Rev. Robert Clark Sell, First Pastor
1938-1941 (Methodist)

Robert Sell was the first pastor and he came from the Methodist Episcopal Church, Arizona Conference. He was known by the Padgetts because he had been a "supply pastor;" for their Methodist Sunday School. He was hired in 1938 and without a sanctuary Rev. Sell held services in the Litchfield Park Community Hall, in the area of the gazebo, and Easter Sunrise Service at Mr. Litchfield's La Loma Ranch.

First Easter Sunrise Service
March 1939

Before the Church was built the first Sunrise Service was held in March 1939, at Rancho La Loma, Mr. and Mrs. Lichfield’s winter home. On the property was the open-air chapel, sometimes referred to as the bandstand. Goodyear Farms provided the chairs and equipment. The Church choir and accompanist provided the music; the pastors led the service.

From 1977 to 1980, the services were ecumenical with seven Westside churches participating. Although most services were held at Rancho La Loma, some were on the Wigwam grounds and at the Church. In 2010, the City of Litchfield Park took possession of the property, and the service was moved to the Palm Court.

Laying the Cornerstone, Dedication Services
November/December 1939

On November 6, 1939, there was a ceremony laying the cornerstone containing a Bible, the church roll, along with a copy of the constitution and by-laws, and a clipping from the paper about the service.

On December 10, 1939, the congregation held the Dedication Service at 11am with responsive readings and the hymns The Church’s One Foundation, Onward Christian Soldiers, and I Need Thee Every Hour. The youth held a dedication service at 7:30pm with reflections and Mr. Litchfield speaking, “The Church from a Business Man’s View Point.”

Sanctuary Architectural Style

The building is a pure expression of the Mission Revival Style. It features the signature curved gable-end parapet with a quatrefoil window. Anchoring the front elevation is a three-tiered bell tower, pierced with arches and capped with a small dome. A red tiled roof completes the design. Mr. Litchfield designed the bell tower from a picture of the Santa Barbara old mission and brought the bell from San Diego, CA. The sanctuary was spacious enough to accommodate the entire population of Litchfield Park and hotel guests, which then numbered about 200.

Cowbell and Pot Lights

These unique light fixtures were hand crafted in early 1918. Fashioned out of cowbells, these lights were originally designed for the entrance to the early Wigwam. They were refurbished by Men’s Fellowship in 2018, saving an important part of the Church’s history.

Little information is available about the pot lights in the sanctuary; they are each hand made from red clay. They hang in groups of four from a hunk of tree branch by leather strips. When the sanctuary was expanded in 1985, Cindy Laird crafted more lights. She used the Indian hand slip method with berry dye.

Mr. Litchfield liked them both so well they are in Mr. Litchfield’s Rancho La Loma, built in the 1920's. They were added to the expanded Wigwam dining rooms in 1929, when the Wigwam was opened as a guest ranch. In the 1930's, Goodyear built the house at 512 Old Litchfield Road for their farming operations and today it still has the cowbell lights outside. In 1939, they were included in the Church

Boy Scouts

Boy Scout Troop 90 was initially chartered in 1929 by the “Litchfield Park Community,” specifically Arthur Zieske and other officers of the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company and the Church. Then in 1939 it was chartered by the Goodyear Farm. The Litchfield Park Scout Lodge was built in 1954 by the men of the Farm. With the sale of the Wigwam property, including the lodge, to Suncor Development, the charter moved to Suncor and then Kabuto.

Although they were never chartered by the Church the Troop was totally supported by the church membership. Eagle awards were presented by the pastors and many of the adult leadership were awarded the Silver Eagle. Well into the 1990s, Troop 90 participated in the Scout Sunday celebration. Rev. Souers and the scouts read “The Twelve Points of the Scout Law.”

Boy Scout Troop 99 was initially chartered in 1943 by the new Goodyear Aircraft Corporation and the men built their scout lodge in 1944 on the NE corner of Western and Litchfield Road. Troop 99 was charted by The Church at Litchfield Park in 1997 when Lockheed Martin Corporation chose not to charter the Troop and they lost their Goodyear Scout Lodge to become the Goodyear City Hall. They call themselves the Vertical Edge.

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