PebbleCreek Community Church celebrates 23 years

Larry Sessoms

In the fall of 1995 there were Units 2 and 4 and little more—but among those early PebbleCreek residents was a group interested in starting a community church within our gates. One couple came from a Southern Baptist background, another Presbyterian and yet another Lutheran. Later they added Methodists and Catholics. What kind of community church would we be—what is a “community church” anyway?

This small founding group held their first service in our Eagle’s Nest Ballroom on Christmas Eve, December 24, 1995. Sixty-eight residents attended, led by Dr. Fred Chay, Professor at Phoenix Seminary. That was a pretty good turnout for our fledgling community so, come the New Year, the group started working in earnest. They debated church management and structure, organization of the Sunday service (when do we say the Apostles Creed and Lord’s Prayer, what about the Doxology—), ordinances and more. Today we know they compromised with what we broadly call a Presbytery type of organization, but the task was a tedious one with no real guidelines other than a strong desire to be inclusive of all within our PebbleCreek community who believe in Jesus Christ.

Over the next several months, the planners developed a well-rounded worship experience that embraces the Protestant religious traditions found in the residents within PebbleCreek. A choir was formed under the leadership of Edna DeFord, often accompanied by pianist Dorrie Clark, both of whom are still active members of our congregation. From a legal perspective, bylaws were written and the church became incorporated and tax exempt. And, of course, there was a first pastor search committee.

Since that small beginning our community church has grown through the leadership of ministers who have brought with them diverse backgrounds and Christian beliefs consistent with our community needs. Currently, we are privileged to have with us Pastor Dennis Kizziar and his very involved wife Joan. Following Pastor Dennis’ completion of seminary in Portland, Oregon where Joan taught fourth grade, they have lived and ministered in São Paulo, Brazil, Corvallis, Sisters and Bend, Oregon, Oak Brook, Illinois and Modesto, California. Their ministry together has been as missionaries, as well as Dennis being the pastor of various churches and working with a variety of Christian organizations in the United States and overseas. And through all of this Pastor Dennis has found time to write two books.

Today our PebbleCreek Community Church continues to grow with new residents and old alike, but our structure remains one focused on serving the needs of all who would like to participate with us in Christian fellowship. Come join us any Sunday in our Eagle’s Nest Ballroom, starting at 9:00 a.m. and always followed by a time of fellowship with coffee and more. For more information about our community church and its members, check out our website at