Tom and I have been in the Arizona Strip at our new assignment for a couple of weeks now. Once I finish all my Ohio posts, you will be hearing a lot more about our current location. We just finished training and there was a lot to learn. But during training, before we are assigned regular days to work, we had the weekend off. Consequently we had a Sunday to worship in a local church. We chose to worship at the United Church of Kanab and Fredonia.
Even though we had the whole day off, United Methodist Churches in the Arizona Strip are few and far between. In fact, the entire state of Utah is one DISTRICT in the Rocky Mountain Conference. I started by looking for United Methodist Churches in the North District of the Southwest Conference. There are exactly two United Methodist Churches in the 11,000 square miles of northern Arizona. One is in Page, Arizona – an hour and a half east – and one is in St. George, Utah – an hour and a half west. So I looked at the Utah District of the Rocky Mountain Conference and found the United Church in Kanab, Utah – about 30 minutes north.
The United Church of Kanab and Fredonia is the only mainline Protestant Church within an hour of our current location. There are plenty of Later Day Saints Churches and lots (and lots) of Mormons to fill those churches. But there are so few mainline Protestants that we all fit into one small sanctuary on this Sunday morning. The United Church has a very nice website with the worship time plainly printed. There were fewer than 20 in the congregation but they certainly live up to their tagline, “Where everyone is welcome.” From the first moment we walked in until we left again, it was the warmest and most welcoming congregation we have visited.
Rev. Martha Moler is a retired Presbyterian pastor who went to a United Methodist seminary. She serves the church part-time. She told us they have about 20 members. On this particular Sunday, six of us out of the 20 in attendance were visitors. The church doesn’t claim to be any particular denomination, but welcomes anyone who feels comfortable worshiping there.
The service felt familiar with hymns, the doxology, and the Lord’s Prayer. Rev. Moler preached a good sermon about letting the Holy Spirit refresh us and push us into living life fully. She also had a time for anyone in the congregation to share ways they had been guided by the Holy Spirit.
After the service we talked to people for a while. Turns out that three other people in the congregation were from Ohio, so we had some common ground there. They also had a cake for a couple of member’s birthdays and made sure we had a piece before we got out of the door. One of the members invited us to go to lunch with her. All of them hoped we would be able to come again.
There may not be many mainline Protestant churches in the area around us (one in 60 miles!) but the United Church of Kanab and Fredonia is a good one. We enjoyed our visit very much and hope we have another Sunday off so we can worship with them again.