History

Phoenix First Congregational was organized in 1917.

We became part of the United Church of Christ in 1960.

The ministers of First Church

Rev James B Pennington 2014-present, current pastor
Rev Dr Wallace Ryan-Kuroiwa, Interim 2012-2013
Rev Dr Stephen E. Wayles 1992-2012
Edward L Hughes, Interim 1992
John Hollowell, Interim 1991
Leroy Wayne Calbom 1982 – 1991
Robert Y Johnson, Interim 1981 – 1982
Duane Cossart 1979 – 1981
Maurice Haehlen, Interim 1978
Hugh Shelby Lee 1961 – 1978 – Minister Emeritus
Willis E. Smith, Interim 1961
Leslie W. Pugh, Interim 1961
Walter H. Stark, Interim 1961
Perry Avery, Interim 1961
J. Ford Forsyth 1956 – 1961
DeWitt Joseph Brady, Interim 1956
Fredrick A. Barnhill 1946 – 1956
Fred A. Line, Univ. 1931 – 1945
C. M. Calderwood 1926 – 1930
J. C. Treat 1923 – 1926
G. D. Yoakum 1919 – 1923
J. Spencer Voorhees 1918 – 1919
Samuel E. Lynd 1916 – 1917

Assistant or Associate Ministers:

Judy Green-Davis 2010-2013
Jeffrey Dirrum 2009 -2011
Ruthanne Cochran 1996 – 2001
Clinton Reynolds 1994 – 1995
Carl Eschenbrenner 1988 – 1989
Noel Dean Vanek 1985 – 1987
John Miller 1984 – 1985
George McKinley 1983 – 1984
Paul Eaton 1979 – 1981
Charles Guerreno 1976 – 1979
Harold Bradshaw 1971 – 1975
Jack Holz 1971 – 1972
Alan McLarty 1971 – 1975
George Lacy 1965 – 1970
Lester Kennedy 1964 – 1969
Alwin Bulau 1963 – 1964
James E. Knister 1963 – 1964
Vera M. Butler 1962 – 1965
William Hull 1959 – 1961
James Brewster Yee 1957 – 1959
Amber Van 1955 – 1956
DeWitt Joseph Brady 1954 – 1956
William H. Goodall 1953 – 1954
Leon Thompson 1951 – 1953
Katherine Hooper 1950
Helen Line Herbrecht 1948 – 1950
Helen Line Case 1941 – 1944

Historical Background:

Started as a Congregational Bible School by the Rev. Samuel E. Lynd of the Home Missionary Society, about 35 members met at a bungalow at Portland and 3rd Streets. They soon chose to become The First Congregational Church of Phoenix, Arizona, June 25, 1917, and bought land nearby. By 1919, the Parish House was built; the basic present sanctuary was built in 1942; and the entire campus completed in 1968. The name was changed to the First Congregational United Church of Christ of Phoenix, Arizona, in 1960, when we joined the UCC.

Since in the 1950’s and 1960’s Phoenix, still small, had little in cultural activities, the church’s offerings of Book Reviews, Town Meetings, and Seminars attracted city-wide crowds, as did our Annual Smorgasbord. Our annual Thanksgiving Day Service, conducted like a Pilgrim meeting, featured boys “drumming in” parishioners to be greeted by a costumed Pilgrim family. This event has been held every year since 1960. Another modern-day activity is our monthly winter and spring Concert in the Courtyard series, featuring musical programs.

A highlight in 1951 was our God and Freedom Medal, sent world-wide, which earned the men’s Club the First Place Freedom Award in 1954 and national recognition. The Medal was sold for many years, carried by many famous personalities.

We supported a Guadalajara medical mission for about 20 years; worked with the Golden Gate Settlement House for years; and now support ICM, since its establishment in 1982, with weekly donations. Through the years, we have adopted families: a Dutch family forced to leave Indonesia; a Vietnamese family after the war; and numerous local families in need.

Our Church helped start North Church (now Church of the Beatitudes) in 1953.

Since 1951, we have had a Christmas Eve service open to all; and since 1963, we have welcomed many to our Lenten Luncheon services during Lent.

Prior to outgrowing our space, and building their own facility,  The Arizona School for the Arts students used our facilities during the week for their Charter School. This school was named the best Charter School in the state.

In 1978 H. S. Lee was made Minister Emeritus.