We believe it's important to look outside our church walls to see what God is calling us to do. As we respond to our call to love our neighbors, we reach out to our community in a number of ways:
Tempe First UMC sits in the middle of a vibrant and growing downtown area. As new residential condos go up in downtown Tempe, our church will once again be a neighborhood church for many people. As we consider the future of our congregation, Tempe First UMC is committed to reaching out to our new neighbors, and to finding ways to be an active, vibrant, and meaningful part of the downtown community.
If you are interested in helping us to develop a stronger presence downtown, please do let us know. We would love to hear from you.
Habitat for Humanity
Jesus reminds us in Matthew 25 that when we offer food to those who are hungry, we are feeding him! Our hunger ministries share the gift of food for those facing hunger in our community.
Our Sack Lunch Program provides a simple meal to those who come to our church with an immediate need for food. Approximately 90 lunches are packed and distributed to the homeless and hungry in the Tempe area each month through the Salvation Army and our church office.
We also hold regular Food Drives at Tempe First UMC. On the first Sunday of each month we have a food collection campaign to benefit the hungry. The food is shared with local food banks and the Salvation Army. We invite your offering of nonperishable food items.
Sidewalk Sunday School
Tempe First UMC’s Sidewalk Sunday School reaches out to at-risk kids right here in Tempe. Our site is 1 of 21 sites in the Desert Southwest Annual Conference's Sidewalk Ministries program. Across the conference, the annual attendance is topping out at over 10,000 and Sidewalk Faith Communities are growing. At our site, we typically have 30 children ranging in age from 2 to 16 years and between 5-7 volunteers.
Our Sidewalk ministry at Tempe First has three major teams:
- The Visitation Team talks with the Sidewalk community. Once a month, typically a day or two before the Saturday morning ministry, volunteers go to the site (currently in the courtyard of a Tempe apartment complex) around 4:00pm and visit with the children (and sometimes their parents) about school, about any concerns or joys, and about their lives in general for approximately 30 minutes.
- The Saturday Morning Team meets in the church parking lot at 9:30 on Saturday mornings once a month, carpools to the apartment complex, and returns to the church parking lot by 11:15. On Saturday morning, volunteers help sign-in and make name-tags, play games, read books, sing songs, assist in collecting children’s prayer concerns and offerings, and/or assist with a devotional.
- Everyone is invited to participate on the Prayer Team by holding the Sidewalk community in your prayers. Children’s specific prayer concerns and joys are listed in an insert in the church bulletin on a monthly basis.
Volunteers are needed on all three teams. Because a majority of our community is primarily Spanish speaking, volunteers who speak Spanish are in great need for all teams, but especially the visitation team.
If you have any questions, or would like to participate, please contact us.
TEAM (Tempe Emergency Assistance Ministry) is an interfaith organization that began 25 years ago to help and serve the poor and homeless in Tempe. We are a gathering of Christian, Jewish and Muslim congregations in Tempe that have a passion and concern for serving those in great need and providing an interfaith witness to our community on matters of civic concern and social justice.
A number of TEAM congregations have expressed great concern about Maricopa County Sheriff Arpaio's immigration sweeps. Rev. Dr. Dave Summers, our senior pastor, recently wrote a statement published by the East Valley Tribune expressing this concern, and this statement was supported by a number of TEAM members:
- Rabbi Andrew Strauss, Temple Emmanuel
- Rev. Douglas Bland, Community Christian Church
- Rev. Sue Ringer, Guardian Angels Parish
- Rev. Dave Summers, Tempe First United Methodist Church
- Rev. Gary McCluskey, University Lutheran Church
- Rev. Art Campbell, Mission Del Sol Presbyterian Church
- Rev. Al Gephart, University Presbyterian Church
- Rev. Gil Stafford, St. Augustine's Episcopal Church