#Celebrating80Years: 2017 marked 80 years of working with Colorado’s nonprofits as they seek to strengthen their communities. Throughout 2018, we will be looking back on this history of the outstanding organizations and people the Trustees have had the opportunity to support. On the blog you will find a history of the Foundation’s grant making and a representative organization from every year since our founding in 1937.
Founded in 1923, Grace and St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church and its parish have been longstanding contributors to the Colorado Springs community. Closely engaged with the social, educational, and cultural life of Colorado Springs, priests and parishioners initiated the American Red Cross chapter, the Community Chest, the Tuberculosis Association, and the Visiting Nurses Association, and Ecumenical Social Ministries.
Grace and St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church
Grace and St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church was established in 1923 when the members of Grace Church, (founded in 1873 on land deeded by General Palmer) and the parishioners of St. Stephen’s Parish, (founded in 1893 on land given by railroad and mining engineer, James J. Hagerman) combined. The Gothic Revival church on the corner of Tejon St. and Monument St. was designed by E. Donald Robb, a member of the Boston architecture firm similarly involved with the building of the National Cathedral in Washington D.C. An earlier and prolific Colorado Springs architect, Thomas MacLaren, designed St. Stephen’s Parish, which became the new church’s parish hall. Rhyolite stone from Castle Rock quarries was used for the church, and its tower became a distinctive feature of the cityscape.
As the 1923 building was completed, parishioners gave gifts that were central to the liturgy of the Episcopal Church, artistically beautiful, and community minded. Among the gifts are the 48 stained glass windows, designed by 8 Brooklyn, NY and Boston, MA artists and 1 Colorado Springs stained glass window artist. Parishioners Mr. and Mrs. Charles Leaming Tutt, Jr. donated a window in memory of Charles Leaming and Josephine Thayer Tutt. Benefactress Alice Bemis Taylor gave an organ to the people of Colorado Springs and chose Grace and St. Stephen’s to house the Welte organ. She established the Taylor Memorial Trust, in honor of her husband. For over 75 years, the trust has funded free concerts, held in the nave of the church, for the public. The church has been a center for musical talent and initiative. The Colorado Springs Symphony, the Colorado Springs Chorale, the Colorado Opera Festival, the Colorado Vocal Arts Ensemble, and Jazz in the Garden were founded or fostered by Grace and St. Stephen’s.
Over the years, the parish has been closely engaged with the social, educational, and cultural life of Colorado Springs. Priests and parishioners initiated the American Red Cross chapter, the Community Chest, the Tuberculosis Association, and the Visiting Nurses Association. Rev. Arthur Taft, called “the friend of the working man,” worked to secure better wages and living and working conditions for miners.
At the end of World War II, Colorado Springs’s population had grown to 50,000, and the parish had 1,200 communicants. In order to meet the needs of new neighborhoods for Episcopal churches, Grace and St. Stephen’s established the Church of the Holy Spirit, St. Michael the Archangel, and Chapel of Our Saviour in the eastern, northern, and southern parts of the city. Youth and children’s choirs gathered at the church camp, Thunderbird Ranch in Woodland Park for summer camps and weekends. An education wing was built to accommodate the burgeoning Sunday School classes. St. Stephen’s Episcopal Day School, founded in 1991, met in the education wing for 15 years.
In 1982, a number of downtown Colorado Springs churches including Grace and St. Stephen’s joined to form the Ecumenical Social Ministries. ESM seeks to meet the needs annually of 73,000 homeless and low income individuals through proving a wide variety of services.
From 1945-1982, El Pomar support for Grace and St. Stephens primarily included capital support for buildings such as Thunderbird Ranch, Chapel of Our Saviour (once a mission church of Grace and St. Stephen’s), and the Education wing, each of which contributed not only to the life of the parish, but also to the community of Colorado Springs.
El Pomar in 1948:
In 1948, El Pomar made 58 grants to 29 different organizations for a total of $452,988. Among these was the Foundation’s first grant to the Western Slope: a $5,000 grant to the St. Mary’s Hospital Development Foundation in Grand Junction. The largest grant recipients from 1948 included: Colorado College, Glockner Hospital, Central City Opera House and the Fountain Valley School.
Images from: gssepiscopal.org
Spotlight by Parish Historian and Archivist Marianna McJimsey