Leadership Team

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It’s a team effort

Our cells, congregations, teams and leaders are all building the same house, but are all uniquely inspired, gifted and assigned. We think about them less as positions filled by people, but rather people expressing their gifts and talents.

Pastors

Rachel Sensenig

Pastor, South Philly

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I made a covenant with Circle of Hope in 2003 and was called into pastoral leading in 2010. Before that, I worked in HIV community mental health here in Philly for 12 years with my Masters of Social Work. I’m passionate about people getting to know God together, especially in the organically growing small groups that we call “cells”—like cells of a body—because God became human to be with us, and His life is magnified in us together. I love questions about life and spirituality, the beauty of the natural world, cooking, creating music, advocating for peace and justice, and carving out space for silence and contemplative prayer. I live in South Philly with my husband Jeff and two children, who are now taller than me. 🙂 She also writes on her blog, Looking Up.

Jonny Rashid

Pastor, Fishtown

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I didn’t think I’d be a pastor when I first showed up to Frankford Ave. almost fifteen years ago. I was looking for a place I could call home, a place that would “get me,” include me, welcome me. Egyptians who are rebelling from their oddly Evangelical upbringing can’t really find a place to call home. My faith was teetering. Post-9/11, the War on Terror looming, I didn’t know if I could find Christians that wanted to actually love their neighbor. I found that with Circle of Hope. Not just because of our commitment to peace, but also because someone remembered my name! That changed my life and saved my faith. I finally found Christians that didn’t make me ashamed of my faith!

I began serving as pastor in September 2010 when ew launch a congregation in North Philly. Our congregation on North Philly was the first multiplication from a multiplication. In September of 2018, that congregation consolidated with the one on Frankford Ave., and I began serving there primarily. Before pastoring, I was a social studies teacher in Philly. I’m a big-time Bible and theology nerd. I love home-cooking: baking bread and dessert, and smoking big cuts of meat in my North Philly backyard. I love and hate Philly sports. And I write about all that and more on my blog, Contents and Containers.

Ben White

Pastor, South Jersey

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I’m looking for the light and I think it’s ready to be revealed in all kinds of unexpected places, even you. I’ve found a lot of light in Circle of Hope over the past two decades. I grew up as a part of this church, playing my part even before I knew exactly what that meant. I became a Christian through soaking up the love of God in Christ as expressed to me in this community. The rhythms of cells and Sunday meetings have shaped my life and my vocation since I was a teenager. And now I’m the pastor! Wow! My wife, Gwyneth, and our two boys moved to South Jersey a few years ago from Philly to lead this congregation. I think it’s really fun to make stuff with Circle of Hope. I’m pretty ready to say “yes!” to most crazy ideas. God’s got us. I bring a poet’s sensibility to my Sunday messages and worship design, but I always want it to lead us to something we DO together. Even if it doesn’t work out, it’s usually worth it to try. I write about some of my adventures and other thoughts on my blog. I’d love to meet you soon. Let’s do stuff.

Julie Hoke

Pastor, Germantown

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I first moved to Germantown in 2003. Philadelphia became my home as I put down roots, connected with my neighbors and invested in the community. Being a part of Circle of Hope helped me do that! I found Jesus followers who cared about social justice, compassion, creativity and relationships. Over the years, this faith community has provided a way for me to bring my experience as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in line with the joy of making disciples and planting the church. Since God took on flesh and moved into the neighborhood, I am confident that how we live with those around us has a direct impact on our life with God. Jesus makes himself known and faith gets expressed communally! I have a husband and two kids, and lots of plants. I love how gardening and pastoring both involve tending to what God is doing now, and growing what is next.

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Church Staff

Holly Meneses, Hub Team Leader/Sites Manager

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Holly has been a part of Circle of Hope since 2014. She is passionate about making connections with people and helping all feel included and cared for. Holly grew up in the Mennonite church, and traveled worldwide throughout

Jimmy Weitzel, Building Manager

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Jimmy grew up here in Philadelphia and lives in South Philly. When he isn’t managing Circle Thrift you can usually catch him leading worship at 2212 South Broad, or helping coordinate cells as a Cell Leader Coordinator. He has been connected with Circle of Hope for three years, and has felt called to lead and bring people closer to Jesus. He is also open about his struggles with addiction and has been sober close to five years. He is always willing to help out whoever is in need.

Laura Villeneuve-Saez, Communications Manager

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Laura moved to Philadelphia in 2016 to attend school at Temple University. She has been a part of the Circle of Hope community since 2018. Her passions include the environment, plants, and music.

Leadership Team

Our cells, congregations, teams and leaders are all building the same house, but are all uniquely inspired, gifted and assigned.

Tricia Fussaro

Lead Cell Leader Coordinator

Marguerite McDonald

Church Planting Core Leader

Donovan Hayes

Compassion Core Team Leader

Rebecca Geller-Puchalsky

Children's Team Leader

Rebekah McLendon

Capacity Core Team Leader