Our Past

VGCC History

Important Stories

Becoming Patricia: A combat veteran’s story of transgender life in the Army

Remembering Our Past as We Live Into Our Future

“Vista Grande” refers to more than the grand view of Pikes Peak that we enjoy from our present location. From our beginning as an institutional expression of the United Church of Christ, we have embraced a grand view of the part of the world in which we minister. The same pioneer spirit that led to our charter continues to call us to faithful witness to a loving God, and to compassionate service to all God’s people.

Frank Cannell, a layperson, was named Chair of the site committee in 1973 and property for the location of the Church at Montebello and North Union was chosen. The first members signed the charter on Christmas Eve 1976, just six months after The Reverend Lanning Johnson became our gathering pastor.

In the intervening years, we have been blessed with the energy and vision of pastors have offered us spiritual direction. Our roll call of those pastors (some of whom have served as Interim Pastors) includes Lanning Johnson, Carla Gilbert, Bruce Swanson, Steve Baxter, Sue Gardner, Darlene Avery, Maurine and Max Hale and Kim Schwartz. We are grateful to each one for her/his unique talents and abilities which have contributed to the growth of the Church.

We have also been blessed by the faithful service of the founding lay members (some of whom are still in the Church today) and the commitment of our current members who faithfully engage in ministry.

In the beginning, we met in the basement of our gathering pastor’s home. Later, a neighboring church offered us space and from there we moved to an elementary school while we waited for a modest building to be constructed on our site. Our next move was to a larger contemporary building (designed by Elizabeth Wright Ingraham, granddaughter of the famous architect, Frank Lloyd Wright), constructed on the same property. That building was dedicated in 1987 and we have worshipped here since.

Although we have worshipped in several locations, we remain clear that the Church is more about people than it is about building. We have been enriched greatly by the lives of those who have gone before us. We continue to build on the legacy they have left us as we listen to the calling of the Spirit to lead us into the future.

VGCC Pastors:

Rev. Clare Twomey Nov 2014 – present
Rev. Kim Schwartz Sep 2007 – Sep 2014
Revs. Max and Maurine Hale Dec 2003 – Dec. 2006
Rev. B. Darlene Avery June 2000 – Nov 2003
Rev. Susan M. Gardner Oct. 1998 – Jan. 2000
Rev. Steven S. Baxter Oct. 1989 – Aug. 1998
Rev. Bruce G. Swanson June 1984 – June 1989
Rev. Carla Gilbert April 1983 – June 1984
Rev. Lanning L. Johnson May 1976 – March 1983