Potential Merger Update

Guest writer: Marsha Dean

What does the future hold for St. Mark’s and Sanctuary UMCs? I wish I knew the answer. I have been serving on the Merger Task Force for a couple of months along with Pastor Lynn, John Cecilia and Rich Howell, as well as Pastor Kevin from Sanctuary UMC and two of their lay people. The task force has been wrestling with that question, and frankly, we don’t have the answer.

What we do know is that by merging our congregations and creating a multi-site church, we can accomplish more together. Think of the potential we’ll have to reach out to an underserved community, the possibility to have more church members participating in missions together. One of the questions we’ve been asking is, “Will God’s kingdom be further enlarged?” We think so.

Many of you may be like me, thinking, “I like St. Mark’s just the way it is,” but I know that big things only happen when we step outside our comfort zone. If we are open to change, we can heed God’s call. Honestly, we don’t actually know exactly what God is calling us to do, but the task force thinks that we are being called to expand our reach and use this multi-site opportunity to broaden God’s presence west of I-10, about eight minutes’ drive from our Magee location.

I hope that you will attend the town hall at 11:30 a.m. this Sunday, March 5, in our Sanctuary. If you attend the 8:30 service, consider coming back for the town hall so that you can learn more and ask questions. While we don’t know exactly what a merger of the two congregations will look like just yet, we’ll do our best to describe the process. The process we are undergoing will conclude with a joint town hall on April 2, then each congregation will hold a church conference on April 30, with each congregation voting on the merger. If both congregations vote to merge, there will be a vote at Annual Conference in June. If that vote is in favor of the merger, an implementation team will be set up to guide the details and bring the vision to reality.

I believe that God is asking us to be bold in our faith and step outside our comfort zones to help expand God’s kingdom. Please pray for both churches as we continue this discernment process and attend the town hall if you are able.

Marsha Dean, Merger Task Force member



  • 8:30 a.m. Traditional service in Sanctuary and child care in Rm 15
  • 10 a.m. Traditional service in Sanctuary and child care in Rm 15
  • 10 a.m. Youth and children’s Sunday School and child care (except fifth Sundays)
  • 10 a.m. Livestream premieres on YouTube and Website

To access our livestream service:

  • From the main menu on our website click “Worship.”  -OR-
  • Go to YouTube and search for UMC St. Mark’s Oro Valley or use this link.