Over 250 Friends of Pima County Interfaith Council gathered at St. Philip’s on Sunday, March 8, to celebrate their 25th anniversary. Attendees enjoyed good music, rich desserts, and a wonderful variety of speakers. Honorees included long-time leaders and retirees the Rev. Paul Buckwalter, former priest at St. Philip’s and an IAF/PCIC organizer; the Rev. David Wilkinson, former pastor at St. Francis in the Foothills UMC; PCIC and Arizona Interfaith Network Lead Organizer Frank Pierson; former Diocesan CCHD rep. Joanne Welter; and deceased former Tucson Mayor and PCIC leader George Miller. Catholic Bishop Gerald Kicanas served as Master of Ceremonies, and six young leaders shared their stories as well. Congressman Raúl Grijalva, Mayor Jonathan Rothschild, former State Rep. Ethan Orr, and Southern Arizona Leadership Council Chair Lisa Lovallo from Cox Communications were among the speakers. Roughly $20,000 was raised and a good time was had by all!
PCIC began in the late 1980s as a group of religious and civic leaders across Pima County who set out to create a broad-based community organization that would create change at a grassroots level. Over the next three years, church leaders conducted over a thousand one-on-one conversations with church parishioners and hundreds of house meetings to build relationships throughout the community. This work laid the foundation on which to place the building blocks for the official founding of PCIC. Today, PCIC continues to build this organization for community change and has expanded into Santa Cruz and Cochise Counties. Here’s to another 25 years!