|NEWS AND EVENTS - Wednesday, July 8, 2009|
DENVER AREA'S SERBS REALIZE DREAM OF THEIR OWN CHURCH BUILDING
Renovation to Begin Soon
Denver, CO - Serbian Orthodox Christians in the Denver area are celebrating the purchase of their own church building—after years of meeting in the facilities of fellow Orthodox Christians. The former church building on a half acre of land in a tree-lined neighborhood in suburban Lakewood will serve as the new home of the St. John the Baptist Serbian Orthodox Mission Parish, which was established 10 years ago by the metro area’s burgeoning Serb community.
“This is truly a joyful and exciting moment in our young parish’s history, one that we will look back on with great pride and a sense of achievement,” said the Rev. Radovan Petrovic, the parish’s priest. “We finally have a home of our own and all that comes with it, including the chance to schedule our services and other activities in a way that works best for our members.”
Fr. Petrovic points out that Serbians have been immigrating to Colorado since the 19th century, when they toiled alongside many other nationalities in the state's early mining camps, on its railroads and at Pueblo's renowned steel mill. Yet, it was only recently that Colorado's Serbs—who long had joined in congregations with other Eastern Orthodox Christians like Greeks and Russians—founded a parish of their very own.
Church members say they now are looking forward to the next phase—renovating and retrofitting the newly acquired, 1940s-era structure to serve the growing parish’s needs. That, members say, will pose a new challenge in its own right because extensive renovation will be necessary, and further fund-raising will be critical because the parish spent much of its current reserves to buy the building.
Renovation goals include building a new bell tower and altar; installing a new concrete floor; replacing the asbestos ceiling; renovating a classroom, two restrooms and a kitchenette; and upgrading the electrical system.
“It’s a good thing our parish has been blessed with a number of members who are skilled craftsmen in the building trades, so at least we will be able to invest some of our own sweat equity,” said Fr. Petrovic, who is himself a handyman. “We also have turned once again to our fellow parish members to open their hearts and provide what additional financial support they can afford.”
At the same time, Fr. Petrovic said, the parish, consisting largely of recent immigrants, is appealing to the America Serb community throughout the country, including other Serbian Orthodox parishes, to offer assistance.
For now, the mission parish holds services on Sundays at the St. Herman Orthodox Church at 991 W. Prentice Ave. in Littleton. Renovation of the new facility will start soon.
“We have been so grateful to the members of St. Herman for opening their doors to us,” Fr. Petrovic said. “Their generosity and hospitality has been essential in helping to lay the ground work of our own parish.”
He added, “Once we have completed work on our new church, it will provide a wonderful home for our people for years—generations—to come.”
St. John the Baptist has been holding services every Sunday at St. Herman's at 11:15 a.m. For more information, including details on how to help, please contact Father Radovan at 303-730-2975 or firstname.lastname@example.org Learn more about St. John the Baptist parish at http://www.stjohndenver.org/
The parish was delighted to receive the iconostasis from the former colony in Sioux Falls, SD. The historic piece will be used in their new church.