DENVER, Colorado (KDVR) - For 113 years, this corner church has been a pillar of its Denver neighborhood. But with new owners come new ideas: A group of Elevationists have put weed into their worship.
They say the old church is still a church. And it does still look like a church – kind of. It’s been colorfully repainted by world renowned church artist Okuna san Miguel.
"We don`t believe that a church needs to necessarily be drab and boring for it to be a spiritual place,” explained Steve Berke of the International Church of Cannabis.
The sanctuary has, and now, smoking is encouraged.
"Yes, you can use cannabis in this space, up in the chapel, on the patio,” Berke continued. “It’s our First Amendment right to practice our religion."
So what exactly is that religion?
"Elevationism is not a replacement to your existing faith; it`s more a supplement to it,” Berke offered. “You can be a Christian and an Elevationist, you can be a Jewish and an Elevationist, as long as you believe in elevating your life to the best version of yourself."
So while they welcome all religions, some of the neighbors aren't as welcoming."I hope the city looks into this,” one offered. "I know they put a lot of care into it, but a little more thought for the neighborhood and what jives would have been really helpful.”
But not all of West Wash Park is upset. "The area needs something like this," one neighbor insisted.
And the Elevationists hope their church is a hit.
"We're not a bunch of Cheech and Chong stoners," Berke added. "We really want to impact our community in a positive way and be respectful neighbors. Once people understand what that concept is all about, they're not going to be as afraid of us."