St Christopher’s Episcopal Church, one of Boulder City’s oldest religious organizations, will be celebrating ninety years of service this Saturday with a celebration that is open to the public. The church is located 812 Arizona Street, at the corner of Arizona Street and Utah Street. It is probably best recognized at the church with the bright red welcoming doors!
The church was established as a mission church in the early 1930s as Hoover Dam was being constructed. According to church historian, Donna Raney, the dam workers were ministered to by Bishop Thomas Jenkins and Father Arthur Keane who made the trip from Las Vegas to visit the workers. The Episcopalian diocese requested land to construct a church and were granted the location where the church still sits. The church dremains largely unchanged from its original construction, despite a fire in the mid 1970s. The beautiful white high altar was given to the church from a church in Goldfield, Nevada. It is made of rhyolite and it centers the sanctuary area. Aligning the walls of the worship area are photographs of oil paintings done by Mary Virginia Lee.
Prior to the actual building being constructed and consecrated by church officials, the site of the church building was home to Boulder City’s first baptism on March 6, 1932. Father Keane’s youngest daughter, Alice, was baptized near where the cross is outside the building.
St Christopher’s Church used to host meetings for dam workers and their families at the old Union Pacific depot, which also housed a bus terminal. These meetings took place twice a month.
Since its inception, the church has been very active in the community, both in Boulder City and the wider Clark County area. This church has been recognized for providing the most outreach of all Nevada Episcopalian parishes. The popular community aid program, Lend A Hand, was started by three St Christopher’s parishoners: Patricia Dumcombe, Alice Hamdorf, and Shirley Putz in 1989. The building currently used by the now independent organization was once a rectory or parsonage for the presiding clergyperson. It was also briefly a school named New Horizons. The church congregation continues community outreach through Emergency Aid, St Timothy’s Church homeless program, donations for Ukrainians caught in wartime conflict. They also collect new clothing for foster children and this year were able to outfit 240 children with brand new outfits. They also offer a cooking program called Jump Start Kitchen for members of the community. This unique program teaches crock pot cooking and will provide a crock pot to the participant, if needed.
The community celebration for the church will take place over two days: Saturday, August 13 and Sunday, August 14. On Saturday, from 9:00AM to 1:00PM there will be free games for children. Hot dogs, chips, water, and cookies will be served. There will be live saxophone music provided by Martin Mancuso. Visitors can meet with church members, including Tim Tilman and Sandy Christiansen, the longest active members of the church. There will be members on hand to talk with visitors about the church’s history and 90 years’ worth of photographs will be shared. Tours of the beautiful church will also be offered.
On Sunday, at 10:00AM there will be a celebratory service and baptism renewal ceremony offered by the Dr. Reverend Cynthia Lewis and Bishop Elizabeth Gardner. A dedication of a garden bench to Wayne and Shirley Putz will take place, to be followed by a potluck. The community is invited to both events.