From early ages, both Charlie and Leslie Welke have had hearts for helping people to know and follow Jesus. Charlie's first transformative gospel experience happened as an eighth grader at a church plant. Leslie grew up in a church that helped to pioneer new ways to connect people who didn't yet know the Christian story. For the past several years, Charlie served at Eastview Christian Church on the pastoral staff team, until Eastview's leadership commissioned him and Leslie to lead a new church. As the Welkes began researching and discerning with Orchard Group and others, each conversation gradually led them to the decision to plant a new church in Fairfield County, Connecticut.
Fairfield County is the most densely populated county in Connecticut — a crossroads between New York City and New England. Of the 20 million people who call the metro region home, one million live in Fairfield County, and it’s the fastest-growing county in the state. In fact, Fairfield County has had population growth every single decade since 1790! It is also the most diverse county in Connecticut with some of the most substantial economic disparities. And critically, Gallup polling has placed the New England states as the least-religious in the U.S., with fewer people attending churches or claiming faith tradition than anywhere in the nation.
Charlie and Leslie believe God has called their family to build a church that reaches all types of people in Fairfield County. They hope to see common grace for the common good bring Christ glory. They believe that God has set eternity in the hearts of humanity, and it is their desire to see the spiritually hungry and curious grow in Christ. They will be moving to Connecticut in Summer 2021, with plans to launch this new church in Fall 2022.