In the fall of 1961, George Hunter Hall, Synod Executive for Arizona of the United Presbyterian Church, recruited Rev. William Barrett, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Arcata, California, to organize a new Presbyterian church that the Synod hoped to establish in fast-growing North Phoenix. The Presbytery had purchased property at 39th Street and Shea Boulevard and posted a sign declaring that it was a “Future Home of United Presbyterian Church” site.
Rev. Barrett and his family arrived and he began “punching doorbells” on February 1, 1962. Worship began the first Sunday of March with 13 worshippers. On December 2, 1962, the church was officially organized as an ecclesiastical body with 46 charter members and nine more added in December. The name Emmanuel (God with us) was chosen and Rev. Barrett became Emmanuel’s first minister.