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. catalinamethodist.org
The Lenten Season is the 40 day liturgical period prior to Palm Sunday and Easter.
Palm Sunday April 9 will feature a children’s processional with palms at the 9:00 a.m. Contemporary Refuge Service in Fellowship Hall and in the 11:00 a.m. Traditional Sanctuary Service. The Sanctuary service will feature a special presentation of Dietrich Buxtehude’s Membra Jesu Nostri by with Sanctuary choir with soloists and small chamber ensemble. Jonathan Kim is the Director. Pastors Matt Ashley and Richard Jones will be leading the services.
Holy Week services will continue with the Maundy Thursday service at 7:00 p.m. April 13 in Fellowship Hall. Pastor Richard Jones will be leading the service. Music will be provided by the Sanctuary Choir and Holy Communion will be served.
Good Friday, April 14 will begin with a family Dinner and worship in Fellowship Hall at 5:30 p.m. There will be a meditation and prayers service in the Chapel at 7 p.m.
EASTER IS A BIG DEAL! Come and join us as we celebrate the Risen Christ!
Easter Sunday, April 16 begins with a Sunrise Service at 6:00 a.m. gathering in the Memorial Rose Gardens and culminates in Fellowship Hall. Immediately following the Easter Sunrise Service enjoy a pancake and sausage breakfast in Room H230 from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m.!
Easter Worship at 8:00 a.m. in Chapel will celebrate the Risen Christ with special music by our Scholarship Singers.
9:00 a.m. The Refuge alternative Easter worship will be in Fellowship Hall.
10:10 A.M. An Easter Sunday Eggstra Special Sunday School and Egg Hunt in E – 18 for children ages 3 – 10. Parents are welcome to gather in the Pine Tree Patio to watch the egg hunt and take photos.
11 a.m. Come celebrate in the Sanctuary with Holy Communion and special music with handbells, organ and choir! Music will include some selections from Handel’s Messiah!
Methodist Men meeting is April 1 at 8 a.m.
Methodists are serving others throughout the community. Thursday afternoon, April 13 from 4 – 6 p.m. gather to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for Casa Maria. The team will serve at Casa Maria on Saturday, April 15!
Primavera Men’s Shelter team will be serving on Saturday, April 22 from 1 – 6 p.m. If you want to be on a team contact Al Goodemote.
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.