Street preaching intensifies
in downtown Phoenix. Our Friday night church services in
the county jail begin. Richard Hudalla comes to the Lord from the outdoor shelter
and is destined to become COTS’s General Manager for over twenty years, prior to his untimely death in 2005. In 1986, corporation status as a nonprofit organization is acquired.
Church on the Street is officially born. With no residential facilities,
weekly outreach services see over 400 homeless cared for. Food, clothing and
some furniture are distributed. The homeless are bussed to Phoenix First Assembly
twice a week, with over a hundred fed after each service. In 1987, a large room
at the YMCA is rented for our jam-packed Saturday night coffee house. The crowd
forces us to move to the Chapel of Christ for an indoor Saturday night service with an additional outdoor outreach at 411 North Central Avenue. Ministry at Perryville State Prison
begins, and a local radio show tapes our outdoor services.
COTS’s first building is
acquired and donated by local businessman Steve Myland. The 6000 sq. ft Victorian style home enables us to provide shelter,
meals and clothing for more than 30 men. We acquire 2 more properties shortly thereafter. As demand for more space continues,
3 additional buildings are acquired by Steve Myland. These 3 new properties house an additional 45 men; The Steve M. House
is dedicated in a ribbon cutting ceremony officiated by Pastor Richard Hudalla, and baseball legends Joe Black and Joe Garagiola,Sr. With this expansion, COTS becomes the largest men’s recovery
program in the state. The Washington Street property becomes
our office, with four houses on Madison reserved for the men,
whom Pastor Walt nicknames “The Dirty Dozen.” A men’s mission is leased as well as our first church building at 10th Street and Fillmore. In May, 1991, we move into our “big red church” on the corner of 9th Street and McKinley.
The parsonage next door becomes home for our first women disciples.
Our outreaches continue, feeding approximately 1,800 a week. Vans are
purchased to pick up the elderly and the handicap who enjoy our services. In
1992, we begin our first Thanksgiving and Christmas Dinners on the streets. In April 1993, our first “Yarn Connection” between
our nursing home ministry and the female inmates at Perryville is launched. Daily breakfasts for
the public shelter homeless women begin, with the ladies being bused to our church fellowship hall.
One of the hi-lights of the decade
happens in 1994 with the purchase and dedication of the 11th Street and Garfield Women's home, another acquisition from Steve
Myland. The 15,000 sq. ft. dwelling includes 15 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms, 3 kitchens and a sanctuary to seat 450 people comfortably
and serves as both a short-term mission and residential discipleship program .It is formally dedicated on January 16,
1994, as the Lorna Gail Home for Women.
Our large, annual fall and spring picnics begin at the Encanto
Park. In 1995, our annual
Christmas care packages are assembled for prisoners as well as the homeless.
In July 2000, COTS begins
its first foreign mission’s project in Brazil. In 2006, we add an orphanage in India
and a “Church on the River” in Guatemala. In May of that same year, we moved into the current home of our residential program
and offices, the Phoenix Dream
Center. In September 2007,
with the sale of our inner city church, services are moved to our chapel in the Dream
Center. Our Spanish Church on the Street ministry expands to major outreaches in Sonora,