We are fortunate to have two Episcopal Churches in the Verde Valley area. St. Andrew’s Church was originally a mission church intertwined with St. Thomas of Clarkdale. St. Thomas was founded in 1913 when Clarkdale was the hub of the thriving mining industry in the Verde Valley. In 1957 there were 12 members of St. Thomas who resided in Sedona and they made a decision to hold services there. In 1967, a priest was appointed to serve as the Vicar of the Episcopal Church in the Verde Valley and the two churches shared a rector and a vestry until 1989, when we lovingly separated with the blessings of the Bishop. Since then, St Andrew’s has grown into a vital parish under the leadership of succeeding priests.
St. Andrew’s church was built in 1977 by faith, volunteer labor and donations. The Blanche Henderson Garden, located between the church and the parish hall, was built as a memorial to one of St. Andrew’s charter members and leads to the Columbarium Chapel which was completed in 1979. The garden, with its shade trees and water feature, is a peaceful spot for honoring our loved ones, meditation or just relaxing.
2021 Diocesan Convention Delegates
Clergy & Staff
The Rev. Monica Whitaker, Rector
After nine months of dedicated effort, the Search Committee and Vestry are very pleased to announce that the Rev. Monica Whitaker was called to serve as the next Rector of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church. Her official start date was January 14, 2017.
Rev. Monica comes to St. Andrew’s after serving for two and a half years as Associate Rector with Transfiguration Episcopal Church in San Mateo, California. While in the Bay Area she also served as the Lower School Religion Teacher at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Day School-San Mateo, hospital chaplain at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center-Oakland, and seminarian at St. John’s Episcopal Church-Oakland. For the Diocese of California, Rev. Monica served as Secretary for the Asian Commission and as a facilitator for anti-racism training. A cradle Episcopalian and second-generation Episcopal priest, Monica is passionate about social justice and environmental stewardship. Rev. Monica earned a Master of Divinity degree from Church Divinity School of the Pacific-Berkeley; a Master of Arts in theatre management and a Master of Music in vocal performance, both from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor; and a BA in Music from Kalamazoo College in Michigan.
Rev. Monica has vacationed often in Sedona at the home of her sister’s mother-in-law, Millicent Leenhouts. Monica’s daughter Isabella, an NAU graduate interior designer, lives in Chandler with her husband, Kyle, and their one-year-old son, Benjamin. Monica’s family enjoys hiking among the natural beauty of Arizona’s state and national parks. Before her call to the Ministry, Monica was a veteran marketing professional with twenty years’ experience in marketing for firms in the for-profit and not-for-profit sectors.
St. Andrew’s’ search began in April when the entire congregation gathered to develop a parish vision. Church members discussed what they needed for their personal spiritual development and for the church’s future. “The profile we developed from that meeting guided us in matching candidates to St. Andrew’s’ vision,” explained Mary Therese MacConnell, who chaired the seven-member Search Committee. “I was especially touched by the quality and sincerity of the candidates.”
Following the committee’s review of applications and skype interviews, it submitted three names to the church Vestry, a nine-person board charged with conducting the parish’s business. During November the Vestry brought each finalist to Sedona for four days of meetings, a church service, and tours of the Sedona area. “Rev. Monica demonstrated core values that coincide with those of the church, among them inclusiveness, acceptance, and forgiveness. The Vestry also noted her creativity and warmth, and the relevance of her professional and life experiences to St. Andrew’s,” stated Phil Valence, chair of the Vestry Selection Committee. “By the end of those visits we knew we had a great match.”