when a group of valley pioneers established the Lutheran congregation in Gypsum. In 1890, they constructed the little white church that still stands at the corner of Eagle and Second streets. Over the past 13 decades, the congregation has persevered, although for years at a time the church couldn't employ a pastor and weekly services could not be held.

That's where First Lutheran finds itself today.

“I have even offered them the couch out of my office. In the vernacular of my business, that’s like offering the shirt off my back.”Andy Clark Alliance Moving Systems

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The Rev. Dan Tisdel has been the pastor at First Lutheran since 2014. He came to the church as an intern and then accepted a call to continue serving the congregation. He has come to love the little white church and the people who worship there.

"I am very passionate about this church surviving, whether I am the pastor here or not," Tisdel said.

The congregation has seen strong growth during Tisdel's service. There are more people in the pews and more contributions in the offering plates. But the small congregation still struggles to make its budget.

Operating expenses have been subsidized by the church's reserves, and this year the congregation figured it would see a $56,000 shortfall. Tisdel noted that member giving cut that back to $40,000, but that's still a large amount of money to make up and the church's reserves won't last through 2018 if they continue to employ a full-time pastor. But how can the church grow the congregation without a full-time pastor? As Tisdel noted, it's a catch-22.

Last week, the church reached out to the Vail Daily to share its story. Clark read the tale and knew he could do something to help.

Alliance 'angel'

Through his business, Alliance Moving Systems, Clark has been helping the community for years. Sometimes, while they are working with him to pack up and move their belongings, Clark's clients donate home furnishings. He, in turn, takes those donations and gives them to people in the community. Clark has donated furnishings to a local women's shelter and the Red Cross, and he has given items to local fundraisers. His program is called Home to Home.

"That is exactly what the program is, to meet a need that is there," he said. "It is possible through the generosity of my clients."

Clark said there is quite a bit of high-end, donated furniture at his warehouse right now and he figured a sale could significantly assist the church.

"I have even offered them the couch out of my office. In the vernacular of my business, that's like offering the shirt off my back," Clark said, with a grin.

Along with the sale items, Clark has donated his warehouse location to help the congregation. For their part, church members will price the items and run the sale.

Clark said Tisdel was understandably taken aback when he reached out to make the furniture offer.

"His offer just blew me away," Tisdel said. "It feels like such a win/win for everyone involved."

He hopes that winning spirit continues on and brings out the right type of buyers to the sale.

Not a rummage sale

Tisdel stressed that the sale will feature previously-owned furnishings from high-end homes as well as staging items from local real estate companies. The prices will, of course, be lower than retail but they won't be garage-sale low.

For example, shoppers can get a great deal on a Precor exercise machine. But that machine retails at $8,000 so don't expect the price tag to read $100.

"We really want to get some value from these pieces," Tisdel said.

The sale will feature everything from couches and chairs to a pool table and decorative items.

Tisdel said the retail value of the items featured is upwards of $50,000. If the church can make more than $20,000 from the sale, then it will be enough to bridge its financial needs as members continue to work on ways to grow the congregation to sustainability.

Tisdel noted that the church has been working on its financials for years, but long-term viability is a difficult goal for a small congregation.

"This sale is literally the first opportunity we have seen that could offset the budget deficit enough to make a difference," Tisdel said.

To learn more about the sale, or about First Lutheran Church of Gypsum, contact Tisdel at 970-253-6353. There is also a GoFundMe page for the church at http://www.gofundme.com/FirstLutheranofGypsum.

If you go…

What: One day, high-end furniture sale to benefit First Lutheran Church of Gypsum.

When: Saturday, Feb. 10

Time: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Where: Alliance Moving Systems warehouse located at 375 Spring Buck Road.

Directions: The warehouse is located south of the Eagle County Regional Airport, between Airpark Drive and Spring Creek Road. Take either of those streets south off of Cooley Mesa Road to reach Spring Buck Road. From Airpark Drive, take a right hand turn on to Spring Buck Road. From Spring Creek Road take left on to Spring Buck Road. Alliance Moving Systems is located on the south side of Spring Buck Road.