Tucked behind a 7-Eleven and a liquor store, a historic church building rises above the Santa Fe art district. Commissioned in 1881 by former Colorado territorial governor Alexander Hunt, the building was once owned and restored by artist Lonnie Hanzon; you enter through a 300-year-old antique door from Paris, then pass under a cosmically decorated ceiling. The under-the-sea-meets-Mardi Gras-in-space theme continues through the bathrooms and hallways, but it co-exists comfortably with the current occupants. One large room holds scattered rows of chairs and a handful of musical instruments strewn about the far end; two upstairs bedrooms are home to a handful of young crust punks; the garage outside hosts a free bicycle workshop every Sunday afternoon.
This is the new base of the Scum of the Earth Church, a radical group of Christian outcasts hoping their brand of spirituality will find a home here, in a place where they can shed the stereotypes of being both Christians and punk-rockers. In the ten years since its inception, Scum members have congregated in everything from basements to coffeehouses to rented churches to homeless shelters. “Sometimes it’s felt like sleeping on someone’s couch for too long,” says Mike Sares, Scum’s 56-year-old senior pastor. Though he’s comfortable in his church’s new home, which Scum purchased in September 2008, he’s quick to point out that owning a building was never the goal. “The church is the people, not the building,” he says.Continue Reading on www.westword.com