The History of City Gate Mission

Jack Crans tells the story of how City Gate Mission was started in Coatesville, Pennsylvania:

City Gate Coatesville, PAI commenced as Chaplain of the Chester County Prison in 1973… the burdens of the prisoners even then overwhelming to my heart…

I grew up in Coatesville since age 9… right in the city and knew it all very well! It prepared and broke my heart for what I’d end up doing all these years… a lot of the men in prison were my class mates from high school… many outstanding athletes, but, broken men who needed a Savior. I saw the absence of the church in the midst of all the men and their families… Coatesville had no ministry to the least and lost in those days that I knew of… no Salvation Army, none of the present myriad of 501(c)(3) organizations that have appeared since those day… By 1980, I knew that we needed to answer the cry of men who said (as did David) “No man cares for my soul when I go home from prison.” The doors of the churches are locked most of 6 days of the week…so, in August of 1980, I had a great burden to birth such a ministry that would address the returning prisoner and be a ‘tangible evidence of Christ’s love in Coatesville’s high crime area… and, based on the words of Proverbs 1:20…‘Wisdom cries in the gate of the city… she utters her voice in the concourse of people…how long will you fools hate knowledge, turn at my reproofs… etc. It was from this scripture that the name, ‘City Gate’, was birthed…

God led us to a store-front that we rented off of a beer distributor, Abdala’s Beverage Co at $300.00/month… Sue and I would often house men at our home during my time at Hephzibah Baptist church and when we moved into Coatesville with our 3 sons in 1985 where we birthed County Corrections Gospel Mission that is now our umbrella ministry…

I founded City Gate Mission with an independent board of directors… and remain a board member to this day… In 1988 God had redeemed an executive of the DuPont Corporation… who operated a chemical lab on 7th Avenue, Coatesville. Through the long testimony of City Gate to his life, he convinced DuPont to give us the 17 North 7th Avenue facility for $1.00… so, City Gate Mission moved around the corner from 715 East Lincoln Highway where it now hosts 24 men per night in dorms… and feeds 75+ daily… with the Gospel of Christ and the Word of God crying in the streets… in the city’s gate… almost 24/7… I know of no place like it in Chester County wherein the Gospel is preached daily since the summer of 1980… I could mention much more… but suffice it to be said that God has been very good and has obviously been the very ONE who birthed the work and who has kept it to this day…

I know of no one more FAITHFUL than Jim Davis, its Director… who when we first started City Gate was still using ‘meth’. His brother, Michael, was our first Director… Mike eventually joined the Pacific Garden Mission in Chicago and later moved to Los Angeles to direct another mission there…

As in everything we’ve set our hearts to… God blessed City Gate! His unfailing Word has been the origin of all we do… and I insist that if you can’t trace what we do to the Sacred Text, then please let me know because I want to spend my brief days living out the wonderful joy of evidencing all that His mercy has done in my own life.

PS City Gate Mission now has a music ministry team called Shadows and Dust. Read more about this exciting development and even watch a view recordings here.

You may also view or download a brochure with more information about City Gate Mission.

Jack Crans