VALLECITO CHURCH EARLY HISTORY


church

The vision and dream of a church in the Vallecito valley started in 1951 around a piano in the lobby of the Lost Creek Lodge owned by Claude O. Crane and his wife, Bunkie. Many travelers and some more permanent would gather informally for singing. Singing grew into gospel singing and then Claude Crane, a wise Christian man, soon added Bible study. The Lord blessed this witness and convicted the hearts of many to pursue this dream to fruition.

A church sponsor was sought and in 1958, the First Baptist Church of Ignacio, under the conviction of the Lord, agreed with the vision and, thus, Vallecito Mission was born. A used tent that would seat 200 people was procured and services began the summer of 1958 on the current church land site that was purchased from Scottie’s Resort for ten dollars down and $990 due interest free by the summer of 1963.

A ground breaking was held on August 16, 1959, with an offering of $397, to construct a 30X50 log church. By faith, monies came along with many volunteer labor hours and the structure was completed in time for services the summer of 1961. Construction could only take place during five months out of the year due to snowbound winters and most of the labor came from those visiting in the summers.

In the early days, preachers would drive from Ignacio to the valley for Sunday services. Services were held from May to Labor Day. Throughout the sixties and early seventies, the summer pastor would be a student from Southwestern Seminary. Baptisms from the beginning and into the 1980’s were performed in the Vallecito Lake.

On August 1, 1971, Vallecito Mission was constituted as a church in its own right and became Vallecito Baptist Church with twenty six charter members. People of all denominations have attended this valley church through the years. 

During the early seventies, a desire for winter services brought about the Trail’s End Cafe offering up their restaurant to hold services, as there was no heat in the church. Salvaged heaters from a fire were acquired in the summer of 1974 and year round services were then held at the church.The seventies saw continued growth for this valley church and a $3,400 mobile home was purchased for the summer pastors.

 The need for a full time pastor was realized in the spring of 1975 and work on a nine thousand dollar auditorium addition had already begun in the summer of 1974. Logs were donated, as was volunteer labor and the structure was completed in 1975 paid by wisely saved surplus income throughout the years.

The unique cross that has become a symbol for Vallecito Church came out of Vallecito Lake and was given to the church in 1973. 1979 brought forth the building of a debt free three bedroom parsonage.

Additions and modifications have been made to the physical church through the years, but the spiritual goal of the church has never changed: to spread the gospel, good news, of Christ Jesus throughout this valley.
© Vallecito Church 2015