Religious group evolves into new Claremont church
by Andrew Alonzo | firstname.lastname@example.org
On Sunday, January 2, about 125 parishioners gathered inside Western Christian School’s gymnasium to attend the first service of Claremont’s new Christian church, Ignite City Church.
The service was not only the first service of the year for ICC, but also their first official worship after cutting ties with it’s parent church, Purpose Church Pomona.
“Five years ago, we were part of Purpose Church Pomona. We were asked to be a Claremont campus to reach that 210 corridor — kind of that Glendora all the way Fontana — since [Purpose Church Pomona] was located pretty south,” Calli Dye-Schmidt, lead ministry associate for Ignite City Church, said. “We looked for a space and Western Christian became available which was perfect because they don’t meet on the weekends so we’ve been able to be on their campus Sunday mornings.”
Since 2017, parishioners have gathered regularly on Sunday for services at the makeshift gym-church under the guise of a northern Purpose Church Pomona group.
Though thoughts of splitting off from Purpose Church Pomona crossed the minds of parishioners including Dye-Schmidt, it was not until 2020 when the Purpose Church Pomona group decided to act on those thoughts and push to become independent.
Throughout 2020 and 2021, the group severed their affiliation with Purpose Church Pomona, rebranded itself as Ignite City Church and even became their own nonprofit organization. Despite what sounds like the story of a good relationship gone sour, the now two separate churches are said to be maintaining good ties with one another, according to Dye-Schmidt.
As Dye-Schmidt explained, Ignite City Church got their ‘ducks in a row’ before making the big change.
“We really felt God prompting us to actually just move forward and become our own church. We just really felt like this was the right time as we celebrate our fifth birthday being on that campus. It’s just kind of appropriate that we start fresh,” Dye-Schmidt said.
Following Sunday’s scripture reading from Pastor Brian Holland, as well as six songs praising Jesus, which were sung by the worship team, balloons rained down from the gym’s ceiling to celebrate the church’s inaugural worship service.
“This was our first one as our new church and I was so thrilled. I mean I was absolutely thrilled to see as many people that were there. I’d say most of them are regular people, but we saw a good chunk of new people show up so I think that’s the part I really liked seeing,” Pastor Holland said.
“Ultimately, what we want to see is Jesus’ impact people’s lives, which would impact their homes and the cities they live in,” the pastor added. “We want to make sure that we’re bringing that hope [of Jesus] but also I want us to meet tangible needs for those that need help.”
The church offers 10 a.m. Sunday worship for all ages and the service is streamed on their website. Ignite City Church also has a ‘home church’ program in place involving small groups that meet in-person at homes throughout the area during the week.
“They’re kind of a smaller group where they meet together and have a meal, pray together, read the scriptures and just kind of be a community, a smaller community within ours,” Dye-Schmidt explained.
Ignite City Church also offers a children’s ministry during Sunday morning worship for newborns and students through fifth grade. In addition, the church has a student ministry program which meets on Sunday evenings at 6:30 p.m. Parents and guardians can get more information or sign up their children for the church’s children and student ministries online. Please note that the students program is meant for children between the sixth and 12th grade.
Ignite City Church is an official 501c3 nonprofit and survives on the community’s generosity. Residents can give to the church online at https://ignitecity.churchcenter.com/giving. There, they can also set up recurring or one-time donations. For more information visit the church’s, website at https://ignitecity.church, email email@example.com or call (909) 279-1972. New parishioners can submit their information to the church by completing a form at https://ignitecity.churchcenter.com.
Despite its new name, the church will continue to hold services at Western Christian Schools, located at 3105 Padua Avenue.
“We just want people to know that we are available in their community and would love for them to come if they’re looking for a church or community to be a part of,” Dye-Schmidt said. “Our mission statement is ‘to love God, to love people and to make disciples who make disciple-makers’ and that’s really our mission. That’s what we want to let our community know, like we love God, we love people and we want them to be followers of Jesus as well.”