A Little History
Saint Philip’s was founded in 1936. When the first service was held on Christmas Eve, the congregation overflowed the seating capacity. Built in the style Spanish Colonial architecture, also called Neo-Mission, Saint Philip’s is similar to the Franciscan mission churches built in California over 400 years ago.
Tucsonans John and Helen Murphey had asked architect Josias Joesler to build a private chapel for them at their home. Instead, he persuaded them to build a small church at the corner of two dirt roads: Campbell and River.
This was also a dream of Father George Ferguson, who was a temporary supply minister in Tucson. He envisioned a place where beauty dwelt, where the glory of God was exemplified, and where learning (for children, youth, and adults) was an ever-present part of people’s lives.
Although it has undergone several expansions as the congregation grew, the integrity of Joesler’s design has been maintained in the buildings. In the mid-1980s, an art gallery, a memorial garden, the east and west transepts and a campanile, which houses the carillon, were added. During the summer of 1998, a Children’s Center and Recital Hall were built.
Saint Philip’s is on the National Register of Historic Places. Our self-guided walking tour contains more information about St. Philip’s and its history.
A church has buildings (and we are blessed with a beautiful one), but the buildings are not the church — the people are. Saint Philip’s is a community that is marked by our commitment to welcoming, encouraging, and empowering all to grow in faith and to do God’s work in the world. Saint Philip’s is an active parish known from generation to generation not only for its worship, music, and art, but also for its inclusiveness, educational programs, and outreach to the community.
It is a place where many still follow Philip’s example from the Gospel of John calling others to “come and see” that they too may find the One about whom the prophets wrote.
We are a large congregation and we embrace and celebrate the diversity of God’s creation. We are Episcopalians and we meet people in their spiritual journey with the gifts of scripture, tradition, and reason. We encourage each other to discover and develop our relationships with God and to discern and carry out the ministries for which we are gifted — we lend one another the courage to go deeper.
We long to know Christ and make Christ known in our homes, in our workplaces, and in the community around us.
There are many, many activities, classes, service opportunities, pilgrimages, and more. Before you decide to dive in, though, and make this one more place of busy-ness in your life, we hope that you will spend quiet moments in the chapel or in the church or in the gardens. We hope that you will be still with God and simply pray — listen to the voice of God that speaks in silence and in storms. Listen to that voice and imagine.
Is this a place where you can hear God speaking? For so many, from generation to generation, it has been and we hope that it might be for you too.
Welcome to Saint Philip’s in the Hills.