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Everyone knows the region's big Christian groups. Love 'em or loathe 'em, nonprofits such as Focus on the Family and churches of New Life's ilk get lots of attention and give Colorado Springs a certain image.

A neighbor of mine in Wyoming thought my move down here was akin to settling in the Holy Land. Others, well ... they reacted differently.

Summit Ministries in Manitou Springs (cover story) gets less attention than its bigger-budget cousins. It quietly offers a summer camp to buttress teens' Christian beliefs, and sells a range of books and products to share that worldview.

The nonprofit's president urges students to remain vigilant against what he describes as a vast gay conspiracy, and he writes that evolution is basically a junk theory.

Even leaving these teachings aside, some locals worry about the impact of a growing religious nonprofit on a small city. Manitou could lose revenue if Summit seeks new property tax exemptions, and it's not clear even now whether the city gets its fair share in sales tax from Summit's business.

To their credit, Summit leaders talked openly with me about their beliefs and concerns.

In that spirit, I introduce them to you.
Anthony Lane

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