Community Christian Church of Marana, which helped start ministries that eventually became the Marana Health Center and the Marana Community Food Bank, is getting ready to celebrate 60 years of service in Marana.

While the church officially was not chartered until Feb. 8, 1953, many of the founding members began worshipping together in Nov. 1952, at a school auditorium that no longer exists but which sat near the current Marana Middle School.

To celebrate the church will be having worship at the Marana Middle School auditorium on Sunday, Nov. 4 at 10:30 a.m., to be followed by a cookout. People are invited to dress in 1950's-style clothing.

The church worshipped in the auditorium until 1956, when it purchased the land on which it currently sits.

In 1956, in conjunction with First Christian Church, Tucson, the church began to get involved in a health care ministry for migrant farm workers. Doctors from Tucson volunteered their time twice per month to treat patients at the Marana church. Not long after, in 1957, the Marana Community Clinic was incorporated. In 1964, the church leased land for $1 per year to the Clinic, which was able to construct its own building for community health services. In 1985, the land was sold to the Clinic - what would become the Marana Health Center, a community health center that opens its doors to everyone and turns no one away based on their insurance status.

As early as the 1970s, the church was distributing food to people in need. In the mid-1980s, Ora Mae Harn worked with the church's pastor and some members to set up a building used for food collection and distribution: the forerunner to the Marana Community Food Bank, which sits on land formerly owned by the church.

Among many other things, the church has also:

-owned and operated a center to care for children during the weekday, which today is the Community Christian Preschool.

-helped in 2008 to fund and build on the two Habitat for Humanity homes in Marana.

-sponsored a 12-step addiction recovery group - "S.O.B.E.R. Project" - since 2007

-sponsored a sack lunch program - "Serving Spoon" - since 2009.

Moreover, the church recently has started a ministry called "S.O.S." to help people - both within and outside of the church - do projects they could not otherwise do on their own; and a ministry to help women in crisis called "Angels By Your Side."

When the church was founded, there was not a mainline Protestant congregation in Marana. Families such as the Gladdens, Hintons, Smiths, Gillespies, Oldfathers, Anways, Saunders, Honeas, and Manns, from six different denominational backgrounds, came together to worship God and serve the community. Within a year, they affiliated with the Disciples of Christ. The church continues to welcome and remain open to all people in the community.

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