Friendship Community Church in Ahwatukee is dedicating a new leisure garden to late member Tom Carney this weekend, an effort fit to commemorate the former grounds keeper and farmer.

“He just took care of the campus,” said Travis Dale, pastor of student ministries. “And no one ever asked him to, it was just his thing.”

Carney, 92, was a longtime Ahwatukee resident, one of the first homeowners in the area, and also a prominent figure in the church community. After his death in January 2010, Senior Pastor Randy Cook and other leaders thought a garden would be fitting to remember Carney.

“It’s been a work-in-progress since he passed away, but just started to take shape a few months ago,” said Cook, who admired Carney’s humbleness.

The garden is a small, triangle-shaped area sitting between the church’s main building and its youth building. A handful of trees, shrubs, and tables have been set in place along with an area for flowers and a tribute plaque that will be mounted Sunday after regular services.

“It’s more of a place for fellowship, where people can just hang out,” Dale added.

Friendship Community Church has served Ahwatukee Foothills since 1982, and found its current building in 1995 thanks to Carney, who found the land for the church.

Since then, Carney had become a regular member, leader and role model for the men at Friendship Community.

“He was a mentor to a lot of people,” Dale said.

Tom Weakley, who designed the layout for the garden, knew Carney for about 25 years, and said Carney was one of his oldest friends.

After remembering Carney’s friendship, mentoring and caring heart, Weakley said he most admired that Carney’s whole live was lived “with God first.”

Friendship Community Church is located at 9807 S. 48th St. The garden dedication is open to the public and will begin after the church’s 10 a.m. service.

For more information about the church, visit

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(1) comment

Friendship Community Church

Thanks AFN for this article! The Tom Carney Memorial Garden will be dedicated THIS Sunday, January 27th directly following the morning 10am service.

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