Who We Are

"If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together."

-Lilla Watson



We’re a spiritual community not a religious business.

We’re an Anti-excellence/Pro-participation church. Rather than a few professionals putting on a spectacular presentation for people to consume, we hope to create a safe place for everyone to engage.


Well-crafted sermons, music performances, and ministry programs have their place. But healthy relationships are about compassion and trust, which isn’t something you perform.

We see faith as a practice not as a theory to be certain about.

Don’t worry if you’re uncertain of what you believe. We're uncertain, too! We simply trust ancient rituals that people have found meaningful for thousands of years.


We gather, share food and drink, share our stories, explore the scriptures of all religions, meditate, pray, and create art. The culmination of our faith, though, is when we leave the building and show compassion and love to those around us.

We’re about spiritual growth not behavior modification.

Modifying your behavior because it’s the “right thing to do” is often a short-term, surface-level change based on fear. When you change how you live because of fear, it’s about fitting in; it’s about doing something or not doing something in order to appease or earn favor from God or people.


Spiritual growth is different. It’s a long-term change based on love. It’s about committing to live a certain way because you trust it really is the best way.

We’re missional not attractional.

Some churches attract people with effective marketing, efficient ministry programs, or fancy buildings. In other words, they’re about people coming to them. We posture ourselves differently: we’re about going to people.


Rather than marketing, we give ourselves to showing compassion and promoting social justice in our community. 

Our Leadership


Brandon Carleton

Lead Pastor


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Jason Holtgrewe

Advisor & Counselor



Our Mission

My ultimate mission is to create a safe space for all people to explore their spirituality.


While I grew up Christian, I recognize that will not be the case for everyone. Much of what we do will have a Christian feel to it, because that is my personal background, but I do not believe that Christianity is the only way to God. We read religious texts at our gatherings from many faiths. For example we will read a Sufi poem or read a Buddhist parable.


We also work very hard to make our gathering as inclusive as possible. My goal is for everyone--Christians, agnostics, atheists, whomever--to feel the healing and safety that comes with belonging unconditionally to a community.

I think it is important to regularly take time, in community, to examine our relationships, our purpose on this planet, our motives, and our understanding of God. (If there is one.) I believe that vulnerability, authenticity, and compassion have life-changing powers. 

-Brandon, Pastor at Connection Quad Cities​

What about Jesus?​

While we might talk about Jesus some at our gatherings, there is no pressure to believe in Jesus to belong in our community.

Literal or figurative, the stories of Jesus have comforted and guided people for centuries. We gather around many of Jesus' core principles: unconditional love, compassion, justice, and hope.

That being said, there are thousands of denominations and biblical scholars that disagree about who Jesus was and what his life meant. During our gatherings, we will never position ourselves as having the one true understanding of who Jesus was. We are less concerned about whether or not Jesus literally died and resurrected, and more concerned about how his story might help us understand how we interact with the world around us.