Vail Interfaith Chapel begins to reopen for church services

First congregations to return are local Presbyterians and Baptists; other congregations will wait a while

The Vail Interfaith Chapel is starting to reopen to religious services. The chapel's Presbyterian and Baptist congregations will hold services on Sunday, June 7.

The Vail Religious Foundation has opened the Vail Interfaith Chapel for worship services for in-person liturgical events, such as Sunday worship with less than 50 individuals in the building.

Two of the six Vail Religious Foundation member congregations will hold services there this weekend, including Covenant Presbyterian Church at 11 a.m. and Mountain Community Church (Baptist) at 7 p.m. Deep cleaning will take place in between services.

Located on Vail Road across the street from the Sonnenalp Hotel and adjacent to FirstBank, the Vail Interfaith Chapel has remained largely closed since March 16 due to Eagle County and state of Colorado gathering restrictions. 

Pastor Tim Wilbanks of Covenant Presbyterian Church, and the President of the Vail Religious Foundation Board of Directions, said that the chapel is open daily for prayer and solitude from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

“It is open for individuals who will adhere to the strict guidelines for social distancing and health protection as outlined on signs at the entrance and according to their congregation’s rules and regulations,” Wilbanks said. “Congregants should contact their church to find out more information.”

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The other four member congregations not yet using the chapel for worship services include B’Nai Vail, the Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration, St. Patrick’s Catholic Church of Minturn, and Mount of the Holy Cross Lutheran Church. Announcements will be made when these congregations are comfortable or able to hold in-person worship services.

“The Episcopal Church of Colorado dictates when our congregation is able to gather again, and lags about two weeks behind what state requirements are,” said Mother Emily Lukanich, Vicar for the Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration. “With a congregation of over 500 members, a significant portion of whom are at risk in age, we will cautiously approach in-person worship services as dictated by our Diocese.”

B’Nai Vail Rabbi Joel Newman said, “75% of our members have indicated they are not ready to attend in-person Shabbat services. B’Nai Vail will not be ready to utilize the Vail Interfaith Chapel’s space until this fall at the earliest, after the community has had a chance to absorb the re-opening and based on health restrictions at that time.”

Founded in 1963, the Vail Religious Foundation was formed to guide the new community of Vail in constructing a mountain chapel dedicated solely to worship and community service. A new concept at the time, the foundation worked together and broke ground on the Vail Interfaith Chapel in 1968. The chapel is a center for Vail’s community life, offering cultural events, meeting space for several key nonprofits, classes, presentations, caucuses, and emergency shelter. 

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