by Pam Zubeck
If you're led by a preacher who copped a plea after being accused of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from another church ... where better to gather than a place known as Syn?
St. George’s Anglican Church is eyeing the historic stone building at 217 E. Pikes Peak Ave., which was built as an Episcopal church in 1901. Most recently, though, it housed the Syn nightclub — one of the rowdiest places downtown. It closed in March 2010 after the city revoked its liquor license for violations.
St. George’s broke away from Grace and St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church several years ago amid an investigation of the Rev. Don Armstrong’s handling of church funds. The congregation moved from Grace, 601 N. Tejon St., after a judge ruled the diocese, not St. George’s, was the rightful owner. Armstrong’s group relocated to 2760 Fieldstone Road, which is owned by a bank.
Parish member Bob Balink, El Paso County’s treasurer, says a group that helps people with autism is interested in buying the Fieldstone property.
And frankly, St. George’s wants to get back downtown, Armstrong says.
“I like it a lot because it’s centrally located for our congregation,” he says. “Because it was once a church, it looks and feels like a church.” The windows are arched, the ceilings vaulted, and it's very roomy, he notes. He also says St. George's is interested in the parking lot north of the building.
“We’re already in talks to see if these pieces fall together,” Armstrong says, adding the church will know more in 30 days.
Given its downtown location, Armstrong predicts the church might initiate more events, such as a lenten lunches program, or evening gatherings. Oh, and the building’s former identity isn’t lost on Armstrong, who says, “We can turn Syn into a place of redemption. That will be kind of fun.“