Century-old Delta church gets face-lift
DELTA — Sometimes all it takes is moving around the furniture.
Father Tom Seibert had a St. Luke’s Episcopal Church parishioner rearrange the altar, pulpit, choir pews and communion rail in hopes of revitalizing the congregation and bringing in new people to the century-old church.
“St. Luke’s is in a period of renewal,” Seibert said. “We’re trying to renew a spirit of participation and open our doors to the community.”
The renovation recently was completed and the church is celebrating it with an open house at 5 p.m. Oct. 17 at the church, 145 Fifth St.
Seibert said they are personally inviting health care professionals to the open house.
“St. Luke was a physician,” Seibert said. “He really emphasized the healing power of Jesus Christ. I’m helping the congregation find their identity under our patron St. Luke by calling for prayer for those in need and especially for healing.”
Seibert was visiting with parishioner Ron Austin about the possibilities of renovating the 3,000-square-foot sanctuary a few months ago and asked how long it would take to complete the renovation.
“He said, ‘When do you want to do it?’
“The parish sent us to Colorado Springs to attend the Congregational Development Institute. It taught us how to present new ideas to the vestry.”
Austin, a retired sheriff’s deputy from San Diego, started working immediately.
He pulled up the carpet and found oak flooring. He moved the choir pews to underneath the stained-glass window.
The altar and communion rail were moved from underneath that same window out closer to the congregation pews.
“It was just not real conducive for baptisms, weddings,” Austin said. “Everything happened right here (in a small area in front of the pulpit).”
The communion rail was refurbished and a brochure rack was made out of leftover oak wood. The leftover material was recycled, Seibert said.
Austin installed a pivot on the pulpit so Seibert can face more of the congregation.
The speaker system was moved under the pulpit. It was on the back wall and not practical.
A flood light was installed outside the sanctuary and lights up the stained-glass window.
Finally, Lee Bowerman, who did several murals in Delta and Grand Junction, painted the wall around the stained-glass window light blue with white clouds.
“One of our parishioners gave us a history,” Seibert said. “When you come into the door, the aisle symbolizes our path to God. When I proposed this idea of a sky and clouds, we also have to look beyond to a destination. That’s how we came up with the idea of a heavenly makeover.”
It took Austin close to two months to completely finish the work and the church was still able to hold services every Sunday except one.
“The one time we went up to Mountain View Park and held the service there,” Seibert said.
St. Luke’s Church held its first service in 1893. The church was built in 1901.
The original church building ran east to west, but a fire damaged the building and it was rebuilt in 1953, facing south. All the windows were saved and reinstalled.
The church is involved in several community outreach programs, including the House of Promise, which helps young mothers find jobs. The church is in the process of participating with other churches in Delta in the Abraham Connection, a shelter for the homeless in Delta County. The church started a food pantry in case of emergency.
The Delta Correctional Facility’s men’s choir does a Christmas program at the church each year.