The Growing Years: Celebrating 70 Years of Wellshire Church

 

The Neighborhood

In the late 1940’s, young men and women were coming back from World War II and their aim in life was to find a home, get a job, put down roots, and raise a family. Many who had been stationed at Lowry Field or other facilities in Denver and greater Colorado chose Denver as their new home. Because houses were in short supply, University Hills was established and the population explosion was on.


At the suggestion of the Denver Presbytery, leadership conducted a door-to-door survey of people in this rapidly growing area would be interested in supporting and building a Presbyterian church. The first organizational meeting was held and a board of trustees, women’s association, and church school committee were formed. The first worship services and church school classes were held in homes and in University Park School under the leadership of the 24 charter members of Wellshire Presbyterian Church.

The Building

Wellshire called the Rev. Stephen McShane in April 1951. Under his leadership, the groundbreaking of the first building at South Colorado Blvd. and Cornell Ave. took place July 29, 1951.

In just a short time, it became clear that the facilities were inadequate for the growing congregation. Plans began for an addition. By 1956, we added a choir room, preschool rooms, a new Sanctuary (now the Chapel), and lower level adult education area, McShane Hall.

As we grew in numbers the educational wing was added in 1965. It housed offices, Sunday school rooms, and a Fellowship Hall.

This facility served us well for about ten years, but the time had come to think about a new Sanctuary that would give us the opportunity to expand our worship experience. Our present Sanctuary grew out of that need. Groundbreaking for the current Sanctuary occurred September 10, 1978. The 1979 Christmas Eve service was conducted in the new Sanctuary, still without completed parquet floor, and the dedication took place on January 6, 1980, Epiphany Sunday.

These years saw steady growth in membership, programming, and fiscal sustainability. Changes were still to come, but Wellshire continued to be a place to praise God, to learn, and for Christians to gather in Southeast Denver.