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ABOUT

BELIEFS AND VALUES

At The Good Shepherd United Church of Christ, we gather together, committed to creating a bold, spirited life-changing presence in the Santa Cruz Valley. And we seek to include everyone on this journey of faith because Jesus included everyone on his journey.

We reach out to our neighbors, strangers who become friends, offering extravagant welcome to all regardless of age, race, sexual orientation, gender identity, immigration status. We believe God embraces all of us equally.

Because we don’t have all the answers, we aren’t afraid to ask questions that lead us to deeper places of understanding. We dare to be uncertain because we know God is still speaking. We take scripture so seriously that we can’t take it literally. And we find sacred truths revealed when we open our hearts and listen.

At The Good Shepherd we seek a life of faith grounded in compassion and service so we find ways to actively and boldly live out this call.

We are a joyful people who love to sing, dance, whistle, celebrate and create, moved by the Spirit. We engage in lively worship, study the issues of the day, act boldly on our convictions and break bread in gratitude.

OPEN AND AFFIRMING

We seek to welcome all God’s people into our fellowship, to minister to one another’s needs and to provide opportunities for every person’s full participation in the life and mission of the congregation.


As an Open and Affirming congregation, we recognize that diversity of human nature is part of God’s creation. In the spirit of openness, love and inclusiveness we welcome persons of all ages, race, gender, cultural or faith background, economic circumstance, physical and mental capacity, marital status, immigration status. We affirm all families and relationships founded on love, respect and trust.


In these southern Arizona borderlands, cultural, racial and religious diversity converge. We are called to affirm almost daily that part of our mission is to work for a just and loving world, recognizing all human needs in this challenging environment.


As a people who seek to follow Jesus’ example of Extravagant Welcome, we invite everyone, no matter where they are on their faith journey, into the full life and ministry of this congregation.
 

STAFF

Reverend Dr. Randy Mayer, Senior Minister

When you are looking for Reverend Dr. Randy Mayer, senior pastor, you might have to travel to the US-Mexico border. Randy’s ministry includes the progressive congregation and the thousands of migrants who have crossed the desert in the past 25 years since Randy and his wife Norma arrived in Sahuarita. Taking the lead in all manner of humanitarian work in the Borderlands has earned him the designation activist, rabble-rouser, amigo.

Randy takes scripture to heart and acts on it when he searches for lost travelers in the Sonoran Desert, hands out water and clean socks, gives an encouraging word. He meets people wherever they are on life’s journey and welcomes them. He’s even been know to get out his banjo for a few licks of La Bamba.

Rev. ellie hutchison, Minister for Pastoral Care and Spiritual Growth

ellie (uses they, them pronouns) currently serves as National Minister for Church and Community Engagement for the United Church of Christ. Their volunteer activities include conducting bible studies and interfaith services with St. Peter’s Episcopal Prison Womxn's Ministry and as a Care Line Leader with the San Francisco Night Ministry. They bring a wealth of experience as an educator, community co-creator, poet and writer, and theologian. Their ministry is based in Womanist Liberation Theology and interfaith engagement through the use of embodiment practices in and through the arts and humanities. They also work actively with the communities experiencing homelessness, those migrating to the United States, and those who are directly impacted by incarceration

Amy Dillemuth, Church Administrator

If you want to know how something is supposed to work, the schedule for the Javarita  Coffeehouse or the bid process for paving the parking lot, Amy is the go-to resource. Managing the business and financial side of The Good Shepherd for more than 16 years, Amy knows congregants and community. A steady hand, she keeps us headed in the right direction.


You can find Amy in the office Monday-Thursday from 9-12.

Margaret Kofron, Director of Faith Formation and Community Engagement Coordinator,

When we have events to plan like the Border Issues Fair held every January, a monthly Javarita Coffeehouse program to promote or the annual Patio Sales to announce, Margaret uses her considerable talents to inform and engage the community. When she’s not taking care of the details that make programs run smoothly, Margaret is imagining new ways to teach our children and youth about our faith, social justice, inclusivity and healing in the Borderlands.

Mengda Jiang, Choir Director, Traditional Service

What does a degree in applied chemistry have to do with choral conducting? In the case of our choir director, everything! Mengda Jiang came to The Good Shepherd in 2023 as she completes her doctoral studies in choral conducting at the University of Arizona.

Mengda has already logged a great deal of experience conducting US Trebel Glee, the University Community Chorus, kids choirs and adult mixed choirs. A prize winner already and she’s just getting started!

 

Larry Worster, Music Director, Contemporary Service

Larry makes it clear each Sunday that his ministry is music. His offerings are original, secular-made-sacred, joyful and spirited. Along with his friends on guitar, drums, vocals and whatever is available, Larry punctuates the service and plays us out on a high note.

When Larry became contemporary service music director in 2020, he had already established himself around town as a creative force, founding Green Valley’s Got Talent and performing in rock group Hardscrabble Rock, Big Band Sounds and many other smaller ensembles. When Larry is not busy enriching the contemporary service on Sundays at 11:15, he’s out there somewhere…making music!

Rada Neal, Pianist, Traditional Service

When a university professor asked Rada “What will YOU do with a degree in music?” She answered with her heart. In the US and abroad, Rada has been sharing her love of music through every song she plays and writes. And people feel good when they listen to her expert piano interpretations!


Rada, Choir Director Mengda and the Sanctuary Choir join their efforts each Sunday at 9:00 and we love it. Come and listen!


Severo Rivas, Custodian

Someone is always there, making sure the Sanctuary is set up, re-locating the grand piano at the right time, putting spit and polish on the buildings. That behind-the-scenes magician is Severo Rivas. We never see him, but we gratefully enjoy the campus he leaves us with.

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When a small group of people decided that Sahuarita would be a perfect place for a church, they acted to establish a church that would be a home for families, retirees and all those in between. In September of 1990 we held our first service at the Del Coronado Apartments. On April 13, 1993, The Good Shepherd received official Ecclesiastic Standing as a church member in good standing with the Southwest Conference of The United Church of Christ. In July of 1998 we moved into our first building on La Cañada Drive.

And we have grown since then! In 20XX a successful building campaign made it possible to expand programs and services. With the addition of a kitchen, six classrooms and an outdoor courtyard we are able to host community and service groups, the Adult Forum on Sundays, Spark Studio, and classes throughout the week that attract our busy members.

 

OUR HISTORY

GOVERNANCE

ADMINISTRATIVE TEAM 2024-25
Doug Syme, Moderator

Linda Sielken, Moderator Elect

Rick Irvin, Treasurer

Mike Norman, Secretary

TEAMS AND COMMITTEES

Extravagant Welcome and Inclusion Team (6+)
Carrie Scheufler 2025

Barb Eyre 2025
Judy Bischoff 2026

Char Seawell 2026

Tim Seawell 2026

Tina Nelson 2026

Mary Ferland 2027

Barb Hunsinger 2027

Mission, Service and Justice Team (6+)
Pam Irvin 2026

Sue Palfrey 2026

Dave Grondin 2026

Jane Grondin 2026

Rhea Scott 2026

Patricia Stocker 2027

John Stocker 2027

Pastoral Relations Committee (3+)
Steve Jacobsen 2025
Susan Hill 2025

Linda Redfield 2027
Mary Ferland 2027

Facilities Team (6+)
John Kerfoot 2025

Dennis St John 2026
Ray Hebert 2026
Janet Carter 2027


Stewardship Team (3+)

Hathaway Cornelius 2025
Lynda Himbury 2025

John Pestle 2026
Pam Irvin 2027
Sandy Lindahl (advisory)


Nominating Committee (6)
Hathaway Cornelius 2025

Connie Aglione 2026

Judy Bischoff 2026


Personnel Committee (3 + Senior Pastor + Moderator)
Jill Reid 2025

Doug Symer 2025
Kathy Babcock 2027

Randy Mayer (Senior Pastor)

Finance Team (6+)

Richard Himbury 2026

Judy Nesavitch 2026

Debbie Rottschafer

John Merrill

Jean Ferguson

Doug Syme (Moderator) 2026

Linda Sielken (Moderator-Elect) 2027

Rick Irvin (Treasurer) 2025

Rick Irvin, Treasurer

Mike Norman, Secretary

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