The story of Easter Outreach starts with a small group of people and a newspaper article. Back in 2010, a team of people from Liberti Church East were trying to think through ways to better engage with their neighbors, impact their neighborhood, and put these ideas into action. Around this time, Ryan Egli, who was at the time a member of the church and a part of this team, read an article in the Philadelphia Inquirerwhich named an area of North Philly as the second hungriest congressional district in America. Realizing that Liberti East is also located in this area, Egli and the team asked, “what are the small things that we can do to be a part of the solution?”
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!
The congregation of Grace and Peace Community Fellowship is a reflection of its neighborhood. This means that the church, located in the Hunting Park neighborhood of North Philadelphia – where children outnumber adults – is made up mostly of families with young children, as well as teenagers. Initially planted by Spirit and Truth Fellowship, Grace and Peace officially organized within the Christian Reformed Church in 2015. And they are on the move in their neighborhood, coming alongside people in the midst of the drug use and violence that plague their community.
In the heart of South Philadelphia, the Aquinas Center, located at 17th & Morris Streets, serves as a beacon for thousands of families in need, particularly immigrants and refugees from Africa, Latin America, and Southeast Asia. The Aquinas Center is part of the St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Community, a parish that sees over 1200 people each weekend, spread across six masses offered in four different languages. Throughout the week, a variety of services, activities, and programs reach and additional 400 people. They also regularly host volunteer groups from schools and universities, offering students a multicultural urban immersion experience. Given their vision to meet people where they are and to serve them in tangible ways, it was only natural for the Aquinas Center to join Easter Outreach as a community partner.