Neil McReynolds, lead pastor of The City Church, stands outside the church's property, the former site of coffee shop Central Perk, in downtown Davenport.

Amanda Hancock, Quad-City Times

After nearly a year of holding services at the Redstone Room, The City Church now has a home base of its own. 

Since the Christian church, which now has about 70 members, opened in January, the Rev. Neil McReynolds said they've been scrambling to find meeting places.

This past Tuesday, with The City Church's first services held at their new digs on West 3rd Street in Davenport, the scramble was over. 

"We're a church that's big into community and getting together," he said. "It's so exciting we finally have that place to invite people into."

But a small part of McReynolds is disappointed that his favorite coffee shop is no more. 

Downtown Central Perk, a coffee shop and vegetarian restaurant, closed its doors Oct. 22. It opened in 2012. 

McReynolds said Central Perk's owner Joe Erenberger, who also owns Insight Management and Rentals, had been looking for the right time to close the coffee shop. Erenberger could not be reached for comment.

"He was going to take me looking for properties and told me Central Perk might be available," McReynolds, 38, said. "That was it for me. I didn't need to look anywhere else." 

The City Church took possession of the property, 226 W. 3rd St., Davenport, on Nov. 1. McReynolds said they financed the move through financial giving from church members. 

"Our members really believe in the vision of our church and being downtown," he said. "We never could've dreamed this would open up." 

It's fitting for McReynolds, who said Central Perk served as his go-to coffee shop for planning meetings before the church existed. 

"It feels like a God thing," he said. "This place already is part of our church's story." 

For the past few weeks, McReynolds and his wife Ami, who is a nurse with UnityPoint Health Trinity Medical Center and helps lead The City Church's children's ministry, have been renovating the building. With a $15,000 budget, they painted, tore down walls, added carpet and roughly 100 chairs to the space. 

The City Church is a plant of the Vineyard Church on West Kimberly Road, in Davenport, which is one of more than 1,200 churches tied to the Association of Vineyard Churches, also known as the Vineyard Movement, across the country. 

McReynolds wanted to plant The City Church for people living downtown and who couldn't routinely attend services on Sunday. That's why he has services on Tuesday nights. 

"I knew people who live downtown wouldn't get in their car and drive far away on a Sunday," he said. "My heart is, and was, 'We'll go to them'."

McReynolds was previously on staff at the Vineyard Church in Davenport, serving as a music director for five years. 

"We have diverse people from all walks of life gathering together," he said, adding that the majority of members are in their 30s. "Our goal is for people to leave church really inspired and encouraged and to grow in their relationship with Jesus." 

Above all, McReynolds wants everyone to feel welcome at The City Church. 

"Everyone has had a church experience and a lot of people have been burned by the church," he said. "We want to invite people to a better experience." 


Amanda Hancock is a reporter covering food, arts and entertainment in the Quad-Cities (and beyond).