Nov 172003
Authors: Jamie Way

The Virginia Dale Community Church was completely destroyed by a

fire reported around 12:30 a.m. Sunday.

Eloise Campanella of the Larimer County Sheriff’s office said

that the cause of the fire was arson. Although there are no

suspects at this time, the sheriffs department is following up on

multiple leads.

The historic church had stood for 123 years and still held

services once a month. Pastor Richard Groh, who is also the pastor

at Prospect Community Church, led the services.

“I want to meet the fellow (who did this),” Groh said. “I’m

going to shake his hand and tell him, ‘You’re forgiven. ‘”

Many businesses have offered to donate and help rebuild the


“I think it’s going to be a positive thing,” Groh said. “The

response has been absolutely astronomical.”

There have recently been a number of arson fires in Larimer

County, Groh said.

Norma Dent, who has attended Virginia Dale Community Church

intermittently since she was 2 years old, totaling nearly seven

decades, is disgusted by the news of her church being intentionally


“It’s a very sick person that does something like that,” Dent

said. “It destroyed a lot of memories.”

Among the material items destroyed, one item in particular held

fond memories for Dent, a display for those were baptized at the

church. Dent said that there were pink ribbons labeled with the

names of each female who was baptized and blue ribbons for all the

males. Although the church and many memories were lost in the

blaze, the congregation plans to overcome its difficulties.

“We’re going to have a meeting Wednesday night and go from

there,” Dent said. “They haven’t defeated us.”

Among those who responded to the fire, was Mike Golliher, a

volunteer for the Livermore Fire Department. Golliher said that by

the time he arrived on the scene, although the fire was not yet

extinguished, the church was almost totally destroyed.

“I was sad to see it go,” Golliher said. “It’s a shame.”

The church has opened an account at First National Bank and is

accepting donations under the title of Virginia Dale Community

Church Donation Fund.




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