A religious group evolves in the new church of Claremont

by Andrew Alonzo | [email protected]

On Sunday, January 2, approximately 125 parishioners gathered in the Western Christian School gymnasium to attend the first service for Claremont’s newest Christian church, Ignite City Church.

The service was not only the first service of the year for ICC, but also their first official worship service after cutting ties with its parent church, Purpose Church Pomona.

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“Five years ago we were part of Purpose Church Pomona. We were asked to be a Claremont campus to get to this 210 corridor – kind of Glendora to Fontana – since [Purpose Church Pomona] was located quite south,” said Calli Dye-Schmidt, senior ministry associate for Ignite City Church. “We looked for a space and Western Christian became available which was perfect as they don’t meet on weekends so we were able to be on their campus on Sunday morning.”

Since 2017, parishioners have been meeting regularly on Sundays for services in the makeshift gymnasium church under the guise of a group from North But Pomona Church.

Although the thought of parting ways with Purpose Church Pomona crossed the minds of parishioners, including Dye-Schmidt, it wasn’t until 2020 that the Purpose Church Pomona group decided to act on those thoughts and push to become independent.

Throughout 2020 and 2021, the group severed its affiliation with Purpose Church Pomona, renamed itself Ignite City Church, and even became its own nonprofit. Despite what sounds like a story of a good relationship gone bad, the two now estranged churches would maintain good ties with each other, according to Dye-Schmidt.

As Dye-Schmidt explained, Ignite City Church got its “ducks in a row” before making the big change.

“We really felt that God was prompting us to move forward and become our own church. We really felt like the timing was right as we celebrate our fifth anniversary on this campus. It’s just kinda fitting that we’re starting from scratch,” Dye-Schmidt said.

After Sunday’s scripture reading by Pastor Brian Holland, along with six songs praising Jesus, which were sung by the worship team, balloons rained down from the gymnasium ceiling to celebrate the church’s inaugural service.

“It was our first as a new church and I was so thrilled. I mean I was absolutely thrilled to see so many people who were there. I would say most of them are everyday people, but we saw quite a few new people showing up, so I think that’s the part I really enjoyed seeing,” Pastor Holland said.

“Ultimately what we want to see is the impact of Jesus on people’s lives, which would impact their homes and the cities they live in,” the pastor added. “We want to make sure we bring that hope [of Jesus] but I also want us to respond to the concrete needs of those who need help.

The church offers Sunday worship at 10 a.m. for all ages and the service is streamed on their website. Ignite City Church has also implemented a “home church” program involving small groups that meet in person at area homes during the week.

“They’re kind of a little group where they get together and have a meal, pray together, read the scriptures and kind of form a community, a little community within ours,” Dye-Schmidt explained.

Ignite City Church also offers children’s ministry during Sunday morning worship for newborns and students through fifth grade. Additionally, the church has a student ministry program that meets on Sunday evenings at 6:30 p.m. Parents and guardians can get more information or register their children for the church’s children’s and student ministries online. Please note that the student program is intended for children between the sixth and final year.

Ignite City Church is an official 501c3 nonprofit and survives on the generosity of the community. 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 protected], or call (909) 279-1972. New parishioners can submit their information to the church by filling out 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 Padoue Avenue.

“We just want people to know we’re available in their community and would like them to come if they’re looking for a church or a community they could be a part of,” Dye-Schmidt said. “Our mission statement is ‘love God, love people and make disciples who make disciples’ and that is really our mission. This is what we want our community to know, how we love God, we love people and we want them to be disciples of Jesus too.