Desert Heritage Church is a unique congregation. We officially became a new church family in January 1990, when a partnership was formed between two existing congregations. Christian Heritage Church, retaining the traditions and practices of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), and Shepherd of the Desert United Church of Christ joined in an ecumenical adventure of faith. We are a congregationally governed church family that seeks to minister to people of all ages in the East Valley. We offer the very finest of denominational wisdom and stability in a distinctively evangelical and open setting that produces exciting and spirited Christian Growth.




September 30, 1962 A new Congregational United Church of Christ in Mesa is organized. ucclogo
October 7, 1962 The first worship service is held on the patio of Mr. and Mrs. Everett Johnson. The service was led by Reverend David Thomas.
Latter part of 1962 – May 5, 1963 The Reverend George Berreman serves as interim pastor.
1963 The site of the current DHC buildings at 1020 North Horne Road are purchased. dhc_aerial_view
May 5, 1963 Reverend Kenneth Buckwald of Rochester, New York is called as the new church’s first fulltime pastor.
November 14, 1965 Groundbreaking services are held.
May 29, 1966 sanctuary_1970s The church campus is first used.
November 5, 1966 The church campus is formally dedicated, with a membership of 200.
November 12, 1967 Reverend Buckwald transfers to Church of the Beatitudes in Phoenix. The congregation calls Reinhold Jensen from Wichita, Kansas to be pastor. reverend_reinie_1975
September 12, 1971 Dedication of the new Environmental Playground, Fellowship Hall, and expansion of the Educational Annex.
1975 The congregation changes its name to Shepherd of the Desert United Church of Christ, and establishes a satellite congregation at Apache Wells.
1982 Reverend R. Dean Smith is called as pastor.
1984 The congregation called Reverend David Miers as pastor
February 2, 1986 A group of 59 people who were members of First Christian Church in Mesa begin to meet at the YMCA for church services. They call themselves Disciples Fellowship.
September 7, 1986 Christian Heritage Church is chartered as a non-denominational church with 95 members. When the charter closes in October 7, 1986, there are 116 members. charter_day_1986
September, 1987 reverend_don_brown Reverend Donald O. Brown is called to become the first pastor of Christian Heritage Church. The congregation continues meeting at the YMCA through 1988.
1988 Reverend Donald Heinrich, retired pastor of Shepherd of the Hills Congregational Church in Phoenix, serves as interim minister of Shepherd of the Desert.
March, 1989 A Planning Committee representing key leadership from the congregations of Shepherd of the Desert and Christian Heritage, and including Reverend Carole Keim, Conference Minister, meets.
June 4, 1989 The first worship of the combined congregations of Shepherd of the Desert and Christian Heritage takes place at the present location of Desert Heritage Church.
January 7, 1990 chc_and_ucc After a trial period of worshiping and working together, the congregation votes to merge the two congregations and become a new congregation with a new name, Desert Heritage Church.
1990 An affirmative recommendation and request is taken to the Southwest Conference, that the congregation become related in its new manifestation. That request is approved and in addition to the church’s relationship, Reverend Don Brown is granted dual ordination standing with both The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), and the United Church of Christ.
August, 1990 dhc_remodel The DHC buildings undergo a renovation of the offices, Education Wing, and Sanctuary. In addition, a new narthex joining the office unit and the Sanctuary is built.
1991 The congregation commissions John Hartley as a Fraternal Worker in Honduras. In addition, its first Timothy, Paul Whitlock, graduates from Lexington Theological Seminary and is ordained to Christian Ministry.
May 16 1993 The Reverend Nate Miller is installed as pastor of Desert Heritage Church. rev_nate_miller
January 12, 2003 paulw The Reverend Paul A. Whitlock’s first Sunday as pastor of DHC.
2008 Desert Heritage Church becomes a recognized open and affirming church. god_still_speaking
November 16, 2008 The congregation of Desert Heritage Church unanimously pass their Peace and Justice Statement.