2010 Note: Adapted from the original history written by Audrey Robinson, charter church member of Morning Star Community Church.
If you know Jesus Christ personally, you want to know Him more. That’s what a small group of believers in Red Feather Lakes wanted in early 1981. Tim Arensmeier traveled from Fort Collins to teach the Word. This small group experienced the reality of Matthew 18:20: that “if two or more meet in My name, I am in the midst of them.”
There were six or eight then; someone would accompany with music and they would sing praises to the Lord. After Tim had to leave, a Village Missionary from Livermore started leading the group. He had a real burden for this area and saw its potential. The fellowship continued to grow, eventually moving to the Pot Belly Restaurant. They continued to meet and pray at the Pot Belly until the summer of 1982; they then moved to the fire barn in Red Feather. That summer they even had their very first Vacation Bible School. The group began to grow.
When winter came, it was so cold the group went back for midweek services at the Pot Belly. They got permission from the School District to use the old school which later became the first Morning Star church building. They met there through the cold months of early 1983, until the building became too busy in the summer with community activities.
It was suggested that they choose a name and start taking offerings. They did and called themselves the “Red Feather Community Bible Church.” They were about ten or twelve strong by then.
Again, they moved back to the fire barn until it got too cold. One couple offered their guest cabin for a place to meet. They would meet to praise God and study His Word. They’d have a potluck once a month and stayed there most of 1984 and 1985.
Dr. DeYoung came up to look at some property. He bought the building in downtown Red Feather Lakes, just east of the café for his own retreat, and made it available to any organization. The group rejoiced! This was a more permanent place to meet, so they continued to pray and praise God.
Marilyn Broyles had a real burden for the youth in the community so she started an after-school club. They would meet after school at the doctor’s cabin, one day a week. How the children loved this!
While using the cabin the tiny Red Feather Community Bible Church contacted Village Missions about having a missionary pastor. Apparently God wasn’t ready and Village Missions refused their first request. After growing and praying some more, they again contacted Village Missions. Their money had grown and they were so hungry for a resident shepherd. Ray Cheyney, Village Missions District Representative, met with them and said they would do what they could.
As always, God had perfect timing. They received a letter telling them that Pastor Rusty and Brenda Tien and family would arrive in July 1986. They hurried to find a place for the family to live. The School District gave them permission to use the new school for Sunday services.
On October 5, 1986, they had their first congregational meeting and changed their name to the Morning Star Community Church. Bill Rogers thought of the name. The first Deacons were: Bill Rogers, Al Blaudau and Ken Hooker; Treasurer: Audrey Robinson; Financial Secretary: Shirley Hawkins; Secretary: Gwin Blaudau; Sunday School Superintendent: Steve Robinson; Social Director: Debi Robinson.
Meeting in the school, they grew and praised God. For health reasons, Pastor Rusty and his family were transferred in November 1987.
During 1987, this building finally became available and was purchased. An interim pastor came from Village Missions and served from November 1987 to January 1988. Finally, Village Missions notified them that they would send another pastor and his family in February 1988, Pastor Cal and Nancy Walter. They were able to pastor Morning Star for one year, followed by another Village Missions pastor for a brief time.
On October 15, 1989, Pastor Brian and wife Carole Wechsler and children arrived to pastor Morning Star. The Bludaus contacted the M.M.A.P. (Mobile Missionary Assistance Program), an organization of retired people who do volunteer work for Christian organizations. They first helped the group restore the building on their site. Then in 1990, with help from several M.M.A.P. couples and many volunteers from the church, the current log home parsonage was built.
In July 1994, the church celebrated paying the minimum level of salary support set by Village Missions, and was debt-free. God gets all the glory for this great milestone in the life of the little Morning Star Church.
In October 1996, they broke ground for a new church at 23628 Red Feather Lakes Road. Most of the construction was done through volunteer labor and with the help of M.M.A.P. volunteers. They moved into the new church in December 1997. The new building greatly expanded the sanctuary, fellowship room and classroom capabilities.
Tragically, in November 1998, that new church burned to the ground, due to a faulty wood stove pipe. Fortunately insurance coverage was very adequate and the current log church was rebuilt almost immediately. The church body remained strong through that whole ordeal.
The church saw continued growth and spiritual fruit as God provided and blessed Morning Star. Pastor Brian left Morning Star in 2000. After that the church was shepherded by two back-to-back Village Missions pastors, first Pastor Mike Shields, followed by Pastor Kerry Gibson. When Pastor Kerry left in 2007, Morning Star hired Doug Burdette to be their senior pastor and within two years added an Associate Pastor, Mike Whalen. Pastor Whalen moved to the east coast in October 2012.
Morning Star has continued to develop many programs and ministries. While not all are currently active, over the years this has included a newsletter and website, participation in the Share America food distribution program, serving the less fortunate at Open Door Mission (today called the Fort Collins Rescue Mission), a monthly worship and song time with the elderly at the Spring Creek Healthcare Center in Fort Collins, an annual week-long Vacation Bible School, a ministry at Wounded Knee Reservation in Pine Ridge, South Dakota, a full Bible Studies program for men and women, and adults and children’s Sunday School, a Youth Group, a Dowdy Lake Campground Sunday worship service in summer, a worship team choir, and many varied opportunities for worship and fellowship. Morning Star includes ministries in the areas of evangelism, fellowship, instruction, prayer and worship.
There is also a full Sunday School program for the kids, from toddlers through teens, which meets during the regular adult Sunday School time, 11:15 to 12 noon. Children from grades K through 5 are also invited to participate in the monthly Kids’ Club adventure time. This meets on the 2nd Friday each month from 2:45 to 4:15 p.m. This includes games, a snack, crafts, songs and a story from the Bible. A transportation form and registration form are available on the home page of the website: www.morningstarccrfl.com
Today Morning Star Community Church continues to be shepherded by Pastor Doug Burdette, and Associate Pastor Steve Cummings. The church family welcomed Pastor Steve to our staff in July 2015. While the church has always been focused on praying for and giving support to missionaries, it is now more focused on mission endeavors and giving than at any time in its history. This small mountain community church provides substantial monthly support for 10 missionaries in 10 countries, in addition to the monthly support it continues to provide for Village Missions. In 2014, a team of 5 Morning Star members took a short-term mission trip to serve with our missionaries in Cambodia.
Pastor Doug and Pastor Steve, along with the church family, continue to pray that the Sunday worship services, Bible studies, children’s programs and all its ministries will help fulfill the church’s vision to reach the community by letting the love of Jesus Christ shine through them. Whatever God’s plan, Morning Star Community Church will praise Him for His continued blessings.