Chicago: City to City North America Officially Launches with Conference

By Al Barth and Susan Thorson

Since 2001, City to City has trained leaders to plant churches in urban centers across the world. Our focus in North America has been primarily in NYC and a handful of additional cities in the U.S. and Canada, but in April 2016, a group of church planters and City to City staff began dreaming together about a network of leaders who would work together in the cities of North America. This dream has led to the formation of City to City North America (CTCNA), a fellowship of leaders, churches, church-planting networks and denominational groups that will give priority to helping develop movements of the gospel in 70 leading cities across the U.S. and Canada.

The cities of North America present both challenges and opportunities for the church. There is a vast array of cultural, religious and socio-economic backgrounds, racial divisions centered around past and present injustice, immigration issues, economic disparities and a historically inadequate or even sinful response from much of the church to these issues. True repentance, justice and reconciliation can only come through the gospel of Jesus Christ. The aspirations for this new fellowship include bringing together leaders from across denominational, network or any other dividing lines to start thousands of new churches, replant or revitalize historic churches and strengthen healthy churches. We are praying that through the work of the Holy Spirit we would see the beginning of the end of tribalism within the church and deep and long-lasting impact of the gospel in our cities.

On October 18-20, 2018, we would love you to join us in Chicago as CTCNA officially launches with The Gospel & Our Cities, a conference that will address issues relevant to you and your community. Focusing on the theme, “Hope for North American Cities,” thought leaders and practitioners will speak on key urban ministry topics such as justice and mercy, faith and work, church planting, church renewal and leadership development. There will also be a focus on our host city, Chicago, a great city struggling to address the issues common to cities across the continent. This event is designed to cast vision and encourage both lay and vocational leaders to plant or lead urban churches, address the issues of injustice and need in our cities and apply the gospel in every sphere of life.

You will hear from a diverse group of speakers including Dr. Tim Keller, Trillia Newbell, Dr. Charlie Dates, Dr. Carl Ellis, Jr., Robert Guerrero and many more. Main sessions and approximately 50 breakouts will cover a multitude of topics focused on renewal in the cities of North America.

Do you have a passion to see gospel renewal in your community? Are you seeking to understand the unique facets of urban ministry? Would you like to be inspired and equipped to work toward reconciliation in your city?

Come to Chicago to pray together, learn together and start churches together.

City to City North America team


Al Barth
Executive Director

Al is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church In America. Having planted four churches over his pastoral career, he now works primarily as a the Executive Director of City to City North America - helping to start new movements of churches in leading cities of North America. He has served as a coach, trainer and mentor for many global church planters.



Walter Wood
Assistant Director

Walter's ministry career has taken him through campus ministry with Cru, seminary (M.Div., D.Min.) in Jackson MS, a 12-year stint at Perimeter Church in Atlanta, and founding and senior pastor of North Cincinnati Community Church (NCCC) in Mason, Ohio.

He and his wife Becky planted the church in 1994, and over the 21 years, NCCC grew and was able to plant eight other churches in the Cincinnati area and beyond. Walter’s responsibilities at City to City North America is to develop partnerships between North American churches and target cities.



Dennae Pierre
Associate Director, Training and Catalyst Mobilization

Dennae lives in Phoenix, Arizona where she serves as the Executive Director of the Surge Network, a movement of local churches partnering in the gospel throughout Arizona. Dennae helped plant Roosevelt Community Church in downtown Phoenix alongside her husband, Vermon Pierre, who is the lead pastor. She has worked extensively throughout Phoenix among homeless, victims of domestic violence, and with low-income families. Dennae has her MA in Missional Theology from Covenant Theological Seminary.  Dennae desires to see churches across Arizona cross cultures and boundaries to unite in love for Jesus, deepen their love for one another and walk with the poor and marginalized in their communities. 



Felipe Assis
Associate Director, Communication and Strategy

Felipe was born in Brazil, but was raised between his native country and the United States. He has earned a TH. B from Seminario Presbiteriano do Norte and and M.Div from Reformed Theological Seminary. Felipe has previously founded and pastored two other churches in Recife, Brazil. In 2008, at the invitation of Redeemer City to City, Felipe with his wife Beth and their two young daughters moved to Miami to plant Crossbridge Church to serve as a catalyst to a gospel movement in Miami. Beth holds a maters in mental health psychology and international education and deeply compliments Felipe in ministry. Together, they enjoy life in Miami with their four daughters, Ana, Zoe, Camila, and Francesca.



Jon Dennis
Associate Director, Network Development

Jon Dennis is a founding pastor and the Senior Pastor of Holy Trinity Church in Chicago, a multi-ethnic church with congregations in Pilsen, Hyde Park, Downtown and the North Side. They just celebrated their 20th anniversary since planting.  He is the chairman, co-founder, and Lead for Vision for Neopolis, and the chairman and city leader for the Chicago Partnership for Church Planting. In addition, he serves on several boards including The Charles Simeon Trust (which he helped found), Together Chicago, and Crossway Books. He is the author of Christ + City, married to Amy with five children, and for the last 20 years has lived in Hyde Park.

Susan Thorson serves the organization as a writer and editor.