First Reformed CornerstoneFounded in 1916 in uptown Charlotte as First Reformed Church, Holy Covenant is a member of the United Church of Christ (UCC) — one of the United States’ traditional Protestant denominations born of the merger of four historic American communities of faith. In fact, we trace our heritage in the US as far back as the Pilgrims who landed at Plymouth Rock. These Congregationalists, and the many people who followed them, sought the liberty to believe and worship God as their conscience dictated. Several hundred years later, the UCC continues to believe that God is still speaking to God’s people — and we continue to build on our tradition of being The First to celebrate and honor the gifts of all of God’s people: women, people of color, LGBTQ and more.


Rev. Christopher Czarnecki


Christopher grew up in the St. Louis, Missouri area, earning an AA degree from Jefferson Community College, and a BS and MBA in Business Administration from Missouri Baptist University. Before entering ministry, he worked in the financial industry at PNC Bank for 18 years.

Christopher received his call to ministry while attending a Unity Church in St. Louis, Missouri. The Unity Church, which was founded by Charles and Myrtle Fillmore, nurtured his spirituality and fostered a deep love within him for the life, teachings, and ministry of Jesus. After completing his MBA from Missouri Baptist University, Christopher moved to Lee’s Summit, Missouri in 2013 where he began attending seminary at Unity Institute & Seminary.

In 2014, Christopher made his way to the United Church of Christ and transferred to Eden Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri. While back in St. Louis, Christopher and Akeera found a new place to call home at Christ Church UCC in Maplewood, Missouri. They often credit Christ Church UCC as the place where they learned how to be a family together. Christ Church UCC supported their family, and Christopher, as he made his way through seminary.

At Eden Theological Seminary, Christopher completed field education work as a volunteer chaplain at Bethesda Hospice care, and as a student pastor at First Congregational Church of Webster Groves and the historic St. John’s Evangelical Church of Mehlville. Christopher also completed a unit of Clinical Pastoral Education at Barnes Jewish Hospital, where he served units comprised of short stay surgery and medical oncology patients. In 2018, Christopher was given the Grauer Award at Eden Theological Seminary, an award given to a student who has great promise for congregational ministry related to faithfulness in preaching and pastoral care.

Christopher graduated with his Masters of Divinity from Eden Theological Seminary degree in 2018, and was ordained shortly thereafter on January 27, 2019, at Christ Church UCC, when he was called to be the Settled Pastor of First United Protestant Church in Hilo, Hawaii. Christopher and his family moved to Hilo late February, 2019, where he began official duties as the newly settled pastor in March of that year.

At First United Protestant Church, Christopher focused on revitalization. He helped the church formulate a new mission and vision statement, rebuilt the church’s ecumenical partnership with the Kosraean Church, started a food pantry ministry at the church, began an annual devotional kit ministry during Lent, provided chapel services for their adjoined preschool, and led the church through a global pandemic. Christopher was very active in the community’s local Interfaith group, whose primary focuses were on ending family homelessness and fear of what we often label as “the other”. He also served on the Hawaii Conference’s Formational Mission Team and the Hawaii Island Association’s Committee on Ministry.

In April of 2023, Christopher was called to be the new Settled Pastor of Holy Covenant UCC in Charlotte, North Carolina. Many of Christopher’s passions in ministry include study of the historical Jesus, spiritual enrichment and Christian education, liberation theology, racial justice, LGBTQ+ justice, environmental justice, interfaith work, and making the church a worship space that welcomes the diversity of all God’s people. His goal is to help people to deepen their relationship with God and discover their Christ potential, so they can live out their faith each day by making a positive difference in their communities and our world.

Rev. Christopher Czarnecki is married to his beloved wife, Akeera Czarnecki, and together they are raising three children, Daveyion, Shanel, and Carter.


Mr. Jon Weddell

Minister of Music


Dawn SimmonsMs. Dawn Simmons

Executive Assistant

The support staff and “keeper of all things necessary, unnecessary, and questionable”, Dawn has served Holy Covenant since 2009. Dawn earned a BSB in Finance from University of Phoenix, and is multi-talented in organizing church financial resources, coordinating vendors and schedules, creating outgoing communications on various media, and overall managing church administrative activities. She’s helpful with dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s as a final step in many church projects and processes. To members, she is willing to “be the bridge” to keep people connected and to get them where they need to go. Dawn is often the first point of contact for people who are new to the church, and is an advocate and champion of both the UCC and Holy Covenant’s mission for equality and inclusion.

Dawn has a soft spot in her heart for animals of all kind, loves to garden and has taken an interest in supporting pollinators of various types. She’s committed to recycling and repurposing everything she can, and connects people and things with those in need within our community. Her husband Jimmy and son Kyle will vouch for that!





The Rev. Cheri Dennis
Interim Pastor

Ms. Dawn Simmons
Executive Assistant

— MAIL —
PO BOX 481285
Charlotte NC 28269