Bluegrass District Conference

September 20 - 22, 2023
Charlotte, North Carolina
Holiday Inn Charlotte - Center City


Citygate Network's Bluegrass District is excited to gather in the bustling southern jewel of Charlotte, North Carolina, September 20 - 22. Gather up a van full of participants to get away for a time of relationship building, spiritual renewal and encouragement. Designed to enrich and connect mission and ministry staff from throughout the district, we will hear from experts on pressing topics and engage together in mutual learning and fellowship.

Love Your Neighbor as Yourself

Matthew 22:37 - 39

Registration Now Closed for This Event

Keynote Speakers

Kenneth Dunlap  

Kenneth E. Dunlap, Sr.
Chaplain Kenneth E. Dunlap, Sr. currently serves as the Follow-up/Discipleship and Seminar Training manager with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association’s Rapid Response Team (RRT). He oversees the training of local churches throughout the country and internationally that have been impacted by both man-made and natural disasters. He has served in Christian ministry for over forty years as Senior Pastor, Chaplain, and as a Motivational Speaker. He also served his country on active duty in the United States Marine Corps for twenty-two years. Chaplain Dunlap earned his undergraduate and Master of Christian Ministry through coursework at UNCC and More Than Conquerors College (MTCC). He resides in Charlotte, North Carolina with his wife, Genola. They have two adult children-- Kenneth. Jr., Kristen and Rufus Johnson “Son-in-Law’ and a Grandson Nicholas.

Tomy Marciano  

Rev. Anthony "Tony" Marciano II
Tony is the President/CEO of the Charlotte Rescue Mission in Charlotte, North Carolina. His career spans diverse sectors, staring out as a pastor in New Jersey and establishing the city's first homeless shelter. After a foray into the for-profit sector, he returned to nonprofit work as the Executive Director of Central Union Mission in Washington, DC. Tony pioneered the country's first family and parenting conference for homeless individuals before joining the Charlotte Rescue Mission. He holds a bachelor's degree in sociology, certifications in teaching and nonprofit management, and is a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE). Married to his wife, Dorothy, for over 40 years, they have three adult children.

Victor Nicholson  

Victor Nicholson
Victor possesses a rare combination of spiritual gifts, community development expertise, and operations management skills. As a licensed minister, he is highly regarded for his captivating speaking abilities and his passion for reading. Currently, Victor serves as the senior vice-president of Christian Mission & Belonging at the YMCA of Greater Charlotte. In this role, he leads strategic initiatives across six vertical business lines, fostering partnerships with congregations and ensuring the active embodiment of the YMCA's Christian mission. Victor holds a bachelor's degree from St. John's University, where he traveled alongside the men's basketball team as the team manager. A strong advocate for leadership development, he recently completed Rutgers University's Emerging Leaders Program and was honored with the National Council of Negro Woman Humanitarian Award for his community service endeavors. Victor resides in Charlotte, alongside his greatest source of joy, his 14-year-old daughter Angelia.


Elevation Worship
A musical expression of Elevation Church, Elevation Worship has been steadily writing, recording, and releasing music since the church was founded more than 15 years ago in Charlotte, N.C. The goal is to see people far from God raise to life in Christ through music.

Lodging: Holiday Inn Charlotte - Center City

Located in the city center of Charlotte, North Carolina, surrounded by local attractions including the Charlotte Convention Center, this hotel features an on-site Italian restaurant, and a 24-hour, fully equipped fitness center with free weights. The hotel offers a free transfer service Monday through Saturday, within a 3-mile radius. The Holiday Inn Charlotte - City Center is also steps from the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

The room rate is $139/night, plus tax. This special rate is available through August 30. Reserve your room online or call the Holiday Inn at 704-335-5400 and ask for the Citygate District Conference rate using the code CIT.

Note: The hotel charges $22/day for self-parking. Day use parking is $12/day.

A tour of Charlotte Rescue Mission (5:00 p.m. on 9/20 at the "Rebound" Men's campus at 907 W. 1st Street) will be included in the event, and you can purchase a ticket ($32) to the nearby NASCAR Hall of Fame (as group on morning of 9/22 at 10:00 a.m.).

The $70 conference registration fee includes programming and three meals.


Love your Neighbor as you Love Yourself
“Keeping your cup full in crisis ministry”
September 20 - 22, 2023

Wednesday, September 20


5:00 p.m.


Tour of Charlotte Rescue Mission (optional)

6:00 p.m.


Explore Charlotte for dinner (on your own)

Thursday, September 21


8:00 a.m.


Breakfast (Discovery Room)

9:00 a.m.


Worship and Speaker (Ryan Duerk to give opening & prayer)
Elevation Worship Uptown campus

9:40 a.m.

9:50 a.m.


Citygate Network Welcome - Alice Gifford

Session One - “Maintaining Your Spiritual Identity and Wellness”
Kenneth E. Dunlap, Sr., Billy Graham Evangelical Association/ Rapid Response Team

10:40 a.m.



10:50 a.m.


Breakout Discussion - “Spiritual Wellness in Ministry”

  • Leadership Brandan Thomas - Citygate Network
  • Front Line Staff Tim Brown - VP of Adult Ministries / Miracle Hill Ministries
  • Development -  Jacob Edmiston - CDO / Miracle Hill Ministries


12:00 p.m.


Lunch (provided at the Hotel)

1:30 p.m.


Session Two - “Embracing Your Own Testimony”
Victor Nicholson, YMCA Greater Charlotte, CRM Board

2:25 p.m.



2:30 p.m.


Breakout Discussion - ““Being Salt & Light””

  • Leadership Ryan Duerk - CEO / Miracle Hill Ministries
  • Front Line Staff - Susan Crawford - Community Relations / Charlotte Rescue Mission
  • Development - Donnie Shell Jr. - Engagement Director / Charlotte Rescue Mission


4:00 p.m.



4:15 p.m.


Session Three - “Shaking the Dust Off”
Rev. Tony Marciano ll, CEO/Charlotte Rescue Mission


5:15 p.m.


Free Time

6:00 p.m.


Dinner (Hotel) *Roof-top weather permitting*

7:30 p.m.



Friday, September 22


8:00 a.m.


Breakfast (On your own)

10:00 a.m.


Nascar Hall of Fame (Meet there, may leave car in hotel garage)

12:00 p.m.


End of Conference



Citygate Network business members can choose between three levels of sponsorship available at the conference. Click on the appropriate sponsorship at the bottom of this page to register. Please note that sponsors must be in membership with Citygate Network, and a sponsorship or display table purchase is required in order to attend. To participate in the conference sessions and/or meals, you will also need to register as an attendee. If you have additional questions, please email Sam Edwards.

$700–Primary Sponsor  SOLD

  • Address attendees during one of the general sessions
  • Handouts during the speaking opportunity
  • Display table during conference

$400–Break Sponsor  SOLD

  • Handout during break
  • Display table during conference

$250–Table Sponsor  SOLD

  • Display table during conference

Cancellation Policy

If you need to cancel your registration, you may do so with no penalty up to two weeks before the event. Cancellations requested less than two weeks before the event will result in a 30 percent cancellation fee.

Online registration is not available at this time.