By: Kara Kahnke
Kent Simer (left) poses with Kara Kahnke. (right)
“It’s become a home for me,” Kent Simer said when talking about his experience at City Square. He remembered seeing the City Square signs on his way home from work in downtown Phoenix and one day finally going in. He attended one of the first services, and felt welcome right away. He described it not only as a place he enjoys, but one he needs. “My life just keeps getting richer and richer with all of the people I’ve met here,” he said.
Kent grew up Presbyterian, and much like his experience at City Square, was one of the first members of his home church. He attended youth bible studies and was involved as a participant, counselor, and director at a Presbyterian Church camp. He continues to participate on the Board of Directors of that camp.
Although these experiences helped inform his faith, members of his family also attended church within the Methodist tradition. He sometimes attended church with his grandfather, and noted that the Presbyterian and Methodist traditions don’t feel that different to him. He said that City Square felt like a better fit for him because it felt more welcoming to him as someone who is single without kids.
In addition to the welcoming atmosphere, Kent said he enjoys that City Square is always willing to ask questions. “It’s not afraid to try new things and to experiment with how and where we worship,” he said. He participates in the Spiritual Formation group, and said that has helped cement his place in the church and build strong connections with people while allowing him to more deeply explore his faith. He is also on the church’s Leadership Committee.
Kent said others attending City Square for the first time should know that, “You can come as you are wherever you are in your spiritual journey. It’s just a friendly place to be.”
Josh Woodward (right) poses with Kara Kahnke. (left)
By: Kara Kahnke
Josh Woodward learned about City Square through Pastor Brian. They originally met in 2010 when Brian was doing his externship at Crossroads United Methodist Church. Josh remembered being impressed by Brian’s openness and honesty, and his ability to connect with the congregation. When talking with Brian a few years later, Josh was excited to learn that he was starting a new church.
Josh said Brian’s value of openness has continued at City Square. “It’s a very warm and loving place. At its core it supports the golden rule of treating others as you want to be treated. You feel embraced by a community that truly wants what’s best for you,” Josh said. He noted that this embracing warmth is part of what makes City Square so special.
Josh’s parents didn’t grow up Methodist, but his family eventually found a Methodist church that they enjoyed. He was officially confirmed in 1993. He said a connection to his faith has always been important to him. “At the times when I went away from the church, I felt a call to come back. When I wasn’t involved with the church, I felt that absence.”
In addition to attending church services, Josh recently led the Painting small group. He believes that part of being a good Christian means giving back your time and talent to help others. After doing some soul searching, he realized that he wanted to use his talent for art to enrich the City Square Community. He has always enjoyed drawing and painting, and wanted others to have the same rewarding experience.
Although this was his first time running the Painting group, he said it was an enjoyable experience. “At the end of the day it’s about being together, having fun and enjoying yourselves. Hopefully, it inspired people to try something new.”
The Painting group is currently on hiatus. Josh may bring it back in the future, but he is now participating in the Writing group. He said he’s excited to begin in this new group because it’s yet another way that he can build his fellowship with others in the City Square community.
Josh said that people looking for a church community should know that they don’t need to be of a particular faith background to attend City Square. “We take the approach of asking why. We ask ‘what can we do to make our community a little bit better?’”
Join City Square as we help Feed My Starving Children pack 1 Million Meals for starving children around the world. Please register before to reserve your spot.
Sunday, July 26th from 2p-4p
Phoenix Convention Center – South Building, West Door
Ages 5 & up, seated positions are available
Questions? Contact Janine Skinner at [email protected]
Just a few more days to sign up for this round of Dinners for 6 or 8. When you click on this link fill in a line on the spreadsheet with your information just like if you were at a conference and wanted to sign up at a booth.
We have good response so far. Please sign-up and join in the fun, there is no requirement to host a dinner (that’s just an option on the sheet). Contact Justin directly with any questions!
Although she considers herself mainly part of the Methodist tradition, Jessica Johnson grew up in a federated church that welcomed several different faith traditions to worship together. “It ran the gamut between people who were pretty conservative and very liberal. It was important to me to find a place that had a wide range of people where I could ask questions,” she said.
Jessica said she has found a similar openness at City Square. In addition to openness regarding faith traditions, she noted that she appreciates the church’s willingness to embrace various forms of creativity. Jessica came to City Square after her pervious church began to decline. She enjoyed the creative music at church, but soon learned that the creative outlets didn’t stop there. “There is space for people to connect with each other and to pursue their own ways of doing that, such as the Painting group or the Beer Brewing group,” she said. Jessica is currently part of the Spiritual Formation group, which meets weekly to discuss various aspects of faith.
Jessica pointed out that new attendees of City Square should know that this is a new, energized, and diverse community where people are excited to come together to learn about their faith. She said the community’s energy is part of what makes it so special. She also appreciates that City Square offers her the opportunity to participate in communion each week. “It’s a powerful statement of faith that everyone is fed and everyone is welcome at the table.”
By Kara Kahnke
Each month City Square member Kara Kahnke profiles an individual who has found a home at City Square Church.
Debi Brady first came to City Square through the invitation of a friend. She grew up Methodist, and described feeling like she had to go to church when she was younger and do activities such as choir and youth group. She stopped going after high school when she no longer felt obligated to go with her family, but said she wanted to give it a try again as she got older. She now describes herself as spiritual rather than religious.
She noted that she comes to City Square because of the people. “They are all normal people who don’t pretend that they are super pious and don’t do anything wrong. They are who they are.” She praised the church for being accepting of everyone.
Debi said she also enjoys the small groups outside of church that allow her to socialize with others. She is currently part of the Creative Writing group and Painting group. In addition to the small groups, she said she appreciates that the church gives money to various charities throughout the community to help make it better.
Debi pointed out several reasons why someone might consider giving City Square a try. “It has cool people, great music, a good message, no pressure, and a causal atmosphere. Overall, you’ll leave with a good feeling.”