By: Mark Novales, Pastor at Cityreach
My wife, 2 boys and I planted Cityreach Church about 5 years ago at Northeast High School in Philadelphia with a handful of amazing people in the Fall of 2013. After 2 years at the High School, we began to look, pray, and dream about a building. We began praying for a new right before the Easter season. We found an old, overpriced, fixer upper theater in the Tacony section of the city. Our first outreach event in Tacony section of the city was held outside of a locked theater that we didn’t own (yet). We were trying to think of ways to start connecting with local residents when I received a call from Vito Baldini, who offered us some free non-perishable meals. We jumped on the opportunity and were able to give out over 50 meals from the stairs of a location we believed would one day be our own. What an amazing way to begin our journey with our local community! People called neighbors or asked us to walk the meal to families who couldn’t carry the box. It was a wonderful way to make initial contact with our community.
The next year led to us giving out over 300 meals from the inside of a building we now owned! This time, thanks to EASTER OUTREACH (EO), several other volunteers showed up to help us with the packing of meals. It was even more amazing than our first year.
Last year we were able to share over 600 meals and fresh produce with local churches and neighbors. We ask that our neighbors literally step into our church to receive their meal, a free Bible, prayer, coffee, and a snack. The response was so huge that we had to turn people away on Easter because of lack of space. This year we are expecting even more of a response from our church volunteers, partners, and local community members. We have added a 3rd worship service this year and will be inviting our new guest to attend the 1 PM worship service. There have been so many blessings that have occurred while we have been a part of EO. Here are a few examples:
Year 1: EO was magnificent way for a new church plant with very little resources to interact with our new community
Year 2: We learned that many of our community members had either never been prayed for before or hadn’t been prayed for in many years. EO gives us the opportunity to see people receive prayer, cry if they feel the need, and experience the love of Jesus
Year 3: We were able to share the EO blessing with other local churches nearby. Our community already is in expectation of this years EO.
We are eternally grateful for EO and are looking forward to many more years of partnership with Liberti church and blessing they are for our entire city! May the Lord multiply his favor, power, peace and love over Liberti church, churches in the region, our city, and our local residents, In Jesus name!