Dedication of church site 1961
Construction of Original Church Building
Ground breaking for church in 1962.

In 1960, twenty Sedona residents established The Church of the Red Rocks. They had no pastor, no building, no money; but they had abundant faith in divine guidance. They affiliated with the Congregational Church, which soon became the United Church of Christ. The church’s first full-time pastor, Rev. Paul Babbitt, challenged the congregation with “it is an awesome thing to build a church, but let us expect great things from God.” These first eight years were times of struggle: erecting a building, paying off debts, and attracting more members. In December 1963, construction began on a sanctuary, and the following June the congregation held a Service of Entry with prayers and singing. The building was raw and unfinished, but it was a dream made real, the culmination of their vision and faith.

completed-sanctuary-2The sanctuary in 1963.
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    Construction of the sanctuary

    The early seventies was a time of stabilization under the wise leadership of Dr. Perry Avery. He inspired the church to spiritual readiness for the years ahead. Sedona was growing, drawing outstanding people from all over the country with diverse faith backgrounds and experiences. Dr. Avery recognized the benefits of a congregation whose members represented various denominations. He encouraged the laity to live with their diversities in love and foster a harmonious church of vision. In 1973, Rev. Alice Snow began her outstanding ministry, nurturing a congregation that grew to more than 500 members during her decade-long service.

    During the next twenty-five years, The Church of the Red Rocks significantly expanded its programs, deepened its ties with the Sedona community, and successfully crafted a long-range plan for the future. In 1985, the church called Dr. George Ault, who would lead the vibrant and diverse congregation in preparing for the 21st century. Commissions were formed to address the church’s spiritual, educational, financial, and mission outreach efforts. The congregation continued its uncommon level of giving — time, expertise, and financial support.

    Grand Breaking for LLLC 2007

    The Church of the Red Rocks has touched many lives beyond its membership through Stephen Ministry and the Verde Valley Caregivers. In addition, the church built a unique music program that enriched the art-loving Sedona community. Year-round support for many local organizations, such as the Verde Valley Sanctuary, Rainbow Acres, the Sedona Food Bank, and the Adult Community Center, is the hallmark of the church’s mission-centered outreach. This outreach includes the church’s commitment to help bring justice and peace to a diverse world society.

    In 2008, the church dedicated a new Life Long Learning and Leadership Center. The completion of this facility brought to fruition the visionary efforts of long-range planning, sacrificial gifts, and the dedicated pastoral guidance of Dr. Ault.

    Completed Life Long Learning and Leadership Center.

    In 2010, celebrating the congregation’s Jubilee Year and the 25th year of Dr. George Ault’s pastorate, the church expanded its outreach to the community through free musical concerts and free use of the church facilities to all non-profit organization. As part of voting to become an “Open and Affirming” congregation in 2012, the church membership takes part in serving dinner at the monthly Community Suppers and provides free meeting space to PFLAG-Sedona/Verde Valley. They also established the “Give Help” program for more than 20 local agencies, a resource for smart organizational giving.   As a permanent reminder of our Jubilee year, the quilt shown, hangs on a wall in Painted Cliffs Hall. It was presented to the congregation by World Class Quilter, Eunice Hill, a member of the church.

    Dr. Ault announced in September of 2014, that after 30 years of service, he intended to retire in June of 2015.

    The 55th anniversary of The Church of The Red Rocks was celebrated in 2015 by hosting the annual meeting of the Southwest Conference of the United Church of Christ. George Ault was honored by being named “Moderator” for 2016.

    2015 was also a unique transition year, as the congregation prepared to say goodbye to both George and Claudia Ault. In appreciation of their dedication over the years, our educational wing is now called “Ault Life Long Learning Center”.

    The Rev. Dr..Larry Corbett joined us in August 2015 as Interim Pastor. Larry brought with him a wealth of experience as an interim pastor, having served in that capacity at a UCC church in Hawaii and in a Presbyterian church in Estes Park, Colorado.

    A Pastor Search Committee has been formed and their work is under way as the congregation looks forward to God’s plan for the future.