Karen Vannoy, South District Superintendent
After 44 years, a historic vote at St. Francis UMC in Tucson, Arizona was taken on Sunday, September 22, 2013 to enter a capital campaign to raise $1,000,000 in funds to build a new worship center at St. Francis UMC. Over $200,000 has already been committed by the membership of the church. Rev. David Wilkinson, who served at St. Francis as lead pastor in 1981, will be retiring July 1, 2014. The new worship center has been his long-time dream. It is not only a chance for the ministry at St. Francis to continue, but an opportunity for growth. “Several times in our history we have reached this point… where we are running out of room, bursting at the seams,” shared Rev. Wilkinson. In the past, the congregation has failed to take this step and expand to their worship potential. This time, the congregation took a leap of faith to move forward.
This fall St. Francis UMC will be adding a third worship service in order to accommodate the number of people wishing to attend worship, but the additional service alone will not address the need for a new space. It is possible that the new building will allow them move back to two worship services, but only time will tell. New worship space typically results in a 10-20% increase in attendance once the new facility opens. The congregation already owns enough land to make this expansion possible, and additional parking will be a part of the expansion plan as well. The congregation will go before the South District Church Location and Building Committee in October to share their plans.
Please keep St. Francis in your prayers as they seek financial commitments from the congregation to make this long-time dream a reality.