Urban Hope Community Church meets at 11:15 Sunday mornings at:
210 E. Tioga Street
Philadelphia, PA 19134
Urban Hope Community Church meets on Sunday mornings at 11:15. It is an informal service that is practical and includes worship songs, prayer requests and sharing, teaching the Bible and even discussion questions at the end of the service. It also includes a time for connecting with others and snacks. The service is done by 1 pm or earlier. The church is building leaders for the future and trains people to love and serve God. The church equips people in the community for being involved in various ministries. Many people are involved in the service and it is our goal to train and equip believers to lead. Each Sunday includes a brief training time as well that explains how to live for God and understand the Bible. Invitations are given most weeks to encourage believers to talk about how to live for God or pray with other believers.
While there is one person serving as an elder at the present time (Ed Lewis), a group of leaders in the making meets every two weeks for prayer and planning, Bible study and leadership development.
During the Sunday morning church time, SUPERHEROS for children meets at Urban Hope’s Community Center across the street. The children love the Bible stories, songs and games as they learn about God. There are events planned during the year for children. These events often connect the children with stories about how to live for God and serve Him well. The children’s ministries are important indeed.
Each month the following events take place at Urban Hope.
1. Anyone can receive devotional help from Our Daily Bread devotionals and earn incentives for doing those daily Bible readings. Bibles are given free to anyone who will attend the church and read it on their own. Incentives are presented to those who read the Bible.
2. Friday night ROCK (Reach Our Community Kids) is for youth and young adults. It meets across the street in Urban Hope’s Community Center and starts at 7 pm and is done by 9/9:30. The young adults who lead that program are believers with a heart for the youth. Programs on Friday normally include Bible study,Christian videos/discussions, and games or sports. It is a positive time of building relationships. The youth are also involved in doing homeless ministries, outreach and visiting their peers. Events such as Momentum Youth Conference and working with visiting teams are also a regular plan of the church.
3. Thursday Night Recovery Group meetings are held in the Community Center for adults at 7 pm to 8:30 every week. This is especially for those who need encouragement to stand strong against temptations. It is a time of being reminded from Scripture that you can get unstuck from whatever is keeping you down spiritually. Light refreshments are served. This is a cooperative ministry with a Christian organization regionally called Conquering Addictions (CLPRM).
4. Every Other week is POWER HOUR on Tuesdays from 6:30 to 7:45. This a time when all ages gather in the church for studying the Bible and learning leadership principles to follow God. It includes a time of worship, prayer requests, informal sharing and watching brief video training. After the first 45 minutes the groups divide into smaller discussion times (men or women) to share, pray and have accountability.
5. The church is involved in Life Transformation Groups. These are groups of 2 to 3 people who agree to read the same Bible passages each week. (These are usually about 10 to 15 chapters in the Bible each week). They then meet weekly to share insights from the Word and have accountability questions, a time of personal sharing and prayer. These meet at various time and places. Contact Tommy Gifford at the church for details.
6. Equipping ministries. Believers are encouraged to learn how to live out their faith in various ways. One of the key challenges for the believer is to make an impact on neighbors, family and associates. Monthly homeless outreaches are designed to be practice –field events to teach believers how to connect with people and show them love and pray with people. The equipping ministry also happens through the church in training believers to connect with others through block parties and monthly “family fun” events that often happen on Saturday afternoons.
7. Teamwork. Urban Hope Community Church is blessed to have a partnership with a Training Center that is at the location. The Urban Hope block includes a place to house visiting groups on weekends (or longer). It is a way to train believers to connect with people and it shows them how to be caring, friendly and offer hope. Many believers are scared to connect with people who are unlike them, or are from a different culture. As a result believers do not feel comfortable sharing the love of Jesus in a loving, natural way. So visiting in a city offers them the opportunity to connect with people who are different than their culture. It is a perfect place to learn how to show care. (Groups from churches or colleges are often not used to the city with the traffic and crowded conditions). Church groups are housed in the facilities at Urban Hope and they learn how culture is often changed in the cities of our world. They see how Philadelphia is a wonderful place to love, learn and care.
This training is consistent but the groups they reach are varied. The ministry may include helping children, youth, homeless, refugees, those from other cultures, the wealthy or the unchurched. They often take public transportation and go to South Street, 30th Street station and Reading Terminal Market in order to start conversations with others. They may pick up trash, install free smoke detectors, or pray with people on the streets. The people at Urban Hope Community Church often get to interact with these guests on the weekend and can participate freely in their training or outreaches. The visiting teams are learning. While most teams do not attend the church services on Sunday, it happens on occasion. We invite people from the local church to interact with teams if they choose. They can join in ministry events, share personal testimonies or give insights on how God is using them.
The goal for the visiting groups is to learn how to love people in Philly and take it back home so they can learn to love people in their communities as well. Philly and the local church become a practice field where believers learn to love, relate and model living ON MISSION.
CE National is the organization that oversees the Training Center. Their home offices are located in Winona Lake, Indiana. The church and Training Center are shepherded by CE National and it is our hope that God will duplicate the ministries of Urban Hope Training Centers in other major cities of the USA. An Urban Hope ministry has now begun in Los Angeles as well. It is a training center program that works in cooperation with the Grace Brethren Church in Norwalk, California. Rick Cartagena pastors that church and Timothy Lansing is overseeing the Training Center.
The Philadelphia Urban Hope also has an educational component where young adults can learn how to be trained in urban ministries as a career. This program is called Studies in Urban Ministry (SUM). It is a fully accredited program done in cooperation with Grace College and Saint Louis Bible College.