Second City Church is a community that exists to worship the Triune God and to celebrate, in word and deed, the Gospel of Jesus Christ in Harrisburg. We are first a community of people that have been bound together by the love of God. He has redeemed us, broken sinners, to himself and has bound us together in his perfect love. We come from different backgrounds, but we come together as a people who know the grace of the Lord Jesus, the Love of God the Father and fellowship of the Holy Spirit. We don’t believe that we are a perfect community. We don’t have it altogether. We’re messy. We are a people of faith and of doubt, of the convinced and the unconvinced. We are a people from different backgrounds – different ethnic backgrounds, different educational backgrounds, different economic background, but we are a people who are bound together in community because of the love of the Father, Son and Spirit.We believe that we exist to worship, that worship is at the center of human life. As David Foster Wallace said, “There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship.” Worship is the right response to God’s work of creation and redemption. Worship exist to worship the God who made us, redeems us and creates in us new life.
We believe that we exist to celebrate the gospel of Jesus. We believe that celebrating this gospel starts as we gather together every week around God’s table, but this celebration pushes out into our world as we are scattered and sent with the good news. Sunday after Sunday we celebrate and remember the saving acts of God in and through Jesus. We celebrate his loyal love and are renewed in our hope of redemption, but then we bring that with us out into our work places, our homes, our friendships. Our celebration extends to our everyday lives. If our celebration of Jesus’ good news is authentic we believe it will continue beyond the wall of our sanctuary and our homes and into the lives of our neighbors. We “re-enact” the gospel through committed, generous and holistic words of grace and deeds of care in the city of Harrisburg.
We believe that place matters, that Harrisburg matters. We believe that God has called us to this place, to celebrate the gospel here, in Harrisburg. We believe that this will shape the words we speak, the music we play, the events we share, the ways we reach out to our neighbors in love.
Second City Church is a community that exists to worship the Triune God and to celebrate, in word and deed, the Gospel of Jesus Christ in Harrisburg. Our celebration begins when we gather at God’s table every Sunday. Here we remember the saving acts of God in and through Jesus Christ. Here we praise God for his loyal love, and we are renewed in our hope of redemption.
Our celebration extends into our everyday lives as it continues in community groups that meet in homes in our neighborhoods throughout the week. These groups create space and time for us to pray, learn and eat together. They foster Christian friendship and help us meet one another’s needs in the context of personal relationships.
If our our celebration of Jesus’ good news is authentic we believe it will continue beyond the walls of our sanctuary and our homes and into the lives of our neighbors. That’s why we seek to ‘re-enact’ the gospel through committed, generous and holistic words of grace and deeds of care in our city.
Our heart is to be a church where we can share our brokenness, clinging to the hope of the Gospel, that Christ saves sinners like us. We want to tap into the historic church practices and yet see those applied to our current city and time. We don’t have it all figured out. We like messiness and conversation. We tell stories of rescue as we see them and experience them. Some of those stories are just beginning, and some of them feel pretty dark and filled with unbelief. Still we love and meet. Still we sing and wonder. Still we hope.
Second City Church began 154 years ago, 20 years ago and 10 years ago and all of these beginnings were birthed by the commitment to be celebrate in word and deed of the gospel of Jesus in Harrisburg city. We celebrate that Jesus takes on flesh and goes into the world bringing the good new of the Kingdom of God. We celebrate that Jesus good news is the news of the reconciliation of all things and the brining together as brothers and sisters those who were once apart.In 1864 a group of men and women were sent out from Salem German Reformed Church (now Salem UCC) to start the second Reformed Church in the city of Harrisburg. These men and women began Second German Reformed Church. As the city moved out, Second Church built our current building at the corner of Green and Verbeke in 1905. In 1997 a group of men and women from Trinity Presbyterian and New Covenant Presbyterian began meeting for prayer and Bible study, asking the Lord to establish them as a church in Harrisburg. These prayer group grew into City’s Gate Church. These two churches, already bound together by a commitment to the gospel and a commitment to Harrisburg, formally joined together as Second City Church at the beginning of 2009.
The name Second City Church itself is a testimony to God’s working in the city and in these two churches over the last 154 years. It is also a reference to St. Augustine’s great work, The City of God. Augustin was writing right after Rome was sacked, when it was being claimed that Christians were responsible for the decline of Rome. He argued that though it is true that Christians live ultimately for the heavenly city where Jesus is King, it is also true that as Christians have best lived for the heavenly city, they have blessed the earthly city. It has been said that to be heavenly minded is to be of no earthly good. We believe that this couldn’t be further from the truth. To be heavenly minded is to know of the Kingdom of Heaven and of the King and to long that His Kingdom would come on earth – in Harrisburg! – as it is in heaven.
Second City Church is made up of men and women and children from many backgrounds but who all embrace and seek to live out the historic Christian faith as it is expressed, for example, in the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds. The doctrinal standards of our national church which our pastor, elders and deacons affirm are the Westminster Confession of Faith and the Westminster Larger and Shorter Catechisms as adopted by the Presbyterian Church in America.
We also recognize the Heidelberg Catechism as a confession of faith which has been held in special honor by many of our past and present members.
If you have questions about what these creeds, confessions and catechisms mean, you aren’t alone. We invite you to join us as we worship and seek to grow in the knowledge of God together.
Pastor Peter is the happy husband of Melise and the father of Lillie and James. Peter is a native of Washington state and a graduate of Western Washington University and of Covenant Theological Seminary. Before coming to pastor at Second City Church, he was the campus minister with Reformed University Fellowship at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA where he and Melise met at City Church. It was only fitting to go from City Church to Second City Church. Peter loves living in the city, where those who work at the capital intersect with those who live at the mission; where those who he passes at the Broad St Market are those who he walks by along Riverfront Park. He loves food (cooking, eating, reading and talking), biking, music, books, his dog, and the list goes on. He would love to get together with you if you!
C. Stanley Morton is the pastor for Mercy Ministry and Outreach. Prior to that he was the founding pastor of New City Fellowship of Lancaster in Lancaster, PA, where he served for seven years. He received his seminary training at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. He is a certified facilitator for the Faith and Finances program of the Chalmers Center. He is married and is blessed with three grown children and 2 amazing grandchildren. He likes making music CD’s for friends and relatives and watching classic movies with his wife. He is a contributing author to the forthcoming book All Are Welcome.
Matthew Monticchio has been directing music at Second City Church since 2010. Matt is a graduate of West Chester University and Peabody Conservatory, earning degrees in piano, music education and music composition. Loving and playing many types of music including Hip Hop, classical, jazz and music from cultures around the world, Matt seeks to weave an eclectic and diverse tapestry of music for worship, while always grooving with the pulse of both the ancient and the current. He began directing church music in 2000, while continuing to gig and give concerts and teach both privately and on the college level. As a way to collaborate with singers, musicians, composers and artists in the church Matt formed Pageant Music, a collective of like minded creative people creating CDs, song books and visual art to give Glory to God and edify the church. To learn more and listen to some past recordings visit:
In addition to serving at Second City Church, Matt also teaches upper school music at Logos Academy in York, PA. and gigs and makes recordings in various musical ensembles and creative situations in the Central Pennsylvania area…and beyond.
Cindy Russo joined the staff at Second City Church (SCC) in January 2017. She has always felt called to serve Christ in the inner-city.
In her new role as Church Administrator, Cindy feels blessed to be a part of the ministry team at SCC. She feels it is a privilege to serve the church body and the many people who come to the doors of SCC each day in need of the love of Christ in word and deed. Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven”. Life is full of seasons and Cindy is thrilled to serve at SCC in this new season of her life.
Before coming to SCC, Cindy served on staff at her previous church as Children’s Ministry Director, Mercy Ministries Coordinator and Events Coordinator. Cindy also directed Vacation Bible School (VBS) there for 27 years. One of the highlights of her summers was leading VBS at the Bethesda Youth Mission and on playgrounds and in backyards all over the Harrisburg area. In 2009 Cindy led a team of adults and youth to Chattanooga, Tennessee to work with Hope for the Inner City where they presented VBS on playgrounds in Chattanooga’s poorest communities. In the summer of 2017, Cindy directed VBS at Second City Church where she hopes to do so for many more years to come.