For more than 50 years, PVUMC has served people in this community. In 1960, a group of individuals and families from Central Phoenix set out to establish a Methodist church in the northeast Valley. Originally, the group met in the Cudia City Studio. Over time, they bought 15 acres of land west of the intersection of Tatum and Lincoln, situated between the Phoenix mountains to the north and Camelback Mountain to the south. At that time, the surrounding area was relatively undeveloped. Our founders’ foresight in securing the land has enabled our church to grow over time to expand our ministries while still being blessed by the beauty of our natural environment.
At the time, the design of the building, with its custom stained glass window and situation in harmony with the surrounding desert, attracted local and national attention. In the 1980s, we added our amphitheatre and sanctuary. In the 1990s, we added the basketball courts, classrooms, a stage, kitchen and dining area and the Paradise Perks coffee shop. These additions accompanied growth of our congregation size, and subsequently PVUMC’s reputation grew: more than 300 children participated in our Vacation Bible School, our Adult classes hosted international speakers and our congregation discussed important social issues.
In the 2000s, we began to participate in Valley Interfaith Project, a community organizing ministry that helped influence policy in AZ on sex-trafficking, job training and health care expansion for the poor. We launched “Open Table” ministry to help the poor and homeless in our community, and our successful model has been adopted in 23 states. We helped start a UMC in Fountain Hills and in general have consistently developed a reputation for being mission-minded both locally and throughout the world.
We prioritize creating an all-inclusive spiritual home for a diverse membership. In 2016, our Invitation Statement made it clear we’re welcoming of all regardless of politics, theology, sexual orientation or gender identity. Our church further demonstrated our boldness in hosting the convocation of the first openly gay UMC Bishop. Not only was the Bishop gay, but diversity was demonstrated through the presence of Hispanic, African-American and Japanese Bishops of the Western Jurisdiction.
Our vision for the future is to mimic this history full of impact and innovation.