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Our Story
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City Church exists to follow Christ to renew the city.

The Story of City Church

City Church (San Francisco) began as an idea back in 1991, and became a reality in February of 1997. Inspired by the work he had seen at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, Senior Pastor Fred Harrell moved with his wife Terely to San Francisco to start a church that would be in the city and for the city.

We exist to be a church for the city and for its renewal, partnering with God in the work that is already being done here. Read below for more information on our ministries, how to get connected.

City Church wholeheartedly embraces the historic Christian faith expressed in all the ecumenical creeds of the universal church (e.g., the Apostles and Nicene Creeds). It is also committed to the theological heritage of the Protestant Reformation as a member church of the Reformed Church in America, a denomination with roots back to the 1600's in America, and grounded in the historic reformation theology of the Belgic Confession, The Canons of Dordt, and the Heidelberg Catechism. The RCA's calling is be "the very presence of Jesus Christ in the world, a thousand churches in a million ways doing one thing-following Christ in mission, in a lost and broken world so loved by God."



Our Welcome

City Church is a community of Jesus followers, seeking the renewal of San Francisco, and through it the world. We welcome all persons into our community, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, age, physical or mental capacity, education, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, and socioeconomic or marital status. We invite everyone to join us in our mission.

Whether you are spiritually homeless, skeptical, curious, or a committed follower of Jesus, we value making room for wherever you are in your process and supporting you in your ongoing spiritual journey. We are simply glad you are here!


Our Commitments

Our church respects the mystery of our existence. We believe that God's story is about God coming into that mystery as one of us to make all things new. Our goal isn't certainty, but renewal. An ongoing and authentic relationship with Jesus is the source of this renewal, giving us the gift of becoming new ourselves as well as participating in God’s re-creation of the world. As we learn about the character of the God who sent his son to die for us, our lives are reshaped from the inside out.

Liturgy (from the Greek leiturgia, "a public service") refers to the form in which things are done in a worship service. City Church is still fairly new, but it is not new in its beliefs and practices. We understand that people are always being shaped, and part of our response to that knowledge is to examine what we are being shaped by. Worship is formative, and our liturgy is shaped by the wisdom of the church throughout the centuries, rooted in Scripture and focused on Jesus.

City Church is a place for all people, regardless of where you might find yourself on your faith journey. If you are spiritually skeptical, curious about Christianity, or a committed follower of Jesus Christ, we make room for you wherever you are in your process. We aim to be a place that respects what it’s like not to believe so that no one has to feel alone and so that anyone who walks through our doors might encounter the work of the living God.

City Church has never been a church only for ourselves, just as San Francisco is not a place for us to simply enjoy or consume. The city is our home and we seek its peace and flourishing. Serving the city involves not only a change in our hearts, it requires a redirection of our hands and feet as we turn from being inward-focused to outward-looking. We see our service as sharing the renewal we are experiencing in Christ with our neighbors.


Our Affiliated Ministries

City Hope Community Center

The City Hope Community Center is located in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood and grew out of the relationships we have built in that area. The center houses our City Hope staff offices and includes plenty of space that can be easily converted for different kinds of programs and activities. This location allows us to continue our work to reduce recidivism and to aid those in the addiction recovery process.

Church Planting/Partnering

City Church is active in new church development globally, nationally, and locally. Within the Bay Area, City Church of San Francisco has begun new churches in San Rafael, Berkeley and Silicon Valley. City Church has never been a church only for itself. We have been responsible for planting and coaching 23 congregations across America.

Newbigin House of Studies

Newbigin House of Studies, named for missionary-theologian Lesslie Newbigin (1909-1998), seeks the good of the city by developing leaders through theological education. Emerging from City Church San Francisco and partnering with churches and institutions across the U.S. and the U.K., our faculty of pastor-scholars have rich experience in church planting and revitalization, social justice ministry, vocational discipleship, counseling and pastoral care. We provide resources for spiritual growth through our Fellows program for lay people and through conferences and special events. We offer graduate level courses that apply toward advanced standing with credit in Master of Arts (M.A.) and Master of Divinity (M.Div.) degree programs.

Learn more HERE

The Newbigin Fellowship is designed to train women and men for meaningful engagement with the intellectual, social, and spiritual needs of urban centers like San Francisco. We want to see wise urban Christians bringing the life-giving reign of God to bear in every arena – the sciences, media, technology, the arts, finance, politics, education, and more.

Learn more about the Fellowship or Apply HERE

Counseling Center

Christian Counseling is a rare thing in this city. Because of that, we want to help shape, develop, and train more Christian counselors who have the DNA of how we approach counseling. And with all of that, we want to have an influence in the therapeutic community in San Francisco. A Christian perspective leads to all these discussions around our dignity, humanity, what is harmful, worldviews, how they get shaped. Part of our hope long-term is to have more of a voice in that community, which leads us to emphasize our professional nature.

We believe it is a beautiful thing for a church to be involved in offering counseling, because people need multiple layers of care. A counselor fills a different role than a pastor or a friend. In the context of a church, it's not just counseling as an isolated endeavor, but counseling connected with a community to join.

City Church Counseling Center