We have seen people in our church family go through incredible trials, victories and deepening faith in Jesus.
In way of looking back over this past year, I feel it is important for me to keep the City Church family informed concerning some focus areas during this past year.
Stephen’s Ministry – This is a newly launched relationally driven support ministry for people walking through challenging times. The training that these Stephen ministers have undergone has been intensive, but each individual will be a blessing to those they serve and City Church as a whole.
Come and See Sunday – The first “Come and See” Sunday was in November and it was an overwhelming success. On this Sunday, people shared their “God Stories” with us as a church family. These “Stories” both inspired and encouraged others to share their “God Stories” as well.
Freedom Weekend – This special Spirit-Led weekend in December set people free from longstanding personal struggles. The focus on “Soul Care” was introduced this weekend and this initiative will be a key component for spiritual health in 2017 for our church.
Missionary Support – 2016 saw an increase in financial giving and personal involvement to support our two missionary families, Ben and Jess Lewis in Peru and Michael and Lawrencia Panton in Indonesia, called to foreign missions.
Life Groups – The health and overall structure throughout our Life Groups has risen to new levels resulting in great excitement for this critical area as we look into 2017.
These and everything else we do as a church family, is ultimately all about seeing lives transformed through the love of Jesus Christ.
May God’s blessing remain on us as we continue through 2017!
Activively pursuing Christ. We are committed as a church family to be fully devoted followers of Jesus. Our passion is to see Christ expressed in every area of our daily lives.
Actively engaging in spiritual relationships. We are committed to live lives of authentic relationship for the purpose of creative a Christ-like community for those God brings into our lives.
We are called to be a people who live our lives with a spirit of generosity. The calling to generosity affects how we utilize our time, finances, and relationships.
We will prayerfully finalize our plan for “what is next” in regards to a permanent church home in 2017. God has blessed us with an amazing interim facility at the Performing Arts Center, and the leadership of City Church clearly senses 2017 is the year to prayerfully discern the permanent location for our church.
As a follow-up from Freedom Weekend, the special Spirit-Led weekend in December, “Soul Care” was introduced to the church. This is a biblically based discipleship process focused to set people free from longstanding personal struggles. A team of trained professionals in this specific area are working alongside the staff to develop and properly roll out “Soul Care” near the latter months of 2017.
City Church currently has two staff positions to be filled in 2017: a Worship Arts Pastor and a Life Group Pastor. Presently, Rebecca and Brad Bigler are overseeing the Worship Arts team and Chet Seapy is overseeing the Life Group system in an interim capacity. They are doing an amazing job and our church is blessed to have them serving at this time. The interview process is underway so please pray with us to discern God’s will in these vital roles.
Baptism: 29 individuals were baptized in 2016!
Soul Care was introduced and addressed at Freedom Weekend with a great impact.
Youth Missions Trip: 17 youth students to Nicaragua.
20 Life Groups throughout Charlottesville
Transit 20’s group was formed
People serving in 325 roles within City Church
Stephen’s Ministry – Twelve individuals completed the Stephen Ministers’ training
Marriage Ministry – Six couples gave been trained to lead counseling for marriages
PACEM – Served homeless for 2 weeks
1st “Come and See” Sunday in Nov.
Web link added to receive individuals “God Stories”
$161,448 given to missions, local charities, missionaries and benevolence
Missions: $36,000 was raise to support the Lewis and the Panton families
Over 100 shoe boxes to Samaritan Purse
150 gifts for the Giving Tree
Net Income of $44,779 in 2016
City Church is blessed to have so many faithfully support and contribute to City Church. This generosity provides the resources necessary to offer Sunday services, small group relational environments and provide many other opportunities for individuals and families to experience and share the love of Jesus. The faithful support of so many is making a huge impact in our community. Thank you so much for your generosity to City Church throughout 2016!
The LORD is close to all who call on Him,
Yes, to all who call on Him in truth—Psalm 145.18 (NIV)
Andrew Murray, in his book entitled “Humility”, wrote this: “We must begin to believe that God, in the mystery of prayer, has entrusted us with a force that can move the Heavenly world, and can bring its power down to earth.”
The 18 members of the prayer team, led by Tina Webb, have been faithfully and steadily undergirding our church community with prayer and ministry. These committed women and men are seen most often on Sunday mornings standing ready to pray for, and minister to, individuals responding to the invitation to receive ministry.
This team is also committed to helping establish a culture of prayer at City Church, not only through their faithful Sunday morning service but also in hosting events such as the Saturday prayer seminar featuring several guest presenters. This event was kicked off with a showing of the Transformations video. The prayer team has long played a prominent role on our Saturday evening worship and prayer events.
Finally, the prayer Team enthusiastically took part in the Freedom Weekend that City Church hosted with guests, Drs. Martin Sanders, Ingrid Davis, and Rob Reimer (Soul Care).
2017 is already shaping up to show promise for a powerful move of God on our church community and the members of the prayer team will be near the heart of that move.
The purpose of the Guest Service team is to welcome guests and regular attendees by engaging, informing, and inviting each Sunday morning.
As a relationally driven church, this team serves as the front line in connecting and serving our first-time guests as well as all our regular attendees. The 31 members that serve on this team weekly welcome guests, hand out newsfeeds, distribute communion, collect the offering, provide security, and set out café treats for all our guests.
In September, the team successfully supported the evacuation of all church guests due to the unexpected fire drill.
Dianne Ewing serves on the ground weekly as a team captain to oversee that all the roles are in place and running smoothly. So, in addition to always looking out for additional friendly team members to join this team, our large prayer request is for another team captain.
Creating environments weekly for the adult worship service, Kidspace and volunteers.
As a mobile church, City Church weekly prepares Charlottesville High School for our services on Sunday. There is a committed team of 40 individuals who literally build the church weekly. Many church guests are in awe of the transformation that occurs on a weekly basis.
There is no hiding that this is a lot of work, but there is a purpose for everything that is set up and when it all comes together around 9AM – it is beautiful to begin seeing it filled with individuals and families desiring to worship God.
The team is diversified in how they serve: trailer hauling, setting up, tearing down and rolling cases. The main qualification for this team is a strong back.
As the church waits for a permanent church home, our prayer for this team is for additional members to serve on this team as many hands lighten the load.
“My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” Col. 2:2-3
City Church is committed to serving Charlottesville and its surrounding counties in the name of Christ. Whether acting on our own initiative or partnering with local agencies, City Church is always looking for ways to live out the great commandment:
“Love your neighbor as yourself.” Mark 12:31a
PACEM: People and Congregations Engaged in Ministry
PACEM is an administrative organization that coordinates local churches to provide evening shelter and food for homeless men and women around the Charlottesville community during the cold weather months. From the end of October through March, churches provide overnight shelter for the guests of PACEM for one or two weeks at a time. In 2016, City Church had the opportunity to host 2 weeks of PACEM at City Church. The host churches are rotated throughout the Charlottesville community and City Church is just one of many churches who participate.
PACEM has been a wonderful way to serve our neighbors in need. Due to your support, many meals, entertainment, activities and games were available for the guests who came each evening. City Church will continue to be involved with PACEM in 2017.
The Day Haven at First & Market is a dynamic, multi-purpose community space that features resources for the hungry, disadvantaged and homeless. It enhances our community by providing a centralized place for meeting the needs of this population. It also includes a community kitchen and serves as a day haven for the homeless.
Often, in response to natural disasters, City Church collects donations to assist in the area of need. Through an annual offering, we also support Hope Builders International’s efforts to provide Bibles and training to new pastors and churches in Africa. Additionally, we participated in Back to School Blast, a local outreach to give underprivileged students in C’ville a backpack and supplies at the start of the school year.
Loaves and Fishes
Loaves & Fishes Food Pantry exists to provide food assistance to families and individuals in need in Charlottesville and surrounding communities. One in 6 people in Charlottesville struggle with hunger. Loaves & Fishes provides groceries once per month to help low-income families stretch their food budgets further as they try to get on their feet financially. Their new facility near Albemarle High School provides them with ample parking, an expanded waiting area, larger warehouse, more cold storage facilities, and office space. City Church has helped to purchase food for these families in need and has supported the campaign for their newly renovated facility through our “Big Give” project at the end of the year. In addition to financial support, City Church provided volunteer service in December, and will continue our relationship with this outreach by offering more service days in 2017.
Operation Christmas Child
In November, City Church participated in filling shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child which delivers gifts and the Good News of Jesus to children in need around the world. Over 100 children smiled as they opened a shoe box made for them from someone in our church.
Advancing Native Missions (ANM)
ANM is a US-based agency called to seek out, evaluate, and equip native (or indigenous) mission groups throughout the world in order to hasten global evangelization. As they partner with these native missionaries through advocacy, encouragement, and support, they help them to serve, love, and reach people in their surrounding regions with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, all for the glory of God.
“The Big Give” and The Giving Tree
In December, City Church had a special opportunity to give financially in our December Giveaway to local and world ministries. For this special focus, the church was able to contribute $60,750 to support the following ministries: Loaves and Fishes, Habitat for Humanity, Advancing Native Missions: Philippines Medical Support, King’s Palace Kids’ Ministry in El Salvador, Bibles for Disciples, Teen Challenge: Beauty for Ashes (moms with additions). The annual “Giving Tree” gave 150 Christmas gifts to local organizations (The Bridge, The Haven, Laurels Nursing Home and Teen Challenge) and to local families in need this past year.
Senior Center Church Services
Each month, the senior adult group and others provide a service and ministry to Mountainside Senior Living and The Laurels of Charlottesville Senior Homes. Those attending are always grateful for the special attention given to them at these services!
But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Matthew 6:3
This list does not include all of the ways City Church as a body reaches out to love our community. Many of our small groups, ministries and individuals love our community in unseen ways.
As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend (Proverbs 27.17, NLT)
As of Summer 2016, we have been in the process of regrouping the men’s leadership team and ministry to the men of City Church. There are seven members on this team who have a renewed enthusiasm toward working to create opportunities for men to connect, serve and grow in their relationship to Christ.
Monday “catalyst” has a nearly 10-year history at City Church and continues to provide a place and time where men gather from 6:30am – 08:00am for a time of fellowship, interaction over a devotional addressed to men and for prayer.
This past fall there were several men who came together for the annual retreat held at Watermarks Camp. Pastor Pete challenged the men in three sessions with a timely message.
The men’s leadership team is committed to both the administration of men’s ministry and to making themselves available to minister to men, one-on-one. Recognizing men’s need for a unique kind of care that helps them thrive in their relationship to God and in their personal and professional lives, every Bible study and event will incorporate a specific ministry component.
Purpose Statement: Our purpose is to lead in authentic worship that glorifies Jesus and invites the Spirit of God to move in hearts and to transform lives at City Church.
In 2016, Brad and Rebecca Bigler began overseeing and leading the worship and creative arts team. There are currently 41 team members on the worship team. The Biglers are focusing on building stronger relationships among team members and on identifying and developing talent within City Church. This is an exciting time as they are seeing God work in team member’s lives for His glory and the edification of the body.
Jonathan Davis has also begun overseeing and training team members who serve with the technical and production aspects of the worship service. Technical upgrades and improvements are underway at the PAC and City Church Central. One noticeable update coming soon will be a foyer TV that will show the slide loop of announcements as guests enter the foyer and will broadcast the service for individuals that may need to step out of the auditorium. Other much needed updates may not be noticed immediately, but will play a significant role in supporting the worship team’s ability to lead the church in worship and in laying the groundwork for future growth.
The worship team is specifically praying for unity of mind, purpose and spirit as they move through the transitional period in the search for a worship pastor. They are excited to see God move as City Church pursues Him in worship.
Life Groups provide an environment for spiritual growth through biblical learning, prayer, relationships and service.
In 2016, Chet Seapy began overseeing the life groups system. Chet has worked diligently along with the core team members (Eric and Robyn Hoyle, Del and Stella Sanders) to form the Life Group mission statement and lay the groundwork for the Life Group system at City Church.
There are 20 active Life Groups throughout the community meeting regularly. (Life Group Locations: 8 Central Charlottesville, 4 North, 4 East, 2 West and 2 South of town)
Life Group leader meetings have allowed leaders to connect with other leaders, learn how to lead their own groups and see the vision for Life Groups at City Church.
A Life Group table has been established in the PAC foyer on a weekly basis and many people have signed-up to join a group or ask questions about Life Groups.
The goal is to have 75% of the people who attend City Church participating in a Life Group.
The focus for Life Groups in 2017 is to identify Life Group apprentice leaders and hosts. With training and support, prayerfully these individuals will be starting new groups to sustain the increasing interest in groups.
2016 was an active year for the ministries under Congregational Care: Marriage Enrichment and Stephen Ministry.
We trained six couples in the Prepare-Enrich program that we use at City Church to lead premarital and married couples through counseling. These six couples also formed the team around which opportunities to support marriages will be vetted and implemented.
I’ve also seen several individuals in my office for pastoral counseling over a variety of challenges, including grief, relationship difficulties, anxiety, and spiritual guidance. To be in witness of God’s merciful activity in the lives of people living with hurts and struggles, and to see them move toward healing, is nothing short of amazing.
Twelve individuals completed more than 50 hours of Stephen Ministers’ training. Not only did they fulfill their commitment to the many hours of training (meeting weekly for 20 weeks), they are also committed to 5 hours per month of continued education and supervision for as long as they serve as Stephen Ministers. Additionally, they are committed to providing individual support to a care receiver for up to one year at between 60 and 90 minutes per week.
REACH creates life-long followers of Christ through encouraging our students to:
Reach Up – In relationship to the Lord. 2nd Corinthians 3:17-18
Reach In – In fellowship and encouragement to other believers and their church family. Hebrews 10:19-25
Reach Out – In regards to sharing their faith and living a life of generosity and service. Hebrews 26:28-29
In June of 2016, Reach took 17 students and 4 leaders on a missions trip to Nicaragua. They worked on building a structure, handing out common necessity support bags, and hosting an outreach service and a Vacation Bible School.
In-Depth has been a time for our students to come and dive deeper in their faith through prayer, Bible study, asking questions, and worship. Over the past year we have seen this group grow in number and in knowledge of their faith.
Reach is continually looking for spiritual and relational opportunities for our students at conventions, camps, and weekend breakaways.
We are prayerfully seeking additional adults who have a desire and passion to raise up the next generation of Christ followers and world changers. Small group leaders support, encourage and disciple students to follow Christ in a small group setting.
Kidspace provides a safe environment where children have a blast while learning about Jesus and growing in their faith.
On average in 2016, 110 children participated and 30 adult volunteers and 4 youth served in this dynamic ministry weekly. Kidspace is made up of a team of 80 adult volunteers, mainly comprised of parents, college students and those who just love children.
Chris Becker: Children’s Pastor
Darcy Becker: Kidspace
Director Kristen Schlegel – Overall Kidspace support role
Anna Brown – 1st-5th grade small group coordinator
Lisa Choi – Nursery Coordinator
Devann McCurry – Nursery Coordinator
Our prayer is for children to follow Jesus at an early age. We are in need of volunteers to help out in the 1st – 5th grade program and at check-in, which primarily consists of greeting families.
*average auditorium attendance:
Pete Hartwig has served as the lead pastor of City Church since 1997. He provides oversight for the pastoral team and lay-leaders as together they implement the God-given vision of our church: Calling people to follow Jesus & serve others. As a pastor, he believes he is called to listen to God, listen to people and teach from the Scriptures. Pete has a ministerial passion for reaching University communities, specifically UVA. Outside of City Church Pete journeys alongside of academic, business, and community leaders of the greater Charlottesville area.
Prior to his time at City Church, Pete served as a campus pastor at Princeton University from 1988-1997. He holds a Bachelors in Biblical Studies, a Masters in Counseling and Doctorate of Ministry in leadership. He and his wife Fran have three Children: Peter UVA ‘16, Allie UVA ‘20 and Jackie St. Anne’s-Belfield School ’18. He enjoys UVA sports, is an avid outdoorsman, and loves to eat cheeseburgers with friends.
UVA brought Robyn to Charlottesville for her undergraduate engineering degree. She joined Chi Alpha, a college ministry supported by City Church, and met her husband, Eric, through their involvement. Following graduation, she spent a year working with a campus ministry in Spain. She and Eric have lived in Charlottesville and attended City Church for over 5 years. Together, they have a heart for campus ministry and missions. Robyn works at Merkle, Inc., as a digital marketing manager and Eric is a stay at home dad to their two young sons. The family enjoys hiking & backpacking, going for walks, and fresh eggs from their backyard chickens.
Larry has faithfully served on the City Church Board since the mid-1990’s. He and his wife Marilyn live in Crozet with their dachshund dogs. He is a co-owner of Burruss Signs in Belmont and Larry has the creative ability to develop sign-work for any type of business or industry in the state of VA. Larry serves on the worship set-up team. In his free time, you may see Larry painting a picture or flying his plane overhead on a clear day.
A native of upstate New York, Andy Straka has lived in Charlottesville since 1988. He and his wife Bonnie have attended City Church for the past 5 years. They have six children and one grandchild, and also have extensive experience with international adoption. A graduate of Williams College, Andy is an award-winning author. His previous ministry experience includes the diaconate at Trinity Presbyterian Church, where he served as secretary. At City Church, he has served on the Worship breakdown team in addition to his current service on the board.
Joel came to Charlottesville with his wife Katie following their graduation from James Madison University in 2005. Together they have called City Church home since then and have a heart for loving and serving others, and building authentic community. Joel works from home for Apex CoVantage, located in Herndon, Virginia, as Director of Business Development. Katie is a stay at home mom to their five young children. Joel is involved at City Church with the worship team, small groups and has previously served on the church board. Joel enjoys playing soccer (the beautiful game!), playing drums, following his beloved Chelsea FC (come on you Blues!) and most of all living life with his wife and kids. As a family the Mills crew enjoys being together, playing soccer, the outdoors, and finding ways to serve people.
My husband, Chester and I moved to Charlottesville in 1984 from Annapolis, Maryland. I have worked in various nursing roles at UVA Hospital and taught at the School of Nursing for several years. Currently I am working part-time as a Nurse Practitioner in the Martha Jefferson Emergency Department. Chester and I have a heart for missions and spent two years in Bangkok, Thailand as missionaries. We love working with International Students especially and have made several mission trips to China and Thailand. We have been coming to City Church for about 5-6 years and feel it has been such a blessing in our lives. We have three Grandchildren and enjoy them immensely. We absolutely love how “alive” city Church is with its involvement in the community and so many ministries, so many young people and a diversified congregation. WE feel so blessed to be part of this vibrant congregation. I am honored to be asked to serve on the City Church Board and help serve in the Church’s mission to serve Jesus and carry the Gospel message to those who have not heard.