Rachel DeMara Sensenig is the lead pastor for Circle of Hope in South Philly. She received her Bachelors in Sociology at Messiah College and her Masters of Social Work from Temple University. Before called to full-time church planting, Rachel worked in HIV/AIDS community mental health in Philly for 12 years, pioneering group therapy models with spirituality and being home in the 'hood raising her two children Zach and Cori.
Rachel loves the cell church model for its organic nature, designed to grow through having a face-to-face life with God and others. She's still a cell leader, multiplying cells even as pastor, because she's called to personally make disciples of Jesus more than anything else. Specific adventures in church planting have led her into peacemaking and responding to gun violence, immigrant advocacy, and protection of green space and affordable housing as gentrification changes the city into a more and more popular place to live (for good reason!) She loves the city for it's conflagration of lots of different kinds of people and food and music and proximity to one another.
Rachel has gained much from contemplative spirituality and saints who have come before us like Ignatius, Francis & Clare of Assisi, Teresa of Avila, Julian of Norwich. She thinks they speak to our modern troubles in deep ways, and connect us to the heartbeat of God as revealed in nature, scripture, the worldwide Church, and the Holy Spirit in each of us now. She believes that God is giving us what we need to respond to our times with grace, prophecy, and unity.