Monthly Archives: April 2016

April 25, 2016

Big Changes pt 1: becoming more ourselves


At City Square Church we try hard never to do anything because “it’s what a church is supposed to do.” Whether community events or classes, collecting an offering to serving the community, we try to ask ourselves, “why are we doing this?” It’s really two questions: why us? And why this? What purpose does this serve in our community and what do we offer that’s different than what others might offer who do the same or similar work.

This includes perhaps the biggest “it’s what a church is supposed to do,” Sunday morning worship.

The answer to the first question is that worship is a practice or set of practices that bind us together as a people of faith. While many of us believe the same or similar things we work hard to be a place where folk who aren’t sure what they believe can find a faithful, spiritual community in which to belong and practice and, as we often say, even among “believers” faith can be a fickle thing. And so we gather together to breathe together in song and prayer, reflect with each other in word and silence, and break bread with one another at a common table. These are the things that hold us together through the shifting winds of doctrine and ideology.

The answer to the second question lies in how we gather, and with whom. We have always been committed to worship experiences that are challenging and engaging, that incorporate a diverse set of practices and voices, and that have theological, intellectual, and experiential integrity. This requires a great deal of time and intention as we cultivate the gifts of leaders, artists, activists, and practitioners within the CSQ community and develop relationships with the leaders, artists, activists, and practitioners in the community around us. Then the work begins of weaving those voices together to create a singular experience that is rooted in and transcendent of our context.

That is why it was my great pleasure yesterday to announce that as of May 1st, Alexus Rhone would be joining the City Square team as our first ever Curator of Worship. In the coming weeks and months you will have opportunities to hear Alexus tell her own story and cast her own vision for this position. For my part I will simply say that her theological training, artistic sensibility, production experience, and most of all, clear anointing by the Spirit make her uniquely gifted for the task ahead.

That said, no one could do this job alone. Whether you consider yourself a member of City Square a member of the Downtown Phoenix community, Christian, non-Christian, or unsure, if you are reading this Alexus will need your support. Drop her a note to say hello, offer to take her to breakfast, coffee, happy hour, or dinner (she can’t afford to eat with all of you so offer to buy, yeah?), keep her in your prayers, intentions, or good thoughts. Most of all, build her and the rest of us into your community so that as City Square grows we might grow to reflect more and more of our diverse community.

Because that’s what a church is supposed to do.

April 11, 2016

City Square Fosters Desire to Learn

Kara Kahnke (right) poses with Connor  Descheemaker (left).

Kara Kahnke (right) poses with Connor Descheemaker (left).

By Kara Kahnke

Connor Descheemaker enjoys being involved in Phoenix art and culture, especially music. He developed a passion for punk rock when he was younger through his hobby of skateboarding. His family encouraged his passion by continuing to expose him to different types of music. Because of his artistic interests, he is involved in many different Phoenix events and Facebook groups. He first became involved in City Square after being contacted by former Pastor Rob Rynders on Facebook through one of the groups they had both joined. Rob was recruiting members for the church, which was relatively new at the time.

In addition to his day job, Connor helps to book concerts several times a month around the Valley at venues such as The Trunk Space and The Newton at Changing Hands bookstore. “I just love meeting people from all over the country and world. I love providing a space for people of all ages to experience new and challenging art,” he said.

Connor grew up Catholic, but his family left the church when he was 12 because they didn’t agree with some of its teachings. After leaving the Catholic church, Connor attended evangelical churches for a while, but found that all of the churches he chose to attend remained conservative in their theology. He said that it is refreshing to attend a church with progressive viewpoints.

Connor said he loves that City Square acknowledges the mystery of faith and accepts everyone’s viewpoints. “It knows that there’s truth, but it acknowledges that not everyone is 100 percent on the same page.” He pointed to the recent “Questioning Faith” series in which participates discussed questions of their faith without pressure to find answers.

Connor wants people to know that everyone is welcome at City Square. “There is no pressure to be a certain way except to be honorable and to listen to one another.”

City Square is just one of the places that helps Connor explore his passion for learning. “I’m always excited to discover new things and to be challenged in the culture that I’m exposed to,” he said.