Asa was born in the Ivory Coast and raised in Ghana and Providence. He attended the University of Rhode Island for Film studies before starting CityLove. Asa's passion for serving God and his people lead him to saying yes to the call to partake in CityLove.
Favorite book of the Bible: Ecclesiastes
Guilty pleasure: Binge watching TV shows
Favorite Bible passage: “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” - 1 Timothy 6:12
Heather was born and raised in New Hampshire. She was brought to Providence through the Teen Challenge program, of which she is an alumna. Before starting CityLove, Heather worked in fitness at different facilities around Providence. Through her spiritual growth and service at Renaissance Church, she felt God's calling last year to do ministry through CityLove with her husband Asa.
Favorite activities: Long walks, hikes and skiing
Guilty pleasure: Lifting weights
Favorite Bible passage: Philippians 3
Chris is a youth minister at Renaissance Church, campus pastor at Brown University, and divinity student at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary. He grew up in East Providence, got called to serve at Renaissance Church three and a half years ago, and joined the CityLove team not long after.
Favorite book: The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
Favorite childhood activity: Daydreaming
Favorite quote: “I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation. It is not out of compliment that lovers keep on telling one another how beautiful they are; the delight is incomplete till it is expressed.” - C.S. Lewis
Ayisha was born in Georgetown, Guyana, and raised in the boroughs of New York City. She first discovered Providence through Brown University, where she attended for undergrad and learned about the important elements of her faith (service, community, prayer) that would later lead her into missions after college. Although first underwhelmed by the city, she was quickly captivated by the strong sense of network and community, and developed a heart for service and the city that culminated perfectly in the CityLove initiative.
Favorite book: Tie between In the Country of Men by Hisham Matar and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
Favorite childhood activities: Eating Shish Kebabs at Brooklyn Street Fairs with my mom
Favorite Bible passage: “Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls" - 1 Peter 1:8-9
Christina grew up in Southeastern Massachusetts. Before joining the CityLove team, she studied Industrial Design at the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence. Christina felt a pull to the city of Providence since beginning spending time in the city from age 12. This, alongside the call from God to missions that she received during college while attending Intervarsity Christian Fellowship’s Urbana, is what brought her to CityLove in 2018.
Favorite book: The graphic novel Here by Richard McGuire
Guilty pleasure: 2000s pop-punk
Favorite Bible passage: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” - Matthew 11:28-30
Jack grew up in North Kingstown, Rhode Island, and stuck around until going to the University of Maryland to study History and Education, with hopes of one day becoming a high school History teacher. It was at the University of Maryland that he met his fiancé Lianna, who introduced him to Christ, and as a result, his career path got shaken up. He now feels called to do educational community development work, and CityLove presented him with the perfect opportunity to start on that path after college.
In 15 years I’ll be: Living an adventurous life with my super cool wife Lianna. We’ll probably still be working at the same nonprofit and/or mission (like we are right now) and have kids and a life filled with purpose (and a small farm, if Lianna lets me get away with it).
Favorite childhood activities: Jumping on the trampoline, reading Calvin & Hobbes, eating sweets, and being outside
Favorite musical artists: Dave Matthews Band, Jain, The Dirty Heads, Lecrae, Kings Kaleidoscope, Jack Johnson
Lianna grew up as a Navy brat until middle school when her family settled in Maryland, right outside of D.C. Knowing from a young age that she wanted to pursue missions and community service work, she studied International Development and Spanish at the University of Maryland. CityLove then presented the perfect match for her heart of service when hearing about it from her fiancé Jack.
Favorite book: The Last Dragon by Silvana de Mari. It’s YA fantasy, but an awesome story about courage, self-sacrifice, and normal people fighting for good in a corrupt society.
Favorite musical artists: Needtobreathe, Rend Collective, Kings Kaleidoscope, Jain, Lauren
A few of my favorite things: Avocados, coffee, fresh flowers, sushi, pine scented candles, cozy sweaters, and Disney movies
Scott Axtmann Pastor and Blog Contributor
Scott grew up in Western Massachusetts in a small town called Wilbraham. Although having a childhood filled with innocent adventure, art, blanket forts, and giant sandboxes, his childhood creativity and innocence was lost as a teen as he threw himself into a destructive lifestyle. At 21 he experienced the transforming love of Christ and has never been the same since. He is now the founder and Senior Pastor of Renaissance Church, which began in 2003 at the Columbus Theatre, and lives in Warwick, RI with his beautiful wife and two amazing daughters. He started the CityLove initiative in 2018 out of a desire to display God’s love in creative, tangible ways to people in the city who have never experienced it.
In 15 years I will be: At retirement age (65) but have absolutely no intention of retiring. I love what I do and intend on doing it as long as I have breath in my lungs.
Favorite thing to do: Climb into a bubble of solitude to write prayers
What most don't know about me: I almost died at age 19 in a car chase going 90 miles an hour as someone was trying to kill me.
Matthew Talamini Blog Contributor
Matt was born and raised in what he describes to be the ‘underwater labyrinth’ just south of Providence (Baltimore, Maryland). He made it out and into Providence through his enrollment and completion of the Brown University MFA Literary Arts program. Matt is drawn to writing for the CityLove blog because he appreciates churches that are deliberate about creatively serving their cities; as language creates reality, he sees writing as the ultimate art to do so. Check out more of his fiction writing on his website matthewtalamini.com.
Top 5 authors: Douglas Adams, Philip K Dick, Mark Danielewski, Gabriel Garcia Marquez & Vladimir Nabokov.
Role model: Soren Kierkegaard
Favorite book of the Bible: Ecclesiastes
Ashley Wall CityLove Baker and Blog Contributor
Ashley is a teacher, enthusiastic traveler, storyteller and real food advocate. Mostly baker of chocolate chip cookies. She grew up in a small New England town near Cape Cod, Massachusetts and holds two degrees from American University in Washington, D.C. After finishing her Masters in Education, Ashley moved abroad to teach in Cairo, Egypt. The Egyptian revolution eventually washed her ashore to the Ocean State; she wasn’t planning on staying in Rhode Island for more than a year, but managed to fall in love with the littlest state in the nation.
In 15 minutes I will be: Baking cookies
In 15 years I will be: Probably still baking cookies
Role models: Christina Tosi (Baker), Jamie Oliver (Food revolutionary), Scott Axtmann (Shepherd and visionary), Kelley Wall (Cousin and Writer), Abigail Adams, (First Lady and feminist)