The First Presbyterian Church of Boulder is trying to raise almost $2.3 million to secure its severance from the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), in favor of joining a California-based evangelical denomination whose ” essential tenets” define marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
A solicitation on the church website titled “All In!” invites the roughly 1,500 congregation members to give toward the purchase of its prime downtown property at 1820 15th St., “in time for our dismissal on Jan. 21, 2016.”
“Dismissal” is the church terminology for its departure from the mainline PCUSA denomination, a prerequisite to First Presbyterian’s joining ECO: A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians, a network of more than 230 congregations across the country based in Goleta, Calif., and founded in 2012.
The negotiated amount needed by the Boulder church to complete the purchase of its property from its current denomination, which holds the property in trust, is $2.29 million.
The Boulder church — which hosts a massive Thanksgiving dinner for the needy every year — takes up an entire city block. It is bordered by Canyon Boulevard and Walnut Street on the south and north, respectively, and 15th and 16th streets on the west and east. The oldest part of its physical plant dates to the 1890s.
It is valued by the Boulder County assessor at just over $14 million, but as a place of worship it doesn’t pay property taxes.