A Brief History
Almost a decade ago, the congregation of JCity Church, then First Free Will Baptist Church, caught a vision of a ministry center to address problems in our community, particularly in the areas of mental health, family conflict, addictions, and generational poverty. The small, hard-working congregation joined hands in prayer and soon recognized the need to work with other churches and organizations to address “city-like” issues faced by residents of Johnston City. The church’s signature ministry summer meals program, JC Kids’ Lunch Bunch (launched in 2010), served as a prototype for a community-wide effort supported by other churches, local businesses, and grants from governmental and private corporations.
JCity Church originally planned to use its vacant Happy Time Daycare building for this community center, but the aging structure proved too costly to renovate. As the church considered other options, First Christian Church expressed a desire to sell its former parsonage (adjoining JCity Church’s parking lot). The two churches agreed on price and terms to transfer ownership of the 12-room, 3,200 square foot, brick structure so it could become home to JCity City Center for Hope and Renewal, Inc. In the midst of the COVID pandemic, JCity Church spun off this new nonprofit community development organization, which was incorporated in the State of Illinois and federally recognized as a 501(c3) nonprofit charitable organization in 2020.