Serving God and New Castle for over a hundred years |

Serving God and New Castle for over a hundred years

Kay Vasilakis
Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Easter 2008 with current priest, the Rev. EJ Rivet

It’s a charming little church on Main Street in New Castle. St. John’s Episcopal Church will celebrate it’s centennial with music at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, April 4. The service, officiated by Bishop Robert O’Neill, head of the Episcopal Diocese of Colorado, will begin at 5 p.m. A potluck supper will be offered after the service in the Guild Hall. Guests are asked to RSVP to 984-3483 to assure seating.

St. John’s is what it has always been ” a little mission church cared for by generations of New Castle residents.

The congregation of St. John’s Episcopal Church held its first service in New Castle in 1895, probably in a private home. A missionary under the direction of Bishop Barker of Colorado officiated.

The congregation of St. John’s was organized under the direction of Mrs. C.G. Harris and Mrs. James Duece in the fall of 1907. Reverend DuBoise, rector of St. Barnabas in Glenwood Springs, served as minister.

The congregation was held together by the Reverend Urban, who conducted regular services in Hahn’s and Trimble’s Halls in New Castle. The first service in the church building at First and Main Streets was held Easter Sunday, April 11, 1909.

St. John’s Guild, a lady’s association which supported the church, was formed by hardworking women, strong in their faith. They fed the poor, and earned money by mending clothes and hosting church socials.

The ladies of the Guild bought their first Guild Hall in 1928, a building which stood between the old Post Office and the now-defunct New Castle Bank. The ladies never moved into their property, deciding instead to rent it out for cold, hard cash. They continued to meet in each other’s homes until after World War II.

The present Guild Hall, located on a lot just east of the church across First Street, has two tales of origin. One holds it was a barracks building at Camp Hale near Leadville, and was moved to the church property after World War II. The other version, backed up by church records, reveals the Guild Hall to be an old Civilian Conservation Corps building from La Junta. It was disassembled in 1948, brought over the mountains and put back together in its present location. An addition was built on the back of the building in 1958.

The Guild Hall has served as an affordable facility for New Castle events for many years. If you have lived in New Castle for any length of time, chances are you’ve been to the Guild Hall for a piece of pie during the Burning Mountain Festival, an organizational event, or a private party.

The last minister to serve St. John’s exclusively was in 1912. Since then, ministers have taken St. John’s under their wings in addition to their own church duties. Some have served once or twice. The Reverend W.O. Richards served thirty-two years.

Early in St. John’s history, only one service per month with clergy would be offered. Later, two services per month were held. Now the Reverend E. J. Rivet, Priest in Charge of All Saints Episcopal Church in Battlement Mesa, conducts three services per month. Sundays when clergy is not available, Morning Prayer is conducted by members of the congregation.

“It’s a nice little church,” said Alan Rayne, member of the “Bishop’s Wardens.” “Please come by if you would like. Our church and table are open to all. Services are 8:15 a.m. every Sunday, with coffee/rolls/conversation and the occasional Bible Study following at the Guild Hall. St. John’s Episcopal Church, First and Main, New Castle, right where it’s been for a hundred years.”

The New Castle Town Council proclaimed April 11th (the actual centennial date), as “St. John’s Episcopal Church Centennial Day.”

Information for this article was gathered from Alan Rayne, who researched church records and Edna Sample’s 1988 “History of St. John’s Church and Guild.”

Kay Vasilakis’ “New Castle News” column appears every other Thursday in the Glenwood Springs Post Independent. To contact Kay with a local news tip or inspiration, call 384-9118 or e-mail

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Glenwood Springs and Garfield County make the Post Independent’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User