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Emmanuel Chapel had a very interesting beginning. December 31, 1938, the Chapel Car Emmanuel was located on a siding east of South Fork near the old water tower. The first Sunday School was held at 2:00 p.m. on October 2, 1939. This special “church” was a railroad car with a sanctuary on one end and a parsonage on the other. The American Baptist Bible Society had a number of these railroad cars which were built and sent out to evangelize the west and to assist struggling churches. The purpose in the visit of Chapel Car Emmanuel was to assist a struggling church in Del Norte. Since they couldn’t get a siding in Del Norte it was located in South Fork. Rev. Howard Perry and his wife were heading up this ministry.

On October 2, 1939, George “Cap” Horton offered an acre of land to be able to build a church in South Fork. Jan 20, 1940, the paperwork was finished and on Feb. 13, 1940 16 men and women met in the Chapel Car to discuss building the chapel. It was originally organized as Emmanuel Mission Chapel-Hall. On May 5, ground was broken with 125 people in attendance. The Building was built, “through gifts of 150 individuals, 23 businesses, churches, donations of labor, equipment, time, advice, materials and good will.” On December 8, 1940 at 2:00 p.m. the building was dedicated.

After Rev. Perry left the area a number of local pastors assisted in ministering to the people in the community. From 1954-67, retired Baptist pastor Rev. Raymond Settle served as pastor driving up from Monte Vista. He was followed by lay-minister Dr. L.A. Wilcox a retired M.D. From June to September 1971, Douglas Sharp filled the pulpit. That fall David Daniel was asked to serve as a lay minister and he commuted to South Fork from Monte Vista. He continues as pastor to this date. The church voted to call David full time December 31, 1978, and voted to approve his acceptance January 7, 1979. He moved his family up full time in 1979. The church established Articles of Constitution June 15, 1975, and was incorporated December 30, 1977.

Over the years the facility has gone through a number of changes:

  • In February 1972 a well permit was obtained that allowed for the possibility of Sunday School when restrooms could be added. Restrooms and storage were added to the north end of the building and Sunday School classes were added
  • May 1976 a 12’x21’ kitchen was added to “square up” with the restrooms on the north end of the sanctuary. Dedication was held September 1976
  • June 1977 – 28 pews were purchased from Village East Baptist Church in Denver for $3200 and replaced the theater seats that were in the sanctuary.
  • September 18, 1979, Adcock Construction of Alamosa was contracted to build the 60’x40’ fellowship hall addition on the north end of the church. Dedication was held with an all night sleep over on December 31, 1979.
  • June 1, 1980, the sanctuary was remodeled with the adding of more space for a choir, baptistery, and extending the length of the sanctuary.
  • August 24, 1981, saw the first day of Emmanuel Christian Academy with 23 students in attendance.
  • 1983 the church purchased 2 acres of land to the east of the 1 acre already owned. The price was $60,000. There was a little house on it which was sold for $9500.
  • Also in 1983 the church was given the anonymous gift of a three octave hand bell set.
  • September 27, 1989 a basketball court was built and dedicated for use of the school.
  • 1990 was the Jubilee year of the church and a Jubilee celebration was held.
  • In 1991 a three octave set of chimes were added to the music department.
  • May 10, 1993, we had ground breaking for an addition on the south end of the sanctuary that included more restrooms, a music and cry room and expanded foyer. We were blessed with builders from Texas that came and assisted with the construction.
  • February 23, 2003 Gene and Carolyn Jeary donated stained glass windows for the sanctuary

Numerous other building and renovating events have been experienced over the years, but we praise the Lord for His grace and extended provision to keep this ministry growing and fulfilling the Great Commission.