Story by Washington Park United Methodist Church
The Washington Park United Methodist Church (WPUMC) community will mark the 100-year anniversary of its historic church building located at Arizona and Race Streets in Southwest Denver on Sunday, January 20, 2019. The Centennial Celebration will begin at 9:30 am with a sermon by Bishop Karen Oliveto of the UMC Mountain Sky Area, followed by church tours, historical exhibits, videos, commemorative ornament sale, and refreshments.
According to church history, the congregation has had 35 senior pastors since 1919. Reverend Sandi Dillon has ministered the congregation since 2015. “WPUMC has been integral in the lives of people in this neighborhood for more than a century. We are so pleased to continue the legacy of compassionate community connection into the next 100 years” says Reverend Dillon. Reverend Jamielee Demske joined as Associate Pastor and Youth Director in 2017. “Washington Park UMC is a community based on the values of Love, Justice, Mission, and Hope. We hope to continue our mission towards a more just society with the community we love for another century” adds Reverend Demske.
WPUMC was founded by the Lort family in 1893 in their home at 725 South High St., which has since been demolished. The congregation moved into the current church building 100 years ago in 1919. The church, with its prominent bell tower and courtyard, was designed by Marean and Norton, who also designed the Governor’s Mansion and the Greek Theater in Civic Center Park. The education wing was added in 1950, which currently houses the Washington Park UMC Preschool, offices for local businesses, and the Fellowship Hall
Reverend Dillon and Reverend Demske invite the public to attend the Centennial Celebration, including neighbors, preschool families, current and former members, and former clergy. The Centennial Celebration committee is seeking copies of photos from the public who were married or baptized at WPUMC, attended Sunday school, spent summers at Camp Rosalie, or participated in other events or activities. If you have photos or other memories you are willing to share, contact Reverend Dillon at firstname.lastname@example.org.
WPUMC is a vital institution that has served Denver’s Washington Park East neighborhood for over a century. The church preschool provides a play-based learning program for children in the neighborhood. The annual Fall Festival attracts hundreds of costumed neighbors with horse-drawn wagons and carnival games. In the summer, food trucks and concerts courtyard provide free entertainment. WPUMC opens its doors to local groups by offering places to gather for concerts, meetings, and drama performances. WPUMC’s mission projects include participating in Habitat for Humanity builds in Denver and travelling to serve disadvantaged communities in Guatemala, North Carolina, and Wyoming. Monthly mission efforts include collection drives to support local food banks and the distribution of sandwiches, socks, blankets, and backpacks to those who are experiencing homelessness in Civic Center Park.
WPUMC is a creative and energetic church. All are welcome regardless of race, gender identity, class, age, dress, or sexual orientation.
To learn more about the Centennial Celebration, contact the church office at (303) 777-3043 or visit http://www.washparkumc.org/centennial-celebration.html.