October 17, 2014

Statement on Marriage Equality in Arizona

As proud members of the Arizona family, we at City Square Church celebrate the thousands of families whose love and commitment have gained legal recognition in the place they call home. As proud members of the United Methodist family, we grieve our denomination’s continued failure to recognize all who are called into covenant relationship by God. As proud members of the City Square movement we remain committed to our call, acknowledge the sacred worth of all people regardless of gender or sexual orientation, race or ethnicity, political ideology or mental/physical ability. We believe that by strengthening the bonds of love and grace within our communities we live more fully into Christ’s call to create God’s kingdom on earth. That is why our pastors, Rev. Rob Rynders and Rev. Brian Kemp-Schlemmer are prepared to serve any couple seeking to enter into the covenant of marriage. May we celebrate together as we seek to connect people to God and each other for the transformation of our lives, our communities, and our world.

September 22, 2014

Announcing City Square Church Arcadia


After much time in prayer and conversation with the leaders of the Desert Southwest Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church and with the leaders of City Square Church, we are extremely excited to announce that we are launching a second City Square community that will be based in the Camelback East Village area of Phoenix. This new “site” will be called “City Square Church Arcadia.”

By March 2015 we hope we will have a worshipping community that meets weekly in the Arcadia area of Phoenix. I will be taking on the primary leadership of this new endeavor, as lead pastor. Pastor Brian will remain with the downtown site and will assume the role of downtown site pastor, immediately.

I have already begun the work gathering new people together in the Arcadia area. That work will significantly increase, throughout the fall, leading to a preview worship service in January 2015. While I only will preach from time to time at the downtown site, I will still assist in worship on Sunday mornings, in downtown, through December.

In July 2012 pastor Brian and I officially began the work that we believed God had called us to – planting a new, progressive, community of faith, in downtown Phoenix. As I write this, it is hard to believe that it has been over two years since we began that work. Things were extremely uncertain that first year. At times we didn’t know whether or not we’d make it. However, we remained faithful and on September 8th, 2013 we launched our weekly Sunday morning worship service in downtown. A couple of weeks ago we celebrated the one year anniversary of that launch. We could not have gotten this far without the amazing community of people that make up City Square Church. In fact, this movement has never been about the pastors, it’s been about connecting people to God and each other, for the transformation of lives, our communities, and our world.

If you’ve read that mission statement before, you may have noticed that we use the word “communities,” not the singular “community.” That’s because the original vision of City Square Church was to be one church with a presence in multiple communities. We started City Square with two pastors so we could innovate and learn a model of doing church in the 21st century together, so that model could be multiplied. In the beginning, we weren’t sure when that time of multiplication would come, however, early last summer we began to see that vision made clearer and we started to see a clear timeline develop for a second site.

We will not be splitting the current downtown congregation in half, however, we are providing an open invitation to people who live in the Arcadia, East Phoenix, and Scottsdale areas to help out with the Arcadia site. If you live in that area we ask that you pray about what role you may play in helping us build community there.

While this is very exciting, it also may be confusing and/or difficult for some folks. Brian and I have developed meaningful relationships with all of you and know that you will grieve not having a full-time presence from both of us. Please remember, however, that we are both still co-pastors of City Square Church and will continue to work together, even though we may be in different places on Sunday mornings. We will also continue to have a single leadership team and will work with them to put on events that will bring people together from both sites on a regular basis.

We know that you probably have questions, and we are always available to respond to your e-mails and phone calls. We’re also always open to grabbing coffee with you if you’d like to have a more detailed discussion. Please also know that we have three amazing lay leaders who are very knowledgable about our transition to two sites and would be more than happy to talk with you, as well. Those leaders are Theresa Thomas, Samuel Richard, and Jessica Anderson.

This is not the only time we will start a new City Square site. We sincerely believe in planting churches that are contextually relevant to, and serve their immediate neighborhoods. Once the Arcadia site is running and stable we will be looking to where God is calling us to plant the next site. I hope you will join me, Brian, and our leadership team in praying for this bold and exciting step City Square is taking, as week seek to make the love and compassion of Jesus Christ known throughout Phoenix and beyond.

Peace and Blessings,

Pastor Rob

For questions/information about City Square Church Arcadia please do not hesitate to contact us and/or if you’re interested in learning more about this new progressive and fully inclusive church plant please join us on October 4 for a family friendly mixer and information session.


May 19, 2014

Adventures in Missing the Point :: Faith & Science Part 1 :: The Beginning

Sermon from Rob Rynders based on Acts 17:24-28

Additional resources:

Mike McHargue (Especially his reading list, which helped with much of the research for this sermon)
Lawrence Krauss – A Universe From Nothing
Neil de Grasse Tyson
Carl Sagan
Cosmos Television Series (2014)
Brian Greene – Interview on “On Being With Krista Tippet”
David Montgomery – The Rocks Don’t Lie
Francis Collins – “Why This Scientist Believes in God”
The BioLogos Foundation