The Downtown Fellowship works to unify those who serve in San Diego. We are an organization of churches, ministries, civic orgs, and like-minded individuals joining together to serve the city. We support a variety of services and outreach opportunities. Your donation to the DF supports the most vulnerable in our midst.
The Downtown Fellowship started as, and today remains, first and foremost a fellowship of churches and ministries without a specific focus. The issue of homelessness was at the forefront in the early development of the DF and still is very important to us today. Many of the current members are homeless ministries.
Today the Downtown Fellowship has over 40 church and ministry members and has developed partnerships with many community leaders and active residents with common interests.
The DF had its start when Ben Montoya, Mel Ely, Nate Landis and Steve Denney met for coffee at the Mission Soma in downtown San Diego in the summer of 2009. Ben’s church, First Presbyterian Church of San Diego, had just launched the Reaching Downtown for Christ initiative and Ben, the Outreach elder, felt that an important initial step would be to meet with other churches who had similar efforts in the downtown area. Mel had been a long time member of First Pres and because of his desire to reach downtown, had joined with Harbor Pres in the late 1990’s because of their focus on church planting. Mel saw the fertile ground of downtown San Diego and devoted his time to developing ministries and reaching out. Nate Landis had been the Youth Director at First Pres from 2002-2005 and was now the director of the Urban Youth Collaborative- reaching out to the students of San Diego County. Steve Denney was the pastor of City Walk church, a church intentionally not affiliated with mainline churches for the purpose of reaching the common person who has no familiarity with “church”. The four of them felt God’s calling to continue to meet and ask others to join. In the Fall of 2009, Thomas Bush of Vision San Diego joined the small group and brought a number of churches and ministries with him. Joyce Summer, long time community resident and consultant with CCDC, was invaluable in connecting community leaders and established ministries to the Downtown Fellowship. God blessed us and the numbers continued to grow.
In 2010, First Pres hired a Director of Outreach and Evangelism, Jason Evans. Jason was instrumental in bringing new initiative ideas to the DF and in coordinating initiatives such as Homeless Assistance Teams and the Next Step Winter Shelter network. In January, 2013, the DF Steering Committee, which included Jackie Vance and John Townsend, decided to become a 501(c)(3) and hired Bruce Menser as Executive Director. Under Bruce’s leadership, the Downtown Fellowship developed a strong volunteer presence at Connections Housing and has initiated an effort to coordinate responsible homeless street outreach. Today the Downtown Fellowship has 40 church and ministry members and has developed partnerships with many community leaders and active residents with common interests.