Philadelphia

Partner Spotlight: Cityreach Church

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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:

  1. Year 1: EO was magnificent way for a new church plant with very little resources to interact with our new community

  2. 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

  3. 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!


A Vision for Mission: Biblical Theological Seminary

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By: Ryan Egli
Director of Enrollment Management and Marketing
at Biblical Theological Seminary

Biblical Theological Seminary is very excited to be an official sponsor of Easter Outreach. The belief that one meal can make a difference resonates very deeply with who we are. We also believe that one meal can open doors and connect neighbors. We believe that one act of kindness in celebration of the resurrection of Jesus is a powerful thing. There are three basic reasons why we wanted to partner with Easter Outreach.

1. Because Easter Outreach is missional.

In 2003, then President Dr. Dave Dunbar, led Biblical Seminary’s faculty, staff, and board of trustees to adopt a new vision and mission for the seminary. It was generously orthodox in theological grounding and missional in focus. For 15 years, this has been our mission: to prepare missional leaders who incarnate the story of Jesus with humility and authenticity and who communicate the story with fidelity to Scripture, appreciation of the Christian tradition, and sensitivity to the needs and aspirations of postmodern culture.

At Biblical Seminary, our faculty and staff understand that missions impact every aspect of our institution. Our innovative curriculum is geared specifically to prepare women and men to engage our post-Christian culture. To be missional means that we love the Bible and are committed to reading it with a penetrating honesty and with an ear to what it teaches about urban ministry, poverty, social justice, sex-trafficking, child abuse, sexuality, and violence against women. For us, the missional outlook extends to every quarter of the globe and requires greater sensitivity to the resident cultural complexities and a commitment to work within such complexities.

That’s why we love Easter Outreach. It pushes Christians outside the church walls and onto the streets. It pushes us into people’s lives, homes, and living rooms with an Easter meal and an invitation to prayer. We also love the international justice component and the deep partnership with Water is Basic.

2. Because Easter Outreach partners with local churches and non-profits.

At Biblical Seminary we love the local church. We seek to serve the church in all its diversity and beauty. We don’t expect our professors and students to agree on everything. We encourage diversity, dialogue, and discovery. As a non-denominational school, we welcome students of diverse denominational, cultural, and ethnic backgrounds from around the globe. We believe that the mission of Christ is strengthened through those not afraid to ask questions and inquire beyond the status quo and their own tradition. There are no cookie-cutter students at BTS, only committed followers of Jesus, working to authentically follow Jesus into the world.

That’s why we love that Easter Outreach has always been about partnership across denominational, racial, and neighborhood lines. We love that the list of partners grows every year! We also love that Easter Outreach partners with a variety of non-profits and other Christian ministries. We want to join in and be a part of what God is doing through this diverse network of churches and non-profits.

3. Because Easter Outreach serves the city we love.

We love Philadelphia. And, if you haven’t heard, we are moving to Philadelphia in January 2019. We will be located in the heart of Philadelphia (a formal announcement of the exact location coming soon!). We have had a presence in the Philadelphia in the Hunting Park neighborhood through our Joy in the City campus, but we have now sold our main campus and are relocating entirely to Philly. Philadelphia is and will be our place to be the hands and feet of Jesus. This is where we feel God has called us to authentically incarnate the gospel. It is a city of culture, creativity, and community.

We seek to learn and listen to those who have been doing ministry in Philadelphia for a long time. We want to actively join in where the Holy Spirit is moving among the vibrant churches and ministries of the city. We are Philadelphia’s seminary – preparing the next generation of servant-leaders. The fact that Easter Outreach started in Philadelphia and serves primarily Philadelphians means it is a movement of God that we want to be involved in. The BTS community looks forward to serving and celebrating the resurrection of Jesus with you this year!

Sawyer Water Filters & South Sudan

by Steve Roese
President, Water is Basic

Its official, parts of South Sudan are experiencing famine. More than 275,000 children are very, very hungry and malnourished. Crops have not been planted and those still poking out of the ground aren’t being harvested. Something very rare in our lifetime is now taking place: a human-made food crises. At its worst, a lack of forgiveness yields what seems to be the end of life and hope.

It takes you and I, in solidarity with our brothers and sisters thousands of miles away, to help them get through this crisis and to restore hope. When the words famine and genocide are used, certain responses are required of the world. Humanity is at risk, and we – by our own humanity and inter-connectedness – are required to respond.

While the relief agencies provide emergency food delivery, we are delivering Sawyer Water filters to 10,000 homes. These powerful filters eliminate 99.999% of the pathogens that make kids sick and so often lead to death. This simple but powerful filter is easily maintained and highly portable. We are eliminating one point of stress amidst the crisis and, because of the African spirit, each home will share with 4 others. That’s right - 50,000 homes means as many as 400,000 South Sudanese will experience the basic joy of water that gives life rather than taking it.

A young community member known by the Water Is Basic team in South Sudan.

A young community member known by the Water Is Basic team in South Sudan.


So, here is the deal -- all it takes to outfit a home with a bucket, a filter and the training to maintain a Sawyer Water Filter is $15.00. For the price of a good pizza or a couple of Philly cheese steaks, a home is given hope; hope they can take with them even if they have to flee to a refugee camp.

For years, Easter Outreach has helped us fix broken wells. We continue to fix wells as fast as we can. But, this year, we want your help responding to this humanitarian crisis by pushing us over the top of our filter goal. By working together across Philadelphia to fund 1,500 filters, Easter Outreach will meet the most basic of needs: clean water. Through Water Is Basic, consider supporting the purchase of a few Sawyer Water Filters today. Won’t you tell your friends of this unique opportunity too?

In 2017, with all the turmoil, social media craziness, news, fake news, and general anxiety, we get to give life and hope to thousands who have few other resources at hand. Now that’s a great way to celebrate Easter.

Learn more about Water Is Basic on their website or Facebook page. Also, visit the Easter Outreach Partners page to learn more about this partnerships. 

And consider giving today on the Easter Outreach Giving page as every dollar directly benefits families both locally and abroad.