Anchor Of Hope Church
Anchor of Hope Church History
Anchor of Hope Church, formerly known as Church of the Living God, was birthed during the turbulent sixties in December of 1969. This was a time of great social change and social upheaval. Our country was traumatized by the Vietnam War and scarred by racial turmoil. The sexual revolution, with all of its long lasting ramifications, was launched during this same decade.
Kenneth and Wanda Roberts a brother and sister ministry team, expressed a desire to start a work for their national religious body at its annual convention in Omaha, Nebraska, in October, 1969. Some friends, Isaac and Louise Cook of Omaha Nebraska, mentioned Denver as a city that had no churches of the Living God and asked the Roberts team would they consider planting a church there. Excited at the prospects of moving from Chicago to a city that they both barely knew anything about, they promptly moved to Denver in November of 1969. Prayer undergirded their efforts.
Both Kenneth and Wanda told of praying for years for God’s guidance in their ministry and in their lives. The planting of a church in Denver seemed to reflect God’s clear call on their lives. In November of 1969, home visitations were made to several families who were members of this denomination when they lived in other cities and later relocated to Denver. After prayer and discussion with a couple of families, those families agreed to become a part of the new church. The Roberts team had rented an apartment in East Denver at 2301 High St. and sought to learn the community by riding the bus and walking. They had no transportation of their own. Although support for this venture was very minimal and the Roberts’ experience in church planting was limited, their enthusiasm for starting the church was strong.
A storefront located at 2329 E. 28th Ave. was rented for $100.00 per month from Mr. Paul Davis. The first church service was held on December 14, 1969. Thirty wooden folding chairs were purchased from the Black Muslims who previously rented this same location. In addition to the pastors in attendance, two sisters attended, Betty Brooks and Novella Phillips. As the weeks passed the church grew slowly. On January of 1970, a couple of families visited. During the month of February, 1970, the pastor and assistant pastor were the only ones in attendance and would preach to each other. On Easter Sunday March 29, 1970, five souls were added to the church. They were all children of Betty Brooks. The church soon baptized their first five candidates in a collapsible pool that the Denver Fire Department gladly filled with water on the church site.
The leadership refused to meet to discuss these issues. Our church, here in Denver agreed to sever our relationships with the national body. For a couple of years, the church continued to use the national body’s name, Church of the Living God. Our church’s name was changed to High Street Church of the Living God in 1979. But the church decided to choose a name that would reflect its completely new identity. The words Anchor of Hope taken from Hebrews 6:19 were suggested by Wanda and Ruth Roberts, the matriarch in the family. The church accepted this new name and in 1984, the name of the church was officially changed to Anchor of Hope Church. This name change in some ways epitomized the growth and evolution that took place during the early eighties. The church, after separating from the denomination, sought to lay a solid biblical foundation. So during the period of 1980-1982, Anchor of Hope attended and participated in several bible conferences with four other congregations who also left the same church organization. Some of the conference speakers were John MacArthur and Mike Cocoris, nationally known bible teachers. Most of these conferences took place in California. A couple of van loads of members from Denver attended. A statement of faith that clearly expressed our biblical convictions was formulated. During this time, the church was officially incorporated in the state of Colorado and also granted a 501 (c)3 exemption from the Internal Revenue Service. The decade of the eighties was a tremendous time of change and growth. The growth was numerical as well as spiritual. The church undertook it’s first expansion program in 1982 to accommodate a growing congregation. This project was long in coming and took quite a time to complete.
In June of 1970, other members of the Roberts family relocated to Denver Because of their deep involvement in church work both in Chicago and Texas, they would prove to be a valuable asset to this young church’s growth and stability. During the early years (the early seventies), children and youth were the majority of the church’s membership. In time, more adults came and joined the ranks. Many of these adults were acquainted with this denomination in other places prior to their coming to Denver.
Because of its low overhead, the church was able to save several thousand dollars in a building fund. In November of 1973, the church purchased a doctor’s office located at 2101 High St. by making a down payment of $3,000 on the total price of $40,000. Randolph White, the church’s first trustee, Warren Roberts, the one who discovered this building for sale, and the pastor signed the deed of trust. This facility was very modest, but an upgrade from the storefront location. We had our dedicatory services on November 4, 1973. Bishop W. E. Crumes, the vice chief of the parent organization, preached the dedicatory sermon. The new location gave the church a higher profile to people in the community, and the Lord began to add new families to its roll.
In October of 1978, after years of much prayer, and research on the denomination’s history and doctrine, efforts were made to discuss doctrinal questions and differences with the leaders of the national body at its annual convention in Little Rock, Arkansas. Pastor Roberts sought to present a paper that raised questions concerning church doctrine and conduct (salvation, prayer, the Lord’s Supper, and immoral living of leaders and pastors throughout the denomination).
Tutoring, youth ministry, and other ministries were some examples of how we’ve tried to reach our community. With the help from money from Billy Graham crusade (Denver, July 1987), we hired our first youth minister in 1990. One new exciting program that started in the nineties was Urbacad, a biblically based discipleship program that seeks to foster spiritual growth, prepare its students for Christian service and develop spiritual leadership. Larry Marlatt, an ordained minister with many years of experience teaching and leading this program, continues to teach it to this congregation as well as those who attend other churches. The church has always wanted to support missions; the decade of the nineties was a time that the church sent missionaries to the mission field, supporting them with our prayers and finances. This missions emphasis continues to be an integral part of our church’s life.
In 1999, two lots located at 2046 High St. were purchased for parking space. The church started a building fund in the early nineties that grew tremendously and would serve as a down payment on a one million dollar extensive remodeling project. The church was able to break ground for this new facility in November of 2001. We conducted worship service in Wyman Elementary School for one year. On November 17, 2002, we conducted our first worship service and dedicatory service. The church continues to grow numerically (approximately 230-240 members on the roll), and equally important, it continues to grow spiritually by seeking to conform men, women, girls and boys to the likeness of Jesus Christ. In 2004, our church is still seeking to live out very seriously the great commission and the great commandment. Our history is really His story of His faithfulness to us these 35 years. May we continue to make history His story in our lives.
The church was under a severe financial strain, but the Lord brought us through. New ministries were started by the church to serve the church and community (e.g. food, clothing and jail). God blessed us with new friends of the church as well. Cherry Hills Community Church is a very good example of urban and suburban partnership. They continue to serve in our community with us in Jesus’ name.
On August, 1987 one of the church’s most faithful warriors, Mother Ruth Roberts, went to be with her Lord. Known for her love for Jesus Christ and His church, her commitment to prayer, and unswerving devotion to His word, Mother Roberts’ life continues to cast a shadow over those who knew her. God used her mightily to help launch this ministry. She is remembered for her all night prayer vigils.
The decade of the nineties was an exciting time for the church. Anchor House was purchased in January of 1990. This building, a duplex by design, served our church well. It was used for classes tutoring, and various other meetings. God sent an angel, Walter Habicht, to help restore Anchor House to its former character. He spent hundreds of hours remodeling this dilapidated, once drug-infested house. A state – of-the art basket ball court was also donated to the church in the early nineties. The church grew more dramatically during the decade of the nineties than at any other time. God added families who were strong in their faith. The church’s mission and vision continued to be refined by the Holy Spirit. The Lord deeply impressed the leadership with a burden to reach out to the poor and broken people. New ministries were created to address some of the pressing needs.