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.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

19-year-old motorcyclist dies in glendale...

19-year-old dies in motorcycle crash in Glendale

A 19-year-old motorcyclist died in a traffic collision near Glendale Avenue and 99th Street on Saturday morning, authorities said.

35 minutes ago

A file photo of a water fountain. Three chilled water fountains are coming to the hiking trails a...

County leaders invest in chilled water fountains at McDowell Mountain Regional Park

Three chilled water fountains will be installed surrounding the hiking trails at McDowell Mountain Regional Park.

1 hour ago

The Italiano, located near 90th Street and Shea Boulevard, will open its doors this summer. It wi...

The Italiano restaurant to open this summer in Scottsdale

Another new Italian restaurant from award-winning Chef Joey Maggiore is arriving in Scottsdale. The Italiano will open its doors this summer.

3 hours ago

Tempe-based Nectero Medical raised $96 million in a series D round to accelerate clinical trials. (...

Amy Edelen/Phoenix Business Journal

Tempe biotech firm Nectero lands $96M VC investment to support clinical trials

A Tempe-based biotech company has landed one of the largest venture capital deals – if not the biggest – so far this year in Arizona.

3 hours ago

Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs...

Governor Hobbs to appear at Memorial Day ceremony for military service members, veterans

Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs will appear at a special Memorial Day ceremony to honor military service members, veterans and their families.

12 hours ago


Associated Press

Movie theaters see slowest Memorial Day box office in decades

The box office is cruising for a two-decade low. “Furiosa,” claimed the first place spot for Friday-Saturday-Sunday with $25.6 million.

17 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.



Here are 5 things Arizona residents need to know about their HVAC system

It's warming back up in the Valley, which means it's time to think about your air conditioning system's preparedness for summer.


Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Day & Night is looking for the oldest AC in the Valley

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.

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