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, Dec. 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, by-laws 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 Bible-based Christian beliefs consistent with our community needs. Currently, we are privileged to have with us Pastor Bob Ripley and his wife Peggy. The door to their villa in the southwest corner of PebbleCreek is open to all. Pastor Bob has ministered as a Christian School educator, a youth director/pastor, and a Senior Pastor, most recently for churches in Maine and Massachusetts. These experiences reflect the breadth of Christian backgrounds we Creekers bring to our community church. His most recent past position was as Senior Pastor at the First Congregational Church of Rochester, Massachusetts.
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 for our worship service any Sunday in our Eagle’s Nest Ballroom, starting at 9 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 www.churchpcc.org.