Men's Fellowship

The earliest available documentation for Men’s Fellowship is in the June 15, 1960 Mission Bell newsletter. Their meetings featured a cookout with charcoal-broiled steaks followed by a speaker. Their mission was to “stimulate an intellectual and spiritual interest in the work of the church.” The objective was to “provide a forum for men to engage in fellowship, worship, and service projects.”

Men’s Fellowship programs have included speakers on survival, racecars, POW experiences, school district issues, the Old Testament, religious topics, financial planning, military topics, health issues, and so much more. Over the years they have contributed to the missions of the church by helping with the Women’s Christian Service Fellowship cookie walk, delivering Christmas gifts, and supporting the Agua Fria Food Bank. The photo features the Men's Fellowship cookout on June 10, 1963.

James K. Ord, Sixth Pastor

Rev. Ord had ministered at the First Congregational Church in Tucson prior to coming here. We have no information regarding his education or denomination.

The Church Annual Reports start in 1967. Rev. Ord’s report that year was full of events and programs. He highlighted the workshops for the Church Council, orientation for new members, Advent and Lenten Season events, Vacation Church School, and the Thanksgiving Service. There is also mention of him conducting a worship service in the Wigwam’s Arizona Room for the members of the Soil Conservation Group hosted by the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company.

During the 1960's, the church was valued at $23,000. Rev. Ord’s 1967 salary was $7,860, of which $660 was his annuity paid for by the Women’s Christian Service Fellowship. During his last year as pastor, there were 318 members and 80+ in the Sunday school.

Missions Committee

Although the church was involved in mission work from its inception, the first documentation of the church’s missions work is in 1961. At that time, it was called the “Social Concerns Committee.” Its focus was local community welfare issues and international organizations specifically Esperança.

In 1980 the Agua Fria Food Bank was officially organized, and the Social Concerns Committee became involved. Church people were also providing drivers for the Red Cross.

In 1981, the Board of Directors and Council on Ministries chose to organize a Missions Committee within the Church Council. Starting in 1982, ten percent of monies received quarterly went to missions. The Missions Committee selected Save-A-Child League, the United Church of Christ Southwest Conference, the Agua Fria Food Bank, a Pastor’s Discretionary Fund, high school scholarships, and Esperança as their missions. Fran Grumbling was the first Mission Committee chairman.

In 1983 the Missions Committee and Social Concerns combined. Over the years many organizations have been selected to receive mission funding. The first mission trip was in 2006 to Kayenta, AZ followed in 2014 to El Paso, TX; 2016 to Loveland, CO; 2017 to Calaveras, CA; and 2019 to Castener, Puerto Rico.

25th Anniversary Celebration

On October 20, 1963 the 11:00 service was devoted to the anniversary with Reverend Ord’s sermon, “A Foundation of Silver,” and special music by the choir. The Arizona Council of Churches executive secretary brought greetings from the Council. That evening dinner was served on the grass in front of the colonnade. The evening presentation was by the pastor of the First Congregational Church of Phoenix, “Is It too late for the Church?”

Women's Christian Service Fellowship

By 1965, the Electa Owen Fellowship group and the Guild were having trouble finding officers. Betty Ord, the pastor’s wife, had been very active in the Guild and seemingly instrumental in the reorganization into the Women’s Christian Service Fellowship, which was announced in the 1965 Church Annual Report.

Their bylaws were very similar to the prior women’s groups. Their purpose was “to perform Christian services; develop an intellectual and spiritual interest in the work of the Church; to serve the Church and community; and to fund-raise to enable the women to improve as well as initiate new services to the Church and community.”

In the Church archives are every set of WCSF minutes, except the first one. They are filled with the details of bazaars, fundraisers, as well as items which had been purchased, organized, and contributed to the church. Their Benevolence Program has always been the heart of their organization. From 1967 to 2020 they donated well over $145,000 to charities. For the Church WCSF donated $316,000 for a myriad of items from kitchen wares to scholarships. Much of the funding came from their management of the Thrift Shop and a myriad of fundraisers.

The circles, called “the Circles of Friends,” were launched in 1983, designed to create small groups of women who share common interests, needs, and fellowship. There were six circles, all involved with study, fellowship, and philanthropies.

Over the years there has been the Helping Hands program, speakers, field trips, ice cream socials, annual bazaars, cookbooks, potluck dinners, retreats, pastor welcome and retirement socials, and brunches for Mother’s Day, Christmas, Father’s Day, and St. Patrick’s Day. Together with the other churches, there were the Ecumenical Fashions Shows and the annual World Day of Prayer events.

In 2021 WCSF was disbanded, making way for Life Groups.

The Thrift Shop

The first Thrift Shop sale was October 20, 1966, in Hank Raymond’s Boswell Cotton Gin. It was Millicent Whitwell’s idea; she was the church organist and choir director. The objective was “to raise charitable funds to help migrant farm workers, provide funds for the church, in addition to providing fellowship, purpose, and Christian opportunity for the women.” The ladies gathered clothing and washed and mended them for the sale. The first sale netted $56.02; by May they made $1,033.19 and spent it on air conditioning for the sanctuary and other items.

The Thrift Shop was moved into Zieske Hall in 1969, but all of the items had to be brought out from storage for the sale and then returned. In 1991 the parsonage carport was enclosed, allowing the women to display their sale items and leave them out between sales. There was quite a celebration. Over the 54 years the Thrift Shop has earned over $483,000, and it was only open one day a month until 1991, when it was expanded to two days a month, the first Saturday and the third Thursday. With the 2021 Church reorganization the Thrift Shop became a Church wide mission.

The Parsonage

The official groundbreaking for the parsonage was June 19, 1967. The church purchased the land for $1,600 and the house was donated by The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, since the church was still owned by the company.

The parsonage was dedicated on October 6, 1967 and Rev. Ord and his family were the first to live there. Rev. Plumlee also lived there, but after he moved to a house in Litchfield Park, it became rental property.

In 1982, at the request of the rapidly growing Sunday school program, it became Sunday school classrooms. The Thrift Shop moved to the enclosed carport in 1991 creating more of a store atmosphere. At the insistence of parents, in 2009 the building became a weekend gathering place for the church teens with chaperones and activities. It was then that it was dedicated as the Watt House in honor of Jess and Beulah Watt, long-time members.


With the first notes of the prelude, our young acolytes bring in the symbol of our Lord, the light, and as they pass through the congregation to the altar, they are reminding us that God is with us during our worship time together. As we watch the flame bringing light to each candle, we are further reminded that Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in the darkness but will have the light of life.” John 8:12 (NIV).

The earliest history is in the 1967 annual report where Reverend Ord announced that with the second service being added to Sunday morning at 9:30 there was a need for more boys to light the candles.

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