13025 Hwy. 65
Eckert, CO 81418
Pastor(s): Keith Vandergrift Clerk: Tammy Blanchette
Sunday Worship is at 10:30am Sunday School: Adult 9:30am and Children 10:45am
ECKERT PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
In 1913 – with help from what was then the Presbytery of Gunnison and the Synod of Colorado – thirty-seven charter members founded Eckert Presbyterian Church. Eckert was then a new, rapidly growing agricultural community of farmers and tradespeople who wanted a spiritual focal point to be part of the community identity.
First services were held upstairs in the Odd Fellows Hall, but by 1915 the congregation agreed that they needed a permanent church home. With a grant of $1,000 from Synod, a bank loan of $1,785, and $1,650 in local donations – they hired a California architectural firm to draw the plans for a community house of worship. The building was to be constructed of native stone collected and delivered to the site by volunteer labor. “Build it durable and churchly or don’t build it at all,” the architect counseled. Those words served as a construction standard.
Volunteer labor from the congregation and surrounding towns was key as construction began. During the years of World War I and the flu epidemic of 1918-1919, the work slowed or was suspended entirely, but the first worship service in the newly completed basement of the church was held in June, 1919, with 110 people attending. Financial records from that time indicate expenditures of $4,500 for materials and $4,000 for labor – expenses which were not entirely paid off until well into the 1930s.
From the beginning – the church has been a community building. In the early days – high school dramatic productions were staged on a raised platform in one end of the basement, and the Eckert High School basketball team used the basement for their games during basketball season. Even today – folks from the Surface Creek area use the church for weddings and funerals and reunions simply because it’s “our church.”
Today, the congregation of Eckert Presbyterian Church sees itself as having a three-fold mission: to serve the congregation, to serve the community, and to serve the world. Emphasis within the congregation is on providing spiritual nurture, worship, and education, along with support for world missions. Within the Surface Creek community (Cedaredge, Eckert, Austin and Cory) the church provides space for local fellowship and social interaction, as well as support for area food, housing, and financial needs.
Theologically – the congregation tends toward a conservative, scripture-based way of life and worship. Adult Sunday School meets at 9:30 a.m.; Sunday worship is at 10:30 a.m. with fellowship time following. Music is a blend of contemporary and traditional with organ, piano, choir and bell choir. The aim of the church is what it has always been: to be a rock – a haven of security – and a center of life for all who enter.
PRIMARY RESOURCE: “Eckert Presbyterian Church – A Brief Look at Our Past” – by Norman Kehmeier
Located at the bottom of the Grand Mesa on Highway 65. From Delta, CO. take Hwy 92 toward Hotchkiss, turn left at Hwy 65 sign (approx. 4 miles) and follow the Hwy to Eckert. The Church is located at the intersection of Hwy 65 and North Rd.