ARIZONA NEWS

Central United Methodist Church in Phoenix to cease operations after 154 years

Apr 29, 2024, 1:00 PM

PHOENIX — After 154 years of operations, the Central United Methodist Church in Phoenix is set to close later this year.

The congregation for the church located near McDowell Road and Central Avenue voted to close the doors on April 21, the Desert Southwest Conference announced. An official closing date wasn’t announced.

The vote was based off of recommendations from leaders of the church. The announcement is scheduled to be formalized at the Desert Southwest Annual Conference in Tucson this summer.

“Phoenix is a better community and the lives of countless individuals have been enriched because of the ministry of Central United Methodist Church, including their decision to be a reconciling congregation,” East District Superintendent Rev. Melissa Rynders said in the release.

“We know this decision was a difficult one for the congregation to make. The core of our faith as United Methodists is that we believe in death and resurrection. While the ministry of Central United Methodist Church has come to its faithful completion, we know that new ministry will rise out of the legacy and faithfulness of the people of Central UMC.”

Here’s the history of Central UMC in Phoenix

The Phoenix establishment was founded in 1870 by Alexander Groves.

When the small congregation first started meeting, they would worship along the Salt River, under a grove of Mesquite trees. The congregation used several structures to worship in.

It wasn’t until 1904 that the growing community moved into its second permanent structure, a brick building. Several years later, the city’s first pipe organ was installed in the building.

Decades later, in 1950, the current structure was dedicated.

Since its inception, the church has been instrumental is establishing the Good Samaritan Hospital and Goodwill Industries in Phoenix.

Here are a list of other congregations that Central Church assisted with starting:

  • Bethel United Methodist Church.
  • Youngstown United Methodist Church.
  • Crossroads United Methodist Church.
  • Paradise Valley United Methodist Church.
  • Epworth United Methodist Church.
  • Calvary United Methodist Church.
  • Payson United Methodist Church.
  • Mission church in Isinya, Kenya.

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Central United Methodist Church in Phoenix to cease operations after 154 years