Saturday, May 25, 2013
History of First Church
In the United Methodist Church, we trace our roots to John Wesley, an eighteenth century Anglican priest who found a way to blend his traditional high church Anglicanism with an evangelical faith and a warmed heart. We stand firmly in this tradition.
The First Church story begins with a series of missionaries sent from California with the goal of starting a Methodist Episcopal Church north in the tiny village of Phoenix. The first worship services were held in 1881 in a community meeting place, the local brush arbor. They soon built their first building, a 20 x 40 foot one room adobe meeting house.
Over the next 70 years or so, the church kept on outgrowing buildings and in the 1950's built the present sanctuary, an outstanding example of mid-century church architecture, rich in symbolism and tradition. During 2006 and 2007, we celebrated the church's 125th anniversary.
In 2008 and 2009, after many years in other locations around the city, windows from the old downtown church pictured above found their way back to First Church. We are very fortunate to have this piece of our heritage as part of our current place of worship.