A Spiritual Community for All
By Pamela Moskal
Crestone, Colorado is a small, former mining town in southern Colorado. It is surrounded by the magnificent Rocky Mountains. The town itself was nothing but a gas station and post office before it became a spiritual community and retreat for all religions.
Crestone, Colorado has become a spiritual community where all religions are welcomed and celebrated. It is centered around the small community of Crestone, but extends into the region beyond the small town. The town has welcomed a multitude of religious followers who have built temples, chapels, churches, synagogues, mosques, stupas, and other religious structures in and around the town and in the mountains. It has truly become a place for real religious tolerance, acceptance, and celebration of diversity of religious views.
The region around Crestone was originally home to the Ute and Comanche Indians who visited the area for healing and meditation. Later, it became a gold mining town in the 1800s and fell into decay after the mining ending. In 1970, a woman by the name of Hanne Strong donated 200,000 acres around Crestone with the intention of creating a sanctuary for the world's religions. Over the past forty years, dozens of religious centers, altars, and groups have made Crestone their home.
Crestone is now home to over a dozen religious groups. These include Catholic Carmelite nuns, Buddhist monks, Hindu nuns, American Indians, Shintos, a Jewish synagogue and many other places of worship and religious study and meditation. Many people find that Crestone is the ideal location to learn about new religions as well as strengthen one's faith in their own beliefs. What is amazing about the community is that the different groups work together, worship together, study together, and even have fun together. It isn't unusual to see Buddhist monks attending the Christmas Mass at the Roman Catholic house of worship, Hindu nuns umpiring local softball games, or inter-denominational ceremonies that share several religious practices.
A Place of the Heart