New Journey Lutheran Church
In January 2010, Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) members gathered for worship at The Fountains United Methodist Church in Fountains Hills with the intention of being an accepting and inclusive congregation gathered around Word and Sacrament. Worship was at 6 p.m. on Saturday nights. The Rev. Jerry Ebbinga provided leadership for this new worshipping community. In September 2010, Pastor Crystal Steinberg was appointed by the ELCA Grand Canyon Synod to serve as New Journey Lutheran’s Mission Developer.
During this time, the congregation, now named New Journey Lutheran Church, made foundational commitments that would guide its future ministry: renting space rather than building a church building; and emphasizing social ministry and outreach as core ministries.
In November, 2011, New Journey Lutheran relocated to the vacant Four Peaks Elementary School in Fountain Hills. Worship was then held on Sundays at 10:00 a.m. During that year, Bob Rubenow started the first of what has become an annual Food for Kidz food pack. This program involves volunteers from other churches as well as community members and is held in the Fountain Hills Community Center in March. The meals that are packed go to hungry children and families through the Extended Hands Foodbank in Fountain Hills, Grace in the City outreach in Phoenix, AZ Brainfood which serves school children in the Valley and the Navajo Lutheran Mission in Rock Point, AZ. In addition meals are sent through an international organization to W. Africa.
In May, 2012 New Journey Lutheran moved to its current location to a storefront at 16748 E. Parkview Avenue, Fountain Hills. This location has allowed the congregation to expand as it continues to grow. That fall, Pastor Bob Halsey became interim pastor. During Pastor Halsey’s tenure, New Journey gained formal status as a congregation within the ELCA.
Pastor Adele Stiles Resmer was the first officially called pastor of New Journey in June, 2015. Under Pastor Resmer’s leadership, the congregation has grown, expanded into additional storefront space which doubled the worship space. Commitments to ministry with Native American people in Rock Point and in Phoenix, food ministries of Food for Kidz and Heat Respite, and opening space for community activities and events all are hallmarks of this period of time. New Journey supports a missionary in Madagascar, and supports the ELCA’s World Hunger Program and Disaster Response Program.
New Journey Lutheran is officially recognized as a “Reconciled in Christ” congregation that publically welcomes lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. It is a member of the Fountain Hills Interfaith Alliance that sponsors an annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Service and 4 Chaplains Remembrance event at the Veterans Memorial in Fountain Hills.