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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 March 2017

by Neil West

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.

Every Wednesday morning there is business men’s Bible study group meeting in the church library. Meeting time is 6:45 a.m.

Tres Cruces Luncheon will be Sunday, March 5, at 12:15 p.m. in Fellowship Hall. This free recognition luncheon is sponsored by the Catalina United Methodist foundation. All are invited to come learn about the foundation and its role at Catalina. Please call the church offices at 327-4296 to make your reservation. The foundation is a very active and supportive mission helping to further the outreach of Catalina in Tucson and around the world. We will hear about how distributions of scholarship monies have assisted others in the mission of Catalina.

Music is a vital part of Catalina. You can be involved with choir, handbells as part of your service to the life of Catalina.

The Catalina Organ Festival will be presenting Thomas Mellan on Saturday evening, March 18, 2017 at 7 p.m. This young phenom is currently studying at USC pursuing a double major in composition and organ performance. This concert is cosponsored by the S. Arizona American Guild of Organists (SAAGO). Tickets are available online or at the church offices. SAAGO members are free as well as students with an ID. Reception with the organist follows the concert.

On the 4th Saturday of every month Market on the Move is held under the solar panels in the West Parking lot. You may get 60 lbs of produce for $10! Held from 8 – 11 a.m.

Primavera Cook teams prepare a meal at the Primavera Men’s Shelter on the 4th Saturday of every month. Al Goodemote is the coordinator for this outreach mission of Catalina. Teams of 4 or 5 fellows meet to prepare a meal of mashed potatoes, gravy, biscuits, salad, and meat!

There are many different outreach missions from Catalina. Check out the opportunities to serve here:


Catalina Organ Festival for more information about the Catalina Organ Festival

Special from the Catalina Organ Festival

The next featured performer of The Catalina Organ Festival is rising star, Thomas Mellan. This young artist (in his early 20's) shows his amazing talent and his winning personality at the mighty Quimby pipe organ at Catalina United Methodist Church,  Saturday evening, March 18, 2017 at 7 pm. A reception with the organist will follow the concert in Fellowship Hall.

Tickets are available at: Church offices 327-4296 or online.

Born in Lyon, France in 1995, organist/composer Thomas Mellan was awarded first place in the keyboard division of the 2015 and 2016 national competitions sponsored by the Musical Merit Foundation. In 2011, he was one of six organists invited to record on the official Walt Disney Concert Hall Organ DVD. As Young Artist of the Year, he performed a solo recital in the 23rd Organ Festival at St. Eustache in Paris, France. He was invited as Rising Star to perform in the Centennial International Summer Organ Festival at the Spreckels Pavilion, San Diego, CA.

He has studied composition, counterpoint and harmony since the age of twelve. His catalogue of over thirty compositions includes orchestral, chamber and solo works. His work …on transcendence…, for five solo cellos and orchestra, was premiered by the Sakura cello quintet and the USC Thornton Symphony under the direction of Donald Crockett in 2016. Compositions have been performed in such venues as the Chautauqua Institute (New York), Rider University and the Princeton University Chapel (Princeton, New Jersey), the Spreckels Organ Pavilion (San Diego, California), Walt Disney Concert Hall, (Los Angeles, California), the University of Southern California and Église St. Eustache (Paris, France). 

Mellan is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Music degree with a double major in organ performance and composition at the University of Southern California, Thornton School of Music. He is studying organ with Cherry Rhodes and composition with Donald Crockett. Mellan received the Presser Undergraduate Scholar Award in 2016. He was awarded the Thornton Faculty Award in 2013, the most prestigious scholarship awarded to an undergraduate at the USC Thornton School of Music.

This concert is co-sponsored by SAAGO, the Southern Arizona American Guild of Organists, currently celebrating its 80th Anniversary! This extraordinary concert is free to students with an ID card and to current members of SAAGO. 

Mr. Mellan will perform works by Schoenberg, Bach, Reubke and a world premier of Mellan's newest composition,  Ballade de l’impossible....."This is my first piece in a life-long project to propel the organ into a new era: the organ has only rarely benefited from a single composer who pushed it past its limits, redefining what is possible on the instrument. These are my goals starting with the Ballade."

The future is indeed bright for composers and performers of the organ with the extraordinary brilliance and passion of young artists like Mr. Mellan

Submitted by Dennis Grannan, Associate Director of Music at Catalina Methodist and principal organist at Catalina.


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.

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


Street View
Map View

March 1st marks the beginning of the Lenten season in the liturgical calendar of the church. Lent is a season of preparation for Easter marked by 40 days not counting Sundays. Catalina will begin this season with weekly services every Wednesday evening at 7 p.m. in Fellowship Hall. In addition, there will be daily devotions available online.

You may access these devotions in several ways using the link above!

Family First Friday has been a regular part of Catalina’s mission to families. Please join us at 5:30 p.m. Friday, March 3, in Fellowship Hall for a free dinner and games for all!

Catalina UMC

Oscar Diaz, Senior Vice president of CBIZ

Saturday morning March 4, 2017 Methodist Men will feature Oscar Diaz, Senior Vice president of CBIZ discussing ‘Health Care Trends for 2017-2018’. Our famous $3 breakfast will precede the talk. Coffee and breakfast available at 8 a.m.!

Catalina UMC
Catalina United Methodist Church


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