Our Mission and Vision Statement
Sharing God’s love and grace with all, inspired by ministry, mission, and music.
The Vision of Central Church is to welcome all people into an inclusive community of faith expressing the love of God and Jesus Christ. We carry out our faith both as individuals and as a church, seeking to connect with those in need of love, care, and justice. We work as a congregation and as a partner locally and worldwide to put into action the teachings of Jesus Christ.
After the 1870 Los Angeles Annual Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church South, a lone circuit rider headed east across the hot and barren Mohave Desert, then into the Sonoran Desert ... his destination, the few isolated settlements that dotted the vast Arizona Territory.
One hundred and forty three years later we look back with gratitude for the courage, vision, and faith of that lonely rider, Alexander Groves, and the small but hardy group of men and women who welcomed him to their humble community on the banks of the Salt River in the middle of the desert. That fledgling group began gathering regularly for worship under the spiritual leadership of Rev. Groves, and was the inception of what we now know as Central United Methodist Church.
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Inspired by Ministry and Mission: In enjoying the richness of our archives we know that Central Church began in the Phoenix Settlement with no permanent home. Meetings and worship were held under mesquite trees, ranch homes, courtrooms and any other respectable space they could find. The need for a space was apparent and fulfilled by hours of labor and love by its members; the first church building of any religious denomination to be constructed in Phoenix.
Our Administrative Team
Rev. Scott Ritchey grew up in Lakewood, Colorado. He moved to Arizona in 1985 to attend Arizona State University. During his time at ASU, he began to explore a call to ordained ministry. At the time, Rev. Ritchey was a Roman Catholic. He was accepted to St. Joseph College Seminary in Mountain View, California...
Pastor Rock most recently served as Spiritual Life and Housing Coordinator at Justa Center. He previously served as a Chaplain with the Arizona Department of Corrections, ministering to those incarcerated on Arizona’s Death Row. He is the current Chair of the Arizona Foundation for Theology. He is a graduate of both...
Marilyn Seese has been a member of Central church since 1975. She has taught children and youth Sunday school classes since 1989 and has been the Director of Education since 2002. In addition to teaching, Marilyn also accompanies the children’s choir on Sunday morning, is the President of the Lydia...
Since 1982, Don Morse has served as Minister of Worship and The Arts at Central United Methodist Church in Phoenix, Arizona, where he coordinates all musical ensembles, worship experiences, the visual arts, theatre arts, and communications. He was educated at Boston University School for the Arts and The School of...
A native of north central Ohio, Steve relocated to Phoenix in March of 1987. He “found” Central United Methodist Church on Christmas Eve that year and has been associated with UMC ever since. His association with church music began when he was four years old, standing on a stool in...
1875 North Central Avenue
Phoenix, Arizona 85004