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145-year-old Sedalia church gets needed TLC from its parishioners

Grant money wasn't available for renovations
Posted at 11:39 AM, Nov 18, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-18 20:01:03-05

SEDALIA, Colo. – Neighbors in a small Sedalia community proved they’re just as resilient as the historic church they worked to restore.

If you’ve driven along South Perry Park Road, you may have noticed a small yellow church sign just before the historic Bear Canon Cemetery. Further down, and at the center of the cemetery, is a small white church.

The 145-year-old Saint Philip in the Field Episcopal Church needed some major renovations after years of wear and tear.

Parishioners got the job done without grant money needed for a list of restorations.

“My great-grandfather helped build it and the family has come here through three generations,” Mildred Stewart said.

Stewart, 92, told Denver7 she and her siblings were all baptized at the church.

The small building was built in 1872 by pioneers and settlers of Douglas County. Parishioners noted one of the only major renovations came in 2001.

“Phase one was the 2001 renovation— where they took off all the siding and they had to fix the foundation. Actually, create a foundation, because the old foundation had fallen,” Cory Peters said. He is the church’s treasurer and leads its building committee.

These 2001 structural upgrades were made possible by a $180,000 grant from the State Historic Fund.

Even with that assistance, Peters said much more needed to be done.

“It was needed to the point that we couldn't have gone through many more years, because the wood would start to have dry rot,” he added.

This time around though, State Historic Funds didn't come through.

“We decided that we had to work on the church,” Peters said. “We re-oiled all the interior woodwork, which is historic from 1872. We took out the pews, repaired them, oiled them and put them back down. We took the altar and narrowed it. And on-top of that, we refinished the floors.”

Peters said the work cost the church nearly $40,000. He added, “This church only brings in donations at about $100,000 a year. So, that’s a large portion of our money.”

But this is a seemingly small price to pay to keep the history church rooted in Sedalia.

“It’s just nice and clean. It doesn't look like it’s neglected,” long-time parishioner Mildred Stewart said.

In all, more than 20 parishioners volunteered more than 800 hours of their time to get these repairs completed.

The work began in August and finished in early November.

The church plans to host an open-house so others could view the improvements. More information of when that will happen can be found on the church's website