Pastor and Staff
Rev. Dr. David Wilkinson, Pastor
I have been the pastor of this congregation for thirty years. Being pastor of this progressive and open congregation has been the greatest blessing of my entire ministry, which spans 43 years. I am a 1970 graduate of The School of Theology at Claremont, California, with a Doctor of Religion degree. I am a seventh generation United Methodist Minister, dating back to my Great, Great, Great, Great Grandfather, John Wilkinson, who emigrated to Canada from the Lake District in England in approximately 1835. I am happily married to Susan Wilkinson, with five children and eight grandchildren. To know more about me and St. Francis it would be best to communicate what I believe. It forms a substantial part of the ministry and direction of this beautiful church. If you are in the Tucson vicinity we would welcome a visit from you. WHAT I BELIEVE 1.I believe there is one “FORCE” in the Cosmos through which I live and move and have my being. That “FORCE” is the creator and sustainer of all life and all creation. I often call that Force “God.” 2.I believe in the inseparable Oneness of God and all humanity, and that this Oneness can be experienced day by day. 3.I believe that Jesus of Nazareth was a full human being who awakened to this “oneness” and demonstrated what it means to be fully human. 4.I believe that I, like Jesus, am created in God’s image, and that I am created to fully “awaken” as did Jesus…and other great persons of faith throughout history. 5.I believe that the Kingdom of Heaven is in our midst, and that my purpose is to awaken to this Kingdom through removing the blocks to my awareness. 6.I believe that salvation is not solely a Christian phenomenon, but is a free gift to all. 7.I believe that the Bible is not the end of the revealed Word of God. The Word continues to be made flesh in the activities of each day as I live responsively to God’s presence. 8.I believe that service to others is the highest activity to which one can aspire. 9.I believe that there are solutions to world hunger, homelessness and war, and I am dedicated to bring about the invitation to Peace on Earth and goodwill to all creation. 10.I believe that all people have a right to respect and justice, living lives of wholeness, love and oneness. This requires that no one should suffer any deprivation of basic human rights: life, liberty, happiness.
In Love and Light Dr. David Wilkinson
Laura Aldag, Church Administrator
I am originally from Oklahoma where the wind comes rushing down the plains all the live-long day. I graduated from Kansas State University with a Bachelor of Science in Dietetics and moved to Tucson in 1988 to get my Masters of Science in Nutritional Sciences at the University of Arizona. My plan was to move back home to Oklahoma where I belonged after graduation but 23 years later, here I am. Meeting my husband Curt had something to do with putting down roots in the lovely Sonoran Desert. Curt and I have been married almost 20 years and have three children. Two are now living on their own and our youngest will graduate from high school in 2013. I have worn many different career hats over the years and was blessed to be hired at St Francis in 2009 as an office manager. I have also been a member of St Francis since 1996.
In October of 2011 I was promoted to Church Administrator, bringing me a whole new set of exciting challenges. Working for a church as active as St Francis guarantees that I never have a dull day!
Chris Rupley, Director of Childrens Ministries
I have been a member of Saint Francis for eleven years and have been blessed to be working with the children and families of Saint Francis for the past two years. I have enjoyed a few different careers including working as a Registered Nurse and a teacher in the public schools. Before moving to Tucson fifteen years ago, I had lived in Missouri, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Southern California, and I still am getting used to the desert in the summer. I have three grown children and two grandchildren, and am blessed to have all but one in Tucson. I have been active in many aspects of Saint Francis in addition to Children, Youth, and Family including choir, theater, celebration team, and refugee ministries.
Our Sunday School theme is kindness, teaches God within all and follows the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. Our curriculum is progressive, creative, inclusive, compassionate, inter-spiritual, feeling based, and leads our kids into creative thinking and self awareness.
Melissa Mitchell - Administrative Assistant
Melissa was born in New York City but qualifies as practically a native Tucsonan since she has been here for more than forty years. Melissa enjoys gardening, reading, playing her guitar, and cooking. She and her partner, Patricia have a bright-eyed boy named David. They also share their home with too many cats, a parakeet and a boxer named Max.
Cathy DeMers - Director International School for Peace
Cathy earned a Master's Degree in Special Education in the area of Social/Emotional Development, and a Bachlor's Degree in Elementary/Early Childhood Education, from the University of Arizona. Cathy came to the International School for Peace in 2004 from Valley View Preschool in the Catalina Foothills School District, where she was a Preschool Teacher for 2 years. Prior to that , Cathy lived in Highland Park, Illinois and worked in the North Suburban Special Education District for 17 years before relocating back to Tucson in 2001. Cathy enjoys exploring and hiking in beautiful Tucson with her husband Gerry and their two teenage daughters.