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About Us

At First Church, God is building the kind of open and inclusive community of faith needed in this world.

Jesus offers good counsel for all of us on our faith journey. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength and mind and your neighbor as yourself.”

We strive to help members and attendees deepen their love of God and love of neighbor. Join us for worship, study, service or fellowship to experience this deepening love for yourself.

First Church is an inclusive community of faith where ANYONE can experience the goodness and grace of God.

An inclusive community of faith

Our Vision Initiatives

These key initiatives will be the things First Church commits to do to move the vision forward and catalyze growth.

INVEST in the Next Generation.

INFORM the congregation and community on how they can discover their gifts, grow in their faith, and serve their community.

INSPIRE people from all walks of life and levels of faith to encounter the Good News through great preaching, incredible music, and a great experience on campus and online.

IMPACT the community by serving those in need, loving the unloved, and creating opportunities for people to encounter the love of God through the church’s great people and facility. And then intentionally share these stories of impact with the church and community.




Mission and Outreach

Being in mission means we are opening ourselves to all the changes that take place within us when we seek to serve others. It means we recognize that in God’s eyes, we need as much changing as the people we are serving. First United Methodist Church has many ways to be involved in missions in Phoenix and beyond and always welcomes new ideas. Please call our office at (602) 263-5013 or email us to find out how you can become involved.



The Music Department of First Church has a long history of diversity and excellence. We believe that music is the main vehicle through which our praise is raised and our hearts are changed. Whether you are young or old, whether you enjoy Traditional or Modern worship music, whether you are a trained musician or a simply have a heart for praise, we have a place for you!

Chancel Choir

Our Traditional adult choir of approximately 40 members leads worship at our 11 a.m. Classic Worship Service. We offer traditional anthems every Sunday, and perform large works with orchestra for concerts and special occasions. The choir meets September through June.

First Praise Band

Our adult praise band consists of singers and instrumentalists who love to worship and love to rock out! This group leads worship year-round at our 9 a.m. Contemporary Worship Service.

First Praise Choir

Our modern worship choir is group of singers that leads worship once a month at the 9 a.m. Contemporary Service. Rehearsals are held every Thursday night at 6:30 p.m. in the Choir Room. If you love the vibe and the energy of the First Praise Band – this choir is for you!

Rejoicing Handbells

The handbell ensemble is a dedicated group of ringers at all skill levels. The group performs at the 11 a.m. Classic Worship Service approximately once a month and rehearses most Wednesday evening before choir from 5:30-6:30 p.m. September through May.


The present 56 rank organ in the First Church sanctuary is one of the most tonally complete in Arizona, with complete flute, reed and principal choruses in all divisions. You are invited to add your voice to the throng as we are led by our organist, Ron Rhode, every Sunday at the 11 a.m. service.

Media Ministry

In addition to our “up-front” leaders, every worship gathering requires a team of skilled people working behind the scenes! We are always looking for people who are interested in Sound, Video and Lighting.

For more information about any of these groups, please contact Joshua Elder.


Nursery Care

8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

  • 3 months – 3 years old: We offer loving and highly trained professionals for our babies and toddlers, newborn through four years of age,  Sunday mornings and during many programs. Professional care is provided from Arizona Lullaby Guild.

Sunday School

Children’s Ministry at First Church is all about experiencing the love of Jesus. It is our hope that children will receive this love through relationships, and the stories of our faith.

9 a.m. to 9:55 a.m.

  • Pre-K – 2nd Grade (ages 3 – 2nd Grade): This class is all about allowing young kids to explore faith concepts the way they know best – through play!
  • Upper Elementary (3rd – 5th grade):  This class is designed to enhance the stories of The Bible as they prepare to strengthen and grow in their faith.

10 a.m. to 10:55 a.m.

  • First Kids Choir (kindergarten – 5th grade):  This choir sings a wide variety of styles. We perform in worship services throughout the year and are featured performers on holidays and special church events.

11 a.m. to noon

  • Children ages 4 years – 5th grade are part of worship in the sanctuary. Children may sit with their families and age appropriate activities are provided in bins near the back of the sanctuary.

Children’s Choirs

  • The First Church Cherubs rehearse every Thursday afternoon from 2:30 – 3 p.m. They perform in a worship service about once every six weeks. This group is for ages 3-5 and is open to all children in our community.
  • The First Kids’ Choir rehearse every Sunday morning from 10:05 – 10:50 a.m. between worship services. This group is for singers in Kindergarten – 5th grade and is open to all children in our community.


Sunday School

Sundays at 10 a.m.

  • Grades 6 – 12: Sunday School happens for our Youth in grades 6th-12th every Sunday at 10 a.m. Our Jr. High and Sr. High meet separately with grade appropriate discussions.

Youth Choir

Sundays from 4:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

  • Grades 6 – 12: Our youth choir is for youth in grades 6th-12th and meets Sunday evenings from 4:45 – 5:30 p.m.

Youth Group

Sundays from 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

  • Grades 6 – 12: Our youth, grades 6th-12th, meet Sunday evenings from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. We begin together with dinner and then break out into Jr. and Sr. High groups for programming. Special Activities are planned throughout the year, including camps, missions trip and much more.


Sunday School

First Church offers a variety of Sunday School classes to fit everyone’s needs. Gathering in a small to mid-size class lets you connect with others and offers a sense of belonging. As you study the curriculum, your love and knowledge about God will grow. Everyone is invited to attend.

Sundays at 10 a.m.

  • Ages 20s – 40s: The Table class studies different topics relating to all areas of life.
  • All ages: The Upper Room class studies books of the Bible.
  • All Ages: The Faith for Today class studies current and timely conversations about religion and church life.

Adult Opportunities

No matter what your age in life, you are invited to join the men’s or women’s groups that meet during the week throughout the year. We have many opportunities for developing relationships through our programs. For more information on how to get involved, please call (602) 263-5013 or email us.

  • Prayer Quilting
  • Afternoon Book Group
  • Knitty Witty Chain Gang
  • Chancel Choir
  • Praise Band
  • Congregational Care

Prayer and Care

Prayer Requests

Your prayer requests are honored  every week when the Congregational Care Ministry volunteers meet. We pray, write prayer notes, make phone calls, visit and deliver prayer quilts. Please contact the church office at (602) 263-5013 or click here to share your prayer request.

Prayer Quilts and Military Prayer Squares

Prayer Quilts and Military Prayer Squares are sewn by talented volunteers every week. As they are delivered, the recipient receives a tangible gift of God’s love along with our caring from First United Methodist Church.


What is the Foundation?
The First United Methodist Foundation of Phoenix was established in 1954 to support the ministries of First United Methodist Church. It is managed by a Board of Directors elected by the Annual Charge Conference of the Church.

What does the Foundation do?
The Foundation accepts and invests gifts, bequests, legacies, annuities, and insurance policies. Contributions to the Foundation are added to an Endowment Fund unless otherwise directed by the donor. The assets are invested to maintain purchasing power and to provide sufficient income to support the annual budget of the Foundation. All but a small percentage of the Foundation budget each year provides direct support to ministries and programs of First Church.

Foundation Projects
The following are some of the projects funded, either in full or in part, by the Foundation in recent years:

  • Mission trips
  • College scholarships for First Church high school graduates
  • Seminary scholarships for future United Methodist ministers
  • UMOM New Day Center
  • Feeding the poor through United Methodist urban ministries
  • College Ministries
  • Capital needs of First Church

Scholarships are awarded with preference to members of First United Methodist Church of Phoenix for post-secondary education. The applicant must be planning to attend an accredited college, university or vocational-technical school. Preference will be given to first year students, and after their needs are met, upper classmen will be considered, subject to the availability of funds.


We are pleased you have decided to apply for a scholarship!  To learn more about the scholarships, what is expected and important dates,  Click here.

Our History

In the United Methodist Church, we trace our roots to John Wesley, an eighteenth century Anglican priest who found a way to blend his traditional high church Anglicanism with an evangelical faith and a warm heart. We stand firmly in this tradition.

The First Church story begins with a series of missionaries sent from California with the goal of starting a Methodist Episcopal Church in the tiny village of Phoenix. The first worship services were held in 1881 in a community meeting place, the local brush arbor. They soon built their first building, a 20 x 40 foot one-room adobe meeting house.

Over the next 70 years or so, the church kept on outgrowing buildings and in the 1950’s built the present sanctuary, an outstanding example of mid-century church architecture, rich in symbolism and tradition. During 2006 and 2007, we celebrated the church’s 125th anniversary.

In 2008 and 2009, after many years in other locations around the city, windows from the old downtown church found their way back to First Church. We are very fortunate to have this piece of our heritage as part of our current place of worship.

Our Staff

Our Staff


David Rennick Senior Pastor
David Rennick Senior Pastor
Joshua Elder Minister of Music
Joshua Elder Minister of Music

I oversee the entire music department and am directly responsible for the Chancel Choir and First Praise band. Equally as passionate about Modern and Traditional worship forms, I see music as the vehicle for the message, not the message itself and strive to bring that understanding to others in the church. In addition to conducting and leading worship, I am also an active composer, arranger, and song-writer.

Elise Nesper Next Generation Ministry Director
Elise Nesper Next Generation Ministry Director
Russ Morrow Business Administrator
Russ Morrow Business Administrator

My primary responsibilities include managing the campus and facilities, supervising the campus and office staff, and administration of finance and foundation operations. I also provide administration support to the Weekday School Director and staff. I enjoy working with the staff, congregation and friends of First Church by building and providing a welcoming environment on the church and school campus.

Beckie Humphrey Director of the Weekday School
Beckie Humphrey Director of the Weekday School

As the Director of the Weekday School, I oversee the entire program, staff and activities. The Weekday School is very much a part of the life of the church and we often overlap with activies that include weekly chapel with the associate pastor, Vacation Bible School and the Cherub Choir. The school also participates in other church social events such as the Fall Festival and Christmas events.

Natasha Hawkins Assistant Director of the Weekday School
Natasha Hawkins Assistant Director of the Weekday School

Assistant Director of the Weekday School

Cathy Fuentes Office Manager
Cathy Fuentes Office Manager

My name is Catalina Fuentes. A lot of people know me as Cathy. I am a mother of 5 kids and a grandma to a grandson. I have been in the management field for about 15 years. I am a people-person and look forward to working and assisting you all with your needs, whether it is work related or situations that arise.

Dan Hawkins Campus Superintendent
Dan Hawkins Campus Superintendent

I supervise, plan and execute all aspects of building maintenance and custodial needs. The larger portion of work that is completed includes painting and plumbing, but is not limited to these. Other duties include: remodel/job planning, meeting with contractors and vendors, custodial work, keeping inventory of all needed supplies and electrical/electronics repair. Assist clergy, program staff, and parishioners successfully set up and complete church events.

Ron Rhode Organist
Ron Rhode Organist

I am originally from a small town on the Mississippi called Port Byron, Illinois. It’s a big “metropolis” now at 1,100 or so, but it was 283 when I was growing up!

Elizabeth Leyva Director of Children and Youth Choirs
Elizabeth Leyva Director of Children and Youth Choirs

I grew up in the United Methodist Church and my musical career began there, so working at the church was only natural.

Brady Mayo Children's Ministry Coordinator
Brady Mayo Children's Ministry Coordinator
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