How did Fireside get started?
Fireside had its beginnings in a letter sent by Rev. Debbie Gerkin. She was searching for a different kind of faith community, a place where everyone could be clergy and laity, a place where questions could be asked and people were comfortable living with ambiguity, a place where everyone truly embraced diversity and valued individuality, and a place where people gathered to support, as well as challenge each other while they sought to understand God’s presence in their lives and their personal response to God’s call. She invited those who wished to share their vision of what that kind of community might look like to meet in her home for potluck and communion on October 17,1993. Out of that gathering came ten people who wanted to continue meeting. Today, there are twenty-four active members of Fireside Christian Church.
Fireside has evolved over the past several years. At first, it resembled a share group, a place of healing for those in pain. As healing occurred, it gradually took on a broader dimension encompassing study, mission, and even a business session. It developed a mission statement and its own liturgy. In June 1995, Fireside Christian Church submitted a request for charter to the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Central Rocky Mountain Region. In December 1995, Fireside was officially recognized as a “church in formation.” Because Fireside was always committed to embracing diversity, it was only natural that it became the first Open and Affirming congregation in the Central Rocky Mountain Region.
This “new”, nontraditional model of church and ministry has left many people wondering what to do with this small congregation. In an effort to open people’s eyes to new possibilities, Fireside provided an interest group for the 1997 Denver General Assembly on the home church model. Until Fireside came along, the New Church Development Committee had only worked to establish traditional churches. Now, however, there are new guidelines which fit a diverse array of church models.
On November 11, 2000, the Regional Board of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Central Rocky Mountain Region voted unanimously to recognize Fireside Christian Church as a church in full standing.
In the years to come, no doubt Fireside Christian Church will continue to evolve as a “different kind of faith community.” The Spirit of God is creative. Who knows what the next few years will bring?