Christ Church South Philly has impacted its Pennsport church community, emphasizing to its congregation the importance of love, family and praising Jesus Christ.
The church began when its pastor, Jeff Boettcher (pictured below), wanted to broaden his horizons, start his own church and turned to church planting. Church planting is the practice of establishing a new church in the Christian faith.
Located at 229 Moore St., Christ Church South Philly has already amassed more than 80 members in its two-year existence.
“I have always lived in the Philadelphia area, as I was previously a pastor at Sovereign Grace Church in South Jersey,” Boettcher said. “I just felt God sort of moving on my heart for the city of Philadelphia, and I wanted to ensure that Pennsport had the same relationship with God that has so profoundly touched my life.”
After completing his theological education in 2013 from the Sovereign Grace Ministries Pastors College, Boettcher spent the next year raising awareness and recruitment for the church plant.
When the plant earned him a lease agreement on the building where he now delivers his weekly sermons, he knew they found their home.
Joe Catoe (pictured below, hands raised), the director of church operations and pastoral intern at Christ Church, has studied under Boettcher’s guidance.
In 2013, Catoe found Boettcher’s church plant and vision video on YouTube when he and his wife Kristen still lived in Maryland and has always loved the church’s involvement within Pennsport.
“One of the really cool things about our church is that we are really about our neighborhood,” Catoe said. “We never view our community involvement as just merely checking off boxes, but that we care about the people who live in the houses next to us.”
Christ Church has very recently added Transformation to Recovery to its ministry on Fridays at 7 p.m., which according to its website aims to help men and women with their “hindrances, habits and hurts,” teaching scriptural recovery and self-betterment ideologies through life values created by Christ.
Jeannine Lisitski has been a part of Christ Church since its inception and is the president of the non-profit organization Women Against Abuse. She said Boettcher and Catoe’s civic concern made her decision to join Christ Church very simple.
“I work in human services and am surrounded with human suffering day in and day out,” Lisitski said. “Seeing such suffering on a daily basis, it’s really important for me to be a part of a church where we constantly work together in terms of addressing daily and social issues that we all have, and more importantly, always showing love to God.”
Boettcher is pleased with the way his former church plant idea has grown into being able to have an affect on Pennsport.
“We just want our love of our faith to reach the community,” Boettcher said. “All we want is to show our joy in a tangible way to the people in our community.”
-Text, video and images by Alex Starkman.