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Catalina United Methodist Church

2700 E Speedway Blvd
Tucson, AZ, 85716
Phone: (520) 327-4296

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Sponsor Since: July 2014

Catalina Methodist February 2017

by Neil West

On April 16, 1922, a small group of Tucson’s Christian faithful banded together to establish the first permanent Methodist Episcopal Church, South, congregation in Tucson. It was named University Methodist Church, South, because of its location at 3rd St (now University Blvd) and Euclid Ave near the University of Arizona. Near by was First Methodist Church. north. built in 1881.

As University Methodist Church grew, it helped establish two churches on the west side and the Catalina Mission Church on the east side. The Catalina Mission Church bought land at the southeast corner of East Bellevue St and North Country Club Rd. Shortly thereafter, a surplus barracks-stye structure was moved from Ryan Army Air Field to the vacant lot. It became the congregation’s home.

In 1939, efforts were made to merge University and First churches. but the vote failed at University Church by one vote. Early in 1945 the Bishop of the Southern California-Arizona Annual Conference, directed that University Church should move, so in August, the Church acquired the entire city block bounded by East Speedway Blvd, North Sawtelle Ave, East First St, and North Treat Ave for $21,000. (That city block is the present site of Catalina.)

As University Church proceeded with its plans to move, the Catalina Mission merged with University Church. Initially the new church was referred to as the University-Catalina Methodist Church. The current Fellowship Hall was the first building on the new site and for five years was used as the Sanctuary. The old Ryan Army Air Field barracks were moved from the Catalina Mission site to become the first Sunday School building. The church grew rapidly. By 1951 it had 1,759 members. As the church grew, the Youth Center, the current Sanctuary, a Children’s Building, and an Adult Education and Music Building were constructed.

The history of Catalina would not be complete without mention of the Sunday Night Forums. For 35 years, the Forums brought speakers from around the world to Tucson such as: Martin Niemoller, Senator Margaret Chase, Chief Justice William O Douglas, Jackie Robinson, Eleanor Roosevelt, Barry Goldwater, John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, George H. Bush and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

By the early 1960s, the church’s membership reached 4,141. By this time, as the city’s growth was occurring on the east and north sides, many families moved from the church’s neighborhood. It began a time of membership decline. However, the decline in members has not affected the commitment and quality of ministry Catalina provides. During those years, Catalina helped establish many other United Methodist Congregations in Tucson.

Today, Catalina is an alive, vibrant and growing congregation. It offers the very best of traditional worship and contemporary worship. Young families are joining the church again and the young adult fellowship is growing. A great future lies ahead for this historic church that still services faithfully as the body of Christ.

Catalina United Methodist church is located midtown at 2700 E. Speedway Blvd. The Methodists are a world wide connectional denomination with an estimated 12.3 million members. Methodism was founded in 1729 by John Wesley an Anglican minister who was actively engaged in ‘doing as much as you can, for as many as you can, forever as long as you can to improve the world.’ The connectional conferences such as our Desert Southwest Conference are integral to the outreach missions for Methodists. Our faith is guided by Scripture, tradition, experience and reason. United Methodists trust a free inquiry in matters of Christian doctrine.

Catalina welcomes all “wherever you are in your spiritual journey, whatever your age, gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, economic status, education, physical or mental ability, family structure or religious background, you are welcome here!” Catalina has been a hub for social justice and outreach to the children and disadvantaged. Our mission is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

The midday temps are rising and with that our spirits are moving upward at Catalina. February starts with United Methodist Women on Wednesday, February 1 with a noon luncheon. The theme this year is ‘Building Community’. February is ‘Building Community through Love’!

United Methodist Women (UMW) will be having their special Chocolate Heaven on Sunday, February 12. Chocolate goodies for $5.00 per plate! Building Community through Love is the theme for February. The next luncheon will be Wednesday, March 1, at noon in Fellowship Hall. The theme in March will be ‘Building Community through Prayer and self Denial’.

Outreach Missions of Catalina include the Casa Maria feeding every six weeks. Our next date will be Feb 10 and 11. Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich making occurs on Friday, March 10 from 4 – 6 p.m. in E. 18.

Sign up to help with the serving on Saturday, February 11.

Come spread the love by making Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches for Casa Maria on Friday, March 10 between 4 – 6 p.m. in room E- 18. The next day, Saturday, March 11 our Catalina team will be preparing a hot meal and sack lunches at Casa Maria. Meet at the church at 7:45 a.m. Saturday. To volunteer contact:

Fruit Harvesting Youth group will start at 2 p.m. on Sunday, February 12, to pick unused fruit in Tucson. Dress to be outside, bring a water bottle and bring a friend. We hope to have some of our friends that we met at the Packathon to join us in this effort. The fruit is delivered to over 20 different agencies in Tucson and to refugee families. Contact or to volunteer.

Rev. Dr. Kirk Reed is continuing his Sunday School study of ’13 Men and women Who can Inspire our Faith’ in Room E-18 each Sunday at 9 a.m. February 12 is Leo Tolstoy and Feodor Dostoevsky. February 19 Mahatma Gandhi.

Catalina is a favorite venue for many organizations performing choral music. January 29 the church was one of 3 locations in Tucson and S. AZ for the True Concord’s outstanding performance of Mendelssohn’s ‘Elijah’. Over 650 people fill the sanctuary to hear the 100 voice choir and orchestra do this monumental choral work. Future performances at Catalina will include Arizona Choral Society, Arizona Repertory Singers, Tucson Master Works, and University of Arizona Choirs during the coming March and April season.

United Methodist Men will meet again on March 4, 2017. The speaker will be Oscar A. Diaz. (insert flyer) Take out Diana Sammataro news.


Catalina partnered with Temple Emanu-El and the Muslim Community Center of Arizona to pack 50,000 meals which were distributed to 10 S. Arizona agencies.

Cooking at Primavera Men’s Shelter is an ongoing mission at Catalina.

All information and photos submitted by Catalina Methodist Church
Catalina United Methodist Church


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Catalina United Methodist Church


Catalina Organ Festival

The Catalina Organ Festival will be hosting Thomas Mellan, a native of Lyon, France currently pursuing a double major in organ performance and Composition at USC Thornton School of Music in Los Angeles. This sensational prolific young star has won many awards and will be giving a concert with Bach, Schoenberg as well as world premiere of his own composition L’Ballade de l’Impossible! This concert is co-sponsored by the S. AZ American Organ Guild (SAAGO). Students with ID are free as well as SAAGO members. for more information about the Catalina Organ Festival

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