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Our Story



In 1860, gold was discovered in the mountains of Idaho. People rushed to this new, wild and undiscovered territory and The Cathedral of the Rockies can trace its roots back to that time. In 1872 the first Methodist Church in Boise City officially opened its doors with 43 dedicated and adventurous people. Idaho became a State in 1890 and the Methodist church was busting at the seams. A large, beautiful, modern new church was built at 10th and State Street until again, the congregation had outgrown its place of worship and community service. Photos from the late 1950’s show crowded rooms and a packed church with barely any standing room on Sunday mornings. In a huge leap of faith, prayer, and vision, the current Cathedral of the Rockies was completed just in time for the Christmas services of 1960. A major expansion took place in 2002 allowing for additional worship services, larger events, and better education and meeting facilities. Cathedral of The Rockies continues to grow with the recent joining of the Amity United Methodist Church and ever expanding mission, ministry, youth and outreach services and events.



 

Our current downtown campus building, “Cathedral of the Rockies”, at 11th Street and Hays, began as a building program in the late 1950s, and opened its doors for worship on December 18, 1960.

The downtown Cathedral is built in the ‘cruciform’ style meaning shaped like a cross. It is a modern adaptation of the traditional gothic cathedrals of Europe. Cathedrals are known for their many stained glass windows telling the story of Christianity. At the Cathedral of the Rockies, our windows historically and artistically enrich the beauty of the building while informing present and future generations of our Christian faith and our Methodist heritage - sprinkled with nod to our Idaho home.

The Willet Studios in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, designed and crafted our mosaic windows; made up of morsels of colored glass held together by strips of grooved lead and reinforced by iron bars securely anchored to the window frames. Features such as folds of drapery, ornament, and texture are painted on the glass with dark pigment and permanently fused by choicest hand blown pot-metal glasses from Norman slabs of great thickness.

Another unique piece of our history centers around our Cathedral Organ, which was installed and used for the first time on Sunday, December 18th, 1960. Designed by the David Wehr (then our Director of Music) and Lawrence Schoenstein, and built by the Aeolian-Skinner Organ Company of Boston, Massachusetts, the Cathedral’s pipe organ is the largest in the Northwest and is comprised of three manuals and seventy-nine ranks. As was customary at the time of its installation, pipes of all manuals are installed in chambers on each side of the chancel area with a small antiphonal manual in the balcony. Our most recent addition to the Cathedral Organ, known as an en chamade, was generously donated by one of our congregation members, Lavaughn Wells, in memory of her late husband David A. Wells. David Wells was the creator and director of the Boise State Keith Stein Blue Thunder Marching Band, and this set of 54 horizontal herald trumpet pipes celebrate his life while bringing extraordinary music to all of ours.

If you would like to view the beautiful details of the stained glass windows, please stop by the Hospitality Desk during regular church hours and pick up a self-guided tour packet.