Meeting Our Neighbors & Their Needs: Citylight Church's Easter Outreach Story

Citylight Church is no stranger to big undertakings. Still a relatively young congregation, they began just under five years ago with a core team of people meeting, praying, and dreaming about what this new church could look like. They officially launched in 2012 in Manayunk, as a part of the Christian and Missionary Alliance and the Acts 29 Network. Most recently, they started a second congregation in Center City. With this kind of ministry-centric energy, Citylight is a valuable partner in the Easter Outreach effort!

In 2014, Citylight was one of the very first community partners to team up with Easter Outreach, when they encouraged members of their congregation to help pack and deliver meals at another site. By 2015, they were hosting their own packing nights at the Mishkan Shalom Synagogue – where they meet on Sundays – and served as a distribution center on delivery day. In total they provided around 200 meals to families in Manayunk.
   
“Being a packing site gave us more ownership of it,” says Brittany Nyce, as Citylight member who serves as their point person for Easter Outreach. Delivering meals also enabled Citylight’s congregation to better connect with the neighborhood where their church is situated. “It ended up being cool for people to go and meet people in their neighborhoods and on their blocks.”
    
This face-to-face meeting is essential to the mission of Easter Outreach. “There’s something big about going to where people are at, wanting to know them and their story,” says Nyce.  “We know that there are needs in Philly, and it was cool to put faces to those needs.” Overall, delivering meals around the Manayunk area enabled Citylight’s members to become “students of their neighborhood,” becoming more attuned to its unique attributes and needs.      

The past year has been a busy one for Citylight, as they launched a second campus in Center City. This new congregation meets at Broad & Spring Garden Sts., and started holding weekly services just this past fall. This significant milestone enables Citylight to approach Easter Outreach 2016 with a new kind of excitement, especially as they begin to imagine the role that the Center City campus will play in this effort.

Being a part of Easter Outreach also enabled Citylight to create lasting connections within their community. For example, last year they teamed up with the nearby North Light Community Center, who helped with meal referrals and distribution. This led to an ongoing relationship, which created volunteer opportunities for Citylight members throughout the year. They’re excited to work together on Easter Outreach again in 2016.

Delivering meals to neighbors also created an opportunity to invite the people close to Citylight to join them for worship services, and several people accepted this invitation, with some even getting quite involved in the community. “We’re not here to save the city or fix the hunger problem,” says Nyce. “We’re here to engage with our neighbors.”

To learn more about Citylight Church, please visit their website. And head over to our volunteer page to learn more about meal packing and delivery at Citylight.

Easter Outreach 2016 at Citylight Manayunk