Two churches in south Denver celebrated anniversaries this month

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Two churches celebrated longevity in September with the Central Church of Denver hitting 145 years and the University Park United Methodist Church kicking off celebrations for its 125th birthday.

Central Christian, 3690 Cherry Creek S. Dr., was founded three years before Colorado became a state. In its early years, Central Christian moved around north central Denver. From 1902-1973 it resided off 16th Avenue and Lincoln Street in a building with a pipe organ, according to a news release from the church.

During Central Christian’s centennial birthday, the church relocated to its current space - organ and all.

Central Christian will celebrate its 145th birthday with a special service on Oct. 14 started at 9:30 a.m.

United Methodist, 2180 S. University Boulevard, turned 124 on Sept. 16, launching a year’s worth of events leading up to its 125th next year.

“We wanted to do due diligence in celebrating the heritage and the history that we’re standing on,” said Valerie L. Jackson, pastor at United Methodist.

She added that the church has recently gone through a transition after Paul Kotte, its pastor for 20 years was promoted in 2013. Kotte is now the district superintendent for the Mile High Metro at Mountain Sky Conference.

After an interim pastor served the church for a year, Jackson took over. She is the first woman, as well as the first person of color to lead the church. Jackson is starting her third year at United Methodist.

“It’s exciting to stand on the shoulders of people who were visionary,” said of leading a church that has been in the community for more than 100 years.

United Methodist has between 350 and 400 members, about half of which are active members coming to a weekly mass, Jackson said.

Throughout the year of celebrations, Jackson said the church will bring in different speakers, as well as past pastors, to talk about the history of the University Park church and the United Methodist faith as a whole.

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