During the late summer and early fall of 1962, Mennonites began moving to La Jara, a small town of some 1,000 inhabitants in the rural San Luis Valley of south central Colorado after the Mennonite Board of Missions and Charities (Mennonite Church) contracted to operate the town’s new 20-bed Conejos County Hospital. La Jara had a large Hispanic population and was nominally Roman Catholic with a significant percentage of Mormons and some Buddhists. Allen H. Erb played a significant role in spearheading Mennonite involvement with the new hospital. In 1962 the Wayne Miller and Eugene Richer families moved to La Jara to help ready the new hospital for occupancy. The new hospital facility was dedicated on 21 April 1963, and opened for service on 9 May. The local hospital board consisted of Clifford King, Cheraw, chairman; Clayton Gingerich and Luke Birky, La Junta; Charles Harbert, Pueblo; and Robert Johnson, Pueblo. Wayne Miller was appointed administrator, and Grace Augsburger, La Junta, Director of Nursing Services.
With the aid of the mission board, the Mennonite Church of La Jara was organized on 4 January 1964, with 10 charter members to provide a spiritual home for Mennonites who worked in the local hospital and to promote community outreach. Ronald D. Hargett, who served as chaplain of the hospital, was installed as pastor on 2 January 1966.
Mennonite administration of the Conejos County Hospital was discontinued during the 1970s.
"The La Jara Story." The Echo, (19 February 1972): 4-5.
Miller, Wayne M. "Conejos County Hospital, La Jara, Colo." Gospel Herald (30 January 1962).
Unrau, Harlan D. In Pursuit of Land, Health and Mission: A History of Mennonites in the Mountain States Region. Printed in Canada by Blitzprint Inc. 2007.
Zook, Mervin D. "The Challenge at La Jara." Gospel Herald (22 November 1960): 1024-1025.
|Author(s)||Harlan D Unrau|
|Date Published||October 2011|
 Cite This Article
Unrau, Harlan D. "Conejos County Hospital (La Jara, Colorado, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. October 2011. Web. 19 Sep 2014. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Conejos_County_Hospital_(La_Jara,_Colorado,_USA)&oldid=79836.
Unrau, Harlan D. (October 2011). Conejos County Hospital (La Jara, Colorado, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 19 September 2014, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Conejos_County_Hospital_(La_Jara,_Colorado,_USA)&oldid=79836.
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