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History

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After working as a farmer and miner in Wisconsin and Minnesota, John Lewis Dyer answered the call to ministry in middle age. He journeyed to Colorado, walking most of the way, in 1859, to fulfill a life-long desire to see Pikes Peak. He was appointed an itinerate preacher to the mining camps in what are now Lake, Summit, and Park counties.

glass_detail_2.jpg: Dyer, a humble Methodist preacher, purchased property in Breckenridge adjacent to the County Courthouse on French Street, and at his own expense, began to build a chapel. The chapel was 50 feet by 25 feet, with a 16 feet high ceiling. On August 22, 1880, at the young age of 68, he conducted the very first service to ever be held in a church on the western slope. John Dyer retired after the dedication service (only to return to service again from 1885-87 as interim minister). He was first called "Father Dyer" lovingly in 1868 at a Sunday School meeting at Denver's Lawrence Street Church.

100_0893.jpgThe part of the current structure in which the pews are located is the shell of the original chapel. Over the years, there have been several transformations to Father Dyer Church. In the summer of 1890 a bell and belfry were added, only to be dynamited in 1891 (rebel miners retaliated against fiery preacher Rev. Florida Passmore for demanding the sheriff to close saloons on Sundays). The pulpit and communion rails were added in 1915. Round back chairs were replaced by pews in 1916. The high back pastor's chair is a memorial to young victims of a diphtheria epidemic and has been in the church since the early 1900s.

scan0036.jpg: In 1965, Rev. Mark Fiester undertook a program of restoration and renovation to the church. The altar and baptismal font were built in 1967 to match the older pulpit and communion rail. In 1977 the building was moved from its original site next to the county courthouse to its present location on Wellington Road, and the additions were completed at that time.

While Rev. Sandra Stephens and Rev. Bryan Austill were ministers at Father Dyer Church, a second renovation project was started in 2002 and completed in 2003.

Father Dyer was named one of the 16 founders of the state of Colorado, and his likeness is rendered in stained glass with the other founders in the state capitol dome.


CHRONOLOGY

glass_detail_3.jpg:1861 - John Lewis Dyer, an itinerant Methodist preacher and "circuit rider," began preaching in South Park mining camps.

1862 - John L. Dyer assigned to the Blue Mission Mission.

1868 - John L. Dyer was lovingly called "Father Dyer" at a Sunday School meeting at Denver's Lawrence Street Church and the endearment took.

1879 - Father Dyer appointed to Summit County Circuit, an area so large it has since been divided into seven counties.

1880 - Father Dyer began construction on this church on French Street. He retired from this last preaching appointment after the August 22nd dedication service.

1885-87- Father Dyer serves as an interim minister.

1889-94- Rev. Florida Passmore created controversy and demanded the sheriff enforce the Colorado Saloon Law and closed the saloons on Sundays. Those affected retaliated by blowing up the church bell and belfry.

1899- Father Dyer's last preaching visit.

1900- Father Dyer recognized as one of the 16 Founders of the State of Colorado.

1901- Father Dyer died at age 89.

1965-72- Rev. Mark Fiester renovates and restores church.

1977- Church moved to present site

1979- New stained glass windows dedicated.

2003- Sanctuary renovations completed


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