Sun Lakes United Methodist Church came into being in 1987, as Sun Lakes itself was in its early development. This year, the church is having a year-long celebration of its 30th anniversary with various activities and tributes to mark the event. Local artist and church member Judy Yaryan was commissioned by the church to create an original painting of the church.
“I was told that when the church was built, it was surrounded by cotton fields and desert,” explained Yaryan, “So my inspiration came from that and also the breathtaking southwestern sky on the day I began the work,” she added. Yaryan, who lives in Sun Lakes, is a member of the Oakwood Art League and Desert Artists.
“We have named the painting ‘Beacon in the Desert,’ because it emphasizes both the church’s physical presence and our church’s vision statement, which is to be a beacon of hope, with unconditional love and acceptance,” explained Sr. Pastor Marvin Arnpriester. “We are grateful to Judy for the gift of her talent and love for our church,” he added.
Following its unveiling in February, the painting is now displayed in the church’s fellowship building, Lindsay Hall. Sun Lakes UMC was one of the first churches to be built in Sun Lakes and today has expanded from its original sanctuary to a five-acre campus with a chapel, education building, administration building, fellowship hall and columbarium. It is located at 9248 E. Riggs Road, next to the Robson Library.