There's a name change at one of the valley's most popular churches. The Crawford Friends Church is now Saddle Mountain Fellowship.
The church decided on that name because of the famous landmark.
"We wanted to do something more than Crawford because we feel our outreach is to the valley and beyond," Pastor Jerry Dutton said. "Saddle Mountain is very distinct, a unique landmark that we can see out the window. It reflected our location."
Fellowship was chosen for the name because it is a faith-based community that is building relationships.
The church began as a home Bible study in the early 1990s. From there the parishioners rented the Crawford Town Hall for services for several years. Eldon Cox of the Paonia Friends Church helped pioneer the church in its beginning stages. The present church was built a couple of miles outside of Crawford in 1996 and 1997.
In January 2009 the church incorporated as an independent non-denominational church. Dutton was the first non-Friends pastor at the church. He came in April of 2009.
Pastor Dutton and the congregation are very grateful for the Friends Church and its present pastor Gaylen Kinser for their help and support through their formative years.
Pastor Dutton didn't want to change the name of the church upon his arrival. He didn't want anyone to think that he did not appreciate its history. Nearly four years later, the time is right to go ahead with the name change. Dutton told the congregation, "Let's prove the fact that a church does not grow by its name. So, that's what happened."
The church has been blessed to more than double in size over the last four years. There are now two services for its diverse group of Christians representing many different backgrounds and age groups.
Dutton said there are many leaders at the church contributing to its various ministries.
Some of the ministries include the Good News Club at Crawford School, several Life Groups for young women, peacemakers and shepherding. The church has a food ministry for the hungry. A women's Bible study is learning about grace through the "Bad Girls of the Bible."
Annual events include their Spring Refreshing Weekend at IdRaHaJe Camp and Retreat Center. They have over 30 who attend their ATV outings.
For Pioneer Days they enter a float and put on Round Up Sunday where they prepare a huge barbecue for the community.
They are planning a pig roast this summer.
For young men there will be a Warrior Week. This is led by a former Navy Seal.
The congregation prepares a community holiday dinner between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
They support a Back to School Backpack Program for families in need.
For Christmas, the members prepare Christmas baskets and present a living nativity with authentic costumes and animals.
Men's Night Out is for men's fellowship.
There are other projects that various members become involved in, such as snow plowing driveways for seniors or painting and repairing a senior's home.
Saddle Mountain Fellowship is in need of a bus to use in its ministry.
The church has been through six transitional leaderships in its history. The congregation was looking for a pastor with more experience. Pastor Dutton's more than 25 years of experience fit the bill. He grew up as an independent Baptist, attended several different Bible colleges, and participated in independent Baptist ministry in Utah. After that he transitioned to more non-denominational, charismatic circles. Before Saddle Mountain Fellowship he pastored a church in Pennsylvania.
"I'd like to believe I picked up the good from every one of them," Pastor Dutton said. "[Saddle Mountain Fellowship] is very sound on the fundamentals, the Word of God and the supremacy of Jesus Christ, the Deity of Jesus, saved by grace alone. What we're focusing on now is relationship-based." Currently he is preaching about conflict resolution.
Pastor Dutton believes if a church is healthy it will grow and reach out.
Services at Saddle Mountain Fellowship are at 8:30 and 10:30 a.m., with a children's church during the second service.blog comments powered by Disqus