Vail Valley: Work to begin on Edwards chapel |

Vail Valley: Work to begin on Edwards chapel

Jessica Tenner
Special to the Vail Daily
Vail, CO Colorado
Special to the Vail Daily/KlippThe first phase of construction at the interfaith chapel in Edwards in Colorado's Vail Valley will create a multi-purpose room with kitchen facilities that can be configured and utilized for all types of social gatherings, including worship services

VAIL VALLEY, Colorado –It has taken 14 years, but soon the central Vail Valley will have a new community gathering place and third interfaith worship space.

At 11:45 a.m. on Wednesday, the public is invited to a ground-breaking ceremony on the site of this new facility located just over half a mile west of Edwards on the south side of U.S. Highway 6, west of the newly completed Fox Hollow development.

This project begins construction as the Vail Valley celebrates a unique 40-year tradition of interfaith cooperation. Through the sharing of space and resources, several faith organizations in Vail have for decades embraced the unusual and underdeveloped notion that different faiths can come together not merely in a spirit of tolerance, but rather in an atmosphere of mutual respect.

By acknowledging that they can and should be united by similarities, rather than polarized by differences, Vail’s interfaith community has created an environment of genuine appreciation, and friendship.

Originally born out of financial necessity, the small Baptist, Catholic, Episcopalian, Jewish, Lutheran and Presbyterian congregations of the then young mountain town of Vail banded together and on Vail Road, the Vail Interfaith Chapel was built along the banks of Gore Creek. A ministry center was added behind the chapel to accommodate the administrative needs of the various congregations and to create additional meeting space. As the 20-year anniversary of this unique relationship approached, a second chapel was built in Beaver Creek.

Fourteen years ago, a forward-thinking group of individuals took notice of the booming growth Eagle County was experiencing and the shifting demographics of the community as families began to migrate westward in large numbers.

So, a coalition of the B’nai Vail Jewish Congregation, Covenant Presbyterian Church, the Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration, and Mount of the Holy Cross Lutheran Church became the Eagle Valley Religious Foundation and embarked on a campaign for an interfaith facility that could focus on the needs of growing families in the mid and down-valley area. The first phase of the project begins construction next week.

While the economic downturn has certainly created hardships for many in the community, it has also helped reduce the construction costs of this phase of the project. Not only will the project provide employment for many local firms, but will also be completed with an estimated savings of $1.7 million.

The first phase of construction will create a multi-purpose room with kitchen facilities that can be configured and utilized for all types of social gatherings, including worship services. It will be able to accommodate 250 people for services and 150 for dinner.

Fundraising efforts continue and the goal of an additional $800,000 to $1 million needs to be raised to complete the initial phase of construction. As soon as more funds are raised beyond the $800,000, we will finish out the six classrooms and additional meeting spaces that are part of the current building plans.

Future phases at the west end of the property will feature both a 320-seat and a 120-seat chapel, able to accommodate simultaneous services, as well as six additional classrooms, a caretaker’s residence and office space.

All who are interested in learning more about the project are invited to join the festivities on Wednesday as we celebrate the accomplishments of this remarkable inter-faith coalition, and the future facility that will be a great asset to the community. Learn how you can become a participant in bringing this inter-faith vision to completion, and see your charitable dollars doubled by a generous matching grant.

For further information contact Steve Baird at 970-926-5002.

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