Jesus said to his followers, "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden." We want to be a people transfixed and transformed by the light of Jesus rising over us like the dawn of a new day and bringing healing to our hearts, our homes, and our city.
It was this vision that ultimately drew Father Trevor and Bonnie McMaken to Aurora, nicknamed “The City of Lights,” where the Lord was already moving in hearts and churches throughout the city. In 2013, Trevor and Bonnie began praying with other pastors at their current church (Church of the Resurrection in Wheaton) and in Aurora about planting a new church. Over the next 18 months, the Lord brought together a team of people with a heart for the city of Aurora and seeing the heavenly city—the true City of Light—here on earth.
After much prayer, we began gathering together at Nancy Hill Elementary as City of Light in the fall of 2015. You can hear more about our story and mission by RSVP-ing for one of our regular Welcome Lunches.
City of Light is a church that is fully evangelical, fully sacramental, and full of the Holy Spirit. We believe in the power of Jesus to transform our lives, families, and communities through his church empowered by the Spirit.
Our faith is summarized in the words of the ancient Creeds (like the Nicene Creed) understood in their plain and historic sense and in the Jerusalem Declaration (read below under "Our Anglican Family"). To be an Anglican isn’t to embrace a distinct version of Christianity, but a distinct way of being a “Mere Christian,” at the same time evangelical, apostolic, catholic, reformed, and Spirit-filled.
While those leading and serving must affirm these basic tenets of faith, all are welcome at City of Light—doubters, skeptics, the curious, the burned-out—to join us and explore what the Bible teaches and how we practice it together.
We worship together on Sunday around the Word (the Bible) and Table (Communion).
We journey together through the church calendar of feasts and fasts, sabbaths, and seasons.
We give generously of our time and money from our hearts.
We love and serve our neighbors and neighborhoods.
We partner together in following Jesus as disciple-makers and inviting others to follow him.
Our Sunday gatherings include ancient liturgy with fresh expressions in beautiful arts and music that center around the Word (the Bible) and the Table (Communion). Our worship life together is shaped by the Book of Common Prayer, a collection of ancient prayers and practices saturated with Scripture.
We have City Kids Children's ministry for infants - 5th grade for the first half of the gathering, though children of all ages are always welcome in our service, where we read and hear the Word of God. Then the children join us for the second part of the service where we gather around the Table together. Read more about City Kids here.
We sing, read, and pray in English with parts of the service in Spanish.
Father Trevor McMaken is the pastor of City of Light and is passionate about the light of Jesus shining in our hearts, homes, and city of Aurora. He and Bonnie began attending Church of the Resurrection in Wheaton in 2004, and Trevor joined the staff team there in 2007. He graduated from Wheaton College in 2007 with a music composition degree. He also has an MDiv from Northern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Pastor Bonnie McMaken is the worship pastor at City of Light. She loves the way that honest art, music, and beauty can lead us into life-transforming encounters with Jesus. She graduated from Wheaton College in 2007 with a degree in Christian Formation and minor in music. Prior to serving as the Worship Pastor at City of Light, Bonnie has worked as a writer, marketer, and editor in the non-profit sector.
They have three children: Nora, Finn, and August, and currently live in a 101 year-old home on Aurora’s near East Side. In their spare time, they enjoy writing and performing music, large Sabbath breakfasts, and exploring the banks of the Fox River.
Pastor Scott Cunningham is our Church Planting Resident, a position shared between City of Light and our sending church, Church of the Resurrection. Scott and his wife Marissa and their son serve regularly at both churches as they prepare to church plant.
Growing up in Texas and Tennessee, Scott first came to Chicago to attend Wheaton College, where he studied music, literature, and theology. Upon graduating, he moved to Sheffield, England to apprentice at an Anglican church plant where he was involved primarily in youth and college ministry while receiving mentoring and discipleship for pastoral ministry.
After two years Scott moved back to Wheaton to marry his wife Marissa, and they joined Church of the Resurrection as Scott began a Masters in Biblical Exegesis. Since then, God has moved in beautiful ways to knit their hearts to the mission of our church family.
Beyond these things, Scott is happy listening to Alt-country, pulling a largemouth bass out of the water, and hanging out with his wife Marissa and his son James.
Grace Kircher is a Staff Apprentice and is excited about creating a culture at City of Light where generations are welcomed into God's family. Grace enjoys leading various Sunday morning teams as well as a disciple-making group with her husband Jason. They have been at City of Light since May 2016 and before that were at Church of the Resurrection.
Bishop Stewart Ruch III is the pastor of pastors in our family of churches across Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, and Missouri. Stewart is married to Katherine, and they have six children. Their first love and passion is raising their children and developing their family as a “domestic church."
Together they lead Church of the Resurrection, where they marvel at the move of God they have been swept up in for the last 25 years. One of Stewart's ministry passions is raising up leaders and church planters. In 2013, Resurrection sent out their fifth church plant, Immanuel Anglican Church and in 2015 its sixth church plant, City of Light Anglican Church.
In September 2013, Stewart was consecrated Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of the Upper Midwest (ACNA), and has a vision to see a Revival of Word and Sacrament infused by the Holy Spirit in the Upper Midwest.
Stewart loves running; reading novels, biographies, and leadership books; and spending as much time as possible in forests and streams with his children.
Read Bishop Stewart’s bio here.
As Anglicans, we’re part of a family from around Chicagoland and around the world. We were sent by Church of the Resurrection in Wheaton and are a part of the Upper Midwest Diocese of the Anglican Church in North America and a member of GAFCON—a global movement of millions of Anglicans worldwide.
Together with our global Anglican family, we affirm the Jerusalem Declaration of our historic faith in God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit that was written at the first GAFCON gathering in Jerusalem in 2008:
1. We rejoice in the gospel of God through which we have been saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. Because God first loved us, we love him and as believers bring forth fruits of love, ongoing repentance, lively hope and thanksgiving to God in all things.
2. We believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the Word of God written and to contain all things necessary for salvation. The Bible is to be translated, read, preached, taught and obeyed in its plain and canonical sense, respectful of the church’s historic and consensual reading.
3. We uphold the four Ecumenical Councils and the three historic Creeds as expressing the rule of faith of the one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
4. We uphold the Thirty-nine Articles as containing the true doctrine of the Church agreeing with God’s Word and as authoritative for Anglicans today.
5. We gladly proclaim and submit to the unique and universal Lordship of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, humanity’s only Saviour from sin, judgement and hell, who lived the life we could not live and died the death that we deserve. By his atoning death and glorious resurrection, he secured the redemption of all who come to him in repentance and faith.
6. We rejoice in our Anglican sacramental and liturgical heritage as an expression of the gospel, and we uphold the 1662 Book of Common Prayer as a true and authoritative standard of worship and prayer, to be translated and locally adapted for each culture.
7. We recognise that God has called and gifted bishops, priests and deacons in historic succession to equip all the people of God for their ministry in the world. We uphold the classic Anglican Ordinal as an authoritative standard of clerical orders.
8. We acknowledge God’s creation of humankind as male and female and the unchangeable standard of Christian marriage between one man and one woman as the proper place for sexual intimacy and the basis of the family. We repent of our failures to maintain this standard and call for a renewed commitment to lifelong fidelity in marriage and abstinence for those who are not married.
9. We gladly accept the Great Commission of the risen Lord to make disciples of all nations, to seek those who do not know Christ and to baptise, teach and bring new believers to maturity.
10. We are mindful of our responsibility to be good stewards of God’s creation, to uphold and advocate justice in society, and to seek relief and empowerment of the poor and needy.
11. We are committed to the unity of all those who know and love Christ and to building authentic ecumenical relationships. We recognise the orders and jurisdiction of those Anglicans who uphold orthodox faith and practice, and we encourage them to join us in this declaration.
12. We celebrate the God-given diversity among us which enriches our global fellowship, and we acknowledge freedom in secondary matters. We pledge to work together to seek the mind of Christ on issues that divide us.
13. We reject the authority of those churches and leaders who have denied the orthodox faith in word or deed. We pray for them and call on them to repent and return to the Lord.
14. We rejoice at the prospect of Jesus’ coming again in glory, and while we await this final event of history, we praise him for the way he builds up his church through his Spirit by miraculously changing lives.