Saved by a Jesus street preacher: Tucson pastor says God through a megaphone does more than just annoy people

We find some interesting stuff on Tucson street corners.

Meet Jesus on the corner of Grant and Alvernon/Ryn Gargulinski

These include an 18-foot Paul Bunyan statue, an overheated guy dressed as a giant pizza slice – and a group of people preaching Jesus every other Friday at the southwest corner of East Grant Road and North Alvernon Way.

The Jesus group usually consists of about a dozen folks or so, holding up signs and spouting God from at least one megaphone.

While our first inclination may be to simply ignore anything over 90 decibels, I felt moved one recent Friday to approach the group as I had a ruthlessly burning question:

Does all this Jesus from a megaphone stuff do anything other than annoy passers-by?

Why yes, said Pastor-on-the-scene Sullivan. It also pisses them off.

He recalled one passenger in a Jeep stopped at red light who actually bolted from the vehicle and began to barrel towards the sign holders.

Pastor Sullivan, 33, trained in all things peaceful, diffused the situation before anyone bled. Guess the Jesus stuff does work to calm people down.

Pastor Star Flower Sullivan/Ryn Gargulinski

And it also works to draw followers, Sullivan added.

While he did not have a graph mapping statistics of how many people corner preaching brings to the nearby Christian Fellowship Ministries, he did say he constantly sees new faces who tell him they are there after hearing about it on a megaphone.

He also had some of the best evidence of corner Jesus preaching at work that he could give – himself.

The pastor used to be a meth head.

Born to hippie parents who named him Star Flower Sullivan, the pastor didn’t outline his entire childhood – just his descent into hell.

That hell was a daily crystal methamphetamine habit as well as a grungy Bisbee apartment stocked with drugs and armed with a gun.

Then one day he passed a corner where people were preaching about Jesus.

Got Jesus?/Ryn Gargulinski

He returned to his dank apartment, sat and stared at the gun and 2-pound bag of weed, then did something very unusual.

“I prayed for God to help me,” Sullivan said, “and he did.”

Sullivan promptly got rid of the weed, the gun – and the meth habit – all in one fell swoop. “It felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders.”

It was that easy? Pretty much.

The trick, he said, is to stop stuffing ourselves with things we think will make us whole, like drugs, booze, sex, fancy clothes, cars or more new shoes. To truly be sated, he advised, we need to fill ourselves with God.

Although Sullivan has neither joined any 12-step groups nor followed any addiction program, he’s been drug-free for 15 years. He’s also now happily married with kids. And his wife was out there holding a sign.

If that’s not enough, the group has one more thing going for it, assuring they’ll be preaching Jesus for some time to come.

“Cops love us,” Sullivan said. Maybe police realize that’s one less corner they’ll have to fret about patrolling – even when the corner is plagued by an angry man in a Jeep.


Christian Fellowship Ministries is behind Circle K, Grant and Alvernon/Ryn Gargulinski

More info:

Christian Fellowship Ministries – Phone: 870-1816

2351 N. Alvernon Way (southwest corner of Alvernon and Grant)

Services: Sundays 10:30 a.m. and 7 p.m.; Wednesdays 7 p.m.

Ryn Gargulinski is a poet, artist, performer and Ryngmaster who is not a big fan of meagphones – or even telephones. Her column appears every Friday on Rynski’s Blogski. Her art, writing and more is at and E-mail

What do you think?

What’s the coolest thing you’ve spotted on a Tucson street corner? The most annoying?

Are you a fan of street preachers?


About Rynski

Writer, artist, performer who specializes in the weird, wacky and sometimes creepy. Learn more at
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29 Responses to Saved by a Jesus street preacher: Tucson pastor says God through a megaphone does more than just annoy people

  1. tiponeill says:

    They are annoying, but I encourage them to congregate on street corners rather than come knocking on my door – which is super annoying.

    • Rynski says:

      good point, tiponeill –
      i say ANYONE who comes knocking in the door is super annoying – unless, of course, the person is expected and invited.
      i encourage all others to go fly a kite (hahah).

  2. tiponeill says:

    P.S> – I just noticed – what happened to ReCapcha ?
    Speaking of annoying 🙂

    • Mark B. Evans says:

      We wrote a program that blocks bots. Only humans can post comments now, or those purported to be humans. We’ll see if it works. If it doesn’t, we’ll bring back the captcha, but a different one that features advertising so we get a few pennies every time you comment.

      • tiponeill says:

        Thanks – hope it works. I understand there is an entire sweatshop in Bangalore with poor people decoding ReCapchas for the spammers.

  3. leftfield says:

    The trick, he said, is to stop stuffing ourselves with things we think will make us whole, like drugs, booze, sex, fancy clothes, cars or more new shoes. To truly be sated, he advised, we need to fill ourselves with God.

    I find this sentiment to hold true for most people in recovery that I have come across, but of course I take exception to the need to “fill ourselves with dog”. 
    I did not live anything like the life our friend Star Flower describes, but I did have a similar “moment of clarity”.  I mention this because I was an atheist before my moment and I remain an atheist today.  I don’t want anybody to be put off from seeking help by the commonly held beliefs that they have to “find dog” or that AA/NA is of no help unless you are ready to believe in the christian dog. 
    I am a communist and an atheist, neither of which I hid or denied while seeking help.  I was always the only such person in the room, yet I received all the help I needed and gave all the help I was able to give without being judged or rejected.  As they say, “the only requirement for membership is a desire to stay sober”.  In my opinion, AA/NA is the purest communist organization in this country (don’t let that scare anyone away either).

    While it is true that it is possible for people to recover without the help of AA/NA/Rational Recovery, etc, it is also true that AA/NA “works the best for the most”.  

    My take on street preachers is “all of the above”. 


    • Rynski says:

      thank you for your beautiful – and very informative – comment, leftfield.
      glad to hear you, too, experienced a ‘moment of clarity.’ the big ones are very good – the little ones, too, are sweet. my friend calls them ‘epiphanettes’ – hahaha.
      also like to add a p.s. to your ‘find dog’ and ‘christian dog.’ god can be anything.
      ‘he’ doesn’t have to be that old mean man with a beard that ‘punishes sinners’ and shoots brimstone out of his eyeballs that some were bludgeoned to believe in.
      heck, he, she or it can be as small as a butterfly, as enormous as an all-encompassing soothing field of energy or as kooky as a aqua blue cartoon stick figure with a giant head and goofy grin.
      i say whatever works – go for it! yes, that includes atheism.

    • tiponeill says:

      While it is true that it is possible for people to recover without the help of AA/NA/Rational Recovery, etc, it is also true that AA/NA “works the best for the most”.
      There is absolutely no data to support that claim. AA has never been shown to be either safe or effective, and operates as most religious organizations do – claiming “miracles” for successes and blaming the victims for failures.

      • Rynski says:

        why do you seem so mad at those organizations? (just curious)

      • tiponeill says:

        I’m not sure that “mad” is the correct word – what I dislike is lying.
        Especially the kind of lies that are repeated enough to become common knowledge, such as this one.
        It is human nature to judge people and organizations by their intentions, and not by results, so if we think that someone has “good intentions” we don’t want to hold them to any scientific scrutiny.
        AA is one of those groups – it has never been shown to be effective – quite the opposite – and perpetuates a lot of false information and stereotypes about addiction.
        The real problem with them is when judges will sentence an offender to attend AA meetings as a condition of their sentencing or probation – which is a huge violation of rights, IMO.
        Ditto when judges sentence people to Scientology drug counseling, which has also occurred.

      • leftfield says:

        One difference I can think of is that the Scientologists are going to extract a lot of money from you before they’re done with you.  AA/NA doesn’t cost a thing.

      • andrew farley says:

        Cause he’s still mad at Target stores. I have been thinking of starting a M.A .club, about Moderate Alcoholics at the MoonDance Saloon. We can drink, but moderatly, no more than over three beers an hour for everyone. OK, how about two? Two an hour, that’s all. At the MoonDance M.A. club you get to enjoy wine and spirits many flavors and essences, not just to get drunk. That’s for Alcoholics. “Chicken Dog” is the Captcha

      • tiponeill says:

        Actually you reminded me that the situation isn’t all bad- checking out your local meeting of Sex Addicts Anonymous is always a good way to find a date 🙂

      • leftfield says:

        There is absolutely no data to support that claim

        I can’t argue with that.  Is there data to support any other approach to the treatment of addiction as being more effective?  In my case, I also had the great luxury to be able to afford inpatient treatment for 30 days at great expense.  The facility I went to was based, as many are, on the twelve step approach.  This may have made a difference in my case, but it is also true that many, if not most, will not be able to afford that kind of treatment, especially since most insurance companies are no longer paying for inpatient treatment. 

        I don’t know what your experience with AA/NA is or was.  My experience was all positive.  Yes, I had to listen to a lot of religious people talking about dog, but everyone gets a chance to speak and they also had to listen to me.  And yes, they are organized around christianity, even though the claim is that you can pick anything for your higher power.  Still, I survived intact.  For many people, AA/NA is literally “the last house on the block”; the last hope for some.  My point today is that no one should be discouraged from asking for help nor from giving help to another addict for fear of being proselytized.  You can take what you need and leave the rest. 

      • tiponeill says:

        My experience was far more negative – but that is not the point.
        The Point is that they TELL you that AA is “the last house on the block” but the facts are that 80 percent of those who recover from alcohol addiction do so on their own, after AA has failed them.
        They operate as a cult, claiming to be “the answer” – and like any cult  they help some. They also lie to and discourage many others who are capable of recovering without pledging intelligence to “the only  way”

      • leftfield says:

         80 percent of those who recover from alcohol addiction do so on their own, after AA has failed them.

        If they are in recovery, I’m happy for them, however they get there.  If they can get better on their own, more power to ’em.  I needed all the help I could get and helping others on the way was part of what helped me. 

  4. Dianna says:

    The message of Jesus love is beyond what any of us can imagine. He came to save you and me from the “world” and “sin-nature” so, that we might have life; blessed, fulfilled and peaceful. Having said all that, the “street corner ministry” could be distracting for safe driving. We have enough distractions as it is. There are so many people who have “real needs” in Tucson. I think if Jesus were here (in the flesh) he would be seeking to minister, heal and bring about the message of his saving grace by going to those in need; rather than standing on a street corner with a sign.
    Please know, I mean know disrespect for the ministry. But as Ambassadors for Christ we will accomplish more, even more than He (He says so in His word) by imitating his nature and character – not our own.

    • Rynski says:

      thanks for input, dianna.
      i agree, tucson has way more driving distractions than we already need – from construction cones to steel plates the size of texas in the middle of the road…not to mention the people dressed as pizza! hahah.
      i, too, would be very interested in what jesus would have to say if he came and took a gander at the world these days…

    • John says:

      Was not Jesus a preacher who preached out on the corners, on hill tops and out side in front of the temple. Yes Jesus is the prefect example of a Jesus preacher and we are to go out and tell the world about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Remember we are in this world but not of this world. That is why when the name of Jesus is spoke it has power, all kinds of people change there tune, some for the good and some for the bad. The fact is people will take about GOD all day long but when Jesus is spoke things change. Even the demons believe in Jesus and they tremble.So if Jesus was here he would be right out in the middle of the sinners spreading his gospel, just like he did. But next time Jesus comes it will not be in the same mode, this time is coming to judge. You don”t have to believe me just look around at this world

  5. Alan in Kent WA says:

    I was never confused by Street Preachers.  In fact, anyone who will go around with a cross with a wheel on it and go around the country is the type of person that can make one feel like character is important.  Pat Tillman did the same as anything that I thought was important was miniscule.  The people that I always was confused about are the guys and gals from Mexico that wear the “nurses” uniforms.  I alway give them money, they are here in Kent too, and I figure that whatever mission they are on is probably important.

    • Rynski says:

      ha! we can hope people dressed as nurses are up to some healing…unless they are just impersonating nurses and waiting stealthily to put poison in our IVs?
      always a joy to hear from you, alan in kent wa MTH fan!

  6. radmax says:

    Howdy Rynski! I’ve been convalescing somewhat due to a work injury and am reticent to hunt and peck with one hand, but I’ll give it a go. 🙂 I’ve seen this crew out and about and have actually had occasion to chat with pastor Flower. Seems a decent, well intentioned chap with a very nice disposition…I did mention that yelling at folks through a bullhorn at a busy intersection might not be the best way to convey his message of brotherly love. Then again, maybe some people need a good slap upside the head to realize their own personal nirvana.

    • Rynski says:

      hahahha! i hear ya, radmax – don’t they call that slap-upside-the-head-to-nirvana thing tough love or something?
      you’re right, whatever it takes. glad to hear you met pastor sullivan – he IS a cool cat. if i felt like ever going to church, i’d maybe even go to his.
      best wishes for happy healing – hope injury goes away soon – hey! do you need a slap of tough love or something to speed up the healing process? hahahahha

  7. tattoo3641 says:

    I believe that here in America one of our fundamental beliefs is the right to free speech.  I also believe in Jesus.  I’ve never stood on a street corner preaching but I know that in my life He has brought me hope and peace.
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  8. Denise Madrid says:

    I am a beleiver in Jesus.However, when I see people standing on the corner, screaming about God and “being saved” I find it embarrassing. You don’t have to stand around screaming at people to get your point across.I do understand that that they have a right to “freedom of speech,” but who cares they look nuts. Most of the time, it appears that nobody listens to them anyway. They look crazy and who wants to listen to a crazy person?

  9. boobun says:

    I agree tattoo3641  that here in America one of our fundamental beliefs is the right to free speech. I understand they have right to talk.
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  10. Richard Hampson says:

    Hey, Star is my nephew.  Better being on the street and a “fisher of men” than in a fancy cathedral counting the donation money and not reaching out to those who need help and guidance.  A higher power than an individual works for all those who need to discard bad behavior – drug use is just the tip of the iceberg if you consider the greed and fraud and dishonesty prevalent in all parts of polite and political society.

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