Please Save the Safety Net of Canyon Chapel Ministries at the San Miguel Ranch Guest Commentary
Aug 01, 2005 | 132 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Who helps those who need it most? Most of us do not want to get personally involved with those who have "problems," but we would like someone else to be there for them. Our community has few safety nets. For that reason, one organization takes in the homeless from three counties. Canyon Chapel Ministries at the San Miguel Ranch is an emergency shelter for homeless men, women and children, foster children, rape victims, and even those recovering from severe medical injuries with no where else to go. Canyon Chapel Ministries pays for the heat, electric and food needed by desperate guests. People have been sent there from Ouray, Montrose and San Miguel counties for 26 years. People come when they are needy, and leave when they get their "feet on the ground."

Suddenly, the pastor, Clint Perry, has heard that the owner of the land will sell it because he is liquidating his assets. The kind people that live there would like to keep serving the community in these many important ways, but they need an "angel," someone to buy the land and give them a lease to continue their life-supporting work.

The San Miguel Ranch is the site where the family unit has been supported for decades. It is on Highway 145, three miles southeast of the Norwood Hill bridge. The Ranch boasts 47 acres of mostly riverfront property, from mountain top to mountain top. There are about seven acres of usable land, and on them are some buildings. Ten small cottages line the driveway, six on one side, four on the other. There is also one small house, and two mobile homes. At the end of the drive is the main hall, including two dining rooms, a fireplace, a small office, and a large kitchen. Beyond that is a series of ponds, which are ringed by graceful tall shade trees and marshes. Ducks and geese serenely glide across the water, and past that the San Miguel River rushes by.

Who are these people? A family helping families! Canyon Chapel Ministries is a non-profit organization which includes Clint and his wife Becky Perry, and their extended family. Clint Perry is a counselor and pastor; he has a THM in theology from the Dallas Seminary, and a MS in counseling from the National Association of Christian Counselors. His sister, Michelle, is a gifted crisis counselor and is bilingual in Spanish and English. Clint and Michelle work for Canyon Chapel Ministries, and live at the San Miguel Ranch, where phones ring "off the hook." Their decades of caring counseling have earned them both an excellent reputation.

The staff and the family are the same people; they live in three of the cottages, and in the two mobile homes. Seven cottages are available for guests. Most of the extended family have jobs outside of the Ranch, and the personal money of the family often keeps the doors of the ministry open.

Clint and Becky started ministering from the San Miguel Ranch in 1979, 26 years ago. Clint has been the director of ministries for the entire time. Clint has been the pastor of the San Miguel Basin Christian Fellowship from 1982 to 1986, and then again from 1996 to present. From 1986 to 1996, he helped a church in Pueblo, driving back and forth often, and then he and Becky moved back to the Ranch. Clint Perry has been involved in the Norwood Schools in several ways, including crisis counseling, coaching football and teaching college-level classes in psychology and sociology.

What has Canyon Chapel Ministries done at the San Miguel Ranch in 26 years? The goal of the ministry there is to build up and restore the family unit, when possible. Over 350 families have benefited from the work at the Ranch, from every state of the United States, and also the Virgin Islands and Mexico. The kind ears and words at the Canyon Chapel has benefited countless people in the region. In addition to emergency housing for the homeless from San Miguel, Ouray and Montrose counties, including men, women and children, the ministry has counseled and housed suicidal people, rape victims and fed families when their grocery money runs out. They have helped furnish homes and completely furnished two families' homes in the past 18 months. They have given a place for people to detoxify their systems after alcohol abuse. They have nursed indigent people who were put out of the hospital with severe head injuries and broken backs. Clint and Michelle have served on regional professional boards, including the board of directors of Midwest Mental Health for over 15 years, and the Mental Health Board of Southwestern Colorado. Clint and Becky Perry have taken in foster children since 1973, and have taken in over 20 of them.

Clint and Michelle know how to help people who are overwhelmed and helpless. They are experienced and wise, and have blessed our community quietly for decades. They would like to continue this important work for the community's sake, because there is no one else in the region who provides the type of comfort that they do. The people at Canyon Chapel Ministries have a rare gift for "human recycling," and have given innumerable people hope. Clint Perry hopes mainly that the Ranch will continue to succeed.

The community needs someone to buy the San Miguel Ranch, and give Canyon Chapel Ministries a lease to continue. In the business world, such a buyer is known as an "angel." The beautiful property is a good investment monetarily, and a good investment for the health of the community, as Canyon Chapel Ministries has proven for over two decades. The staff and family would like to continue to work from the San Miguel Ranch, and to make needed repairs. One day, Clint and Becky would like to build a family house on their 40 acres near the church in Redvale, to make more room at the Ranch for the guests.
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