By Renee Rinehart –(Published: May 18, 2017) Sad news this week from the “tiny church, big heart”, as Saint Benedict Episcopal Church in La Veta announced it will close its doors after services on June 11.
With remorse, Eleanor Foley, who serves as lay pastoral leader, said the parish was losing members in recent years and can no longer stay open. The congregation at the Mother’s Day service only numbered 12.
“In 2009 when the recession hit the valley, our church lost membership to the point we began to search for another way to minister to the area,” Foley said. In recent years the church formed a partnership with Alamosa in order to share a retired priest. After the Alamosa congregation could no longer participate, Saint Benedict turned to the St. Peter Episcopal Church in Pueblo where they have shared a retired priest along with lay pastoral leaders to cover the services. With diminishing funds and membership, the La Veta congregation started discussions last fall about closing the church.
The church holds a 39-year history in La Veta. Started in 1978 in the living room of Genevieve Combes on Highway 12, the original congregation consisted of Combes, her daughter Lottie Hastings and Jack and Teddie Hall.