Old St. Stephen’s Church becomes nonprofit center | PostIndependent.com

Old St. Stephen’s Church becomes nonprofit center

Post Independent/Kara K. Pearson Deacon Vic Kimminau hammers out the nails from a board while helping to demolish the altar Tuesday at the old St. Stephen's Church on Grand Avenue.

The old St. Stephen’s Church is undergoing a radical facelift.Catholic Charities purchased the old church, which was built in 1941 at 1004 Grand Ave., for $650,000. It was vacated after a new Catholic church was built in 2003. Money for the purchase came from a $300,000 grant from the private Catholic Foundation. The remainder was financed through a mortgage.Tuesday, Tom Ziemann, the West Slope director of Catholic Charities, and a helper were tearing out wood framing around what used to be the altar. The airy interior of the former house of worship is now being framed in for offices for a handful of nonprofits, including LIFT-UP, Salvation Army, Feed My Sheep, Catholic Charities and a newly formed grassroots organization Congregations and School Empowered. (See related story below.)

“We’ll have five faith-based groups working out of here,” Ziemann said.The one-stop shopping will be good for the clients the groups serve because the church is close to bus stops and downtown Glenwood.”The impetus behind it was we thought it was important to be open to our clients. So many of them don’t have transportation,” he said.Catholic Charities opened offices in Glenwood Springs and Avon in January 2000. It provides emergency assistance, from rent to gas money, to the needy.Demolition work Tuesday was making way for a conference room to be shared by the nonprofits.

LIFT-UP will set up its county food bank there, Ziemann said.The Feed My Sheep program for the homeless, which is now run out of the Silver Spruce motel in Glenwood Springs, will set up in the former church basement that includes a full kitchen, bathrooms and shower.Ziemann has raised $35,000 in individual donations and received a $25,000 grant from the El Pomar Foundation for the remodel. He has relied heavily on discounted and volunteer labor and expertise. R&A Electric of Glenwood Springs is doing the electrical work and fire alarm installation “at a substantial discount,” Ziemann said. In addition, Arnie Fix has donated phone and Internet wiring and installation, and Bill Slattery, owner of Modern Cabinet shop, will construct a hand railing.Ziemann is looking for more help, either by donation or volunteer labor, for new countertops and flooring in the basement kitchen. He also needs a plumber willing to donate or discount his services.

Ziemann hopes to have the remodel completed in the next few months and doesn’t worry about finding the help or finances to complete the job.”I do my part, and God does the rest,” he said.Contact Donna Gray: 945-8515, ext. 510dgray@postindependent.com

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