From their website: St. Philip\\u0027s In The Hills Episcopal Church was founded in 1936. When the first service was held on Christmas Eve, the congregation overflowed the seating capacity. The Josias Joesler\\u002Ddesigned building, standing on land donated by John and Helen Murphey, was just a small chapel on the outskirts of town, accessed by dirt roads. The church has gone through several expansions as the congregation grew, but the integrity of Joesler\\u0019s design has been maintained in the buildings. In the mid\\u002D1980s, an art gallery, a memorial garden, the east and west transepts and a campanile, which houses the carillon, were added. During the summer of 1998, a Children\\u0019s Center and Recital Hall were built. The mission of St. Philip\\u0027s 75th Anniversary Committee is to celebrate our past and prepare for our future, as a strong and loving community that welcomes, encourages, and empowers all to grow in Christ and to do God\\u0027s work in the world.\\u000D\\u000A\\u000D\\u000ANina Bell Allen\\u002DLangley \\u002D Member, 75th Anniversary Committee \\u000D\\u000ARev. John Kitagawa Kitagawa \\u002D Rector, St. Philip\\u0027s in the Hills Episcopal Church\\u000D\\u000A

For thousands of congregants at one very active Tucson church, Christmas offers two reasons to celebrate.

St. Philip's in the Hills Episcopal Church will turn 75 this Christmas Eve.

At its founding in 1936, the small chapel on Campbell Avenue and River Road was accessible only by dirt roads. Reverend John Kitagawa, a rector at the church, says he continues to be inspired by the church's humble beginnings.

"To me, probably the most important and amazing historical fact is that a group of people got together in the Depression to start St. Philip's Church," he says in an Arizona Illustrated interview. "And once they made a decision in May of that year, it took them only six months to get a church building up and then they were able to have their first service on Christmas Eve 75 years ago."

Nina Bell Allen-Langley, a member of St. Philip's 75th anniversary committee, also joins the studio.

She says the year has been filled with commemorative activities, including tours of homes that were also designed by the church's architect, renewals of wedding vows and other celebrations.

Church members are also uniting on December 22nd to break ground on a new labyrinth, which they hope to complete in 2012.

"This will be our legacy from the 75th," Allen-Langley says. "It will be an experience for people of the church as well as the general public to come in at any time that they feel the need for a little quiet solitude--to walk the paths of the labyrinth, to pray or meditate, or just to seek a feeling of peace."