Skip to main content

Colorado Council of Churches collection

Identifier: COU:382

Scope and Contents

There have been three accessions to the Colorado Council of Churches Collection. The first is the largest at approximately 90 linear feet and the second two both contain 45 linear feet. The collection is still in its original condition, not having been rehoused into acid-free folders or boxes.

The first accession contains information on the history of the Denver Area Council of Churches and on the merger of Colorado Council of Churches, Religious Education and Church Women. Constituents, minutes (1943-50), financial information (1942-44), information on the National Preaching Mission (1937), ministry to Japanese Americans, the 1947 Easter sunrise service at Red Rocks Amphitheater, church publications, newspaper articles, scrapbooks, and pictures are also included with the first accession.

Record books, minutes, correspondence, financial information, and committee dealings from the Colorado Council of Churches and the Denver Council of Churches as well as information on different subgroups under the Colorado Council of Churches are included with the first accession. The subgroup categories include: Christian Education, Christian Higher Education, United Christian Youth Movement, United Church Men and Women, Ministry to Public Institutions, Evangelism, Radio and Television, Town and Country, Comity and Church Extension, Social Education and Action, and Migrant Ministry. Information on local councils include Boulder, Denver, Greeley, Loveland, Morgan County, Pike’s Peak, and Pueblo.

The first accession also has information on the National Council of Churches, the World Council of Churches, the Presbyterian Church, and related associations such as the P.O.A.W. (Protestants and Other Americans United for Separation of Church and State). In addition, information on the Colorado Council of Churches association with the Colorado Mental Health Association, the Traffic Safety Conference, National Farmers’ Union, and the Kononia Foundation are included with the first accession.

The second accession contains Denver Area Record Books (1930-38), information about the Social Service Department of the Denver Area Council of Churches (correspondence, minutes, and financial information), and related organizations and activities (local and national). Information on the Christian Education Department, Colorado Council of Churches, and the National Council of Churches is expanded, supplementing the materials from the first accession.

The third accession contains directors’ files (1958-66), minute books (1930-38), Social Service Department bulletins (1953-66), subject files, and correspondence files from the Denver Council of Churches (1947-1960’s).

Subject headings found in this collection contain many different affiliations of the Council of Churches classified by geographical coverage (including national, world, Boulder Denver, Greeley, Pike’s Peak, Pueblo, and Weld County) and by related subgroup association. Such subgroup associations include the following: Japanese, Spanish, Labor-Migrant, Inter-County Regional Planning Commission, Metropolitan Co-operative Commission, Metropolitan Council for Community Service, Inter-Group Agency Organization, Denver Commission on Community Relations, Denver Area Welfare Council Inc., Grace Community Center, Denver Area Childcare Association, Colorado Prison Association, and the Colorado State Home for Dependent Children.


  • Creation: 1926 - 1968


The need for a cooperative program of churches in meeting community problems early became apparent and the Denver Y M C A had a Religious Dept. under Platt R. Lawton as early as 1917. The actual formation of what now are the Denver and Colorado Councils of Churches is credited to Jesse Arnold, former boys’ work secretary of the Denver Y M C A. The Colorado Council of Religious Education was started in 1926 with Arnold as executive secretary, and almost simultaneously The Denver Council of Religious Education came into being. The joint headquarters were maintained in Trinity Church for several years. Arnold assisted the International Council of Religious Education, now the Dept. of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches, to establish Geneva Glen Camp in Indian Hills, Colorado, one of three leadership training camps in the national program. The Rev. Harold M. Gilmore, who came to Denver in 1929 to be Director of Religious Education for Trinity Methodist Church, assumed the executive position of the two organizations after Arnold resigned to organize a boys’ camp in the Rockies.

It was in the depth of the depression and Gilmore inherited indebtedness of $6,000 for the Councils an $28,000 for Geneva Glen Camp. Gilmore reorganized the Councils and brought the organizations through to a more prosperous and active era. The Colorado Council became independent of the Denver Council in the 1940’s with the merger of the Colorado Council of Churches, the Colorado Council of Religious Education and the Colorado Council of Women under the leadership of Dr. Herbert E. Stotts of Iliff School, and Bob Tully, now of the University of Indiana. Rev. Alvin Havekost of Iliff School, was executive for three years and was succeeded in 1953 by the Rev. Edward L. Whittemore. The Rev. Harvey W. Hollis, formerly of the Albany, N.Y. Council of Churches, became executive secretary of the Denver Council in 1952. Under his direction, the Council has truly become a Council o Churches with a membership of 137 churches of 22 denominations, a program of activity in 20 different fields. However, in 1967, financial and personnel troubles brought the separate existence of the Denver Council to an end, becoming a division of the Colorado Council. Christian education has always been the heart of the Council work but it has, from the first, been involved in social education and action. The Council serves as a liaison between numerous elements of the community with representatives sitting in on important planning conferences on welfare, civic development and law enforcement. Its counsel is sought on a wide range of problems from juvenile delinquency to urban renewal.


117 linear feet (63 boxes)

Language of Materials



The Colorado Council of Churches was founded in 1926 as the Colorado Council of Religious Education by Jesse Arnold, former Boys' Work secretary of the Denver YMCA. The Denver Council of Religious Education came into being almost simultaneously. They maintained close but distinct relations until financial difficulties forced absorption of the Denver Council in 1967. While Christian education has always been the center of the Councils' endeavors, they have also been active in social concerns. The collection contains correspondence, local unit minutes and financial records, and material from the national and world Councils of Churches. Also included are items on the Presbyterian Synod of Colorado.


This collection is arranged into the following series: Christian Education Department Untitled Leadership Training Christian Higher Education United Christian Youth Movement United Christian Young Adults United Church Men and Women Ministry to Public Institutions Evangelism Radio and Television Town and Country Comity Comity Surveys Metropolitan Denver Social Education and Action Social Education and Action / Right and Left – Wing Groups Migrant Ministry Local Councils Denver Council of Churches National Council of Churches Departments (See also Council of Churches, Departments for National Council of Churches material.) World Council of Churches Church World Service P.O.A.U. (Protestants and Other Americans United for Separation of Church and State) Associations Publications Scrapbooks

Inventory Reformatted by: Anne Getts, 2003 Edited by: Steve Selleck, August 4, 2011
August 4, 2011
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the University of Colorado Boulder Libraries, Rare and Distinctive Collections Repository

1720 Pleasant Street
184 UCB
Boulder Colorado 80503 United States