Small Congregation Encourages Community, Tradition

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The members of Rim Christian Church of Mesa del Caballo pride their congregation on its small size and big heart.

"Our small size allows everybody to know everybody; everybody loves everybody," said Pastor Ted Leonard. "You can't come here and hide like some people can in a large church."

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"I graduated, was ordained and got married all on the same day," Ted Leonard, pastor of the Mesa del Church, said.

Parishioners have been worshipping together for 13 years: three of those in Payson, and the rest at the Mesa del Caballo clubhouse.

Church member Mary Lange has been attending worship services there since the beginning.

"It is a regular Christian church service, just like I went to when I was a child in Phoenix in the 1940s," Lange said.

The congregation sings traditional hymns throughout the service between communion, sermons and prayer.

"At closing, everybody joins hands and sings, ‘Family of God,'" Lange said.

Pastor Leonard preaches strictly from the Bible and he references anything he quotes, said Lange.

Acts 4:12 is Leonard's favorite scripture. The apostle Peter spoke to the rulers and elders of Israel after the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

"Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." Leonard said it is his reason for preaching.

Leonard was ordained in 1970 at Pacific Christian College in Southern California. He has pastored in Michigan, Missouri and Minnesota.

Rim Christian Church of Mesa del meets for Sunday worship at 10:30 a.m. at the Mesa del Caballo clubhouse. Wednesday night Bible study rotates through members' homes. Pastor Leonard may be reached at (928) 474-0149.

This story is a another part of the Roundup's continuing series on how the churches in the Rim country add beauty and grace to our community.

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