Volunteer of The Month: Rachel Celenza

This month we are spotlighting SonRise’s extremely loved, adored and cherished member, Rachel Celenza, as our August Volunteer of the Month! For anyone who knows Rachel, you can agree that her loving & welcoming personality is contagious. She exemplifies a passionate volunteer who cares about each & everyone taking their next steps with Jesus.

Rachel has been a member of SonRise Church for six years, serving in many different roles during her time here with us. We all know that oftentimes we need to try multiple volunteer positions within the church until we find our perfect, God-given spot! Currently, Rachel is  serving within Uprising (6th-12th grade student ministry), the First Impression Team & the Communications Team. Over the summer, Rachel also participated in the Pastor Search Team, which she described as “amazing”.

When asked why she chooses to serve at SonRise, she states, “Above all, it’s what we are called to do.  God calls us to be good stewards of the gifts He has given us, and I serve to be obedient to that call.” Rachel says that she has wonderful parents who were role models of selfless service and she has always followed their example, viewing service as another example of worship.

Rachel is passionate about helping the students of Uprising grow in their faith. She is an outstanding role model for our younger generation, never holding back from sharing her faith, worshiping boldly & participating in “Praise Breaks!”  She was inspired by the youth leaders she had growing up and hopes to have a similar impact on the students here at SonRise.

happy church girls
Rachel Celenza with a group of high schoolers on a recent Uprising Mission trip to Jackson, KY.

On Sunday mornings, Rachel serves on the First Impressions team. The First Impressions Team exists to ensure that members and guests receive a loving, welcoming, and positive experience at SonRise Church.  Volunteers on the First Impressions Team can be found greeting in the parking lot, opening the front doors for every guest, and acting as ushers in the worship auditorium. This team is passionate about the initial impression of new guests as well as helping them take their next step with Jesus. To say Rachel does a great job welcoming first time guests would simply be an understatement. Regarding her position on the First Impressions team, Rachel stated, “My prayer as a part of this team, is that when someone enters SonRise, they instantly feel welcome and know that they belong”.

7-9-17 relational


Lastly, Rachel serves part-time on the Communication Team as a social media volunteer. Rachel’s favorite thing about SonRise is that it is so relational. The relationships that she has formed at SonRise are very special to her and SonRise has truly become her church home. She has found multiple fulfilling areas of ministries at SonRise, where God has blessed her to serve.

Welcome girls

When asked about her goals for the future of SonRise, Rachel says “I am so excited about the future of SonRise.  God has been working in so many wonderful ways and getting to see Him show up time and time again when we pray expectantly and specifically has been such a joy!”  Her most desired goal is that SonRise “will continue to listen to God’s call, and allow Him to guide us, and that His kingdom will grow as a result”.  In addition, Rachel is excited to see the students grow in faith.  Her wish for SonRise is continued growth, deepened faith, and knowledge of God’s Word.

Rachel’s favorite memory at SonRise is difficult to wrap into just one.  Collectively she states that her relationships built at SonRise, 2 mission trips to Haiti, the Uprising trip to Happy Church this summer, and watching the Student Ministry grow not only in numbers but in faith, are all blessings that come to mind when she considers her favorite things about SonRise.

When Rachel is not faithfully serving at SonRise, she works for GE Aviation, in sourcing and supply chain, which means she makes sure aircraft engines get built on time.  When not working, Rachel enjoys spending time with family and friends, going to concerts (specifically boy bands), the theater, going to baseball games, and finally, enjoying a good cup of coffee while reading a good book!  She says she also loves a good praise break!  Most people don’t know that Rachel has her closet colorized in ROYGBIV order and silhouetted as well, which she attributes to her experience in retail, “You can take the girl out of retail, but some habits still remain!”

Rachel says that her life is so full because she is a child of God. She can find joy and hope through any situation, and knows her community at SonRise will encourage her if she is struggling. She loves to share this with others who may not yet know how God can do this for them if they choose to follow him, too!

We at SonRise are  blessed to have Rachel as a part of our community and also as a part of our ministry.  We are so happy to have this opportunity to share with our community the ways that she gives of her time and talents! Please join us in sharing how very grateful we are for Rachel and let her know how much we appreciate her here at SonRise!


July Volunteer Spotlight

SonRise Church would like to spotlight one of our many wonderful volunteers this month. Our volunteers embody what it means to be a faithful part of our church family, demonstrating our values while helping us serve our mission of helping everyone take their next steps with Jesus.

For the month of July, we recognize Tricia Moore!  She has been a member of SonRise Church for 7 years, sharing her time and talent on a weekly basis.  She began by serving with children in the nursery and toddler room.  After a few years, Tricia felt called to serve on the Communications Team as God laid it on her heart to help improve communications within her church body. Today, as she continues to serve on our Communication Team, she is also a leader on our First Impressions Team.  The First Impressions Team exists to ensure that members and guests receive a loving, welcoming, and positive experience at SonRise Church.  Volunteers on the First Impressions Team can be found greeting in the parking lot, opening the front doors for every guest, and acting as ushers in the worship auditorium. This team is passionate about the initial impression of new guests as well as helping them take their next step with Jesus.  Most recently, Tricia has also been serving on the Lead Pastor Search Team.  Through her efforts in these many areas, Tricia actively helps SonRise Church live out our value of excellence.

Tricia at Desk
Tricia working at the Connection Center on Sunday morning helping members get connected.

Tricia states that what she loves most about SonRise is the creativity and intentionalitly that goes into planning our Sunday worship experiences.  Her favorite thing is our sermon series format, which involves themed messages carried over several weeks. The sermon series provides our church family with more time to dig deeper into biblical topics.

In addition, Tricia also expressed her appreciation for SonRise’s efforts on offering Next Step Classes, as well as marriage and parenting courses. The material she received from these classes is frequently reviewed & implemented in her household.

Tricia serving
Tricia living out our value of being relational at SonRise Church.

Looking toward the future, Tricia hopes that the next five years bring continued growth for the community at SonRise Church.  No matter the age or stage in life, she wants every person who comes to SonRise to feel cherished & loved not only by God, but by our church family. Specifically, Tricia hopes to be that special person who helps everyone at SonRise find their God-given place to serve.

When Tricia isn’t serving as an outstanding volunteer at SonRise, she treasures her role as a wife and mother to two children – Charlie who is 8, and Libby who is 2 and a half.  She and her family live in Mt. Lookout. Of all the things that Tricia has done in her life, she considers her greatest accomplishment being a good mom and wife. She has also been a teacher for 23 years, serving her community as a math teacher at Walnut Hills, and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down.  In her free time, she is passionate about swimming.  She shared that after being severely injured in a car accident in her junior year of college, she discovered swimming as a low impact exercise that helped her feel weightless. Swimming is also a hobby that helps her clear her mind, making her feel great both mentally & physically. Tricia also enjoys cooking and hanging out with her friends. When asked to share one weird thing about her that not many people know, Tricia shared that she is obsessed with peanut butter – she loves anything and everything with peanut butter!

Tricia & Family
Tricia and her family.

SonRise Church is  grateful for Tricia and all that she has brought to our church family.  We are happy to have this opportunity to share how much she is appreciated. It has been a pleasure to spotlight her contributions in this month’s Volunteer Spotlight. When you see Tricia, please take a moment to congratulate and thank her for all she does for the SonRise Family.

Praise God:Multiple Salvations Occurred at Camp Hoopla!

If you didn’t already know, we had tons of fun this year with our kids at Camp Hoopla! This camp is specifically designed for children to experience fun, creative, and interactive experiences with Jesus.  By participating in engaging activities such as Nerf Wars, recreational games, and Kitchen Chaos, great memories and new friendships were formed. Students even experienced a special visit from Cool Critters-an outreach program that shared some of God’s coolest creatures; including frogs, lizards, snakes, bearded dragons, tortoises, and even a ferret.

Some of our kiddos shared their favorite moments with us:

Jaydah, age 9, expressed, “I’ve enjoyed making lots of crafts!  I also loved when Cool Critters came to visit.”

Andrew, age 7, said, “Nerf Wars was my favorite. I actually wish I got to play it more this week.”

Cora, age 6, told us, “Snack time is always my favorite. It was neat to learn about Jesus too!”

Most importantly, children learned about Jesus. Thanks to our incredible volunteers, each and every child was able to take a next step with Jesus. We praise God for the 10 children who decided to place their faith in Jesus Christ at Camp Hoopla! It is for this reason that SonRise plans & prepares for Camp Hoopla year after year. No matter the age, every person deserves to take their next steps with Jesus.  IMG_1411

Our camp volunteers witnessed some amazing things with our kids as well:

Our SonRise Student Ministry Coordinator, Spencer Hogan says, “The best thing I’ve seen at Camp Hoopla is watching our young-teenage leaders step up and mentor our younger children into a more deeper relationship with Christ.”

Volunteer Julie Parker says, “It has been so touching to see all of the children showing God’s love to one another.”

Youth volunteer, Brooklyn Drummond shares, “Camp Hoopla offers something called Kitchen Chaos. During Kitchen Chaos, tasty/creative snacks are served to the kids while they hear an exciting Bible story.  I love how Camp Hoopla tells the Gospel to young children in fun and creative ways. There is nothing boring about Camp Hoopla and that is what I love!”

Bailey Drummond, who also volunteered this week says, “I’ve had so much fun encouraging and witnessing children embracing their creativity during all the art sessions at the Camp Hoopla.  I personally love helping others be their creative selves.”



At SonRise we believe in irrational generosity, so kids at Camp Hoopla were also taught about sharing our blessings with others!  We decided to challenge our kiddos to collect money for Cure International.  This wonderful organization provides medical care for some of the neediest children in the poorest parts of the world.  Through the involvement of our participants, we were able to donate $200 to Cure International.

We are grateful for the opportunity and privilege to share in our kid’s next steps with Jesus through Camp Hoopla. Please consider joining us as we look forward to doing it again next year!

SonRise’s Backpack Ministry Wins Local Award

Due to the generous tithes and offerings from SonRise’s members, 342 local students within the Milford & Mariemont School Districts don’t have to go hungry on weekends. This generosity has led our Backpack Ministry to become the recipient of an excellent award from the Milford Miami Township Chamber of Commerce… but we’ll get to that shortly. If you’re unfamiliar with SonRise’s Backpack Ministry, let us provide a quick summary for you.

On Thursday evenings throughout the school year, volunteers from SonRise Church gather at our PEACE center, located in the old Milford shopping plaza. It is at SonRise’s PEACE center where volunteers are passionate about being the hands & feet of Christ to individuals in our community. During this gathering, 342 black plastic bags are each filled with 2 juice boxes, 2 snacks (cheese crackers or pretzels), Ramon noodles, box of Mac n cheese, pop tart, ravioli, and a fruit cup. The food items cost nearly $4,200 a month and are purchased through SonRise’s PEACE fund, thanks to the generosity of SonRise’s members. Filled bags are then loaded and delivered to the following schools:

backpack noodles

  • Boyd E. SmithElementary
  • McCormick Elementary
  • Meadowview Elementary
  • Milford Junio High School
  • Milford Preschool
  • Mulberry elementary
  • Pattison Elementary
  • Charles Seipelt Elementary

On Friday afternoons, teachers place the food-filled bags into needy students’ backpacks. These bags then go home to families who are struggling to make ends meet.  SonRise is passionate about meeting this extreme need that many people don’t realize exists.

Excitingly, word has spread around town about SonRise’s Backpack Ministry.  Boy Scout & Girl Scout Troops, Live Oaks Career X-Program, Live Oaks ROTC and many other organizations frequently enjoy volunteering at our PEACE Center. Working together, our efforts have been recognized by Milford Miami Township Chamber of Commerce through their award of excellence.

backpack serve

On April 25th, Milford Miami Township Chamber of Commerce hosted the 2018 Dinner of Excellence. SonRise’s Backpack Ministry Coordinators, Randy & Robin Hill, were invited to represent SonRise’s Backpack Ministry. At this event, the Backpack Ministry was nominated for the 2018 Don & Jean Ackermann Business Partners in Education Award. This award is given annually to an organization who best enriches the lives of students and serves as an example to all. The Backpack Ministry was nominated for this award by Boyd E. Smith Elementary, Meadowview Elementary, Charles Seipelt Elementary, McCormick Elementary, and Pattison Elementary. We are thankful to announce that not only was SonRise nominated for this award, but SonRise won the 2018 Don & Jean Ackermann Business Partners in Education Award. 2018 award

Robin Hill, Backpack Ministry Coordinator, accepting and thanking the crowd for the 2018 Don & Jean Ackermann Business Partners in Education Award.

A Milford Elementary spokes person expressed, “All of the elementary schools in the Milford Exempted Village School District would like to recognize SonRise Church, especially the Backpack Ministry Coordinators, Robin and Randy Hill, and sincerely thank them for introducing this much needed endeavor to the district. Milford Elementary School are proud and thankful to have SonRise Church being recognized as our Business Partner of the Year.”

To those who frequently give of their time, talents, and resources at SonRise Church we want to say THANK YOU! It is generous people like you who are making a difference in our community. Please be in prayer for SonRise’s Backpack Ministry and that it continues to make a mighty impact in our community. For additional information on SonRise’s Backpack Ministry, please click HERE.


The C3 Conference Made a Huge Impact On SonRise Staff & Volunteers

When you attend any type of business conference you can experience something called “information overload” and leave mentally and physically drained. In fact, usually you’re more exhausted after attending a conference than you would have been working your typical work week. Many conferences leave individuals unfulfilled, with the most satisfying moments of the conference being the breaks for snacks, coffee and hot meals. I am pleased to say that SonRise Church staff & volunteers left a recent C3 Creative Church Conference at Fellowship Church in Dallas, TX. filled with energy, excitement and a passion for new ways we can further our church’s mission.

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There was no doubt that the Holy Spirit was alive and very present at the C3 conference. Imagine a room packed with thousands of church leaders, staff and church volunteers from all over the world praising our Lord and Savior. The unification and shouts of admiration for Jesus were overwhelming. God was speaking to each one of us there, and when the Lord speaks, it is a beautiful thing! It is the voice that stirs a fire within to accomplish whatever the Lord lays on our hearts. When I say a fire, I don’t mean a campfire that you roast marshmallows on; I mean a wildfire that can be seen for miles and miles!FullSizeRender 3

Some of the world’s best preachers spoke at this event, including the host and founder of C3, Ed Young, along with Judah Smith, Jack Graham, Steve Kelly, Steve Green, Rich Wilkerson Jr. and Johnny Hunt. To say that the speakers were phenomenal is an understatement. Beyond the incredible speakers, the behind the scenes volunteers—the parking lot team, door greeters, trash collectors, coffee baristas, etc.— transformed C3 into something beyond imagination. Not once did our staff open a door for themselves. At every turn, we were greeted with a smiling volunteer who was dedicated to doing whatever it takes to share the love of Christ.

SonRise’s staff & volunteers left this event highly motivated, encouraged and ready to implement new practices in order to reach those in need of Jesus Christ. On the plane ride back, each one of us was focused on drafting the new and exciting processes and practices the Lord placed on our hearts.  Below you’ll find responses from SonRise’s staff & volunteers regarding their experience at C3.


“C3 was a terrific experience! Everyone made us feel welcome, from the parking team to the ushers and everyone in between. The App Sessions were filled with practical information that we will be able to use to help make the SonRise experience even better! This was one of the best conferences I have ever attended.”

-Ken Dorhout, Serve Team Leader

“I’ve never experienced the strength of God’s presence like I did at C3. It was unbelievable and like nothing I’ve ever encountered. If you didn’t leave the conference with a fire burning within your soul to spread the good news of Jesus Christ, you had to have been sleeping. God spoke and made it clear that it’s time to reach our full potential and give our best to the Lord (no matter the position you serve in), which in return, will help further his Kingdom!”

-Alison Wiegand, Communications Director


“The C3 Conference was outstanding! A beautiful mix of worship and training. The App Sessions were well designed and created an experience that allowed me to really dig into how the different crews and teams came together to make it all work so well. The speakers were influencing, poetic, and wise. I am more than thankful for the opportunity to attend! Thank you SonRise!”

-Kevin Walter, Creative Team Member


“If I could choose two words to describe last week – energy and excellence. Everywhere you looked, energy emanated, from the parking lot to the messages to the greeters as we left. One of the phrases they kept repeating was, ‘We serve an excellent God, why should we give Him anything less?’ We should be excited about the opportunity to serve an excellent God. If we who know and follow Him are not excited and doing our best to serve Him, how can we expect to reach those who don’t know Him? There is still so much I am reviewing and rereading, but those were the standout takeaways!”

-Rachel Celenza, First Impressions


“Last week I had the unbelievable opportunity to attend the C3 conference. I was so moved by the worship and the phenomenal visual creativity that accompanied it. In addition to the worship, the sermons had such a fundamental impact on me. One of the speakers said something that got me thinking about the difference between the “Not Here’s” and the “Not Yets.” My prayer for SonRise is that we continue to love those who are no longer with us, but we press on to reach the “Not Yets.” Those who are still searching for the redemptive power of Christ… “

-Danny Drummond, Worship Leader


“When serving in ministry, it can be easy to feel on an island with your wins and challenges.  Attending C3 and being surrounded by people who are experiencing relatable journeys was refreshing and uplifting; it was a great reminder that at the end of the day, we are ONE Church with the same goal –> helping people take those steps towards and with Jesus.  The opportunity also gave me a chance to get to know others at SonRise better — praise breaks, spilled coffees (plural!), getting lost on Dallas highways, and more — and I’m proud to serve alongside them.”

-Jerran Orwig, Uprising Leader


“The 2 days were packed with ideas to make our Family Ministries more exciting! I also loved hanging out with the SonRise Team! Lastly, I love when I can get away with other church folks and help pour into each other while refining our vision”
-Mark Urton, Family Pastor


Please join the staff in prayer that the information that was shared will bring many blessings to the SonRise family as we seek to obey and serve our Lord.


70 Families Recieve Special Gift For Thanksgiving

With age comes wisdom. So when people proclaim that the giver actually receives more than the receiver, it’s naturally hard to grasp at first. The reality is, SonRise Church’s members were recently blessed when they decided to provide 70 complimentary Thanksgiving meals for struggling local families. Each family was given a large frozen turkey, green beans, yams, potatoes, cornbread, cranberries, stuffing, corn and a chocolate cake! We even had our little ones make homemade Thanksgiving cards.

SonRise’s volunteers personally packed and delivered the meals to each family’s front door. However, solely ringing the doorbell and leaving wasn’t on our agenda.  Instead, our church family asked local families ‘How can we be praying for you?’.  We understood that God was using our church to fill bellies while also uplifting spirits this Thanksgiving. We wanted our community to know that we care not only about people’s physical needs but also their spiritual needs. It blessed us to be able to share the most powerful tool, which is PRAYER!

Delivering meals
SonRise volunteer, Steven Nelson delivering Thanksgiving meal to Alesha and her family.


So how was this event a blessing for its volunteers? Check out what a few of our volunteers said below. Event Coordinator Randy Hill stated “I have always felt it is better to give than receive. I receive extreme joy from serving and am so grateful for SonRise.” James Dick, a SonRise Church volunteer, expressed, “I’m serving at this event today in order to help people that need to be loved on. I love our community, and God clearly tells us that we need to bless others. I’m here today to bless someone else.” Becky Drummond, another volunteer, said, “During this time of year we want everyone to know that they are loved and cared for. I’d like to be a small part in blessing someone else’s life.”


We wish we could share all of the testimonies from our volunteers at our Thanksgiving Outreach. However, please know that God is using the local church in order to do wonderful things in your community. SonRise Church won’t stop sharing the love of Christ and is on mission to help others take their next steps with Jesus… even if that means serving one turkey at a time!


How God is Using SonRise Church at Mariemont Elementary

Opening a tangible thank you note these days is rare, that is, unless it’s from a baby shower, wedding, etc. So the fact that a thank you note ended up on our Administrator’s desk at SonRise Church caught us all by surprise. The gold & royal blue letter was from Mariemont Elementary. What could they possibly be writing us about? Here’s what the letter said:

” Dear SonRise Church,

We cannot thank you enough for all the wonderful things you do for our schools.  You have welcomed us into your building on numerous occasions and go out of your way to accommodate our needs. Every Friday, students in need are eager to visit the office to pickup food for the weekend. I wish you could see the joy on their faces.

IMG_6184I want you to know that we used your generous donation last spring to fund scholarships for district summer camps. Many students who never get to participate in things like this enjoyed piano camp, dance camp, rocket class & sports camps. It was awesome to see these kids having fun and learning along with other kids.

Please know that you are making a tremendous impact on our community. We feel your love and support in our schools.

Thanks so much!

Mariemont Elementary ”


Wow! Praise God! In a world where it feels as if we are bombarded with one depressing story after the next, we are choosing to rejoice about the good things that God is doing in our own backyard. At SonRise Church, generosity isn’t foreign to us. Instead, generosity is one of our seven values.  We will lead the way with irrational generosity. We give up things we love (time, talents, & resources) for things we love even more (our mission). We go above and beyond to give sacrificially to the work of God, because we believe we are blessed to be a blessing.

Some ways we’ve tried to be a blessing to Mariemont Schools is by opening our facility for their students & staff to use for retreats, conferences & learning seminars. We also collected a special offering last Christmas, known as the Legacy Offering, in which a portion of the offering ($2,000) was donated to Mariemont Schools. We wanted to give back to Mariemont Schools, because they graciously allowed us to use their facility when we didn’t have one. We’re so thankful that our donation was used to bring joy to some local students during the summer camps that they attended.

That’s not all. Through our Backpack Ministry (which exists to provide 300 local elementary students take-home meals for the weekend), we are able to feed 20 students from Mariemont Elementary every weekend.

To our church family, we’d like to say thank you for your generosity. Your time, talents & resources are making a mighty impact for Christ in our community and world. Let’s make a positive story go viral; please share the good news of what God is doing in Cincinnati, Ohio.


Fall Festival 2017- A Night To Remember!

This past weekend, the SonRise community celebrated the great autumn season with its first Fall Festival. The free event included free food, live music, bouncy houses, games and prizes. Families from all across Cincinnati participated in the event, which was designed for an opportunity just to come together, enjoy fellowship and the wonderful weather.



“This is a connect event,” said Family Pastor and event organizer Mark Urton. “This is a chance to connect together and just have fun. We want people to come, stay and hang out.”

And the event definitely hit its mark.


Many of the families who came weren’t church members, but instead people who heard about the event either through flyers that went out to schools, social media, through friends, or even just the rock and roll sounds of worship leader Danny Drummond. This included Shannon, who attended with her kids because of an invitation sent through Milford Schools.

“Everything about this event is great,” she said. “My kids are having a great time with everything.”


Of course, the Fall Festival couldn’t have taken place without the countless amazing volunteers who were passionate about serving at the event. SonRise’s volunteers helped with serving to sign people up, whipping up cotton candy and running the many inflatables that so many kids enjoyed.

“Being a Christian, it’s our job to serve others,” said Paris Cox, who served at the Welcome Table. “We want to help other people love and be a part of the church.”


All told, 250+ people registered and made the most of the beautiful fall weather. It’s definitely an event SonRise will look to continue next year.

Volunteer of the Month: Bob Welch

If ever there was a model of the humility and commitment that servant leadership requires, Bob Welch is that person.

SonRise Church would like to recognize Bob as this month’s Volunteer of the Month. He has been a part of SonRise Church for ten years, serving in just about every capacity possible. Whether he’s helping out in the parking lot, greeting members at the door, collecting communion or helping new families find their church home, Bob does whatever SonRise Church needs to function at its best. Parking lot

In addition to meeting whatever need SonRise has, Bob has been quick to take on leadership roles, bringing stability to the church and how it operates daily. Bob’s official role at SonRise is leading both the Connect and First Impression teams. “I love being a part of the SonRise family, and I want to give back as so many have given to me,” Bob said about why he serves at SonRise.

As a part of the First Impressions team, Bob said his goal is to “help new families walking through the door feel welcome and loved and, hopefully, want to take a step closer to knowing Christ.” Because of Bob and his team, many have come to find a place to worship and fellowship within the walls of SonRise Church.

One thing that’s clear about Bob is that he allows God to use his gifts and talents to bring others closer to Christ. Although Bob spends countless hours helping SonRise grow, it’s his daily life where Bob really makes the most of each and every hour. On a typical day, Bob wakes up at 4:45 a.m., goes to work where he starts the day with a workout class. After work, you might find Bob refereeing soccer or going out to a movie with his wife.

Still, it’s at SonRise that Bob really feels connected and at home. “I love being a part of the SonRise family,” Bob said.

SonRise Church is thankful for Bob’s willingness to live out the SonRise mission of helping others take next steps with Jesus. If you see Bob around church, make sure to greet him with the kindness he shows so many every Sunday.