Religion in Denver
Finding a comfortable worship choice can be rewarding
No matter what your spiritual preference, Denver offers a number of options for those of all faiths. Denver also offers many nondenominational places of worship, as well as a large selection of faith-based community organizations. For more information, refer to the sidebar on Religious Organizations.
The American Baptist Churches of the Rocky Mountains, which covers Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, eastern Idaho and eastern Utah, is made up of 103 congregations and serves about 28,000. The organization supports churches, organizes missions and stewardship, and promotes Christian education, church renewal and evangelism, as well as organizes spiritual celebrations, seminars, missions and ministries throughout the year.
The Colorado Baptist General Convention includes more than 300 Southern Baptist churches and missions from across the state of Colorado. Worshipers congregate in both traditional and non-traditional settings, including churches, homes, workplaces, ski slopes, and barns. Locally, the organization supports women’s ministries, establishment of ethnic churches, evangelism, church health, and volunteer ministries, among other causes.
The Rocky Mountain Baptist Conference, which is affiliated with the Baptist General Conference, includes 51 members from Colorado, Wyoming and western Nebraska who work together to promote church mobilization, development, and leadership – hosting events throughout the year. In general, Colorado Southern Baptists support more than 5,000 missionaries in the United States, Canada, Guam and the Caribbean, with about 5,000 additional missions serving more than 150 nations around the world.
The Archdiocese of Denver serves the northern area of Colorado, with 155 parishes located throughout metro Denver, and a thriving school system that serves nearly 15,000 students in 37 elementary schools, 2 archdiocesan secondary schools, 3 private elementary schools and 6 private secondary schools. The Archdiocese also offers two seminary schools.
The Archdiocese is also home to a number of ministries, including the Black Catholic Ministry, Hispanic Ministry, the Catholic Deaf Community, Marriage and Family Life, and the Youth, Young Adult and Campus Ministry. Other social ministries address poverty, education, alcohol and substance abuse, and rural life. The archdiocese is affiliated with Catholic Relief Services, which works in more than 90 countries to foster international awareness and promote peace and justice.
The Catholic Charities Archdiocese of Denver supports other local community efforts, providing services to Colorado residents of all faiths – from metro Denver to northern Colorado and the western slope. Services include parenting classes, adult services, child care programs, counseling, disabled services, emergency assistance, employment services, English as a Second Language, foster care, HIV/AIDS ministry, housing, homelessness, immigration services, pregnancy counseling, senior services and youth services.
The Episcopal Diocese of Colorado includes approximately 116 congregations that serve 81 communities in the state. The organization hosts events throughout the year, including the annual Diocesan Convention, adult prayer groups and ministries, and children’s and youth programs. The Diocese also plans camps, conferences, picnics, tutoring sessions, Sunday schools, pageants, classes and parent-child retreats throughout the year.
At least 47 Colorado churches are members of the Rocky Mountain Conference of the United Methodist Church, which includes Colorado, Utah and southeastern Wyoming. Considered a part of the western jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church, the Western Jurisdiction Conference holds meetings for members every four years for fellowship, worship, and taking care of official church business.
The Rocky Mountain Conference offers youth, young adult, men and women’s ministries; camping, music and worship arts; leadership training; the church and society ministries; mission volunteers; global and native ministries; and networking grants. In addition, the Conference Council on Retreats and Camps of the Rocky Mountain Conference hosts camps and retreats for church members. Community service ministries in Denver and other urban areas include support for HIV/AIDS, among other community needs.
There are about 60,000 Mormons in the Denver-Boulder- Greeley, Colorado Consolidated Metropolitan Statistical Area (CMSA). The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints operates the Denver Colorado Temple, which serves members from 29 stakes (territorial jurisdictions) in Colorado, Wyoming, South Dakota and Kansas. Opened in 1986, the 29,117 square-foot temple is located on 7.5 acres in Centennial, Colorado and offers four ordinance rooms and six sealing rooms.
Family History Centers in the metro Denver area, which are branches of the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, give church members access to genealogy information. There are 52 family history centers in Colorado, and 12 are located in the metro Denver area.
Other Faiths and Spiritual Support
The metro Denver area also offers options for a number of other Christian and non-Christian faiths, including Greek Orthodox, Lutheran, Pentecostal, Presbyterian, Seventh-Day Adventist, and Unitarian Universalist, as well as a number of non-denominational churches. All of these faiths offer opportunities to worship, religious education, community volunteerism and support, and participation in specific faith-based events, such as conferences and community gatherings.
The Colorado Council of Churches includes 19 churches of varying faiths, such as Baptist, Catholic, Episcopal, Lutheran, Methodist, nondenominational, Presbyterian and Unitarian Universalist. The council organizes events, such as the annual Easter sunrise service, to unite the metro Denver area’s different faiths in worship. The council also seeks to provide affordable housing, respond to any hate-based activity, support youth ministry, and work toward a more peaceful and healing approach to the criminal justice system by bringing victims, community members and offenders together. In addition, the council serves as a way to help member churches reach out to the Colorado legislature on proposed bills that address affordable housing, criminal/restorative justice, education, the environment, poverty, racism and other forms of abuse.
Metro Denver also offers a number of non-Christian faith and worship opportunities, including Bahá’í, Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, Jain, Sikh, Tao, and Zoroastrian.
There are 18 Bahá’í congregations that serve the Denver-Boulder-Greeley, Colorado CMSA. The Bahá’í Center of Metro Denver offers classes, concerts, prayer groups, workshops, interfaith meetings, and other gatherings. The Center also operates a bookstore for those interested in learning more about the Bahá’í faith.
The Denver Buddhist Cultural Society runs the Fo Guang Shan Temple of Colorado that is dedicated to the cultivation of spiritual development for Buddhists as well as the propagation and promotion of Chinese culture and the fostering of cultural exchange between Eastern and Western cultures.
The temple offers areas for meditation, meetings and social functions, as well as a library, dining hall and other facilities. Study groups, lectures and classes are offered at the temple. The Society also formed a Colorado Youth Group in 2000 to promote positive activity and experiences among Buddhist youth.
Through the Buddha’s Light International Association and other groups in Colorado, many activities, classes and events are available throughout the region including dinners, volunteer opportunities, classes for traditional areas of study, vegetarian cooking classes, Tai Chi, Shao-Lin Kung Fu and yoga. The Buddha Dharma Education Association (www.buddhanet.net) is a good resource on Buddhism and for locations of Buddhist temples and groups.
The Hindu Temple of Colorado provides a forum for worship and celebrations and for cultural, religious and spiritual development activities based on Hindu, Vedic and Sanatan-Dharma tradition. The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) is also located in Denver and holds several annual events, including festivals presenting dramas, bharat natyam dancing, bhajans, and other programs. The Society also offers a free vegetarian feast on Sunday evenings that is open to the general public. The Boulder Krishna House in nearby Boulder also offers Saturday evening chants, free vegetarian feasts, discussions on Vedic philosophy, sunrise meditations on Saturday mornings, and kirtan on Thursday evenings.
There are more than 80,000 members of the Jewish faith in the metro Denver area. The Allied Jewish Federation of Colorado also offers a number of community resources, including senior housing, area congregations, schools, synagogues, museums, youth groups, hospitals, volunteer opportunities, musical entertainment, and other support. The Federation also hosts and promotes singles and community events, including the annual Boulder Jewish Festival; offers special assistance to those new to the state or to the metro Denver area; and organizes missions to Israel and other areas. The Allied Jewish Federation of Colorado also operates the Jewish Resource Center, Jewish Philanthropy Center, Jewish Women’s Philanthropy Center, and the Israel, National & Overseas Center.
There are approximately 13,000 Muslims and nine congregations in the Denver- Boulder-Greeley, Colorado CMSA. Members of the Muslim faith can find opportunities to worship through the Colorado Muslim Society, the Islamic Center of Ahl-Al-Beit in Denver, and the Islamic Center of Boulder, with two locations in Boulder.