A new addition to Silver Bay YMCA’s historic inn that will include year-round dining, lodging and conference facilities will begin rising along the shores of Lake George later this year, chief executive officer Steve Tamm has announced.
According to Tamm, construction of the two-story, 42,000 sq. ft. building, which is expected to start in September, will be funded in part through a $4 million gift from Virginia (Rowan) and Manning Smith, long-time supporters of Silver Bay YMCA.
The building is to be named in honor of Virginia Rowan Smith’s great-grandfather, William Boyd, an early leader of Silver Bay and the YMCA.
The first significant addition to the inn at Silver Bay since the 1920s, the William Boyd Center will “bring Silver Bay’s campus into the 21st century,” said Tamm.
"The William Boyd Center will be a real game-changer for Silver Bay,” Tamm continued. “Historically, Silver Bay has been primarily focused on its summer programs. This can no longer be the case. Our customer demands, coupled with rising costs and other challenges, require us to look beyond the 10 weeks of summer. We can now look forward to hosting large conference groups throughout the year."
The Smiths’ $4 million gift is one of the largest in the conference center’s 114 year history, said Mike D’Attilio, chairman of Silver Bay’s Board of Trustees.
“We are extremely grateful to the Smiths for their dedication to Silver Bay and their commitment to this project,” said Mike D ’Attilio. “We know their generous gift will serve as an example and an inspiration to the entire Silver Bay community.”
According to Tamm, “The entire project is expected to cost $13 million. The William Boyd Center will become the heart of Silver Bay's 700 acre campus.
In addition to a dining room, kitchen and 22 guest rooms with private baths, the William Boyd Center will include flexible conference and meeting space.
“Although air-conditioned, heated and wired for the latest audio-visual technology, the building’s architecture will complement the landmarked campus and its natural, Adirondack setting,” said Tamm.
Phinney Design Group, a Saratoga Springs-based architect, is the designer of the William Boyd Center.
“The project, which includes demolition of the existing dining hall, will provide new jobs for many contractors, sub-contractors and workers. Moreover, with more year-round business, Silver Bay will be able to create new full-time jobs for local residents,” said Tamm.
Tamm noted that the William Boyd Center is the centerpiece of a master plan guiding the re-development of Silver Bay’s campus.
That plan includes a new wastewater treatment system and an advanced storm water management system to protect Lake George’s water quality.
According to Tamm, naming the new building in honor of William Boyd was an eminently sensible decision.
“William Boyd led from the front. He challenged his fellow trustees to be generous financially and to make hard decisions about the future course of Silver Bay,” said Tamm.
Boyd served on Silver Bay’s Board of Trustees from 1917 through 1926, helping to steer the relatively new conference center through a difficult era.
His career with the YMCA included service as the Secretary of the Kansas City YMCA as well as a mission to China, where he and his wife helped finance the construction of a women's gymnasium at the first college for women in China.
He was also the first of five generations of his family to serve Silver Bay, a family that included his daughters, Margaret Rowan, Miriam Parlin and Isabel Proudfit, along with their children, their grandchildren, their great- and great, great grandchildren.
In regard to the gift, great granddaughter, Virginia Rowan Smith has stated, “Manning and I are pleased to be able to provide a lead gift for this important Center, naming it for William Boyd, a trustee who had so much to do with keeping Silver Bay afloat in the 1920’s. And to think it all started over a hundred years ago, when he introduced his young daughters to Silver Bay in the summer of 1910.”
With the completion of the William Boyd Center, Silver Bay will be in a stronger position to fulfill its mission that of renewing, refreshing and nurturing the mind, body and spirit, said Tamm.
“In an increasingly busy and troubled world, Silver Bay strives to be a place where individuals, families and conference groups of diverse backgrounds can come to relax, renew and refresh in a safe and wholesome environment,” Tamm said.
“While Silver Bay’s influence continues to grow globally and nationally as a result of the many conferences and gatherings it hosts, the center also has a strong local impact. Whether it be with our teen center in Ticonderoga, our free military R&R program, our Youth and Government program, or through our many other outreach programs, the positive impact we have on the local community is significant. As Silver Bay grows, we will seek to strengthen our partnerships with local communities, offering meaningful programs that will enhance the lives of our neighbors,” said Tamm.
Silver Bay YMCA was founded in 1902 and is located in Silver Bay, NY, just minutes south of Hague, NY. Its 700 acre campus along one mile of Lake George shoreline offers a wide breadth of programs for all ages. Silver Bay YMCA presently employs 45 full-time staff members with a seasonal staff of 200. Silver Bay YMCA is consistently ranked one of the top ten family reunion sites in the country and is on the National Register of Historic Places with the U.S. Department of the Interior.
Silver Bay has also won many outstanding awards and has been featured in several national media, including:
Best on Lake George and Best Exceptional Amenities (2016) LakeGeorge.com
Best Resort (2015) Adirondack Life Magazine
Special Distinguished Business Award (2015) Adirondack Business Council
Best Venue for Family Reunions (2014, 2015, 2016) Unique Venues Magazine
New York Times (Travel Section) September 2014
Better Homes and Gardens (May 2014)
Silver Bay YMCA is a leader in Lake George stewardship and was the first on Lake George to be awarded LID (Low Impact Development) certification in 2016 for its newly relocated parking area.
As a mission based charity, Silver Bay YMCA offers outreach programs in addition to its core activities as a premier conference and family retreat center. Those activities include:
Ticonderoga Teen Center
Open Pathways (Access to Silver Bay YMCA for the underprivileged)
Youth and Government Program (covering Queensbury to Ticonderoga)
CR Wood Cancer Center Program (Free respite for local cancer patients)
Military R and R Program (Free getaway for recently deployed veterans and families
Brookside Trinity Ministry (Free respite and sabbatical getaways for clergy)
Vacations Made Possible (Free getaways for local underprivileged families)
The mission of Silver Bay YMCA is to offer all people opportunities to renew, refresh and nurture their spirit, mind and body. Visit online at www.silverbay.org
Delta Lake Bible Conference Center: Fun And Fellowship For Everyone!
By Pat Shea
One of God’s most peaceful treasures is nestled on 39 acres, just north of Rome, NY, on the shores of Lake Delta. The Delta Lake Bible Conference Center offers a restful and faith-filled destination for families, religious groups and individuals wanting to experience “…the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” The center offers a year-round facility to worship God and enjoy fellowship at retreats, conferences, and camps. Events can be coordinated by the ministry, or outside groups can organize and execute their own event utilizing the center’s wide range of facilities and enjoy activities including team or individual sports, to fishing, boating, water skiing, swimming or even snow tubing during the winter.
A History Of Growth
The concept of the Delta Lake Bible Conference Center began in 1890, with the first State Convention of the Christian and Missionary Alliance of New York at Round Lake in Saratoga County. Attendees from throughout New York, New Jersey, and New England gathered at the event to share in the worship of God and to enjoy fellowship together. Throughout the years, the annual Christian and Missionary Alliance of New York convention were held in various locations, including areas throughout Central New York. In 1923, a committee was formed to consider purchasing property within New York for a permanent site to host the convention. The property on Delta Lake was purchased, a Board of Directors was appointed, and the first convention was held on the property in 1924.
As the ministry continued to grow, dormitories, a tabernacle, cottages and a variety of facilities were added to the property. By the 1990’s, the ministry began operating the Delta Center, to offer a year-round location for groups to come together in fellowship and worship. In 2002, an additional 13 acres was purchased, and new additions were added, including Faith Chapel, which is used for ministry-centered events. Today, the Delta Center has an active staff, led by Executive Director, Steve Clark, and also relies heavily on help from volunteers that assist the staff in everything from running activities to landscaping and supporting the ministry in a variety of ways throughout the year.
A Place For
With its attractive location, beautiful landscape and a variety of activities, the Delta Lake Bible Conference Center is the perfect choice for many families that are searching for a faith-inspired summer camp experience for their children or retreat experience that offers worship and fellowship for themselves. The center hosts a range of camps throughout the year, including a Family Camp, a Snow Camp for Youth, and a “Senior Saint Retreat’ for those over the age of 50. For the past 40 years, the center has also been hosting Haven Summer Camp and Haven Camp weekends for those with developmental disabilities. Campers that don’t require a wheelchair for mobility, since the majority of the camp’s landscape is not wheelchair-friendly, can enjoy a safe and fun experience with a host of activities. Families interested in Haven Camp should contact the camp directly for 2017 camp dates and times.
A great appeal of the Delta Lake Bible Conference Center is the ability for the facility to accommodate groups of all sizes at a variety of events. The dining facility can accommodate up to 225 and offers buffet meals, but individuals and groups can bring their own food or purchase a meal plan from the center. The center also hosts a café that serves snacks and is open throughout the day and following the evening worship service.
There are multiple meeting rooms with AV capability, a chapel, an auditorium, a gym/fieldhouse for volleyball and basketball, a lakefront swimming area with a raft and slide, a boating area for kayaks and canoes, fields for baseball and soccer, a children’s playground area, a climbing wall and areas for picnics, bonfires and outdoor events.
When it comes to accommodations, Delta offers a main lodge that has 22 rooms that can house up to 88 people; a mini lodge that hosts 12 rooms that can accommodate up to 34 people, dormitory housing, cabins that are available from late spring to early fall that can accommodate eight people, as well as sites suitable for tent camping or RVs. There are also cottages on the property that are owned by Delta Lake utilized to house guests and speakers for the ministry.
Of Fellowship And Fun!
The Delta Lake Bible Conference Center popular Summer Camp program for 2017 will kick off in July with Elementary Camp for grades 3-5 which will run July 23-29; Junior High Camp for grades 6-8 which will run July 16-July 22; and Senior High Camp which will runs July 9-15.
These week-long summer camps offer worship and fellowship for students as well as host a wide variety of fun activities. The cost of the camp is $390 for the week, but the center offers a variety of discounts including an early-bird registration discount for those who register by May 1, multiple child discounts for children from the same family, and a referral discount for campers that encourage the registration of a new camper.
Whether it’s a family searching for a faith-inspired summer camp, or just a group of friends gathering to celebrate the love of the Lord, faith, fun, and fellowship is available year-round at Delta Lake Bible Conference Center.
Camp Li-Lo-Li Brings
On A New Executive Director
Continues its Mission to Reflect the Life, Love, and Light of God
By Rick Kern
If you happen to wander onto the grounds of Camp Li-Lo-Li you’re likely to feel the sort of awe-inspiring wonder that can make you think that you’ve gone to Heaven a little ahead of schedule. Located in rural Randolph, New York, the campgrounds are tucked away in a nearly 500 acre swathe of wilderness that is nestled in rustic Sunfish Run Valley. Eclipsing their breathtaking panoramic beauty, however, is the beauty of Jesus that those serving at Camp Li-Lo-Li bring to the countless young lives they have been ministering to since 1953.
It was then that God planted the dream of a camp where young people could be taught the Word of God and hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the hearts of a handful of men. Their faith in God’s faithfulness made that dream a reality that has flourished beyond anything they originally thought possible. Li-Lo-Li stands for the “Life, Love, and Light” of Jesus Christ and it has truly lived up to its name by presenting that Light, Love, and Life to countless generations of kids.
A coed camp, Li-Lo-Li is built for fun and virtually flooded with fantastic things to do — you can pretty much plan on hordes of happily worn out kids falling asleep the minute their heads hit the pillow. Their facilities and activities are first rate and include things like ropes, a climbing tower, and a massive two-stop zip line. They also offer horseback riding, hiking trails, archery, and marksmanship with rifles. The camp has a pool for swimming, a lake for canoeing and fishing, and a number of other exciting activities. However, the axis it all turns on is a commitment to impact lives for Jesus Christ.
The solace of a serene, secluded rural setting provides much needed relief from the high-charged pressurized atmospheres kids of all ages are forced to grow up in today. It is a cell phone free zone as children trade video games, Facebook, and the Web for sleeping beneath the stars, going fishing, and filling their faces with s’mores around the campfire. And while they are certain to broaden their horizons, they are even more certain to grow closer to the Lord.
In its 64 years Camp Li-Lo-Li has invested its heart and soul in fulfilling its mission to “…present the gospel of Jesus Christ and the teachings of God’s Word to children, youth, and families in a rural camp setting.” They offer several innovative programs including: a Family Week, a number of Pre-Teen Weeks, Teen Weeks, a Counselor in Training Session (CIT), a Family Weekend, an Adventure Trip, and more. And all while creating a supportive environment where campers can ask questions, build friendships, and increase their knowledge of the Word of God.
And the guy that’s leading the charge now is Camp Li-Lo-Li’s new Executive Director, Jonathan Benson. Married some 22 years with four kids, Jon was actually saved at a camp at age 14 and met his wife at Li-Lo-Li many years ago while working there. He is an elder at one of the ten churches that support Camp Li-Lo-Li and a CPA by profession.
Jon’s church has been involved with the camp as long as he can remember leading him to get involved with its work for years. Eventually, he ramped up his involvement and around 2007, began serving in many more ways including assuming some leadership responsibilities. As a sort of institution at Camp Li-Lo-Li, when the opening for the top job became available, he was the natural choice. “I had been there many years,” explains Benson, “so when they started looking for an executive director it seemed to us, and others, that the Lord might be leading us in this way and the rest as they say is history.”
Jon has a passion for God and a passion to share God’s love and Word with others — he loves investing in people. “Camp Li-Lo-Li works basically on a volunteer basis,” he notes, “so during the summer months, everyone who comes to camp to serve, to work is volunteer staff.” Continuing he says, “When people come in, not just the campers but also the staff, you have opportunities to minister to one another. Some of that’s just going to come in a casual conversation, and some of it is going to come in the specific teaching times — in the chapel sessions, and some of that is going to be in more direct conversation. What I love most about serving in this role at camp is the opportunity to invest in people.”
His vision as the camp’s leader is to not mess with success and simply to continue its mission. “Our mission is to see lives transformed through Jesus Christ by presenting the Gospel and teaching God’s Word,” he reflects. “The Lord has made us to be disciples so that we will make disciples. We want to see the next generation of believers living to bring Him glory.”
That being the focus, Benson likens the work at camp to being sent into all the world because so many different people are drawn to Camp Li-Lo-Li. “Our mission to me is the same as the Great Commission — our goal is to make disciples,” he explains, “I’d say that is the continued vision.” He goes on, “We want to be part of what the Lord is doing through the ministry at camp and how it affects the communities, since many communities are being affected by the ministry just because it is relatively far reaching — at least in terms of where we pull campers from.”
The reviews bear out Li-Lo-Li’s impact. For example, a Facebook post from a camper said that in Li-Lo-Li she found, “Genuine love for Jesus in all the staff and volunteers at this sweet traditional camp. Life love light is an appropriate name and is evident in all that takes place on the beautiful grounds. We feel fortunate to have found it and become a part of the family there. Been going for about five years and God willing our family will continue on through generations.”
Still, for Jonathan Benson, keeping the ship upright and water-tight as it sails down the river of God’s will is not without its challenges. “I’ve got to deal with some challenging issues,” he explains, “Our camp sessions in the summer are entirely a volunteer staff. Thus to get the right number and quality of staff can be difficult. We are earnest in prayer for the appropriate quality and number of staff.”
But it doesn’t end there, the moral and spiritual trajectory of the culture shaping the hearts and minds of our kids can be a formidable challenge as well. “Dealing with the current culture today and the potential impact on the ability to operate camp in a way that maintains God’s holiness and properly presents the Gospel can be daunting,” Benson observes.
Finally, balancing camper activity is no easy achievement. He goes on, “Also we want to have an environment that will draw campers to come but at the same time foster an environment that focuses on spiritual activities more than the fun activities. We want both with the proper balance.”
It is the “plugged-in” generation as kids are raised on the Internet, PlayStation games, cell phones, tablets, and on it goes. Even many classrooms have traded in the chalkboard in favor of computer projection — tomorrow is here today. Sadly, the intrepid curiosity, youthful wanderlust, and sheer wonder at the world is among the principal casualties to befall this generation. Still, the spiritual vacuum sweeping through their ranks has created a deep abiding hunger that is moving this age group toward God and Camp Li-Lo-Li is doing all they can to help kids unplug, and sow seeds of life, love, and light in their souls.
“It seems to me with the young people today that there is much more interest in spiritual things,” Benson observes. “So even though they get bombarded by all of these cultural things, all of these distractions, when they’re home or on their iPods, or whatever — there seems to be a lot of sensitivity to spiritual things and a lot of openness to it.” He continues, “It doesn’t always mean decisions and fervency in terms of a walk with Christ, but you do see a softness and tenderness to it and you just pray that this is part of their journey to a deeper faith and walk with Christ.”
For more information about Camp Li-Lo-Li, visit their internet site at www.liloli.org or call them at (716) 945-4900.
Filling Hearts And Minds In An Empty World
Preparing Men and Women to Live Out God’s Love to the Ends of the Earth
By Rick Kern
The best reason to start a race powerfully is so you can finish strong — the object is to cross the finish line as a winner. Nyack College, with campuses in Manhattan and Rockland County, New York, started ablaze with the love of God one hundred and thirty-five years ago, and has only gained momentum, pressing deeper into His heart with each passing year.
Nyack was established by Pastor A.B. Simpson in 1882. Simpson, a deeply loving and impassioned believer, shepherded a large and affluent church in Manhattan. At a certain point, he began to share God’s broken heart for the least, the lost, and the last, and began to urge his parishioners to reach out to the demoralized and needy immigrants who were pouring into the city. He even went so far as to bring the underprivileged, pitiable, and the broken into his church himself, drawing the displeasure of many in the fellowship who were less than pleased.
The heat he felt from his actions stoked the fires of a sermon that threw its own flames from the pulpit. He left the church and began to run a godly race in which his burning desire to serve all people could be realized. Simpson started a school in which people would be trained to take the good news of God’s love wherever and to whomever it was needed. The net effect of his passion and vision is today referred to as Nyack College.
Nyack College has bourgeoned to become an academic lighthouse of over 2,500 students who pursue a wide variety of graduate and undergraduate degrees through multiple venues. And after a century, a burning commitment to bring the good news of God’s love wherever this news needs to be heard continues to guide its trajectory.
A Christian and Missionary Alliance (CMA) educational institution, Nyack was actually founded a few years before the denomination it is affiliated with, and was directly connected to the CMA’s creation. Jeff Quinn, Nyack’s Vice President for College Relations explains, “Our founder realized as he was preparing people to go around the world and share the Gospel, he needed a network of Christians here at home.” Quinn continues, “Really he started a movement of people from a lot of different denominations, a lot of different church groups — he needed a movement of people to support them in a variety of ways.” That movement of people swelled and gelled and eventually found its own identity. “A few years after we were formed,” reflects Quinn, “that’s when the denomination was formed to try and support his effort.”
While the school offers impressive majors in traditional ministry preparation, Nyack’s spiritual depth supports its academic breadth. Thus, course work unrelated to ministry as a profession continues to confront students with the question: How do I bring God’s love to the world? “That’s a question we want all our students asking themselves on an individual level,” observes Quinn. “Jesus pushed people in that direction when He asked who your neighbor is. So that consideration is part of the educational process we think.”
Nyack strives to send thoughtful people who love God into the world to a variety of professions and futures whether from their Bible College, Seminary, or College of Arts and Sciences. “We want one of the things that they consider, to be how they are going to live out God’s love — how will they do that individually?”
Among their chief assets to this end are Nyack’s Core Values, a roster of godly principles that fill the soul of the college and help Nyack fulfill its mission. “We really do base everything we attempt off of these core values,” notes Quinn, they define who we are as well as what we try to do.”
First, Nyack strives to be Academically Excellent. “We believe that for a Christian, being academically excellent is thinking through the Christian world,” Quinn states, “and how to live God’s love in our world.” They also seek to be Globally Engaged. “We want our students connected to the world, to have a global perspective in a very interconnected world,” he says. And they are almost by default as Nyack is filled with students from across the globe. “It’s really a global student body,” Quinn continues, “we have over 60 nations represented by the students that are enrolled here.” Additionally, Nyack is committed to being Intentionally Diverse. “We want to give access and support to students from a variety of different backgrounds,” explains Quinn, “who would come here drawn by the purpose they know they need to live out.” Another value they espouse is to be Personally Transforming. Woven into the fabric of their identity, Quinn says Nyack seeks to intentionally make, “…faith and learning and personal transformation part of what we do.” Finally, Nyack endeavors to be Socially Relevant. “We want our students to serve in educational and community building professions as well as in ministry where we started,” Quinn explains. “That’s God’s purpose, it isn’t just vocation, and it isn’t just in performance— although that’s part of it. We do those things to be able to take God’s love into those places He leads us, which for us, during the course of our history, has been around the world.
While Nyack has grown into a massive academic complex, they have stayed the course, kept their eye on the prize, and continue to simply integrate love and learning. “What’s most important to us is love,” asserts Quinn, “and love has to be acted upon.” Continuing he observes, “That sense of bringing love to people who would not know love and externalizing faith through love, is at the heartbeat of what Nyack College is all about.”
For more information about Nyack College visit their Website at www.nyack.edu.
Faith Baptist Church And
Baldwinsville Christian Academy
Two Davids Serving in Baldwinsville: Both Passionate About Ministry
By Tim Bennett
After working for fifteen years as a mechanical designer and engineer in the Rochester area, David McCarthy knew this was not his passion. Yes, it was a good job that paid well and generously supported his wife, Pam, and their three daughters, but it did not light the same fire that serving at his church did. McCarthy explained, “My love was for Jesus Christ and how He designed his church to be a family. The more I learned about what He wanted for His church, the more I wanted to be a part of it.”
Although McCarthy said he’d heard the gospel as a fourteen-year-old boy, through a somewhat legalistic church that concentrated more on “what not to do” as opposed to “what to do,” he became totally committed to God in his early twenties when he heard a minister teach on how the Bible is relevant to our lives today. “I got excited about the Word of God and how it began to affect people’s lives and the whole church. I wanted to be a part of that. Our pastor would investigate the Bible like Sherlock Holmes and examine every word.”
McCarthy began his ministry by teaching Sunday school to fourth and fifth graders at Grace Baptist in Brockport, and then branching into the teen ministry. “I love working with kids,” McCarthy said. Yet, as time progressed, he sensed a calling that encompassed possibly more than young people. Maybe God was calling him into full-time ministry and the pastorate? With his wife’s encouragement, McCarthy started taking online Bible courses. “I then started praying that God would open the right door, since I knew people don’t usually bring in former engineers to be their pastor,” Pastor McCarthy said.
In 2010, a man who matched pastors with struggling churches suggested McCarthy consider pastoring a church in Pennsylvania. Although his interviewing went well there, both he and his wife felt there had to be something in it for both of them in order for them to move. Pam worked as a certified substitute teacher for the public schools in New York, but in Pennsylvania it was a whole new system, which would make finding a job more difficult.
Two years later, in 2012, McCarthy became aware of an Associate Pastor position opening up at Faith Baptist Church in Baldwinsville, New York, which also had a Christian school. This made a fit perfect for both McCarthy and his wife. They were looking for someone to lead the youth ministry and Pam could work in the school. In retrospect, McCarthy said, “There was a maturing that God needed to do in our hearts during those two years to prepare us for the pastorate.” McCarthy officially became the main pastor of Faith Baptist Church in 2014 when Pastor John Stevenson retired, and it was the same year he received his M.A. in Biblical Studies from Trinity Theological Seminary.
McCarthy has spent the last four and a half years really getting to know his new church family, the associated ministries already in place, and how the school and the church function together. One event that is unique to Faith Baptist Church is their weekly dinner together at the church after the eleven o’clock Sunday service. “For fun I usually choose a theme for the food like “reds and pinks” or “beef bonanzas,” said Pastor McCarthy. I also give a half-hour devotional. Recently, we’ve been going through the life of David. It changes sometimes, though, and we can have a testimony time, or a time of singing. It’s great to hear what God is doing in the lives of the church members.” Some other ministries of the church include a women’s Bible study on Tuesday mornings, a children’s group for grades 2 to 6 on Wednesdays called “Tried and True” and a teen group the same night called “ONELIFE,” a men’s group Thursday morning at 6:15 a.m., a study of Proverbs on Thursday nights, and a work day at the church and school on Saturdays.
The main outreach of the church to the community, however, Pastor McCarthy says, is the school, Baldwinsville Christian Academy, which is governed by a Board of Education consisting of six members from different church backgrounds with Pastor McCarthy as an advisor. David Grey is the principal/administrator of the school. He was asked by the school’s Board to consider the position when it became open two years ago. Grey had become well-known to some of the school board members through his eight years effectively working with youth and family ministries in Fulton, New York.
At first, Grey wondered why they asked him since he did not have the degrees usually required for such a position. The Board, however, assured him of their confidence in him, because of his ministry track record, and Grey is now convinced he is right where God wants him to be. In terms of acquiring degrees, Grey will receive his B.A. in Biblical and Educational Studies this summer from Liberty University and a M.A. in Biblical Education from the same institution within the following year.
Grey sees the advantage of being among young people all day during the week as opposed to just a few meetings as a youth minister. “It was a cool transition to go from having only one hour a week to try to give them something to grab onto for their week to 30 or 40 hours where I could make a genuine impact,” Grey said. He also admitted he had to go through a change of thinking to accept the job since he used to believe that going to public school was like learning how to live in the world without conforming to it. “In wrestling with the concept of Christian education, however,” Grey said, “as a father of four children, I came to the conclusion that it is too much to expect of our children to battle opposing worldviews and values at the most vulnerable time of their lives when they are dealing with so many other things.”
Grey explained that although the school is an outreach of the church they “major on the majors” in terms of Bible instruction and do not venture into controversial subjects, or try to indoctrinate their students from a Baptist point of view. “In fact,” Grey said, “we have 34 different churches represented in our school from 12 different school districts.”
Presently the school has 100 students from Pre-K to 12th grade and is in the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) and is working toward state accreditation. Tuition for next year is projected to be around $4300.00 plus registration fees per student with discounts for families enrolling more than one child. There are also scholarships available through grants and generous area businesses and organizations in the CNY area. “We don’t believe in giving anyone a completely free ride,” Grey said. “Twenty-five to forty percent off is usually the range of help some families receive.” To learn more about Faith Baptist Church in Baldwinsville, NY go to www.FaithBVille.com.
Division Is Building Churches With Affordable Excellence
By Rick Kern
Since 1909, the family owned and operated Barden & Robeson Corporation has been helping people build their dreams out of brick and mortar. And while their four generations of family pride, tradition, and excellence have helped countless families buy new-builds, their Commercial Division has helped a myriad of growing churches grow into newly built houses of worship.
Barden’s Regional Sales Manager for Central New York, Gene Rotunda, has been with the group’s Church Building Division since 1994. “Barden is helping churches to expand their ministry and bring about their vision with excellence,” he says, and he should know, he’s worked in the Church Building Division since just after its 1992 launch.
Initially, it was set up with a small group of independent dealers, which included Gene, a construction man from way back who had his own company. “We had our pricing, estimating, and design as part of the Barden Home program,” he explains. “Our job was to design churches for whatever entity was interested. It didn’t matter if they were Catholic, Baptist, Assemblies of God, or whatever, we would design their buildings.” He continues, “Once we had an approved design, we would price out what the Barden package would be.”
Gene was substantially impressed with Barden, so much so that he moved from being an independent dealer, to actually working for them. “I’ve been with Barden now for over 24 years,” he notes, “it’s a family owned business over 100 years old, and their philosophy has always been, ‘customer service.’” He goes on, “Their name is Barden so they’re very careful to maintain their reputation in the market place.”
While he frequently works with church building committees to create personalized structures that meet their needs, there is, of course, more to erecting a church building than assembling the pieces — there is funding, another area where Barden shines! “We have relationships with several different funding agencies who are aware of the complexity of funding a church,” says Rotunda. “Most often a normal funder would treat the church as a business, and they would depend on P and L statements — that kind of thing, cash flow, which of course doesn’t apply to a church because their income is up and down depending on membership.” Consequently, because of the types of funders Barden works with, it is considerably easier for a church to obtain a loan to build a facility if needed, than from conventional agencies which look at churches as a business.
Barden also makes quality building affordable through their method of construction. They basically craft the components of the church building in a massive plant and transport them to the construction site. Thus, unlike a typical the stick-build, as it’s called, they circumvent the weather and an intensive on-site labor force. All that’s needed is for Gene and his team to assemble the various pre-built sections on site — the heavy lifting is done in the plant. It is a quick and efficient way to put up a building, particularly because it drops the build’s bottom line. “The wages someone in a factory earns putting this together are so much lower,” he notes, “probably half of what you’d pay a carpenter out on a job site to do exactly the same thing.”
Rotunda explains another Barden benefit, “One of the biggest advantages of using Barden to build anything, especially a church because you’re typically looking at ten-thousand square feet, is the speed,” he says. “That’s because Barden builds all the panels and trusses in their plant where it’s warm and dry and controlled. It’s loaded on a truck and brought to the site in pieces and we put it together like a puzzle in a much faster timeframe than if you were stick-building it.”
Additionally, their pricing is exceptional because of the sheer volume of work they do and the people they employ to do it. “Because we do so much work with the various contractors that we use for electrical, plumbing, heating, so on and so forth,” Rotunda explains, “we enjoy a relationship that leads to discounted prices so we become very competitive in our price per square foot compared to conventional construction.”
Unlike most companies, Barden-builds include the whole package if desired. “Barden is really the only company that I know of that supplies everything,” Rotunda reflects. “They start with design with our own architects, and architectural stamps which help with the permitting process. They supply all the materials — it’s a complete package. So that makes us very competitive in the market place.” He also notes, “Again, it’s one stop shopping, you can get everything you need right there to build a new home, or a church — I’ve built dentist’s offices, funeral homes, you can get all of that right in one place, you need not go anywhere else to get any of your materials.”
And should a church have people in its congregation, or are connected to people with the skillsets to do construction work, Barden will also work to whatever degree the church desires. “We can supply the total package and let the church take it from there,” says Rotunda, “or we can supply part of it with management — basically we can be as involved or as uninvolved as the church wants us to be.”
Barden’s Church Building Division has the talent, pricing, customer service, connections, and experience to help any fellowship follow God’s leading to build a facility with excellence and affordability. For more information you can contact Gene Rotunda at (855) 444-2699 or visit the Barden Website at www.bardenhomescny.com.
Mark Spencer’s “Grace Auto Repair” - Fair, Honest, and Owning the Extra Mile
By Rick Kern
There are a few things we all need in today’s world. My top three are a smart, thorough physician; a fierce, brilliant computer geek; and a fair, honest, and capable auto mechanic. That last one is where Mark Spencer and his company, Grace Auto Repair (GAR), make it happen.
A seasoned veteran of the auto repair business, the 58 year-old Spencer has been keeping cars on the road professionally since 1975. He began working for others, enjoyed a brief partnership, then eventually opened his own shop — something Spencer says the Lord made clear to him through, “multiple prophetic words.”
Strengthening what he felt was God’s leading, was the discovery of his business location. A friend overheard a man who owned an auto repair shop that he wanted to sell, lamenting his plight and saying, “If I could find somebody to take this over I’d give him such a deal that his head would spin!” Mark got the news, made the call, and to make a long story short, his head is still spinning as he drives just 2.5 miles to work each day. At this writing he’s been there nearly ten years.
Spencer, married some 20 years, is the father of a 16 year-old son and has been a Christian almost as long as he’s been doing mechanical work. As a young man he dated a girl who was a believer and shared Christ with him. They would go to youth group together and it was intriguing to Mark who came from a Catholic background. “Some of this was new and interesting because they were very excited about going to church,” he explains, “to me it was a chore back in the Catholic days.”
One Friday after school as he was hitchhiking to her house to attend a youth event put on by “Youth Time” together, he was picked up by a van full of what were then called, “Jesus Freaks,” hippies who had given their lives to the Lord. He had been especially excited to attend the “Youth Time” gig as it was said to show a movie that a lot of people gave their lives to Christ through. And since getting saved was at the top of his list of things to do that night, he was a little surprised to discover that he didn’t have to wait for the movie.
The Jesus Freaks asked him if he, “…knew Jesus as his Lord and Savior?” to which he blurted out, “I’m going tonight to get saved!” After asking him a few questions to make sure he understood salvation, they led him in a sinner’s prayer and he passed from death to life in a luminously painted van filled with Christian hippies! When they let him out, he came flying from that van with wings on his feet and ran to tell his girlfriend! He’s been walking with the Lord ever since.
Located in Webster, New York, Grace Auto Repair is a full service auto repair shop that fixes just about anything that can break on a vehicle. They are presently staffed by skilled, experienced mechanics that have at least 20 years’ experience, and all of whom have been with Mark five or more years. They back up their work with an exceptional three year parts and labor warranty. “I want to actually bring more to the table than the local dealerships are giving on repairs,” says Spencer. “They generally give a year on parts and labor; we upped it to two years and then went to three years.”
As a Christian businessman Mark strives to provide excellence and good value. “It’s expensive to maintain a car today,” he observes, “so I want to give people a reason to come to me.”
GAR’s customer service is five star material, but not solely because Mark wants to run a solid, fair, and profitable business. He wants to please his customers because he wants to please God! “When somebody comes in and has their auto repair done by us,” he explains, “they can be assured that if anything goes wrong, they can speak directly to me.” He continues, “and that I have to answer to a higher power so I’m going to be sure that when they walk out the door, that as much as possible, they’re going to be pleased with the outcome.”
And to that end, he owns the extra mile noting, “I’ve gone over and above even with people have been unreasonable as I realize that we’re going to fix their car because we have to represent the Lord in the best way that we can.”
The final portion of Joshua 24:15 is among the more quoted passages of Scripture as Joshua proclaims, “But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” In the case of Grace Auto Repair it is pretty clear that the cry of Mark Spencer’s heart rings just as true as it proclaims, “As for me and my business, we will serve the Lord.
Auto Repair is your complete auto repair and automatic transmission
specialists, located in Webster, NY - just eight miles east of Rochester.
highly trained technicians are committed to you. They take pride in their work.
The Charles Finney School At The Quarter Century Mark
By Susan LeDoux
Paula Guardalben, Finney’s new Director of Admissions, spoke about the coming Gala this April that will celebrate Finney’s past and highlight its bright future, from sports to robotics, and from academics to molding compassionate young adults.
The Charles Finney School now holds two impressive accreditations — the Association of Christian Schools International (ASCI) and the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSA-CESS).
As if validating those accreditations, an anonymous donor recently contributed one million dollars to the school. Guardablen said donations from people, and a donation that size, tell her “that they believe in what we’re doing.”
They used some of that money to complete Phase I of the school’s renovated sports complex. A new scoreboard, concession stand, announcer’s booth, and more seating enabled them to have their first Section V Football game on home turf. In general, they have experienced growing successes with their teams, such as the Spring 4 Class D Sectional Title for track.
Finney excels not only in sports, but in robotics as well. Winning the regional competition at RIT last April allowed them to compete in the international robotics competition in St. Louis. With 900 teams from 39 countries in the running, Finney’s team placed an amazing 2nd place.
As Admission Director, Paula Guardalben is eager to share with prospective parents the value of a Finney education. “When I look at the overall health of the school, the Board is made up of a variety of people in the community, representing different professions and different backgrounds. That’s a healthy school, where there isn’t one mind-set running the show. There’s a lot of checks and balances.”
She meets with families and prospective students to show
them around the school, answer their questions, arrange for parents to audit
classes, or for a visiting student to shadow a Finney student throughout the
day. She is busy planning open houses and orientations that are coming up soon.
- Elementary Preview Day (Pre-K – 5) Thursday, February 2, 2017 8:30 AM - 2 PM
- Middle School Preview Day (6-8) Thursday, February 9, 2017 8:30 AM – 2 PM
- Open House Thursday, March 9, 2017, 6:30 PM – 8 PM
- Pre-K and Kindergarten Orientation, Thursday, May 18, 2017 9:30 AM – 10:45 AM
As a parent of Finney students, who home-schooled them up to 6th grade, Guardalben believes a Christian education is an option, but not necessarily the only option; it depends on the child. However, she strongly believes in maintaining the health of area Christian schools. Finney absorbed 60 students from the recently closed Christian school in Webster, and welcomed students from Catholic and other private schools, and even public schools. Total enrollment is now 381 students with up to 30 full time teachers.
Finney’s International Program, overseen by the school’s President, Michael VanLeeuwen, has 23 students from China, Korea, Italy, and Panama. Van Leeuwen recently traveled to China, and if the connection between China and Finney grows, Finney students will be able to travel there as well.
“We want to make the connection between the two — not just where we’re the hosts. We want to go over and experience what the culture in China is like. We’re trying to expand into other countries,” Guardalben said.
Since students from other countries, or from public schools, may not be Christian, The Good News wondered if that posed a barrier to admission, since parents are asked to sign the statement of faith as part of the admission process.
Guardablen shook her head. For those who do not believe the statement of faith, signing it merely indicates they read it. Even though they may not agree with it, they know they are sending their children to a school where instruction is Christian and Biblically based. “It’s a tremendous opportunity to share the Gospel with them,” Guardalben said.
The Gospel message travels with Finney’s Project Compassion, run by Dr. Peter Burch, who teaches the one-semester course, Servant Leadership. Project Compassion began in 2012, and since then, Finney students have gone on 21 mission trips to 13 states and 3 countries.
Recently, Dr. Burch became Development Director, connecting with businesses and organizations in the community to highlight the school and promote partnerships that will garner funds from various donors. He is starting an Alumni Association to re-connect Finney graduates with their old school.
In the area of academics, students can find help if they are struggling or enrichment if they are already working above grade level, in the elementary school’s Literacy and Enrichment Room.
While the honors program is alive and well in this college preparatory school, the dual credit courses with Roberts Wesleyan College are becoming more popular than the AP courses. Additionally, Roberts Wesleyan College now offers graduating Finney seniors a $10,000 scholarship for each of the four years they matriculate at Roberts Wesleyan.
To help seniors decide their future careers, the College and Career Readiness course offers internships at various sites. Potential teachers or administrators have interned at Finney; others have gone to lawyers’ offices or health care institutions. Students gain experience and network to help determine if a particular career choice is right for them.
As a home-school mom herself, Guardalben appreciates Finney’s offer to admit home-school students for two classes and to engage in the school’s musicals and plays. After a while, many students transition from home school to Finney full-time.
From testing the “Finney waters’ with just two classes or attending Finney from Kindergarten through twelfth grade, an education from The Charles Finney School prepares young adults to contribute to community, have a strong Christian character, and be full of compassion and creativity. They will be prepared, as the school slogan says, to “do something greater.”
For more information, go to www.finneyschool.org.
Hope Valley Camp And Retreat Center Focuses On Life Beyond The Coffee Cup
By Rick Kern
“Our motto is going beyond the coffee cup!” explains Nathan Welton. He elaborates on why he chose that motto by discussing the many struggles people face, “We all have problems going on in our lives, we all have struggles yet we’re standing around drinking coffee in the fellowship hall, and we’re not going beyond the coffee cup — we’re not going into a deeper relationship and we’re not connecting in a real way.”
As a Christian, Welton clearly has a passion for depth of relationship horizontally and vertically — with God and man. As the Founder and Director of Hope Valley Camp and Retreat Center, he puts that passion into action by creating an environment for believers in Christ to deepen their relationship with God and each other. And he’s really just going with God’s flow as it were, following where the Spirit seems to be moving.
“When we have retreat groups come to camp, we see those walls drop and people connect on a much deeper level than they usually do,” he explains. “They’re able to step outside of their comfort zone and connect real deeply, so that’s what‘s driving us.” He continues, “That’s what we’ve seen in the last several years, a growth in that retreat business and that’s why we’re putting our focus more into that.”
Hope Valley Camp and Retreat Center was established in 2009 and is nestled on a picturesque hillside in the Genesee Valley. Its name reflects the vision Welton had when conceiving the camp. “We wanted to build a facility that brought hope to people that might have lost it or lost their way going through life,” he reflects. And as they tossed around ideas, the word “hope” kept resurfacing so it became the key to the camp’s moniker.
Initially, children were a large part of their focus and they rented another camp for two years. It was a hit and they decided to look for their own facility so they could offer year-round programs to men’s groups, women’s groups, and other church groups. “We found a property in Dansville, New York that was for sale,” recalls Welton, “it was right in our price range and exactly what we needed to build off of to make something happen so we bought that and built it up.”
And build it up they did! To begin with they could accommodate 12 people and now can sleep 100 comfortably. They have added some 17 buildings since moving in and are built for fun and excitement. Hope Valley Camp and Retreat Center has an archery range, a paintball field, an obstacle course, a small climbing wall, and a playground. Their dining hall doubles as a chapel and they also have a couple meeting rooms for breakout sessions. The kids have been treated to all kinds of fun activities such as hiking, archery, fishing, boating, and on it goes.
However, the Lord seems to be moving significantly through the retreats and the ministry that has been occurring is notable leading Nathan and his team to focus their energy and efforts on going beyond the coffee cup. “That’s what’s driving us,” he says, “that’s what we’ve seen the last several years in the growth of the retreat business and that’s why we’re putting our focus more into that than children’s summer camp.”
And while he is excited about all God has done in the kid’s summer camps, he feels a strong leading to focus on the ministry to adults. “As great as the kids’ camp is and was, our real attention is on these adults,” Welton explains, “we’ve been approached by a number of groups that want to partner with us and we’re really excited to see what God does.”
Welton himself is no stranger to camp and retreats, frequenting many of them as he was coming up from youth right into college. The level of depth and honesty they built in him as a Christian is part of what is moving him and Hope Valley in their present direction. “Growing up I went to summer camp and in college I went to retreats and then as a church member I went on retreats as well,” he recalls. “I’ve always seen what people refer to mountain top experiences, but they should be everyday experiences where people can open up and share with each other and be honest and deal with the things we’re going through.” Continuing he says, “Going on those retreats I saw that you always have a chance to really connect with people and talk.”
To that end, over the winter, they are building a large picnic shelter to allow bigger groups to gather outside while eating or holding services. Nathan is looking forward to having a lot of people coming out and experiencing the same depth and growth he did, and is hopeful that God will move much the same way.
However, they are not completely abolishing their programs for young people. “We’re going to offer some children’s programs but in a different way than we have in the past,” he explains. They are hoping to create more of a mentorship program to get young people (ages 12 and up) involved in the ministry there and understand the purpose and drive of what they do. They also plan on doing weekend events throughout the year. “Kids today are just so overbooked,” he observes, “they have soccer, they have basketball, computer class… there’s just so many things going on that we’ve found it hard to connect. We’ve really found that weekends are just long enough to connect with them but just short enough to fit into their schedule.”
They have also recently launched a community restoration project that mobilized the energy and passion of youth and channeled it into community service projects. Teaming up with a local church, they recruited several young people and were able to help an elderly neighbor by repainting her house. Additionally, they helped clean and restore an old cemetery — a project that was curiously popular with the young people!
Welton has a “whosoever will may come” perspective that embraces everyone. From the Alcoholics Anonymous retreat participants that were a little rough around the edges, to the churches who have had their edges smoothed out — he loves and accepts them all and feels blessed to serve them. “God has really opened a lot of doors for us not just to connect with Christian ministries, but with secular organizations too,” he observes. “The Lord’s giving us an opportunity to reach them as well.”
He continues, “I think that everything we do to our customers is ministry, whether it’s greeting them with a smile, feeding them a great meal, or giving them a warm comfortable bed, or a good place to meet.”
To find out more about Hope Valley Camp and Retreat Center visit their Website at www.hopevalleycamp.com or call them at (585) 683-4907.
Vince Latorre: A
Passionate Defender Of The Bible As The Word Of God
By Tim Bennett
Author and Christian apologist, Vince Latorre, a life-long resident of Syracuse, NY, had an inquisitive mind since he was a child. At nine he already wanted to know if God existed and how everything got here. “I grew up in an intellectual and Catholic family, but my parents did not force me to believe,” Latorre said during a recent interview in Syracuse. “But, by the time I was 11, I knew the Lord in a personal way. When I was a teenager I began reading the Bible and searching for evidence to confirm what I already believed. I guess you could say I had a skeptical nature,” Latorre said. “In fact, it wasn’t until I stumbled on a book by Henry Morris, in my mid-twenties, entitled, The Biblical Basis for Modern Science, that I finally found a credible presentation for young earth creationism. Before that, I considered myself a theistic evolutionist,” Latorre continued. “Morris makes a good case for taking the book of Genesis at face value, instead of allegorizing it, or trying to make it fit into a certain theological mold.”
Latorre began his studies in biology at Syracuse University’s College of Forestry, but left school in his junior year to help his dad care for his mom who had been diagnosed with a brain tumor. When he went back to school after she was in a nursing home, he changed his major to electronics at Onondaga Community College figuring he could get a decent job faster that way. He knew if he continued with a biology major, he would be obligated to get a Master’s degree, which he did not want to do. “I worked in the electronics field for several years and was a pretty good troubleshooter,” Latorre said, “but then the companies I worked for started moving south, literally, and I was laid off. Since I liked Math I took a few accounting classes and got a 100 in each course so I took that as a confirmation and pursued an accounting degree at Syracuse University at night while working at a bank that covered my tuition. It took me a while to get my degree but I finally got it shortly after my high school class’s 20th anniversary!”
Since that time, 21 years ago, Latorre has been working in the accounting department of Onondaga County Resource Recovery Association (OCRRA), “the blue bin people,” Latorre added with a chuckle. Over the years, however, Latorre’s passion to study the Bible and the evidences for its reliability has not abated. “I‘ve probably read more than 200 books on the Bible’s authenticity as well as a number of books that try to refute those claims,” Latorre said. “I read one book that is 700 pages long on just the evidences for the resurrection of Jesus Christ and a couple 500 page books on Bible archaeology. Twenty-five thousand archaeological proofs have been found for the Old Testament alone.”
After seven years of intense research and almost 30 years of study, Latorre decided to put his findings in a book of his own entitled, The Bible Can Be Proven, published in 2012. “I wanted to get a book like this in print because I had heard too many stories of young people growing up in Christian families and then returning home after college as atheists, mainly because they could not answer their professors’ challenges concerning the Bible. I wanted to offer a book where I could synthesize all the nuggets and references I found into one place that’s accessible. Not something watered down, but packed with evidence that’s easy to read.”
Latorre’s book includes many areas that skeptics like to attack such as inconsistencies in the Bible, science and the Bible, manuscript evidence, and the history and the people of the Bible. It also contains chapters on scientific foreknowledge in the Bible, prophecies as proof of the Bible’s divine inspiration, biblical archeology, and the numerical design of Scripture.
I asked Latorre how he would explain the apparent inconsistency often cited of the meeting Jesus and the disciples had with the demon-possessed man, or men, coming out of the tombs. Matthew writes that there were two (Matt. 8:28) and Mark and Luke say there was “a” man (Mark 5:2, Luke 8:27). Latorre explained it this way: “Twentieth century critics erroneously apply their ways of writing to the first century writers. At that time it was okay to paraphrase or to leave out certain details. Mark and Luke may have focused on one demoniac because he was the one who decided to follow Jesus. I read a book, Cold Case Christianity, by a former detective, J. Warner Wallace, who said something very interesting in regards to witnesses. He said you need to expect genuine witnesses to have superficial discrepancies. In other words, if one witness says there were two demon-possessed men and the others mention one, then there was at least one. The fact that Mark and Luke wrote that there was “a” man does not necessarily mean there was only one.”
Latorre said that the publication of the book opened new doors for him to share the gospel, many times with unbelievers. So far he has given talks at Geneseo College, Cornell University, churches, Christian conferences, and at book signings around the state. He was invited by The Christian Veterinary Fellowship at Cornell to speak on campus and had more than 30 attendees, many of them skeptical of the Bible and Christianity. None of them tried to refute his claims or research.
Latorre is planning a new book, not yet titled, which will be a collection of articles he wrote in response to many questions he encountered at a liberal Bible study that he attended to contribute his findings and to challenge people to accept the Bible as the Word of God, not just another book written by men. To buy his book, The Bible Can Be Proven, read recent articles by Vince Latorre, or to invite him to speak, go to www.thebiblecanbeproven.com.
What is so unique about EBI&C?
Elim is the only accredited charismatic Bible college in New York State that offers an AAS degree, and one of the few in the Northeast. The school places value on both academics and spiritual growth; Elim maintains high academic standards, while fulfilling its mission to train Christ-centered, Spirit-empowered leaders to change the world for God’s kingdom. Students get a solid foundation in the Bible, and they encounter God in weekday chapels and special events like Foundations Weekend, Missions Week and Week of Prayer.
academics, practical ministry training
is integrated into each program, and students have opportunities
to apply what they learn in the classroom through required weekly ministry
experiences and internships. For example, in two years a student could earn an
AAS degree, while also gaining over 500 hours of practical
experience in a variety of settings. These could include serving
in a local church with children or teens or on a worship team; ministering to
the homeless in New York City; sharing the gospel with students on area
campuses; and ministering at homes for the elderly, rehab centers, or soup
Year in the Son — This 1-year program is designed to build a spiritual foundation in students that will serve them the rest of their lives, whether working in ministry, in the marketplace or at home. This life-changing year includes a unique mix of Bible instruction, practical training & discipleship experiences. It is often a benchmark year, where students receive a fresh revelation of their purpose in God.
AAS Degree in Biblical & Theological Studies — This 2-year program gives students a solid Biblical foundation and a well-rounded education, and it will transfer into many other colleges.
Applied Ministry Certificate — This is the school’s flagship program. It’s designed for a student to graduate in 3 years with the skills, knowledge and tools to be a Christian leader in today’s world — to be equipped with a solid knowledge of the Word of God and be trained for ministry with practical experience.
Who attends EBI&C?
Most Elim students fall into one of four categories: 1) aspiring pastors, missionaries & ministry leaders (AAS Degree Program & Applied Ministry Program); 2) aspiring ministry leaders pursuing a Biblical degree (AAS Degree Program); 3) those who want a firm spiritual foundation before pursuing further education or starting their career (Year in the Son Program or AAS Degree Program); or 4) those who aren’t sure about their next step & want to seek God’s direction (Year in the Son Program).
Students come to EBI&C from a variety of school backgrounds and locations. Over the past 4 years, statistics of incoming students show that 69% had attended public schools, 17% were homeschooled, and 14% attended Christian schools. Students came from 26 US states and from many nations, including Australia, Bhutan, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Canada, China, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Finland, France, India, Israel, Switzerland, Germany, Kenya, Korea, Liberia, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, Nigeria, Pakistan, Paraguay, Poland, Switzerland, Uganda, UK, and Ukraine.
How do students pay for EBI&C?
EBI&C is very affordable compared to other colleges, and several types of financial aid are available. Financial aid packages might include federal Pell Grants and Federal Direct Student Loans, NYS Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) awards, and GI Bill benefits. If a student received the full Pell & TAP amounts available, it would cover almost their entire EBI&C bill. There are also some work-study jobs on campus and a variety of scholarships. In fact, over 90% of Elim students receive some kind of financial aid package.
Of course, the school also encourages students to earn & save funds before and while they attend Elim. This can include summer jobs and local part-time jobs while attending EBI&C. Parents of eligible students (or independent students who file their own taxes) may be able to claim educational tax credits or deductions.
For more info about financial aid,
including how to apply & deadlines, see www.elim.edu/aid or contact the Financial Aid Office at
585-582-8245 or email@example.com. And check out
www.elim.edu for any EBI&C special promotions.
Students’ Lives are Changed at EBI&C
God can use the time students are at EBI&C to profoundly affect their lives. Here are quotes from some recent and current students: “Elim for me isn’t just a place to see academic growth, but growth in all aspects of your life.” “My experience at Elim allowed me to encounter God on a deeper level, to discover my true identity in Christ.” “I really am surrounded by teachers and staff that genuinely want me to grow into what God has for me.” “Elim has provided a place where God has defined and brought into clearer focus the call God has on my life.” “Elim is life-changing and eye-opening. It is not just as any other college where you attend classes and do homework. It is the place where the presence of God is settled all around and where I got to know His voice and His heart.” “Before I came to Elim, I was ‘asleep’— I wasn’t passionate about anything at all; I was very ordinary. God has used every person and every situation to wake me up and really show me that He has made me for extraordinary things. I am so grateful for the impact Elim has made on my life.”
Experience EBI&C at Discovery Days
Discovery Days is a free, 3-day retreat for high school students and young adults up to age 24, designed so they can experience Elim and see if it might be God’s next step for them. Prospective students stay in dorms with current students and experience student life at EBI&C. They sit in on classes, experience a chapel, and participate in fun activities happening on campus. They meet many of the faculty and staff. Informational sessions give an overview of the academic programs, admissions requirements and financial aid, with opportunities to ask questions. Discovery Days events this spring are Feb 5-7, Mar 2-4 and Apr 2-4. To register and for more information, see www.elim.edu/discoverydays.
Do you know someone whom God might be
calling to Elim Bible Institute & College as the next step in his or her
spiritual development? Tell them to check out www.elim.edu for more information and consider
applying to EBI&C for Fall 2017!
In his debut book, You Are Not Normal - Dare to Be Different, Author Shaun Campbell encourages young people and new Christians to embrace what sets them apart, their identity in Christ. The Lord created each person for a unique and divine purpose. This book explores what “normal” means to the secular world and to the Church, then dares readers to break from the norm and fulfill their calling.
Shaun wrote the book primarily for young Christians and new converts, however, all Christians can relate to the internal war of wanting to fit in and yet, knowing it’s impossible.
Maya Angelou said, “If you’re always trying to be normal you’ll never know how amazing you can be.” Adults often focus on educating youth on peer pressure and don’t address the heart of why peer pressure is an issue. Humans want to belong, and fitting in is an easy way to become a part of the group. By the age of 16 most teenagers have gone through at least half-a-dozen anti-peer pressure campaigns either through youth group, a Sunday school class, a seminar at school, or social clubs. This age range is well versed in what peer pressure is, how to avoid it, and how to empower friends to say, ‘No.’ Often the monotony of the topic causes kids to tune out or run a parallel dialogue in their mind along the lines of, “Drinking is bad, yada yada. Here we go again.”
Instead of another book that will be lost in a school counselor’s sea of “Say No” books, Shaun offers young people and new believers an alternative route. His message does not focus on the negative, “Don’t do that,” but rather it is an encouragement for the reader to find their real place of belonging, where God created for them. Shaun knows “it is challenging to be young, being the odd one out at school, often bullied, and facing peer pressure… We need to know who we are in God. We cannot blend in, we have to stand for what we believe in, and be a child of God. We are called, and we should never be ashamed of what God has called us to do or be. We have to embrace that identity.”
Shaun draws from his own teen and young adult experiences of attending an all-boys school in the United Kingdom. Even though he grew up in the church Shaun admits, “I didn’t know who I was.” He went through a time of duplicity, behaving one way at school and another way around his parents. He remembers how he changed, “When I received the Holy Spirit I started to read the Bible.” He didn’t just read the Bible, but he lived his faith out. After receiving the Spirit he became more out spoken about his faith and invited friends to church. His hope is that through this book readers’ will “learn from their experiences and not make the same mistakes.” Getting this book and message into the hands of young people and new Christians at an early stage will help them avoid the disappointment and struggle of trying and failing to fit the idea of “normal.”
Shaun does an excellent job of crafting a complex topic into easy to understand points by using simple language and small, specific sections with scriptural references. His biblically rooted ideas are presented in layman’s terms so that even a brand new convert can understand. Shaun’s desire is for readers to “be encouraged no matter what you’re experiencing. To follow after Jesus because he has called you to great things. Don’t settle for being average. Go beyond the ‘norm’ for Jesus. Don’t just go to church. Take the time to seek Him. We are here to help the body of Christ and we only have a limited amount of time. Those that came before us made so many sacrifices. We too have to be focused and sacrifice to make an impact for God. We want our generation to know Jesus Christ!”
His writing began at an early age in the form of articles in a youth magazine, at age 18 the inspiration for You Are Not Normal - Dare to be Different came to him. He began writing, and then life happened. After his move from his hometown in the United Kingdom to be with his wife in Canada, Shaun was able to set things aside and focus on finishing his first book in 2015. Since self-publishing with a Christian company, Xulon Press, this past May, Shaun is teaching at his new home church in Calgary and working on his next book. In his spare time he enjoys spending time with his wife, reading, and listening to Gospel music.
You can find You Are Not Normal - Dare to be Different by Shaun Campbell at www.xulonpress.com ISBN : 9781498469593. I suggest getting a few copies because this book is the kind you will want to share!
Family Life Brings Selah Christmas Concert Tour To Four Locations
(Bath, NY) - The
multi-platinum Christian music trio, Selah, will be performing four concerts
from its Christmas Tour, Dec. 8-11, in North Syracuse at the North Baptist
Church, Rochester at the First Bible Baptist Church in Hilton, Jamestown at
Jamestown High School, and in Bath at Family Life.
The holiday concert series will feature Selah members Todd Smith, Allan Hall, and Amy Perry singing a medley of traditional tunes, reinvented hymns, and holiday favorites. Of course, audiences can expect the modern musical arrangements and beautiful harmonies that have given Selah its popularity over nearly 20 years of ministry.
“We want to create a deep, rich listening experience that hopefully creates a sense of awe and wonder in the audience towards this mysterious, beautiful experience of God coming to Earth,” says pianist and vocalist, Allan Hall.
To celebrate the season, Selah will perform songs off their recently re-released holiday album, “Rose of Bethlehem (Deluxe Edition),” spotlighting stunning adaptations of familiar Christmas favorites, and also featuring many Selah originals, including “Dance in the Dawn,” “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,” “Mystery,” “Little Drummer Boy” and many more.
“Seeing Selah live is always a joyous experience, especially around Christmas time,” says Jeff Harmon of Family Life. “There’s something deeply satisfying about the beauty of Selah’s worship that captures the true spirit of the season.”
From their inception, Selah has been synonymous with hymns. The understated beauty of the trio’s 1999 debut, “Be Still My Soul,” helped initiate a hymn revival in Christian music that is still thriving today. Their discography has significantly re-popularized the church’s greatest songs while decorating the group with numerous Dove Awards, number one singles, sold out concert tours, and over four million albums sold.
Ticket prices range from $20 to $24.50. For more information on the Selah Christmas concerts, or to purchase tickets for any of the four shows, call 1.800.927.9083 or visit www.fln.org/tickets. Concerts start at 7 p.m. in all four locations.
About Family Life Ministries, Inc.
Family Life Ministries is devoted to strengthening individuals and families through Christian radio broadcasting, concerts, educational and social programs, biblical counseling, and the performing arts. Headquartered in Bath, N.Y., Family Life was founded in 1957, and provides various activities and programs for youth, adults, singles and seniors.
Family Life owns a
Christian radio network of 23 stations and 41 translators broadcasting in
regions of New York and Pennsylvania. Established in 1983, the radio network is
a listener-supported broadcaster currently reaching a potential listenership of
For more information on Family Life, visit www.fln.org.
Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas” Dinner And Dessert Shows At Family Life In Bath
(Bath, NY) - Family Life has decked the halls of its concert auditorium with tables dressed in red, ornamented Christmas trees, and a buffet line of delicious smells. The holiday decor will set the stage for those dreaming of a “White Christmas” – a stage adaptation of the 1954 Irving Berlin film that popularized the song.
Family Life will present six performances in Bath, December 2nd-4th and December 15th-17th, as a series of dinner shows, one dessert show, and one show-only performance. Bring the whole family for an enjoyable time of food and conversation around an inviting table twinkling with the holidays.
After the meal, the curtain rises to reveal one of the most classic song-and-dance stories ever written. The show is full of merriment, romance, and reminiscent songs like “Blue Skies,” “I Love a Piano,” “How Deep is the Ocean,” and the perennial favorite, “White Christmas.”
Directed by Peter Maier of Family Life, this Americana classic promises to be a merry and bright theatrical experience for the whole family.
“This show is full of contagious music – songs that find a way into your head and stay there,” says Maier. “I remember when I saw the stage version for the first time. I felt myself moving with the dancers. I wanted to get up and dance along to “Blue Skies.” I also love the overarching message: help those in need. The lead characters will stop at nothing to use their talents and experiences to help out their dearly loved friend.”
As the story goes, two army veterans, Bob Wallace and Phil Davis, team up after the war to become showbiz buddies and the best act in Hollywood. With romance in mind, the men end up following a duo of beautiful singing sisters on the way to their Christmas show at a lodge in Vermont. As opportunity would have it, the inn winds up being owned by Bob and Phil’s beloved former commanding officer, General Waverly. Waverly is having financial difficulties and his quaint country inn is failing. Love blossoms and the foursome plan a yuletide miracle to save the Vermont lodge: a fun-filled musical extravaganza that's sure to put Waverly and his business back in the black.
The “White Christmas” dinner performances (Dec. 2,3, 16 and 17) and show-only performance (Dec. 15) start at various times in the evening at Family Life, located at 7634 Campbell Creek Road (off County Rte. 14) in Bath. The Dec. 4 showing is a dessert-only matinee starting at 2:30 p.m. Call 1.800.927.9083 for more information or visit www.fln.org/tickets Ticket prices range from $15 to $34.50 with group discounts available.
About Family Life Ministries, Inc.
Family Life Ministries is devoted to strengthening individuals and families through Christian radio broadcasting, concerts, educational and social programs, biblical counseling, and the performing arts. Headquartered in Bath, N.Y., Family Life was founded in 1957, and provides various activities and programs for youth, adults, singles and seniors.
Family Life owns a Christian radio network of 23 stations and 41 translators broadcasting in regions of New York and Pennsylvania. Established in 1983, the radio network is a listener-supported broadcaster currently reaching a potential listenership of 5 million.
For more information on Family Life, visit www.fln.org.
Silver Bay YMCA Is
Not Your Typical YMCA
By Jennifer Lamey
When most people think of a YMCA their mind is probably flooded with images of city streets, locker rooms, busy gymnasiums, and an Olympic-sized pool. However, with its stunning location and retreat facilities, Silver Bay YMCA does not fit the stereotype. After visiting, your mind will wander back to sitting in front of the stone fireplace, looking out over the beautiful scenery, and the memory of a morning fitness class in the fresh mountain air. This YMCA is located on Lake George in Silver Bay, NY.
The 32 mile long and three mile wide lake has inspired awe in visitors for centuries. Thomas Jefferson wrote, “Lake George is without comparison, the most beautiful water I ever saw; formed by a contour of mountains into a basin… finely interspersed with islands, its water limpid as crystal, and the mountain sides covered with rich groves… down to the water-edge: here and there precipices of rock to checker the scene and save it from monotony.” Jefferson in a letter to his daughter May 31, 1791.
Just over a century later, Lake George captured the hearts of the Silver Bay Association for Christian Conference & Training. The site boasting over 1 mile of shore line and 700 acres of land, is also on the Registry of Historic Places with the U.S. Department of the Interior. Operating as a year-round family retreat and conference center, Silver Bay hosts many church and organization events, as well as, family reunions and vacations. Chief Executive Officer Steve Tamm says that Silver Bay YMCA stands out because “it is the kind of place that people come back to, year after year, generation after generation. It is not uncommon at all for someone to walk up to me, introduce themselves and then tell me that they have been coming for decades; or that they met their spouse here or that their grandparent first brought them here years ago. It is so great seeing generations of families coming together and just enjoying themselves in a wonderful, safe and wholesome environment. It’s great to see a grandparent sitting with their grandchild making jewelry or a nice stain glass window or dad and son taking a sailing lesson together on a sunfish. We host weddings in our historic stone chapel and I love to hear the stories of people who were married here recently or years ago. In fact, my daughter was married here just as we started summer 2016.”
It's not just the scenic views that guests are returning for, but the comfortable and modernized facilities as well. Lodging accommodations range from hotel-like rooms to dormitory style to private cottages perfect for the family vacation. Large and small group meeting facilities are available for one day or multiple day rentals and come equipped with audio and visual equipment, as well as, Silver Bay’s trained setup team to assist with utilizing the available technology.
As every family knows for a successful vacation is it important to have something for everyone and that’s why the Silver Bay YMCA specially designed intergenerational activities are ideal for bonding. Some of the activities include movies, trivia nights, board games, dodge ball, and even square dances. Group Fitness classes are offered throughout the summer as well including water aerobics.
Homeschool families (and everyone else) will especially love the Nature Center! Here the whole family can enjoy learning about the natural history of the Lake George region and participate in hands-on nature programs including stream studies, wildflower walks, bird watching and identification, astronomy and evening lectures during the summer months. Continue the education with a historical tour of Lake George on The Expedition Boat!
In addition to the activities and recreation that you would expect from a retreat and conference center, the Silver Bay YMCA offers a variety of Arts and Humanities Programs that include lectures on current events, art, history, health & wellness, and nature to name just a few. The concert series highlight bluegrass, jazz, classical, and organ recitals. Guests can get into the creative spirit themselves by taking a watercolor painting class with the artist-in-residence or at the Craft Shop for a workshop in stained glass, jewelry making, pottery, glass fusion, candle making, and much more. If music is your art of choice you will love the worship choir, music recitals, and the Mozart Singers choral music group. The Silver Bay employees also showcase their talents in variety shows throughout the summer and in the August summer musical, a tradition since 1949 that benefits the local Hague Volunteer Fire and Ambulance Departments.
Currently the YMCA is in a time of revitalization and modernization. CEO, Steve Tamm states, “We have a strong team dedicated to serving our guests well. Our goal is to ensure we are able to provide a cost effective, top-notch retreat and conference experience to all our guest and that while embracing our rich history, that we remain relevant in the 21st century. To that end, we recently installed a fiber back-bone throughout our campus to ensure that our conference attendees and guest are able to access the internet with ease. Another project was relocating our main parking area from the lakeside further up from our property. We did this not just to improve the beautiful vista from our porch at the Inn, but also to restore the historic green area there; to mitigate any potential harmful automobile leakage runoff from reaching Lake George and also to expand and modernize our waste and storm water systems. We are proud of the fact that Silver Bay YMCA is the first on Lake George to be Low Impact Development (LID) Certified by The FUND for Lake George. Our recent parking project goes above and beyond the various regulations so that we can be a leader in keeping Lake George the pristine body of water that it is. In the future, we look to break ground in September 2017 on our new “center,” which will be a two story structure containing our new dining-room, lobby and gift shop on the 1st floor with 22 rooms on the 2nd floor looking out on the lake and a conference room that will be able to handle 250 conference attendees. This $12 million project is made possible through many generous donors.”
While Silver Bay YMCA strives to provide guests with opportunities to connect with nature, family and friends, and have unforgettable adventures, the goal of the staff doesn’t stop there. “Most of the people who come to Silver Bay have a Christian upbringing but not all. For me, that is the “salt and light” opportunity that Jesus spoke about — coming alongside all kinds of folks and walking our Christian talk. We are also blessed to have about 50 college students who are involved in a Christian outreach leadership ministry who work alongside our other 150 or so summer staff, or “emps” as we call them. Their main goal is to simply be a good witness by who they live their lives; day in and day out. Here too is that missional component that we are called to.” Mr. Tamm said.
Not only does the staff put their best foot forward on-site, but they also have developed outreach programs for the community. “We run an after-school program and a teen center for the local youth. We also provide no-cost vacations to military families, cancer patients (in a partnership with Glens Falls Hospital) and local families who might otherwise not be able to afford a vacation.” Mr. Tamm stated. The Bible makes it clear that rest is an important part of life. It is in the still quite moments of rest that God reveals himself. By providing families with an opportunity to get away from their daily life and the stress that goes along with it, Silver Bay is opening a door for them to connect as a family to see God’s love through the staff members, and to refuel so that they can return home with a new perspective.
In addition to these ministries they also offer The Brookside/Trinity House which provides respite for pastors (and their families) at no cost from September through Mid-June. This ministry is made possible by a generous donor. Each year Silver Bay YMCA hosts numerous pastors and some lay leaders needing time to relax, refresh, and reconnect with God.
As you can see, this YMCA retreat and conference center has something for everyone! To learn about upcoming events, view photographs of the facilities, and get connected visit www.SilverBay.org.
Ministries At SU Unite To Host “Worship The King” At The Dome
By Tim Bennett
Instead of the sounds of squeaky sneakers, grunts and groans, whistles, and a leather ball bouncing on the hardwood floor of the Syracuse University dome, those in attendance for “Worship the King” on September 16th heard something radically different — sounds of worship and praise to God, testimonies by students about His goodness, prayers, and an inspirational message from Mike Hopkins, the man expected to follow Jim Boeheim as SU’s head basketball coach.
These types of events are nothing new to Syracuse University. As far back as 2008, leaders of student ministries have been praying together and organizing events to reach out to incoming students knowing that this is a very vulnerable time for new students. Starting out as “First Night” and then “Vespers” in 2012 at Hendricks Chapel, the evening became “Worship the King” in 2014. This is the first time, however, that the outreach has taken place at the dome with 15 Christian groups participating.
Alex Thevaranjan, an Associate Professor of Accounting at SU and the director of House of Daniels, a ministry to international students, confirmed the importance of reaching college students early. At a luncheon for Christian leaders before the event he said, “Seventy percent of all college students from Christian families walk away from the faith. This is a key time to reach students.” His daughter, Asha Thevaranjan, president of BASIC (Brothers and Sisters in Christ) at SU was one of the student coordinators and speakers. She said, “I got involved because I liked the spiritual challenge and that it would push me to go deeper with God. I didn’t know what to expect but it was great to see so many people come together from so many different backgrounds, churches, and denominations.”
The goal of the organizers, however, went well beyond reaching students. The caption below the event poster title said: “To Unite the Body of Christ and To Transform the City of Syracuse.” Over thirty churches were on board to support the evening and many Christians in the community showed up. The crowd was estimated to be more than 2000 people. Jay Koshi, the prayer coordinator for the event, said that in Psalm 133 “the Lord ‘commands’ a blessing when His people come together in unity.” In other words, when Christian churches unite in purpose and focus on God, He will bless that community.
The evening began with a welcome by Asha Thevarnjan and greetings by Dean Samuel Clemence representing Henricks Chapel and then a presentation of civil leaders in attendance that included Frank Fowler, the Chief of Police, and Van B. Robinson, the President of the Syracuse Common Council. Although the Chancellor Kent D. Syverud did not attend, two weeks before the event he invited 25 pastors for breakfast on campus to encourage their churches’ participation. Organizers were thrilled with such enthusiastic support from top SU leaders.
The introductions were followed by worship led by a group of students from several Christian ministries. The songs selected focused on God’s character such as His “goodness and mercy endures forever” and “You’re a good, good Father.” One of them even spoke about “laying down my religion” and focusing instead on a personal walk with God. The refrain that stayed with me the longest after the event was: “You make all things work together for my good” taken right from Romans 8:28.
After four or five songs, the format changed and a student shared a testimony, a song, a testimony, etc. The most dramatic testimony came from Vinny, a 27-year-old student from the University of Binghamton. He explained how he experienced two tragic events almost simultaneously several years ago—the death of his mom, and a serious motorcycle accident which made it necessary for him to take prescribed painkillers for his injuries. Things went bad to worse, however, when he lost his health insurance and could not afford the medication anymore. He decided to switch to heroin to dull his pain. The latter, he said, resulted in a summer stay at a homeless shelter where he hit bottom. “I guess God sometimes allows us to experience enough of our consequences to get our attention,” he said. It was at this low point in his life that he entered the Teen Challenge program and kicked the drug addiction and gave his life to Christ. He concluded his testimony by telling of his eventual success at college and an upcoming internship at a prestigious company. “They even created a position to hire me,” he said smiling, as thousands of his listeners erupted into spontaneous applause and praises to God.
When keynote speaker Coach Mike Hopkins took the podium he began by saying, “I consider myself a religious mutt. I’ll explain. I was baptized Presbyterian. I went to a Catholic high school. I was in a Jewish fraternity. I was in Athletes in Action in college and now I spend a lot of time with FCA.” (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) After laughs from the audience, Hopkins spoke about his failures to play in professional sports and his difficulties getting a job after graduating college. Then came that fateful day, he said, when Jim Boeheim invited him to assist him as a coach at SU, with whom he has now been working for 20 years. “I know God puts people into our lives,” Hopkins said. “The only experience I had coaching was with six graders at the time and then (Hopkins choked up before continuing) Jim Boeheim gave me an opportunity. I was born to coach. It’s my calling. I feel I’ve been led there.” Hopkins concluded his remarks by saying: “Imagine everyone in this room sacrificing for a greater goal and working together in the same direction for the most important team with the greatest coach in the world: Team Jesus Christ!” to which the dome exploded with applause and hearty agreement.
Following Hopkins’ message, the Christian ballet company, Light of the World, led by Ashley Rollinson from Syracuse, performed a well-choreographed and synchronized dance, adding another creative way to worship the King.
The evening ended with student ministry leaders praying for educators, pastors, and parents from the podium, Stephanie Castro singing an impassioned rendition of “Take Me to the King,” a rousing prayer by Rev. Pedro Castro from the Historically Black Church, and a call to salvation from Alex Thevarnjan.
Before leaving, I asked a young man, Charlie Esposito (22), what his take away was from the evening. He said: “What I come away with is not to judge other Christians because of the group they are with. The important thing is focusing on Jesus.”
John Decker from Campus Renewal at SU summed up the vision for “Worship the King”: “The plan is to keep the movement going throughout Central New York. Regular prayer is being established, plus one or more WTK events at Hendricks Chapel are being planned for this academic year and another WTK event in the dome next fall. The hope is that this will spread nationally as it will become evident of what God can do when campus ministries and local churches come together to advance the gospel among the youth and college students in any city.”
Skye Farm Camp And
Retreat Center Is A Safe, Fun Place To Experience God
By Rick Kern
1942 was a noteworthy year characterized by an anthology of historical landmarks. Thus, it is fair to note, that if 1942 were a canvas adorned with a collage of historic artistry, you could say that it was among the artist’s seminal works. In fact you could say the pages of history were turning so fast, that they threw sparks and caught fire. For example, the Battles of both Midway and Stalingrad were fought that year, Japanese-Americans were held in “camps,” and the notorious Bataan Death March left a path strewn with bodies. Additionally, 1942 marked the launch of the Manhattan Project, Anne Frank went into hiding, and of all things, America was introduced to the “T-shirt.”
As the headlines were bloated with drama, wartime news, and just plain being fabulous with other things, three men of God sat on a big ‘ol boulder near a beautiful lake fellowshipping with the Lord and each other. And as they rested there tucked away among the grandeur of Adirondack Mountains, reflecting on the majesty of their God expressing Himself through nature, an idea began to take shape.
Luther A. Brown, H. Elliot Chaffe, and C. Walter Kessler, keenly aware of the eternal brilliance of God, basked in His presence and wondered if such a breathtaking place as this could somehow be used to inspire youth with the same awareness of God that they felt? Wouldn’t the natural beauty of this place make it the ideal spot for a Christian adventure camp?
Putting their hearts and heads together, the ensuing conversation found the three men of one mind, sharing a finally honed vision and reaching an accord. Well into his golden years, silver-haired Luther Brown agreed to donate his land to the effort while his two brothers in the faith would roll up their sleeves, get the project off the ground, and see it through.
Initially, 140 acres of mountains, brooks, and shoreline were dedicated to God, and Skye Farm was born. Willing hearts gave money while willing hands built the dining hall and cabins, and a host of willing like-minded people planned programs and sent their youth to Skye Farms’ inaugural camping sessions. Captivated by the enthusiasm, hard work, and sacrificial dedication they saw among the workers, Dr. and Mrs. Brown decided to deed to Skye Farm their 20-acre-lot with its cottage, building, and 800 feet of magnificent lake shore.
Fast forward to 2016 with decades of experience and development! Skye Farm Camp & Retreat Center now boasts over 400 wooded acres with a breathtaking panorama of Sherman Lake. In addition to providing a stunning, rustic vista to enhance any event, they offer first-rate facilities for groups to conduct their own retreats, meetings, worship services, and programs. Furthermore, their support staff is exceptional, and is able to assist with program planning, handle retreats and workshops, lead singing and games, and provide leadership for activities.
And as camping season arrives in the summer months, Skye Farm offers a resident Christian summer camp experience. Campers aged 6 to 18 are invited to spend a week or more enjoying one of their thrilling summer programs.
Skye Farm is affiliated with the Upper New York Annual (Regional) Conference of The United Methodist Church, and part of the denomination’s Camp & Retreat Ministries which has six centers throughout New York State. Stretching from the Adirondacks in the west, to the edges of two Great Lakes, north to the St. Lawrence Seaway, and south to the Pennsylvania state border, each of their centers serves a diverse population. Attracting rural, urban, and suburban, campers, all six locations offer the opportunity to connect with God's creation and a loving Christian community, as well as old and new friends.
The camp’s director, Ryan Siver, is fairly new to Skye Farm, having assumed the position some 20 weeks ago. However, Siver has been involved in Christian camping since 1999, and his passion for Christ and the Gospel fits right in to the Upper New York Annual Conference Vision, “To live the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to be God’s love with our neighbors in all places.” That breadth of vision is something he whole-heartedly embraces, “We welcome many denominations,” he explains. “All of the groups are focusing on the Gospel, in fact that’s what drew me to Christian camps in the first place.” Continuing he says, “The focus is on me presenting the Gospel to kids in a natural setting.”
Mike Huber, a former teacher who is the Executive Director of Camp & Retreat Ministries for the Methodist Church couldn’t agree more. “Christian camping is more critical now than ever,” he notes, “to bring them outdoors and to engage with nature and the One who created them is incredibly important. They learn that there is a God and that that God loves them.”
They have about 15 counselors with 60 to 80 kids per session who run roughly six one-week long summer camping sessions. In addition, next summer they hope to offer two-week sessions for their older campers that include off-site trips.
Their facilities and activities are absolutely everything young people revel in from the customary to the unconventional… Boasting a wide variety of common camp activities Skye Farm offers old favorites such as canoeing, archery, swimming, arts-and-crafts, basketball, volleyball, and hiking, just to name a few. And if a full week is a bit much, no worries, Skye Farm has got you covered offering half-week-programs. Though their roster of activities is second to none, there is no mistaking their focus. They are there to introduce young people to the Lord Jesus Christ.
“Really, camping is where kids can come to see creation, and meet God and have a safe, fun experience while doing that,” says Siver. “That’s the lens I look through: how can I make it fun and how can I make it safe! When you’re out in creation, you can’t help but notice God. It’s amazing!”
Their spiritual program is built around a meaningful theme, which they stay with for the season. This year’s was “courage” and the staff integrates it into skits, testimonies, Bible studies, games, activities, and even their end-of-the-day debriefing. Then, the last night of the session, they sit around the campfire, walk to chapel with Tiki torches and discuss the gifts they have been given — gifts such as friendship, love, and kindness. The focus is how the campers can take these gifts with them and use them in the world now that the week is at an end.
Interestingly, Siver encourages the kids to respond that evening, yet refrains from sharing the Gospel that night because it tends to be emotionally intensive. And yet the campers do weigh in, having clearly been impacted by the Spirit of God. What he does do, is share the Gospel message the following morning right before they have to leave camp, when the lights die down and the surging emotions have mellowed. “Emotions are fleeting,” observes Siver, “we present the Gospel that morning so that we can deal with an intellectual as opposed to an emotional response.” He goes on, “We do see a significant response but we don’t have kids raise their hands, instead we challenge them to have the courage to tell someone. It’s on them to share when they feel ready whether it’s a pastor, a friend, a parent.”
Whether Skye Farm goes avant-garde, modifying a very popular video game to conform to their biblical vision that the kids play in real life while at camp… or, just rocks another traditional camping activity, they are committed to adding two-to-three big activities a year! Additionally, they are always looking to upgrade existing facilities and activities. And while their program is filled with fun and frolic that kids can relate to, its purpose is not lost on anyone as Siver and team always bring their A-Game. “I want to create a safe, fun environment where kids can experience God.”
For more information about Skye Farm Camp & Retreat Center visit at www.skyefarmcamp.org.
What’s New At Alpha And Omega – Parable Christian Store
By Susan LeDoux
The Good News stopped in to chat with proprietors, Cindy and Bruce Anderson, about the latest trends in Christian books, music, and gifts.
Bibles command an entire wall section in the new store. Bruce and Cindy showed me the latest Bibles, in familiar translations such as NIV, NLT, etc., with page layouts suitable for journaling and illustrating. Instead of writing cramped notes wherever there is space on the page, or underlining and highlighting verses, these Bibles provide a blank column on each page for notes and even illustrating. The paper is a bit thicker, and kits with special colored pens with ink that will not bleed through the page, as well as stickers, are available. Other Bibles simply have blank pages throughout the chapters to allow for journaling and jotting down notes. This fall, Alpha and Omega will offer a course on Bible journaling at the Greece store in Stone Ridge Plaza on Ridge Road, and a course on coloring and illustrating at the Panorama store.
Determined to make shopping locally a better option than shopping online, Bruce talked about the 200,000 albums, songs, and accompaniment tracks available through the store. Since they could not stock that much music, staff can burn a customer’s selection in five minutes, thus saving the consumer time and money.
As far as trends in books, Cindy said all the Amish series remain a popular fiction topic, but they really sell more non-fiction books. Jesus Calling by Sarah Young is still a bestseller, and Young’s new book, Jesus Alive, will be coming out soon. Other popular non-fiction books are the devotionals and adult coloring books. However, summer is the doldrums of the publishing year. Things will pick up in the literary world come fall.
Alpha and Omega is a great resource for curriculums for adult Bible studies. If your small Bible study group is deciding what to study, Bruce suggests the leader can purchase about 5 or 6 studies from which to have your group choose. Keep the one your group wants, and return the rest. Currently, about 100 churches buy quarterly curriculums for their adult Bible studies, not to mention all the kits and supplies sold for summer VBS programs.
“I wish more churches did VBS. It’s so important,” Cindy said.
Indeed, teaching our children the Gospel is vital and now Legacy Press produces delightful devotionals for the young; ages 2-5, 6-9 and 10-12. Each chapter presents a scripture lesson, asks questions, and gives the child an activity to do that reinforces the topic. Cindy also likes the Spark House books with age appropriate material from toddler/preschool and up. They even have “read to me” devotional books for ages 2-3.
If you are a bookworm, the book section toward the back of the store is your cozy destination, complete with comfortable reading chairs. Visit Alpha and Omega on Facebook and watch for a contest coming soon to name the book area.
The gift department offers a wide selection of items, and now the staff is able to engrave products by P. Graham Dunn (plaques, crosses, water bottles, bookmarks, pens, pocketknives, etc.) with their new laser printer, while you wait and at no added cost. The personalization for a Dunn product is included in the price.
When The Good News last visited the Andersons, Bruce said, “We’re trying to understand what is happening in the world and address it from the Christian view.” I asked Bruce if people were requesting books about Islam and related topics. Bruce shook his head.
“Customers come with their individual struggles, need prayers, support, and help making sense of the world. It seems issues that trouble people are more personal.” Bruce said many come in hurting and many times the staff prays with and for them.
“There have been a lot of miracles in the Ridge Road store. You won’t find that on Amazon. What makes our store special is the staff that cares about the customers personally. Some of the staff are pastors, retired, pastors, or church musicians, and the store is an extension of their ministry.” Bruce said Alpha and Omega supports 16 families that attend, and are active, in 12 area churches.
It is always a pleasure to stop in at Alpha and Omega where sometimes the best bargain includes a prayer.
Summertime With The Open Door Mission
By Susan LeDoux
Ministry isn’t all hard work. Sometimes it can be downright fun… and tasty.
The Open Door Mission (ODM) is busy all year providing for the spiritual and physical needs of the impoverished and homeless in Rochester. Come summer, you will find the Open Door Mission’s display at the Rochester Public Market as you visit on the last Wednesdays of the month from 5 to 9 PM. On those evenings, live music and a food truck rodeo replace shopping for an evening of good food, entertainment, and mixing with the crowd. September 28 and October 26 will be the last “food truck rodeo” Wednesdays this year.
Picnic tables and chairs replace the produce stands. Rodeo food trucks surround the entire perimeter of the market, offering a menu for every palette. Hundreds of people (parking is “circle until you find an opening”) mill about, enjoying the leisurely atmosphere, music, and rodeo cuisine.
After devouring a Rosito bowl from one of the vendors, I stopped by ODM’s display to learn what is new at the Mission. I met Michael Hennessy, Executive Director and Ashley Roose, the Mission’s new Executive Administrator and HR Manager, and we talked about how the Open Door Mission and the Rochester Public Market enjoy a “sustainable” relationship, as Hennessy described it.
The Mission feeds the hungry year round. But during the summer, as the exclusive charity on the Public Market grounds, ODM sells wooden tokens that are then used to purchase fresh produce from the local farmers who sell at the market. This supports the farmers and provides homegrown vegetables the Mission uses to prepare the meals at its Samaritan House on West Avenue.
It is always a challenge to have enough funds to feed the hungry in a city the size of Rochester, and the Mission’s three-month “Stop the Growl” challenge to fill empty stomachs will conclude at the end of August, hopefully meeting its $52,000 goal.
Being at the open door market made me realize how much Rochester’s city life has to offer. For some, though, life on the streets can be a desperate struggle to survive. Yet the good things in Rochester stay. Farmers have been selling homegrown produce at the Public Market since 1905, and the Open Door Mission has been serving the homeless and impoverished since 1952.
For years, the Mission has provided food and emergency housing daily, as well as clothing for women and children. ODM hopes to have transitional housing with a structured program for women and children in place later in 2017.
Currently, the Mission offers a 12 month Christian Life Recovery Program designed for individuals caught up in substance abuse, or experiencing a life out of their control for a variety of reasons. Daily chapel service and weekly Bible study witness that lasting change comes only through Jesus, and staffers at the Mission have seen that truth played out regularly.
At the Open Door Mission display, I picked up a flyer about this summer’s Code Red, a seasonal project to provide such items as sunscreen and water to help people cope with the summer heat. In this exceptionally hot summer, the homeless and those with health issues suffer the most.
“We try to give care to people who don’t have the means to care for themselves,” Chris Scribani, Open Door Mission’s Assistant Director of Development and communications said in a telephone interview.
August will bring the “Backpack to School Giveaway” program back to life. As parents prepare for their own children, many will also purchase backpacks and school items for inner city children. For information about backpacks and needed items, visit Open Door Mission website at http://opendoormissionrocny.org/.
The latest innovation at Open Door Mission is the new mobile app, which makes a virtual visit to the Mission easier. People will be able to give, volunteer, find out what’s needed, what’s going on, and chat, all with a mere click on their cell phone. Go to the ODM’s website and begin the download from there.
This year, Open Door Mission is now a United Way Giving Option. Besides providing for more donations, it is worth noting that to become a United Way option, one must demonstrate excellent stewardship through a rigorous audit. In fact, the Mission’s financial statement of functional expenses is included on its webpage.
I asked Scribani what he would like to say to our readers. He replied, “We ask for prayers as we continue to make plans to serve women and children in 2016 in transitional housing. Ask God to continue to give Open Door Mission guidance as it makes plans, and for continued support from our fine community.”
Camp Cherith of Western NY, 9534 Short Tract Rd. in Hunt, NY, (3 miles south of Nunda off Rte. 436), has dates set for the second season of Adventure Tree Climbing! This wildly popular activity is perfect for a church or youth group activity, sports teams, a family event, or anyone aged 6 and up looking for adventure. Trained facilitators help climbers safely harness themselves to a ropes attached high up in the tree, and coach you to maneuver yourself up to new heights. Cost is $15 per person for 2 hours, or $10 per person for a group of 3 or more. Dates for 2016 are April 24, May 14-15, June 28-29, and July 23, although you may try to arrange your own date by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 716-604-5815. Add this super fun activity to your bucket list this year.
Anyone really involved in camp ministry knows that camp isn’t something that happens for 5-7 weeks of a summer, and then is not thought about until the next season. Planning happens all year round to insure that folks are given the best of which we are capable of giving, and to provide opportunities for some who may not be able to afford the total expenses involved. The annual spaghetti dinner (with salad, roll, dessert and drinks) and silent auction will be held on Saturday, May 14th, 2016 to benefit the scholarship fund. Tickets are very reasonably priced at $7 for adult, and $4 for children 12 and under. Dinner and silent auction run from 4:30 – 6:30 (take outs are available), with a live auction at 7:00. There will be a wide variety of sports stuff, gift cards and certificates for dining options and entertainment, lovely hand-made art, plus craft and gift items available. For donations or questions, call Diana – 585-658-4008, or email her at email@example.com.
Lastly, we are having a Girls’ Sneak Peek weekend May 13-14 from Friday 7:00 pm – Saturday 4:00 pm. Calling all girls who want to see what summer camp is about…! Girls over 7 are invited – with their Moms, grandmothers, and others to get a jump start on making camp memories and friendships that will carry over into the regular camping season. You will be busy with some favorite activities like archery, hiking, ga-ga ball, crafts, wacky contests and games, campfire, silly songs, great food, and interactive Bible study. If coming for both days, the cost is $25 per person, $45 for two, and $65 per family. If coming for Saturday only, the cost is $20 per person, $35 for two, and $50 for 3 family members or more. Contact Evie by May 9 by emailing Rufous10@verizon.net, or calling 410-346-6177. You will need to register and fill out a medical form. You will find everything you need on the website including an online payment option: www.campcherithwny.org/sneakpeek. Check out our newly revised website, www.campcherithwny.org/events.
Pastor And Wife Team Up To Pen Powerful Book On Marriage
By Rick Kern
Pastor Arthur Kerr and his wife, Norma, have authored a deep and perceptive read on the meaning of true, godly love, as it relates to the covenant of marriage. Titled, "The Love Defender: Sure Covenants To Fortify And Secure Your Marriage," it is filled with intense and rare insight into the spiritual inertia of selfless love. "The Love Defender" contrasts the hope, meaning, and joy found in putting your spouse before you, with the destructive force unleashed by clinging to a self-centered version of marriage. And Arthur and Norma aren’t floating any clever ideas or shiny new doctrines from an ivory tower... Instead, they’ve earned the right to drive home their many salient points through their own experience with God, their personal missteps, and the many people they have counseled.
Married in February, 1997, both Arthur and Norma are originally from Jamaica but have been in the United States many years. In addition, each gave their life to the Lord decades ago, and they now serve in full-time Christian service at Christ Divine Assembly. It is a small, but growing fellowship on Hudson Avenue in Rochester, NY, where Arthur is pastor and Norma handles accounting and administrative duties.
The couple, whose motto is, "The marriage kept is the marriage under God’s covenant," both share a growing concern over what they view as a deeply flawed perception of love and marriage in today’s society. They are also very disturbed by the deteriorating condition of what has seemingly become not-so-holy-matrimony, especially throughout contemporary Christianity. Enter, "The Love Defender," written primarily to address these concerns among the Body of Christ.
"We see decay in marriage, even in the church," Arthur explains, "Christians are losing their focus on the Word of God and taking marriage lightly." He continues, "We want to stress the importance of going according to the Word - God’s way has challenges, but it will work out.
Interestingly, the book and its unique title were birthed in a sort of night-vision. It was more than a dream, waking Norma from her night’s sleep to greet the morning with the phrase, "The Love Defender" clearly resounding through her heart and mind. "The Word of God is the defender of our love," she explains, "and it will defend our marriages as well."
The premise for the book can actually be found on its back cover which says, "The Love Defender is a call to the Christian couple to travel together the journey of selfless love." "Jesus Christ demonstrated His love for us and it wasn’t selfish — it was selfless and covers a multitude of sins," explains Norma. "Love plays a major role in marriage, in ministering, and in relationships." She goes on to say, "1 Corinthians 13 describes selfless love and it will be tried, but Christ came not because we were wonderful, but because He was willing to lay aside Himself to serve us. We must do the same thing in our marriages and lay ourselves aside for one another’s good - the husband for the wife and the wife for the husband."
It’s not an unfamiliar concept as the couple has been walking in selflessness through the day-to-day intensity of their own love and ministerial service to their church. "We try to practice what we preach," Norma observes, "there are no perfect marriages and we all have our ups and downs. We ask ourselves, what would Jesus do and put the Word of God as our top priority. We don’t just preach it, you have to live what you preach."
Giving an admirably honest perspective as a wife she reveals, "In ministry it’s lots of work to be a wife and be there for my two kids, my husband, and the church. I assist my husband and he’s focused, but I can get discouraged and waiver. I have to go back and deny myself. I am called to this life. It’s not about me, it’s about the Lord."
Piggybacking on that idea, the back of the book also notes, "A joyful marriage is possible but the decision is ours," and Norma is adamant about what it takes to decide for joy. "Happiness happens when something happens," she says, "Joy is a constant strength." She goes on to explain, "You have to purposefully decide for joy in your marriage. I’m going to decide to make this marriage strong; I’m going to decide to do what it takes. It’s a question of daily decisions to submit to the Word of God or the flesh."
The whole idea of a joyous life and marriage holds a lot of meaning for the couple as they have been through the savagery of what they refer to as, "relational disillusionment and heartbreak." For Norma it came through the son of a minister who she had a romantic relationship with. Because they were both Christians, she assumed that they shared the same value system and sense of Christian morality. However, she found out the hard way that what the word "Christian" meant to her and what it meant to him were two very different, and conflicting dynamics in some extremely critical areas. And while the wounding she suffered was initially swift, its healing took time, but yielded tremendous fruit. Today, the joy she walks in with respect to her loving relationship with her husband is a treasure she guards with an insightful vigilance.
In the last analysis, Arthur and Norma have written a remarkable book that not only challenges the status quo and points to the path of a godly marriage; it also clarifies both the virtue and anatomy of agape love. "Selflessness is the answer to the disputes and discord marriages face by enabling one party to maintain focus on the good of the other," explains Norma. "We have to approach it by thinking about the other person; after all, Jesus didn’t think about Himself, but rather, us, and that’s why He went to Calvary." She pulls no punches exhorting others to stop in the heat of conflict and seek the highest good of the other person. "I have to ask, how will my words, my actions affect my husband? We have to weigh each action and word in light of selflessness. It will really help marriages."
"The Love Defender: Sure Covenants To Fortify And Secure Your Marriage," can be ordered online through the Websites of Westbow Press, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble.
An Interview With Dr. Dino Pedrone, President Of Davis College
By Rick Kern
Recently, The Good News had the opportunity to connect with Dr. Dino Pedrone, president of Davis College in Johnson City, New York. Dr. Pedrone is Davis College’s ninth president and no stranger to the rigors of successful ministry. Before his tenure at the Davis, Dr. Pedrone pastored two churches over a forty-year period. He has served as president of the Florida Association of Christian Colleges and Schools, an association of nearly 60,000 educators and Christian leaders, authored some twenty books and booklets, and contributed to various articles and magazines. His most recent book, a commentary on the book of Esther, is titled, "God is Always at Work... Even When You Don’t Know It." He has had national radio and television ministries, and is contagiously passionate about training men and women to serve Jesus Christ through accredited biblical higher education. He and his wife Bobbi have four grown children and three grandchildren.
The Good News: You begin your welcome statement by saying that, "since 1900 we have been pursuing God." How would you describe the primary difference between pursuing knowledge about God and intimately pursuing God Himself?
Dr. Dino Pedrone: That is really a great question. It’s easy at a Bible college like ours to learn a lot of things about theology that are very important to us and it almost becomes a science after a while. But the fact is that we do want our students to know God personally. I think there are probably some words that describe that to us. One would be the word: meditate. The Bible speaks to us often about meditation. For example, in the first Psalm, the Psalmist speaks to us about meditation and he said the person who is the blessed man, his delight is in the law of the Lord and in His law he does meditate day and night.
In fact, we just finished a month here at the college talking about Bible study and meditation. The word meditation has with it the idea of pondering, and of reconsidering, which, in our busy schedules today, it is not easy to often do. I would say the primary difference between pursuing knowledge about God and pursuing God is that we have to take the knowledge and spend time with Him thinking through what it is that He has taught us. There’s an interesting prayer in Colossians, Chapter 1 where he talked about prayer and the knowledge of God it’s a very simple prayer; it’s in verses 9-12 of Colossians 1 and he talked there about the knowledge of God’s will and he gave us four segues. One was wisdom; the second was spiritual understanding, or what we might call worship; the third was our walk being worthy of the Lord; and the fourth was our work. I really think that if we ever can learn to follow this pattern, these segues would help us immensely in our walk with God.
Having said all that I would also say that it is important to remember that the Christian life is not a hard life, it is an impossible life! And the only way we can live the Christian life is when Christ is living His life through us. So, one of the things we try to teach our students and we as leadership try to practice ourselves is that we are constantly learning that Christ has to live His life through us. We’ve been pursuing God for over 100 years at the college and I believe that there is a knowledge of God that we must get to but that knowledge must be put into the practice of those segues; wisdom, understanding, worship, and our service of the Lord.
The Good News: How does Davis College assure that its students’ primary focus stays on the pursuit of God, while keeping its secondary focus on the pursuit of knowledge about God.
Dr. Dino Pedrone: Students come to the college for an academic education, they come here to learn. We have some wonderful programs and concentrations where they can leave here and go right in to many fields. But we also understand that unless we pursue God first and foremost, that we can end up doing the things we do simply out of memory, and simply out of the fact that we’re obligated to do them. So one of the things that we do at the college is that once they’re here for a while, we encourage our students to get into internships. When they go out and get involved in internships, they begin to learn what it means to serve God because now they’re dealing with the hearts of other people. And so, we feel that one of the most important things that students get when they come to the college is this privilege of going out and serving the Lord in a local church maybe in some counseling setting, perhaps they go to camps, perhaps they go overseas. If they begin to do these kinds of ministries, they begin to grasp the importance for them being involved in the lives of others. They see that, spiritually speaking, walking with God in a practical way is a very important thing.
The Good News: In the college’s history, you note that, "A major in Bible/theology is at the core of all programs." Why is this the axis Davis’ academic world revolves around? How does this core shape godly character, craft intimacy with God, and create purity of heart before the Lord.
Dr. Dino Pedrone: There is a real need today in American biblical illiteracy. There are many young people who are not raised in the church; they’ve gone to a school which will not have any kind of religious affiliation, and therefore they know very little about the Lord, very little about the Bible, and very little theology. So, whereas years ago students would come to a college like ours with a prior understanding, today it’s a different world. We do have many students who come with a good Christian home background, a Christian school background, and perhaps a good background in homeschooling or with their local church, but there are many others who do not and so as we look at it, studying the Bible or theology. The knowledge of God is at the very heart of being able to build the kind of character and intimacy we need to have with the Lord. The fact is we are all creatures who are made by God with a spiritual dimension where we really need to focus on Him and who He is. And as we do that it does begin to shape a godly character in us and intimacy with God. We want our students to be thinking about the fact that anywhere they go the Lord does go with them.
And we’re so thankful here at the college we have so many young people that have graduated and are serving the Lord all over the world. Many of them send letters to us about the intimacy they began to build with God here at the college. For example here on the campus we have prayer rooms and we tell the students they can go spend time with God anytime they want. There is a lot of acreage here too, where students can walk and spend time alone with God getting to know Him. So the heart of the college is Bible, it is theology, but we are training students here for real world action and life action when they leave this place.
The Good News: How intense is spiritual warfare on campus in the battle for the hearts and minds of your students? Can you describe life in the trenches there? Is there a collaborative effort between students and faculty in this battle?
Dr. Dino Pedrone: Generally speaking, when we look at the college it’s interesting that usually at the beginning of the school year there is this euphoric sense that people experience. They’re in a college where the Bible is supreme; they’ve got these wonderful professors that really have a heart for God, but then life begins to happen and they live in dorms with one another. They begin to deal with the fact that they have to do homework, and that they have classes that they have to be at, and it all becomes very real!
And we’ve found that with the students during November or December, there can be a disinterest that sets in, depression that sets in, disharmony that sets in. It will go away when they leave for the break and then they return revved up again, but by April the negative struggles set in again. Part of it is nothing more than physical fatigue and mental fatigue from all the work that they’re doing, but that’s true anywhere that you go to school. But I also believe that here in a place like ours, that the devil does not want these students to prepare. He doesn’t want them to get ready.
One of the things we always teach at the college is that God always uses a prepared person. But you’ve got to prepare yourself properly and you’ve got to prepare yourself well. And we find that so many times there are students that need time with their professors, time with student development, time just learning how to get through the things of life. Life for many of the students here, even though many of them will go into ministry, is the same as it is for people everywhere. They’re going to have struggles, disappointments, discouragement, some of them have to go back home to family members that don’t even want them at a Bible college. So they have to learn to deal with all that but again, the joy is finding out that Christ is living His life through all of them.
One of the great blessings of Davis is that there are so many students who will go up to the Broadway Café, our coffee shop, and they’ll spend time with a professor not talking about the classroom or academics, but talking about life. And they can go into the offices of our professors and they can talk about life. So many students speak about one of the things that make a difference here and it’s that! They talk about it all from the perspective of cutting edge stuff, but we do look at it from the place of spiritual warfare, they have the same struggles here that any school has. But again, our goal here is not a faculty and staff distinction, we’re learning ourselves, and just as we learn I think the students begin to learn as well.
When I became the president of Davis College I called some friends of mine who were in education and said, "Give me your best advice." One of which was Dr. Albert Townes, who was the cofounder of Liberty University. Very quickly he said to me there are two things you have to tell students all the time. First: don’t quit. And he made it very clear tell them not to quit! Then he told me to tell them to finish well. He said you really do have to tell them that, it’s so easy for them to get discouraged. Sometimes we tell God what we want Him to do rather than wait for His directives, it is all a part of the spiritual warfare we face.
The Good News: You keep a very rigorous speaking schedule; clearly connecting with the church at large on a personal level holds great meaning and importance to you. Explain why.
Dr. Dino Pedrone: One of the things I enjoy doing as the president of this college is to meet people. I love being around people. I love pastors and I love church leaders. One of the things I learned early on in my ministry was that I loved to teach and to preach the Word of God. So I probably take 48 or 49 Sundays a year and I go to different churches. When I go there I talk briefly about the college, I usually give a scholarship to the church, then I talk to them about books that I have written, and then I preach a message. Usually I go out to eat with the pastor afterward and enjoy some fellowship. And the purpose is to get to know each other and introduce him to the college.
One of the things we do every year is have a pastor’s conference. Last year we had 300-350 pastors attend. Another thing I do is speak at a lot of Bible conferences, and when I do, I usually speak during the morning and the evening and it gives me the opportunity to teach the Word of God which I love. And when we’re done teaching it, we talk about the college, we recruit students. It’s such a blessed and wonderful experience to be able to do that.
I have Board members and other friends of mine who say you’re going too much, maybe you ought to cut back, but really for my wife and I we don’t feel that way, we so richly enjoy this. We’re almost like on another honeymoon every week when we go and do this. When we go, we just have a good time together, we meet all these great people and some of them connect with our college, it’s a tremendous time. I really enjoy it and many times when I go to a church I sit with alumni or friends of the college. Last week when I was at a church, I met an alumnus from 1945 and she was such a blessing just to chat with for a little while and it’s just great to meet with people like that.
Plus, many of these churches that I am invited to preach in have alumni from our college. We did a survey some time ago that I think it covered about a 125 mile radius around our college. There were 90 churches that were pastored or assistant pastored by Davis College graduates. And we were so thankful for that. We train for many areas of ministry, but pastoring is such a big part of that. My speaking schedule is rigorous, but it is my privilege to be able to do that. I’d have to say it is right at the top of the list along with speaking with the students and staff here.
The Good News: Prior to your tenure as President of Davis College, you pastored two churches over a 40-plus-year-period. That is a long time to drop anchor. In fact, one study asserted that the average pastoral tenure is less than four years. Why is your commitment so stalwart? Assuming there is an appreciable measure of accuracy to these statistics, do you see a relationship between this lack of commitment in pastoral leadership and the lack of commitment building the Kingdom of God. I.E., Do American believers spend more money on Christian CDs that they spend feeding the poor, and if so, is there a relationship with leadership commitment that is traceable?
Dr. Dino Pedrone: Some of the things I have found in this subject is this; I pastored one church for 25 years, I went there as a young man of 24 years old. And I remember there was a woman there who became one of my dearest of friends. At the time she was in her 50’s and she saw me and saw how young I was and asked how can we learn anything from anybody so young? And I looked at her and responded, "I think I agree with you, I don’t know how you’re going to learn anything." Still, we got to know each other and we built a great relationship.
But one of the things I really learned in those days was to preach through the Bible, through each book of the Bible it’s called expository preaching. You take a passage and preach it, take the next one the next week. I learned that style of preaching here at Davis College and it was a real blessing to me. So that was a big part of it, to know where I was going and watching people grow in the Lord.
The second thing I think that was important to me was having a vision. I think it’s one thing to go to a church and to do what the mission calls you to do and to have core values, but you have to know where you want to go. You have to have a vision. Sometimes God changes the vision, but the challenge and then the excitement of communicating that vision doesn’t change. When I came to Davis College, we had a mission and we had excellent core values, but the Board said to me, "you know, one of your roles is to cast the vision." It’s up on the Website in brief and reads, Davis College is leading the way in affordable biblical higher education, connecting quality faculty with cutting-edge technologies and world-class facilities to prepare servant-leaders for Jesus Christ.
Many times a pastor will take a church and come to the end of his rope. He’ll come to the end of his rope in preaching, in counseling, and he’ll just need to get alone with God. Maybe with some people from the church, but he needs to ask, "Where are we going?"
I think another reason pastors don’t last in churches is because of internal problems they run into. Sometimes it’s within their family, sometimes it is within themselves, and sometimes it is issues with church people. There’s always issues with any group anywhere, because we’re human beings and we have to learn to get through those things.
And your statistics are very telling. I think they’re very accurate. There are many churches that don’t have a pastor very long and there are reasons for that. But the question about Christians spending more on CDs than they spend feeding the poor, I think that goes to mission, and there’s probably a lot of truth to that. I do think the church needs to decide what it’s doing. Church is more than having church services, it’s being the body, and feeding the poor is part of that, ministering to the elderly is a part of that, repairing the broken, I think that seeing people come to a church whose lives are broken and seeing the Gospel change their hearts and lives is what it’s all about.
The Good News: You seem to be a prolific author who focuses on the Word of God like a laser beam. Stressing that a relationship with God is critical, you state the need to have "an awareness that religion is not enough." Not enough for what specifically?
Dr. Dino Pedrone: Some years ago I wrote a couple of books and I did it more for my own benefit and a publisher picked them up and used them and so the last few years I’ve been writing a number of books. I would look at them more as devotional commentaries. I’ve written on Colossians, Ephesians, Romans, my most recent one is on Esther. The question it addresses has to do with God always being at work even when you don’t know He is and it is done through the story of Esther.
It segues with how God is never mentioned in Esther yet He was always working even when we don’t realize it. It’s true in our lives as well. My books try to focus on what the Word of God is saying. Religion always comes up empty because it does not fill an empty soul. In everybody there’s a hunger for something. I read an article not long ago where it was speaking about the spiritual hunger of young people today. There are so many young people who have a real hunger for something today but they’re not sure what it is. And I look at that as a spiritual hunger and the answer is the Word of God. It needs to change our lives!
At the last chapel we had last semester, I preached on Jesus’ words on the Sermon on the Mount that we’re to be salt and light, and how He spoke and said you are salt and you are light. That’s already our position in Christ. And so it’s not a question of wanting to become salt or wanting to become light, He says you are that now! And once we grasp who we are in Christ which is our identity, it is such a life-changing thought. And religious activity, even in a good Bible believing church can have lots of religious activity, but it is not centered on Him and the Word of God. And that’s what’s not enough. The only way we can satisfy a holy God is through the righteousness of Jesus Christ. Religion really can come up dry and very empty.
The Good News: Someone once said that "The Kingdom of God is relationships." What would you say that the primary difference between religion and relationship is?
Dr. Dino Pedrone: Relationship is my communion, my fellowship, my time with someone. My time with God when I spend time with God, reminds me of how much more time I should spend with God. My wife and I are very close. We’ve been married a lot of years. Whenever I’m in town we have a habit on Saturday morning where we put the coffee on and we sit and talk just enjoying being in each other’s’ company. We laugh about it because she talks about what she wants to talk about and I talk about what I want to talk about, and sometimes we don’t even listen to each other, but we love being close to one another. It’s interesting how that relationship keeps building with us and that’s the same way our love keeps building with Christ.
But taking that even further, I have the privilege of going to the church I pastored for 25 years and speaking periodically. And when I see people there it is just amazing. As soon as I see them and as soon as they see me we remember things about each other. The kingdom of God really is relationships. It’s getting to know each other, having fellowship with each other, and enjoying each other. The difference between religion and relationship is that religion is something you do to earn it, relationship is something you have built within and of course, Christ has given us that.
The Good News: Any final thoughts?
Dr. Dino Pedrone: I wish your readers could see the number of students here at the college with an incredible passion for Jesus Christ. They really want to live out their life for Him. One thought that always comes to my mind, it’s an old quote by an English cleric named, Herbert Lockyer, who said, "The Son of God became the son of man that the sons of man might become the sons of God." And every time I think about that quote, I think about the greatness and privilege of being a son of God. It’s something that I don’t deserve being the wretch I am, but every time I stand before the Father, I stand before Him in the righteousness of Jesus Christ. It’s a wonderful position I would really desire our students here at the college to understand this position in Christ.
For more information visit Davis College online at http://www.davisny.edu
A Bird Lover’s Passion For Writing As The Lord Takes Wing
By Pat Shea
Even as a child, Patty Mondore loved birds. She would watch as various birds gathered at the feeder her parents had on their lawn, learning their different distinctions and watching as they took flight.
It wasn’t a surprise that when Mondore grew up and purchased her own home with her husband Bob, second only to a lawn mower, she purchased a bird feeder. Eventually one feeder led to two and then, within a short time, Mondore’s home boasted seven bird feeders. "I probably need a support group for people who don’t know when to stop buying birdfeeders," laughed Mondore, who also confessed she has about seven additional feeders at her camp up north.
Along with a love of birds, Mondore grew up with a love of writing. "I think I wrote my first sentence in first grade and have been pretty much writing ever since." Combining her passion for nature and writing with her love of the Lord, Mondore began carving out a niche as a devotional writer.
"The owner of a publishing company got an idea to do an outdoor devotional series and asked me if I would like to try writing one. I wrote three," laughed Mondore. "He loved them all and was going to publish them, but then he retired. So there I was with my three unpublished devotionals."
Rather than giving up the idea of publishing the devotionals, Mondore instead researched and approached a small outdoor and Christian book publisher in Maine. "I asked if she had any interest in Christian outdoor devotionals. She loved the idea and now here we are… three books later!" exclaimed Mondore.
Although Mondore had found an audience for her devotionals, she found there were critics who felt her talents would shine brighter if she dropped all of the "church talk" or "religion" from her writing.
"My goal in life is not to be a great or popular author, but to share the Lord with as many people as possible. If I don’t write something that expresses my faith or my Lord in some way, I really don’t have anything to write about. I do love nature and love to write about it, but only in the context of the One who created it all," says Mondore.
Mondore’s recent release, "A Bird Lover’s Reflections: A 90-Day Devotional and Journal for People Who Love Birds," is both a devotional and a journal for those with the same love of birds and writing that Mondore has.
"There are plenty of nature books, and plenty of devotionals, but not that many which combine the two, and even less that also include a section for journaling," stated Mondore.
For writers who may be considering how to combine their own passion with writing a devotional, Mondore offers this advice: "Do it. Don’t think about publishing; that is secondary to writing. If the Lord has put the passion for writing in your heart then write! He will show you what to do with it when it is finished. I think some writing is for our own personal use. Some is just to be shared with friends and family. If there are enough friends and family, one can always self-publish. Another avenue to share your writing is by doing a blog. There are blogs that have been read by more people than had the author ever tried to put it into a book format. Just write, seek God, and He’ll show you the direction to go.
In addition to Mondore’s recent release, she has written "River Reflections: A 90-Day Devotional for People Who Love the Water" and "Nature Reflections: A 90-Day Devotional for People Who Love Nature," "River-Lations: Inspirational stories and photos from the Thousand Islands," "A Good Paddling," "To Love, Honor," "OH BOY," and "Perennial Faith." Mondore and her husband Bob have co-authored "Singer Castle," and "Singer Castle Revisited" published by Arcadia Publishing, and co-produced Dark Island’s "Castle of Mysteries" documentary DVD, in addition to a Thousand Islands inspirational music DVD trilogy. Mondore is also a contributing writer for the Thousand Islands Sun. Her column, "River-Lations," appears in the Vacationer throughout the summer months.
Looking toward the future, Mondore is very optimistic. "I try to use every opportunity that the Lord opens up for me but I have to admit I especially enjoy writing inspirational articles in a ‘secular’ setting. The greatest pleasure is in hearing that someone read something I wrote and was encouraged in their faith, or drawn to the Lord (or closer to the Lord). That’s what it’s all about."
Patty Mondore’s newest book, "A Bird Lover’s Reflections: A 90-Day Devotional and Journal for People Who Love Birds" is now available from Amazon.com. For more information about Patty Mondore, visit www.gold-mountain.com.
Bethlehem Revival Temple In Niagara Falls: A Small Church With A Big Heart
By Rick Kern
1957 was a remarkable year! According to "thepeoplehistory.com," new cars were equipped with bigger fins, more lights, and much more powerful engines. And, try not to cry, but the average vehicle sold for just under $3,000.00, the price of new house was about $12,220.00, with monthly rent going for around $90.00, and the average annual wage was approximately $4,550.00. A gallon of gas listed at 24 cents and eggs were a whopping 28 cents a dozen.
While the Asian flu pandemic would claim over 150,000 lives in 1957, what would soon make headlines as the Vietnam War was just beginning to pick up steam as Viet Cong Guerrillas attacked South Vietnam. 1957 also marked the peak of the Baby Boomer years with Martin Luther King Jr. courageously becoming the point-man of a nationwide resistance to racial discrimination. And as he bravely answered his call to rise up and walk, our government joined in the fray sending federal troops to Arkansas to enforce anti-segregation laws.
Kids played with Slinkys and Hula Hoops while their parents went to the movies and watched "Twelve Angry Men" and "The Bridge Over the River Kwai." When they kicked back at home, they watched "Perry Mason" and "Maverick" on TV, which debuted that year, while teenagers glued transistor radios to their ears and rock-and-rolled to "Little Richard," "Elvis," and "Chuck Berry." The Beatles were yet to change the world and were just a bunch of adolescents back in Liverpool, England. John Lennon did, however, meet Paul McCartney in the summer of 1957 - in a church hall of all places.
Something else happened in 1957. That fall, in the home of Reverend Wade Thomas, four people got together to pray and study the Word of God; four people who would ultimately become the roots of "Bethlehem Revival Temple." The group matured and eventually moved from Reverend Thomas’s home to the basement of an old building where they assumed the curiously poetic, yet understandable moniker, "The Church Underground."
As the gathering grew, they built their first building at 2010 Virginia Avenue in Niagara Falls, NY in 1963. However, it didn’t stop there and as the Lord added to the congregation; they began to burst at the seams, leading them to put a healthy addition onto their building in 1975. "The Church Underground" was becoming increasingly more visible as they stayed true to their mandate.
Today the congregation of around 100 parishioners is called "Bethlehem Revival Temple" (BRT) and is shepherded by Dr. Evelyn L. Parmer. BRT, which has no denominational affiliation, is an extremely community-minded fellowship, and, according to Dr. Parmer, is the only church in Niagara Falls that offers a Sunday evening service. Additionally, they sponsor an after-school program that helps kids with homework, tutors them in their studies, and offers a snack to hold them over until dinner. They also have a men’s ministry and a women’s outreach to edify their parishioners.
"I love people," says Dr. Parmer, "I love seeing the growth of people and am excited about the move of God at this time. I believe this is the will of God concerning me," she continues, "so I feel no hardship. I love seeing people saved and mature in the Spirit; that, I love."
In addition, BRT works with a local mission to help feed the poor, receives an offering to support local firefighters’ programs to meet the needs of disadvantaged people, and recently submitted an application to minister in prisons. "We want to go beyond our doors to help others," says Parmer, "If there is a need in this community we find out about, we do what we can to meet it. We are also trying to reach out to the lost and occasionally go door-to-door."
BRT is definitely not standing still. Plans are in the works to team up with two other like-minded fellowships, "Word of Life" and "Walnut Christian Church," and hold a city-wide tent revival. Presently scheduled to take place July 13-16, 2016, the event is slated to offer two services each day with considerable involvement from the youth of the three congregations. "We desire to bring people to a knowledge of the cross and how God loves us enough to have sent His Son," explains Dr. Parmer. "I’m excited about seeing our church going in a new direction and focusing more on outreach."
The outreach is perfectly emblematic of BRT’s vision statement which clearly and concisely expresses the church’s heart and obviously serves as a guide. Formally christened "The E Vision," it proclaims that the vision of Bethlehem Revival Temple is:
To reach the lost with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
To Enlighten them with the knowledge of salvation.
To Enrich them that they know the power of the Gospel.
To Empower them that through knowing Jesus Christ they are more than a conqueror;
and to live a victorious life to overcome Satan’s devices.
To prepare our future generation by Equipping them to continue the work.
And Evangelizing the world.
Dr. Parmer is completely sold on and sold out to the Bible. "Christ is the answer and the Word of God is the solution, whatever the problems may be" she reflects. Chuckling she muses, "The Bible says that a whale swallowed Jonah, but if it said that Jonah swallowed the whale I’d believe that!" And while she knows her Bible and can hold her own in a theological debate with any scholar, she has no illusions about the call of God and answer to the world’s problems. "He so loved the world so I have to love," she notes resolutely. "Sometimes I have to love those who aren’t so loveable," she asserts, "but the love of Christ enables us to rise up and let us be what Christ would have us to be."
A widow for some 24-years, she is talking what she is walking — not the other way around. Her personal journey is dramatic enough to be a Lifetime movie or land her an appearance on Oprah.
She had a daughter out-of-wedlock who ultimately led her to Christ nearly 44-years ago, returned to school to earn her GED, and became an LPN, a profession she mastered for over 40-years. And while she may be the mother of one, Parmer is also a grandmother of four and even a great-great grandmother. "No one is here by accident," she notes, "my daughter got saved before me and led me to the Lord." Highlighting the twist of destiny she continues, "I gave birth to her naturally, but she begot me spiritually."
That being said, you might guess she is a big fan of Romans 8:28, "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." Looking back across the years she reflects, "I’ve never had a day when I wanted to give up on God; my worst day in the Lord is better than my best day without Him."
Her tenure as a minister runs the gambit and takes the Word of God at face value; to minister is to serve in her mind, nothing more. Accordingly, the 74-year-old has done it all from cleaning the church, to ushering, to pastoring a pursuit she has followed passionately some five years though she has had the title just three.
She has seen it all, including a person come back from the dead in response to her own desperate prayers. That person was her sister whose internal defibrillator stopped working in the middle of Burger King. According to Dr. Parmer, as her sister lay there slumped over, unmovable and observably gone to this tenured nurse, she cried out to God for her life three separate times with no one in the restaurant even willing to help move the woman so she could administer CPR.
Amazingly, while the defibrillator failed to work, it continued to record her sister’s heart’s activity, even when there was none. It also recorded the moment when she came back and her heart began to beat again. While the medical community calls it "Sudden Death Syndrome," and her sister’s physician simply said, "I just don’t understand," Dr. Parmer simply calls it the way she sees it, "a miracle."
"Things may be painful, you may be hurting and have no answer," she says, "but if you love the Lord through it, He’ll get the glory." And His glory looks to be front-and-center in her future. "I have a vision of God just being glorified," she declares passionately. "I’m active, I’m busy; people can’t believe it. I just love the Lord, I really do and I’m glad He loves me."
7 Reasons To Go To Summer Camp!
By Nathan Welton, www.hopevalleycamp.com
Summer camp at Hope Valley Retreat Center in Western New York can be an affordable vacation for the whole family. Not only do your children enjoy the benefit of time away and making new friends, but mom and dad get a relaxing break with a quiet home for a few days.
Summer Camp Culture!
If you have never had the experience of attending summer camp in the past it is hard to explain the full value of the experience in just a few words, but I will try. There is something uniquely special about the opportunity to go away from home for a week and meet new friends, try dozens of new things and be stretched in ways that a young person doesn’t experience with the everyday routine. For most children they meet their friends in one of several places. They sit next to them on the bus or in school. Go to church with them, or live next door to them. How many children have friends that live outside of their zip code? How many have grown up in a different culture or home life? Very few, in fact. But that is just one of the many benefits that summer camp has to offer. The opportunity to get to know children from a different area of your region and learn what life is like in their culture. This past summer we had a counselor that was preparing to travel to China for a year as part of a missions organization. And this year we have 3 different staff members coming from outside of New York that will bring their diverse life stories and experiences to camp for the children to learn from.
This is one of the biggest blessings that summer camp conveys onto children. Many parents don’t realize how important it is to begin teaching children at a young age how to be self-reliant and independent. This is not to develop a people-averse personality, but rather to develop a young person that can stand on his or her own feet and face life head on. There is an epidemic in our country today of young people that graduate from college and move back home and stay there until they are in their late 20’s or even early 30’s. There are a number of factors and reasons behind this, but one major issue is that children are not learning how to survive in the adult world. Summer camp teaches them skills that may seem basic, but will prepare them for the future. Responsibilities like making their beds, cleaning their cabin, reporting to activities at set times, completing tasks and working as a team. All of these factors play a role in shaping a young person that will be ready for the adult world when it is presented to them.
Summer Camp Memories!
The songs, stories and games will become memories that last a lifetime. I still remember the first time I played "carpetball" over 25 years ago. And the silly songs we used to sing around the campfire. Our world moves so fast today and children are forced to grow up too quickly. Violence and sex is in our entertainment and all over the internet. The nightly news is depressing. Common Core curriculum is causing stress issues for kids. Summer camp is the perfect environment for a child to go and escape all of that. To sing silly songs about bugs, farts and fire. To learn goofy games that no one outside of camp will ever understand, but that will be the most fun thing they’ve ever done without batteries.
I know that most, if not ALL, camp movies joke about how terrible the food at summer camp is. At Hope Valley Camp we employ a great kitchen staff that works hard to provide the most delicious and nutritious balanced meals daily for the children. The kids will be playing hard and it’s important that we meet their dietary needs and provide the flavors they want as well. This is one area that we are constantly hearing positive feedback from the kids about. They love the food and we love to feed them. There are no hungry mouths at the end of a meal. Our counseling staff is trained to encourage all of the children to eat well balanced meals and to learn respectful table manners.
Sleeping at Summer Camp!
We know! We know! Kids hate to sleep, but with all that they do at camp they are plumb tuckered out at the end of the night. All day long it is go, go, go! But we make sure that each night the children get an ample amount of rest for the next day with responsible bedtimes and proper supervision. And our beds are super comfortable with twin size inner spring mattresses just like college students have in their dorms; none of those thin foam pads that you find at some summer camps. We want your kids to be treated the same way we would want ours treated, with respect, love and comfort.
This is one of the greatest blessings that summer camp provides for children. Too many of our youth have no connection with the earth that we have been given. We know it’s under our feet and that we should take care of it, but they’ve never seen how creeks form rivers and end up in ponds or lakes. They haven’t seen a plant put in the ground and watched it grow into a mighty tree, or caught a frog and watched how its body moves to create the croaking sounds that resound around camp night. These are all things that are experienced daily at summer camp. This magical land gives children a place to reconnect with the earth in a way that our grandparents would have; to pull a wriggling bluegill out of the pond water and release it from the hook, to dig under rotting logs for crickets and worms to catch that bluegill, or hiking the woods to identify different trees and bushes. What is safe to touch and eat? What will give you a rash? Learning how to build a shelter in the woods out of sticks and leaves in case a tragic event leaves you stranded somehow and in need of a place to escape the weather. Picking through smooth creek stones looking for just the right color and shine to take back home and show your friends. Oh, the outdoors is such a special place and has so much to share with your children.
This was always the highlight of my week at camp; singing silly songs with my friends, or hearing great stories about heroes that had come before us and served God in amazing ways. Watching the flames rage orange, red, yellow and sometimes blue as they crackled and the sparks filled the cool night sky. Enjoying the peace of the fire as it slowly waned and the wood burned away until only hot red embers were left. Then walking back to our cabin by the dim glow of our flashlights as the counselor dowsed the hot coals with a bucket of water until we could repeat the process again the next night. It was glorious!
In Summary, summer camp is the best thing you could ever do for your child. It is worth the investment and the experience will pay dividends for years to come.
Roberts Cultural Life Center Anticipates Exciting Year Ahead
By Susan LeDoux
It’s clear that David Dunn, Director of the Roberts Cultural Life Center, loves his job. For the past fifteen years, this theater manager (and musician) has driven to Roberts Wesleyan College campus, hung his hat in his guitar and photo filled office, and relished interacting with his staff, Wesleyan students, big (and a little less big) name performers and their representatives. Pavarotti rehearsed in the Center’s Hale Auditorium, where just last week the Annie Moses Band wowed the audience.
"Oh my goodness," he said, "They were one of the best groups we’ve ever had here. The quality of musicianship - Julliard trained, classical crossovers, and believers. Everyone is related, except the drummer. They start with a string quartet, with two violins, a viola, and cello. Then they add a piano, bass drums, guitar, harp, and mandolin. The voices are angelic. That good! It was quality entertainment where people walk away and go ‘wow!
His enthusiasm extends to the organizations that provide entertainers for his venue. Kingdom Bound Ministries, which puts on the three day annual Festival at Darien Lake, has worked with Dunn, as well as with Roberts Wesleyan College and Northeastern Seminary, for over twelve years. Kingdom Bound Ministries books one concert each year in the Athletic Center, which can hold 2,500 people.
The Lighthouse Events, a Christian concert ministry based in Maine, recently brought Laura Story to the Cultural Life Center. Story won the Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Christian Music Song as well as the Billboard Music Award for Top Christian Song, both in 2012. Just this September, the Cultural Life Center featured the Rend Collective of Ireland, now one of their hottest groups. It was a "sold out concert which was just wonderful." Dunn added, "We’re looking to do more with them in the future."
Through his friends at Trinity Communications in Indiana, Dunn has booked Ernie Haas + Signature Sound, as well as Mark Lowry, a Southern Gospel musician and comedian.
Dunn is looking forward to the performance, just booked for November 6, 2016, of another comedian: the popular Tim Hawkins. According to Dunn, his performance last year was so well attended, they ended up adding a matinee to the evening show. This coming year, Hawkins will perform in the larger Athletic Center.
Dunn describes his contacts with these various organizations as a "God thing."
"Bob from Trinity Communications called me one day and said, ‘I hear you put on concerts. We’re looking to put them on in your area.’"
"Same with Jeff Wall from The Lighthouse Events. It’s just networking and a God thing the way he puts people in touch at the right time. We have our area of influence. Kingdom Bound has their area of influence. Others have areas of influence. As we market together, we get bigger crowds."
Dates are filling for 2016. For the Baby Boomers, April will bring The Hit Men, featuring the music and formers stars who played with names like Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, and Tommy James and the Shondells.
This coming year is also the Cultural Life Center’s 20th anniversary, so to celebrate, major concerts audiences loved in the past, will return. You can look forward to The Brass Transit out of Chicago, musicians from Nashville, and other top names.
Dunn believes diversity of artists is a great thing. Theater programming at the Center is growing too. Last week, Wesleyan theater minors put on The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. "The makeup, scenery, had impact," he said. "The cast was zealous about what they were doing. I would like to have productions by theater majors also."
While Roberts Cultural Life Center is attracting bigger names and sold out audiences, it is always part of Roberts Wesleyan College. Every Monday brings students and faculty together for chapel in Hale Auditorium, and not infrequently, Dunn joins in the music worship.
"Students come first. You can quote me on that," Dunn asserted when asked about scheduling events. Because Hale Auditorium can hold 1000 people, and they continue to upgrade lights and sound equipment, it has become a popular venue to book by outside promoters.
"We continually have people knocking on the door. It’s a great thing. We like to help as many as we can. Concerts and college needs come first and we book around that."
To visit Roberts Cultural Life Center to learn more, go to www.roberts/clc.
An Interview With Dr. Gregory Alan Thornbury, President Of The King’s College In NYC
By Susan LeDoux
Located in the heart of New York City, The King’s College stands alone. Not because it is a Christian College, and not because it sits in what Pope Paul II called "the capital of planet earth." Study its website at www.tkc.edu and you will realize this is a small college (current student body size of 510) with one purpose: to shape culture.
In an interview with Dr. Gregory Alan Thornbury, The Good News reflected this observation. His response was swift and emphatic.
"Ah! You’ve got it! Everything in an institution should flow downstream from the mission statement. The Mission Statement of The King’s College is: through the truths of Christianity and a Biblical worldview, The King’s College prepares students for careers in which they will help to shape, potentially lead strategic public and private institutions."
Hence, the handful of undergraduate degree programs (Business; Finance; Media Culture and the Arts; Politics Philosophy and Economics; and Religious and Theological Studies) prepare students to impact areas of law, finance, art, entertainment, film media, journalism, to name a few strategic engines of culture.
The distinctive Politics, Philosophy, and Economics Major is based on Oxford, England’s PPE degree dating back to 1920, and, according to Thornbury, is a "proven winner." He referred to an article in which the writer wondered if there was a conspiracy because ten out of twelve of David Cameron’s ministers were graduates of Oxford’s PPE. "No," Thornbury said, "PPE graduates know how to run stuff."
He noted that, with too many available choices of majors, students are more likely to drift from one to another. "There’s a pretty reliable set of information about Western civilization that you need to know; and it basically goes from Plato to NATO." Consequently, basing curriculum on that premise, he believes King’s College graduates will more likely "see things at a higher level, than someone who was just focused on technical, pragmatic stuff when they went to college."
"When you look at our majors, we’re sending students into the publishing houses; the big financial firms in New York City. These are things that shape culture. That’s why we’re very much focused in the majors we have. Other majors like engineering, chemistry, nursing; wonderful, worthy professions, all of them, they’re more on the side of keeping civilization running, but not creating culture."
A broad term, Thornbury borrows the German theorist, Johann Herder’s definition of culture as, "the lifeblood of a people; the flow of moral energy that keeps a society intact."
Culture’s "moral energy" reigns alive and well at King’s College and in its Honor Code, which each student signs. The Code extends even to communal living in the various campus undergraduate Houses. As each House was established, the students voted on a name that reflected a role model they respected from the Western tradition, such as Bonheoffer, (Ronald) Regan, or (Corrie) Ten Boom.
Within the Houses and on campus, the Honor Code requires a student to confront a peer who is breaking the code. The Good News wondered if the students actually did that. Thornbury responded that it is about self-governance, which comes from the Bible. "If you look at the tribes of Israel, the original plan was for them not to have a king, not to be in this world in which every single problem was solved for them. That’s why they had self-governance...So that’s the Honor Code at King’s."
Regarding handling personal conflict, Thornbury maintains if one cannot learn to follow Matthew 22, and take care of problems, one will not be prepared to be a good spouse, parent, or friend. "It’s truth telling. When you tell the truth, it has a remarkable way of clearing the air... It’s harder. Hello. Welcome to reality."
From the dress code, to the honor code, with majors that are not for the feint of heart, in a city that crushes the weak and elevates the strong, The King’s College could be your best or worst choice for higher education.
Students are competitive. The school year begins with a fall retreat, with its "infamous" drama competition, the first of several yearlong competitions, which culminate in the final "interregnum." During the interregnum, students take three days off from class and engage in academic, scholarly debate, moot court, artistic competitions, recite great speeches, all in order for a House to gain the winning points.
In addition to class work, internships in such institutions as CBS and The Wall Street Journal, the majority of students travel abroad in college sponsored international ventures. While being careful not to send students into dangerous situations, Thornbury referred to J.R.R.Tolkien’s Bilbo Baggins - one could stay in the shire and not have any adventures in life.
Looking to the future, Thornbury believes The King’s College could grow to 1000 students without compromising it academic standards. There are no plans to grow a graduate program. "We know what we do best. We’ll stick to our knitting."
He sees The King’s College as a future hub for mentoring strategic institutions. "There would be an umbrella over the college which would be leadership training, like the Kennedy School for Government at Harvard." He believes such a hub would help connect the dots between faith and work, for the building up of the ministry of the church. "What is the ministry? The people actually out there in culture. So we want to have a gathering place to help people connect faith and work, politics and faith, business and faith, technology and faith, the modern world and faith."
Citing Daniel 1:4-17, Thornbury pointed out that, after those faithful Jewish boys came out of the furnace unscathed, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego became ministers of finance, culture, and government because they were skilled in the wisdom of the Babylonians.
No less for faith filled, Christian King’s College graduates.
Northeastern Seminary To Offer A Study Tour Of The Holy Land
By Susan LeDoux
Imagine spending July 1 through July 17, 2016 following the footsteps of Jesus and the Apostles; learning about the archeological evidence that is right in front of you; and meeting Bedouins, Galileans, Jews and Muslims who live in such places as Jerusalem, Jericho, Masada, and Capernaum.
Northeastern Seminary, in partnership with Jerusalem University College Institute of Holy Land Studies, and Be a Berean ministries, is providing the opportunity to experience the Holy Land in a way that is vastly different from the usual tour. Participants will visit sites most tourists never see, as well as the Mt. of Olives, Bethlehem, Holy Sepulcher, Mt.Carmel, Golan Heights, Edom, Petra, and more. They will learn from local expert scholars about the ancient land beneath their feet.
Northeastern Seminary is a multi-denominational, graduate theological seminary located in the Rochester area, on the Roberts Wesleyan College campus, with additional locations in Buffalo, Syracuse, and Albany. Now in its 17th year, and part of the 150-year history of the College, the seminary offers accredited theological Masters and Doctorate degrees
Dr. Doug Cullum, Vice President and Dean of Northeastern Seminary, visited the Holy Land in 2012 to prepare for this upcoming study tour. He shared his thoughts in his August 26 blog on Northeastern’s website.
"In the Holy Land, whether following the wanderings of the Hebrew people, the footsteps of Jesus, or the journeys of the Apostle Paul, one cannot help but come face-to-face with the multiple connections between place, memory, and our identity as human beings. And this, in turn, can be a powerful force in shaping the way we think about the vocation of guiding the people of God in worship. Immersion in the Holy Land —as holy ground and holy place—challenges my thinking and practice of worship. That is, a theology of place takes seriously the incarnational, historical, and spatial aspects of worship."
He adds, the Bible "is the story of the eternal God’s intersection with the temporal, historical, embodied world of space, place, geography, and culture. The story of the Scriptures pulsates with God’s unflagging determination to engage creation with self-giving grace."
Northeastern Seminary will be joining with its associates, Jerusalem University College (also known as the American Institute of Holy Land Studies), and Be a Berean Ministries, which provides nationally recognized Walk Through The Bible instruction. The tour will be rigorous and scholarly as participants will travel the countryside, climb stairs, engage in strenuous hiking, and travel through physically challenging areas that are not ADA compliant.
According to Northeastern’s description, "All participants receive resources (mapping materials) and have access to coursework and assignments. Completing pre-trip work on mapping is recommended."
Jerusalem University College explains on its website that most of the coursework is done in the field, so prior map work and classroom discussion is necessary for understanding the context of the on-site experience.
A visit to Be a Berean website shows this ministry is dedicated to providing "resources, tools and support for people joining the journey of faith," for those seeking deeper knowledge of the Bible. Thus, it is an excellent ministry to support this intellectual challenge.
Field studies, lectures from scholars and guides, physical proximity to sacred spaces, physical/intellectual challenges, and spiritual reflections will make this tour a truly unique life-changing event. Indeed, in concluding his blog, Dr. Cullum both challenges and warns the potential traveler.
"The implications for worship are vast. If these things are true, then authentic worship cannot merely involve the impartation of some information, even if it’s true and good. Rather, worship will involve remembering God’s great acts in the past in ways that make them present in our own place and time. Authentic worship will take seriously the people, place, and culture of the worshippers—precisely because it is in the very nature of God to be known in and through the things of place, time, and history."
His warning, "So, going to the Holy Land is dangerous business. It may completely change the way you do church."
For more information about the tour, contact Kym Woodard at 585-594-6807 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
A New York Pastor Pens Sobering Book On The Seven Churches In The Revelation
By Rick Kern
If Dr. Orville Beckford reminds you of an impassioned voice crying in the spiritual wilderness many American Christians find themselves wandering, it is because that is exactly what he is. And while his message admittedly has some pretty sharp teeth, it is noticeably inspired by the love he has for God and God’s people. It would be fair to say that he has the roar of a lion driven by the heart of a lamb, and that he has hung that heart between the lines of an epic book while roaring his warning on its pages, titled, "The Seven Churches of Asia Minor: Their Locations, Characteristics, and Christ Introducing Himself to them in Seven Different Ways," Dr. Beckford clearly brought his "A-Game," and came to play!
"My passion for this book is not to be known as an author, it’s not that I can make money," explains Beckford, "but rather that the body of Christ will become aware of what He requires of the church today, comparing His admonition or rebuke to the seven churches in Revelation. My desire is that the Holy Spirit will propel pastors and leaders to read this book and that it will even confront them to make changes."
Orville Beckford, PhD, has been a pastor for some 24-years and has led congregations in Jamaica (the Caribbean island he hails from); the Eastern Caribbean; Rochester, New York (from 1995-2011); and now in New Rochelle, New York. Well-read and highly educated, Dr. Beckford has earned a Bachelor of Divinity, a BA in Biblical Studies, an MA in Psychology and Christian Counseling, and a PhD in Philosophy in Biblical Studies. He and his wife of 36- years, Deana, have three children, and reside in Yonkers, New York.
A third-generation minister, his grandparents and mother were ministers of the Gospel, and his grand-uncle was a missionary who endured and triumphed through countless trials. "It all gave me a reference point," he reflects, "looking back; it really matters to see what others have done."
Dr. Beckford pastors at "Grace New Life Center," a church that he describes on his Website as: "A place of peace, prayer, praise, and power." In addition to the usual ministries associated with the local church, Dr. Beckford is also active on radio, his Sunday services are streamed live, he has also enjoyed ministry in several other countries, and is now in print.
While "The Seven Churches of Asia Minor" actually was released roughly one-year ago, pastoral responsibilities and church growth have prevented Beckford from investing in the promotional efforts necessary to raise the book’s profile the way he would like — an issue he plans on resolving soon. Be that as it may, the response to his literary message has been extraordinary. "The feedback has been good," he says, "everybody who reads the book comes back and says, ‘Wow!’" In fact two churches in Brooklyn were so moved by the book’s wealth of scholarship and insight that they each decided to use it as the basis of a Bible study for their congregation.
The reviews on www.Amazon.com, one of the outlets you can purchase the book through, are glowing. One man writes, "There is a level of maturity and godly sensitivity to the offerings of history and research in this book. I would say hurry up and add this one to your reading list and library."
Another reader noted that, "It is like a history class and a church sermon in one. The author, Dr. Orville Beckford, helped me to take a closer look at what I already knew while doing some soul searching as well. Especially in our times where greed and compromising the truth is taking a forefront in our churches, we should all read this book so we could make an educated choice on our place of worship…"
Still another echoed a similar sentiment writing that the book was, "Extremely informative. Written in such a way that makes it easy for anyone reading this book to understand precisely what it is about. It will allow you to see clearly the correlation between our present churches and those mentioned in the Bible that God uses to speak to his people as we draw near to the closing of the church age. Great book to add to your library as you study the Word of God and seek to grow in your spiritual journey."
Insightfully exploring the character of the seven churches Christ addressed the opening chapters of the Book of the Revelation, Beckford looks at their geographical locations, historical backgrounds, and the profound experiences that shaped the unique manner in which Christ challenged each of them. Additionally, he delves into the reasons Christ introduced Himself to these seven churches in seven different ways specifically relating to their differing works.
"The Seven Churches of Asia Minor" was initially Beckford’s doctrinal dissertation, which explains the intense level of scholarship that characterizes the book. He chose the topic due to a bourgeoning curiosity about the messages Christ gave to these seven churches that had been brewing in his heart some 40-years. Furthermore, as a longtime believer, he had never encountered any substantive work or studies done on them. It all led him to conclude that there was much to be learned from Christ’s relationship with and response to these churches, then expand his research and produce a concise book for contemporary Christians.
"It helps us create awareness and understand the dos and don’ts of what Christ expects from a church or an individual," he observes. He sees this particular passage of Scripture as an ‘or-else-moment’ on the heels of both the warnings given to five of the seven fellowships, and the commendations conferred upon the other two. "If I do the same things they were doing," he observes, "I can expect the same response from Christ." Point well taken!
Beckford takes an especially penetrating look at the Laodicean church as he sees countless parallels to the character of the American church at large today. "I want everyone to take a good look at the Laodicean church," he says in his still-thick island accent, "and as they do I want them to evaluate their church and preacher today." He continues, "Be aware, this is where you have to take stock otherwise the danger is too large. There is too much to lose!"
He hopes to be something of a wakeup call to a church that he wants to help live up to the light it has been given here in America. "I want to be a voice to create some adjustment," he explains, "otherwise the church is heading too fast down the danger highway."
While that may be an unthinkable sentiment to many American believers, it appears to be a very present reality to Dr. Beckford. In the last analysis, he tenders a gritty, street-level take on the churches the Lord challenged to get right or get left, so-to-speak, in the Book of the Revelation, while comparing them with contemporary Christianity. From his perspective, the two, though separated by multiplied centuries, bear a very disturbing resemblance to each other.
And in his view, the lion’s share of the responsibility for the character of the church today rests squarely on the shoulders of its leadership! "Right now it is difficult and sometimes impossible to differentiate the church from the world," laments Beckford. "Woe to those pastors who lead God’s people astray! Many have entered ministry for filthy lucre, not because they genuinely care for the lost. We owe it to the church to prepare it for Christ’s return and not simply focus on how much we can make. The message of salvation, redemption, and Christ’s return must be stronger than the message of money in our pockets! The exploitation and extortion of God’s people needs to end!" That’s a pretty solemn post-mortem on the dark side of living in the light, but in Orville Beckford’s eyes, it appears to be time someone said it…
For more information on Dr. Beckford’s book, "The Seven Churches of Asia Minor" call (914) 576-5433 or visit his Website at www.obeckford.com.
Open Door Mission Answering The Needs Of Women And Children
By Susan LeDoux
This fall, the Open Door Mission stands poised to take another leap forward in serving the community. As Michael Hennessy, Open Door Mission’s Executive Director, and Michael Belmont, Director of Development, pointed out in an interview with The Good News, the needs of women and children continue to escalate. Mission staff, as well as donors, are saying now is the time to step in with the creation of a Residential Care Facility to support women and children living on the edge.
Local and state officials have long recognized the Open Door Mission’s successful work with the homeless and hungry. According to Hennessy, the Open Door Mission has been providing food, clothing, and shelter for men since 1963, and has offered an addiction-recovery program for over 30 years. He attributes the 60% success rate to the program’s three-pronged approach: mind, body, and spirit.
"Changing the mind and body can result in temporary change; but for permanent change, the spiritual element is needed," Hennessy explained. Thus, when the Mission turns its attention to the needs of women and children, it does so with that same holistic mind-set. Hennessey stressed that the anticipated facility will definitely not be a shelter for transient homeless women and children, although Michael Belmont acknowledges housing is a huge need now.
According to the Rochester City School District, over 2000 children are homeless. While they may not be sleeping on sidewalks, they do move from bed to bed among family and friends. He recalled the news video of Superintendent Bolgan Vargas knocking on doors to speak with parents in an effort to confront chronic absenteeism. Belmont noted that the graduation rate reflects the current 43% absenteeism rate in grades K through three.
Mothers need stable environments in which to raise their children in order to eradicate homelessness, school absenteeism, and poverty in Rochester. Unlike a transient homeless shelter, Hennessey said, "It (the facility) will deal with restoration, recovery, and development of the residents," who will benefit from a highly structured and programmatic year’s stay.
This "strength based" approach will look at where a resident is now, and identify what positive resources she already has. Through the year’s three sequential phases (relief, recovery and development), the women will meet long-term goals, such as increase their accountability, learn fiscal management, and better understand family dynamics. They will acquire parenting skills, look at where they are in their faith walk, and strengthen relationships. Staff will help mothers strategize to keep their children in school, thus reducing early absenteeism and fostering a higher rate of graduation in the future. After their year in the facility, mothers will benefit from continued case management as needed.
Belmont added that many moms are struggling, working two, even three jobs, to support their families. Such an impossible schedule can prevent some mothers from keeping appointments with their caseworkers, for example. "There are only so many hours in the day," he lamented, noting a person cannot be in two places at once.
In other words, the Residential Care Facility will provide a compassionate, holistic approach to helping women and children.
The women at the Mission’s Residential Care Facility will see mothers in the area successfully maintain their homes and raise children, thus giving them inspiration and encouragement. In return, the facility will be an asset to its future neighborhood.
Belmont cited a Furman Center Policy Brief, The Impact of Supportive Housing on Surrounding Neighborhoods: Evidence from New York City. He noted findings that showed the supportive housing in the study actually raised property values in the area. Curb appeal increased as facility grounds underwent upgrading.
But compassion will get an organization just so far until it must look at feasibility, and cost. Hennessey said at this point they have completed the feasibility study, and the total cost will run around three million dollars.
"We already have financial commitments for half of the first (of three phases) of the project."
They plan a small beginning, with only four moms and their children, but the final target is to provide for 20 moms with children.
Donors have begun to help already. To address sustainability, a local company earmarked a portion of its profits for on-going operational costs, and Open Door Mission hopes other companies will do so as well.
With support from community agencies and businesses already committed to the project, along with contributions from faithful donors, and God’s grace, Open Door Mission’s Residential Care Facility for Women and Children will help reduce school absenteeism, increase property values in its neighborhood, and provide a home to nurture women and their children who are the hope for Rochester’s future.
To learn more about Open Door Mission visit at www.opendoormission.com.
Care Net Pregnancy Care Center Of The Finger Lakes Provides Compassionate Help
By Pat Shea
When facing an unplanned pregnancy, finding a non-judgmental place to confidentially discuss fears, concerns and options can be a challenge. Care Net Pregnancy Care Center, a not-for-profit organization located in Geneva, New York, offers a variety of services and information to help women, men, and couples facing unplanned or crisis pregnancies make informed choices. The center does not however, perform or refer clients for abortions.
"All our services are confidential," stated Doreen Teed, director of Care Net Pregnancy Care Center, located at 551 Exchange Street in Geneva. "We offer free pregnancy tests, a limited ultrasound referral and information on all options, including parenting [raising the child], adoption and information on abortion risks and procedures."
Care Net Pregnancy Care Center of the Finger Lakes is part of Care Net, a national organization started 40 years ago in response to Roe v. Wade, a 1973 decision by the Supreme Court that entitled women to have an abortion within the first trimester of pregnancy without interference by the state.
The Finger Lakes center opened its door in October 1994, and according to Teed, was started by a group of local people concerned about the rise in abortion and looking to offer alternative options and counseling.
"Hope Robinson was the first director of the center and served for 11 years," stated Teed. "Following Robinson was Robin Woodward who served for five years, Tricia Button who served for three years, and I am the current director, serving for just a little over a year. Three other [pregnancy care] centers, located in Canandaigua, Penn Yan and Auburn, have started from [the work at] this center."
In addition to free pregnancy tests, ultrasound referrals and pregnancy option counseling, the center provides different services, all free, including parenting classes for both men and women, bible studies, breast-feeding classes, mentoring services, information on adoption support, information on sexually transmitted diseases, and if necessary, after abortion support groups. It also provides services to the children of its clients, and options for clients to "earn while they learn."
"When a client participates in classes offered at the center they can earn coupons toward the purchase of diapers, wipes, baby and toddler clothing and bath items, offered at the center’s material aid store," explained Teed.
Although the center is not affiliated with any specific religion, Teed explains that clients of the center are required to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
As a non-profit organization, the chief concern for the center is fundraising, which is necessary to keep the center open and functioning on a regular basis, but finding people to staff the center has also been a concern. "It’s been a challenge to find volunteers to run the center, as well as finding people to be on our board of directors," explained Teed, who works for the center full time along with a part-time assistant. The rest of the staff, including two nurses who perform ultrasounds on patients, volunteer their time to the center.
Teed became involved with the center through her church initially. "The pastor’s wife [Hope Robinson] was the first director of the center. My own children were grown and I wanted to volunteer somewhere so I asked about opportunities at the center. They had ‘Diaper Days’ where young women would come in and participate in an activity and get to take home diapers. I started helping with that program, then leading the day group and then decided, with the help of God, that I wanted to peer counsel and work with the clients [coming in for pregnancy tests and classes]. About six years ago, I took a position as administrative assistant and then in July of last year, our director left. I offered to be the interim director until we found one, but I discovered I loved the position and began as director last October."
Although the center staff is always concerned with opposition from groups against the support and information it offers to its clients, Teed looks forward to the continued growth of the center in the future.
"We are in the process of obtaining a new ultrasound machine with the help of the Knights of Columbus Ultrasound Initiative Program and I’d like to see our fatherhood group continue to grow," explained Teed. It is also her hope that the center becomes involved in educating schools and local church groups on sexual integrity.
For Teed, the volunteers, and the clients, Care Net Pregnancy Care Center of the Finger Lakes has been successful in its goal of offering assistance and options to abortion for those facing an unplanned pregnancy.
"Anytime an abortion-vulnerable minded girl changes her mind and decides to carry [the pregnancy] is a success story," explained Teed. "The truth is all clients, and all visits to the center are different, but they are all special because they are all ordained by God. Some stories are more dramatic than others; like when a client is 14-16 weeks along and they see [for the first time] the baby waving and wiggling and sucking its thumb [on the ultrasound]. Or when a client comes in for classes and you see them starting to develop a relationship with God and you help nurture that along and see the walls come down in class, that’s when you know we are making a difference in their lives."
For more information on the Care Net Pregnancy Care Center of the Finger Lakes visit www.imightbepregnant.com, or contact 315-789-0708.
New York School Of The Bible Is Teaching God’s Word To Train God’s People
By Susan LeDoux
Calvary Baptist Church, home of the New York School of the Bible, has a fascinating history. Reverend Michael Velardo, NYSB’s Director of Education and Dean, shared its origins, as well as the school’s current mission, with The Good News.
The church first opened its doors in 1847, but it was during the Depression, that the church’s leaders decided they needed a new building at their location on 57th Street in New York City. Conveniently, a local builder was looking to build a hotel, so they joined forces and created the 17-story church/hotel complex, which exists today.
At one time, the well-known pianist, Van Cliburn, called it home. Even though it changed from a long-term residence to a tourist hotel, his piano still graces the church’s sanctuary.
The first five floors house the church, and floors six through seventeen, the hotel. One day, Mrs. Velardo was riding the elevator with some tourists and the door opened on the fifth floor. When the visitors saw the large sign welcoming people to Calvary Baptist Church, one visitor exclaimed to the other, "Well look at this. It’s a church! No wonder everyone’s so nice around here."
In 1971, Senior Pastor Dr. Stephen F. Olford had a vision to create a school "to train Christians for ministry;" and so the New York School of the Bible was born. Initially, 685 students enrolled in 22 evening courses taught by eight faculty members. As of this year, NYSB offered 192 courses taught by 28 faculty members to 976 students. Although numbers grew, the goal remained the same: "Teaching God’s Word to Train God’s People."
NYSB offers several certificate and diploma programs. The most popular is the Core Certificate Program, offering preliminary, intermediate, and advanced Core Certificates. Velardo said this program is a major part of what the school does. Its classes are geared to prepare people to become much better church citizens, with a basic understanding of God’s Word. The students receive an overview of all the books of the Bible, and acquire some understanding of theology.
In addition to the Core Program, other certificate and diploma programs include Christian Education, Church History, Worldview Apologetics, Bible Intensives, Understanding Christian Missions and Islam, Church Leadership, Expository Teaching and Preaching, and Biblical Languages.
While the certificate programs require eight courses, the new diploma programs require only four. Velardo said that arrangement allows students to "mix and match" courses of interest. Some students even take more than one certificate or diploma program because classes are available two evenings a week and Saturday mornings. Many of the students are over 40 and find the programs enhance their on-going ministry work.
Before 2008, NYSB had no affiliations, but over time, other institutions approached the school with proposals that would benefit all their students.
With NYSB’s affiliation with both Lancaster Bible College and Pillar College, students wishing to pursue advanced certification, undergraduate or graduate degrees, can transfer their course credit to those colleges. Pillar College offers degrees in business administration, psychology and counseling, which are not available at Lancaster.
In September 2008, Calvary Baptist hosted, for Child Evangelism Fellowship, a training program to equip Haiti earthquake relief workers to better share the Gospel. The Dean of the Evangelical Bible Institute was present that day, and not more than a week later, sat in Velardo’s office.
"They had been praying that somehow, someway, they could find an organization they could affiliate with that would help them."
Started by national pastors as well as missionaries, their roots are from Haiti, and they teach in French and Creole as well as English. "They made their courses our courses...so students get the preliminary, intermediate and advanced certificates." Evangelical Bible Institute students can then continue their education because of NYSB’s connections to Lancaster and Pillar colleges.
Antioch School, the Biblical Institute for Leadership Development’s accredited Christian university, provides a Certificate of Ministry program to develop initial competencies for becoming a minister or ministry leader. Now NYSB offers this program to students who can then pursue their degrees at Antioch.
Recently, Dallas Seminary, which just became New York State certified, will run its program on NYSB property.
When asked about the newly minted Alumni Association of a 44-year-old school, Velardo chuckled. He said it was birthed in the back of a 15-passenger van as students returned from their graduation ceremony at Lancaster College. Excited about becoming Lancaster Alumni, they decided NYSB needed an alumni association also. During the two and a half hour ride, they hammered out the groundwork for their own Alumni Association. Velardo said the Association is now an important part of their program, as alumni raise money for scholarships and help host events. "It’s great having them around and part of NYSB," he said.
When asked his goals for NYSB, Velardo was quick to state that changing NYSB into a Bible college was not a goal. The school will stay true to what it says on the handbook — "Teaching God’s Word to train God’s people."
"The church’s mission is engaging the city and impacting the world, and that’s what we’re doing here. We’re getting pretty good at it and just want to continue doing it."
Velardo himself continues to do what he loves most; preaching, teaching, and children’s ministry. After retiring from the Child Evangelism Fellowship, where he worked since 1978, he accepted the post of Director of Children’s Ministry, and from there, Dean and Director of Education at NYSB.
When asked what he would like to share with our readers, Velardo first gave credit to his staff, Billy Nelson, Registrar, and Diane Sanbula, Assistant Registrar.
He added, "There are all kinds of testimonies in my files from students whose ministries have been changed...because they’ve been able to come and take courses." Velardo said seeing their smiles and changes in spirit, as they arrive frustrated and leave excited, keeps him going.
For more information about NYSB, visit www.NYSB.nyc.
Exploring Houghton College With President Shirley Mullen
By Susan LeDoux
A gem of higher education nestles not so quietly in New York’s Genesee Valley. Houghton College, in our Southern Tier region, offers an academically challenging, Christ-centered education in the liberal arts and sciences. It placed 26 out of 50 Best Christian Colleges, according to www.TheologyDegrees.org and was cited by US News and World Report as a "first tier national liberal arts college."
According to its President, Dr. Shirley Mullen, Houghton College stands out because of the "high impact of mentoring" on the student body. With 84% of full-time faculty with advanced degrees, and student to faculty ratio of 11:1, it is no wonder that a high percentage of students go on for PhDs or advanced professional degrees.
She explained that alumni have demonstrated longstanding accomplishments in music, education, pre-law, pre-med, and business, and have been globally engaged since the late 19th century.
According to its website, www.houghton.edu, the college began life as a high school with connections to the Wesleyan Methodist Church. In time, a few college courses were offered and the first baccalaureate degrees were awarded in 1925. Other interesting facts show that students from 31 countries and 41 U.S. states found their way to this rural New York College. Dr. Mullen explained, "Up until recently, most have come through alumni connections, which is a testimony to the global impact of our graduates. In the past several years, we are more intentionally doing selective international recruiting."
Dr. Mullen, a Houghton alum herself, accepted the position of college President in 2006, after nearly 25 years of service in the field of higher education. This May 5th Senator Catherine Young honored Mullen as a New York State Senate 2015 "Woman of Distinction." Since 1998, the Woman of Distinction tribute honors women in New York who have shown a passion for serving their neighbors, communities and acting as role models for young women.
Under her auspices, the college has stretched into the Buffalo area with its two year Houghton College Buffalo program, promoting academic readiness with affordability. Mullen believes it is too new to know how many students, in time, will proceed to Houghton’s main Genesee Valley campus.
With degrees covering about 48 areas of study, the music program seems especially comprehensive, offering majors and graduate degrees in performance, composition, and education. With the Eastman School of Music a mere 2 hour drive away, Dr. Mullen said Houghton draws on longstanding, complementary connections with Eastman.
As music majors go on to shine in their field, Houghton graduates of other disciplines forge their own successful careers. In "Working for Good," an article published in the March 2015 issue of Christianity Today, author Hanna Jones wrote that graduates of Christian colleges have post graduate job placement rates over 90%. When asked to comment on this, Mullen said, "We place great effort on helping students think about their education as preparation for life, at both a theoretical and a practical level. Our Vocational Advising and Career Opportunities Center (VOCA) is more intentional than ever in helping students, from the time they come to Houghton, to think about translating this education into the marketplace."
Houghton is a college strong in academics. In addition to many undergraduate degree choices, and five master degrees in music, Houghton offers 10 pre-professional programs, from art therapy to veterinary practice. It maintains an active ROTC and an adult degree program in management.
As a Christian college, preparation for life is based on a strong spiritual component. As noted on its website, "At Houghton, we don’t save faith for Sundays. We use our education to help solve problems and relieve pain, whether that’s with a medical breakthrough or a humble bag of rice, in our hometown or halfway across the globe."
Even with neighboring churches in the area, Houghton requires chapel attendance. When asked her opinion of voluntary versus expected attendance, Mullen responded, "There are definite pros and cons of requiring chapel. We certainly know we cannot require students to worship any more than we can require students to enjoy required general education classes!"
"At Houghton we view chapel as symbolic of our fundamental commitments to community, and to grounding all our work in a larger vision of our life’s purpose and calling. It is a key aspect of our intentional strategy to invite students to think in large and integrative ways about all that they are learning and experiencing in both their curricular and co-curricular programs."
Mullen explained that so far, as a private institution, Houghton is free of government interference in what may or may not be taught.
"As a private institution, this issue is somewhat different than in public institutions in terms of the government determining what can be taught. We hire deeply committed Christian faculty who are highly competent in their disciplines. We believe that the God who inspired the scriptures is also the God who creates and sustains the world. Learning is an exploration of all that God has shown us in the created world and in the scripture, and how this works together in our lives."
"Our goals at Houghton all relate to ensuring that Houghton’s longstanding mission is translated into terms that are relevant to the needs and the marketplace of our time. Our mission of providing high quality Christian education in the arts and sciences to students from diverse backgrounds, for global impact in a changing world, is more relevant than ever. The marketplace in which this happens changes from generation to generation. At present, we are working to make a Houghton education more affordable to prospective students, and also to ensure students future employability in a highly competitive marketplace."
NCF Academy Is Winning The Battle For The Hearts And Minds Of The Next Generation
By Rick Kern
It’s that time of year again! Bumper stickers caution motorists to, "Drive Carefully, School’s Begun." Cheerful red lights flash their warnings on the sunny colored busses that gather our gifts from God and whisk them carefully off to school while drivers dutifully stop. Supplies are bought, lunches packed, books are covered, and on it goes…
And while this time-tested rite of passage dominates our children’s lives for some 13 years, often bringing back fond memories of our own carefree youthful days, it’s important to remember that schools can play a pivotal role in shaping our kids’ character and values. Enter Principal Mike Ward and the team at New Creation Fellowship Academy (NCFA), one of Western New York’s many exceptional parochial learning institutions.
Established in 2004 as a Pre-K school, NCFA grew into a high school, launching its 12th Grade program three short years later in 2007. It is a ministry of New Creation Fellowship Church, a Word of Faith affiliate founded by Pastor Stephen and Alice Andzel in 1981. NFCA’s stated mission is, "…to prepare each student spiritually, academically, socially, and physically so that they can fulfill the purpose of God in their lives."
Pastor Andzel created the school upon observing the need for all children to be both academically prepared and nurtured in a Christ-centered environment. Consequently, according to NCFA’s Website, "…every area of academic discipline incorporates the sound doctrines of Christ."
Mike Ward, the school’s principal, comes from a strong law enforcement background, with six years as a Deputy Sheriff in Florida. His vision as NCFA’s chief academic administrator is intensely focused upon the emerging generations he has charge of. "Our work with Christian education and NCF Academy is vital. It is our calling and responsibility as believers to build the Kingdom not for today only but more importantly for generations to come," Ward explains. "I want to know that we have left behind something of extreme value and worth, creating something of substance that is influential on my children’s children with a vision that they can continue to grow and cultivate," he continues. "If NCF Academy ended with us we failed. We will raise leaders and visionaries who will further Christian education taking it far beyond what the secular system has accomplished."
For Mike it’s all about the kids and he strives to develop a solid relationship with the student body built on mutual respect. His emphasis on using influence as opposed to force has helped him put out many typical youth-related fires before they have had the chance to erupt into blazing infernos. He also enlists the cooperation of parents. "Times have changed," he observes, "but people haven’t. The problems you’re seeing today have been going on forever and parents understand that. It helps."
NCFA has a number of fantastic extracurricular activities to enhance its academics such as its sports programs. Offering basketball, volleyball, and cross-country track, the school participates in the Niagara Frontier Christian Athletic Association. Additionally, they have a journalism club that meets after school and delves into such specialties as videography, editing, and graphics. Mornings are jump-started with a Bible class and discussion that contrasts current events against the timeless, relevant principles found in Scripture. It’s a discipline that has Mike Ward online and exploring Facebook just to stay relevant and relatable.
New Creation Fellowship Academy is presently grappling with a wonderful problem — growth. Two-years ago they closed their daycare program to open up seven classrooms for their students and it looks like they will outgrow them soon. They have ten acres of land on which to expand, and if the trends continue, it looks like they will be doing exactly that. With a roster of 55 students, NCFA is hoping to increase that number to 80 this school-year, and according to Ward they are close. Their faculty, consisting of seven full-time educators, is undergirded by three-to-four support-staff and has a huge fan in the principal. "Our teachers are top-notch," beams Ward. "They really love and enjoy watching the kids grow up. We’ve really been blessed by our staff as well!"
With the mindset of the nation drifting further and further from biblical thinking, Ward is intensely focused on creating the right foundation in the hearts and minds of the students at NCFA. He declares emphatically, "Psalm 112:2 says, ‘His seed shall be mighty upon earth: the generation of the upright shall be blessed.’ Our mindset is taken right from the Word. We are commanded to build the kingdom, not only for today, but for the benefit of our children’s children and beyond." He continues, "We are creating trailblazers that will be even more effective than we were ever where. We already can see it happening and that alone is enough to push us to do everything we can to be distinguished from others."
For more information about New Creation Fellowship Academy, call them at (716) 632-6084 or visit their Website at www.ncfacademy.com.
The Joseph Business School: Entrepreneurship As A Call of God
By Rick Kern
Last year saw the graduation of the Joseph Business School’s (JBS) inaugural class in Buffalo, New York. A remarkable, conviction-driven, state-of-the-art institute that teaches business professionals to produce profit with a purpose, JBS is in the process of launching its second nine-month term in October, 2015. This unique learning institution will offer a fresh crop of students some 30 different business-related courses that span the gambit from spiritual gifts, to the legal elements of business, to marketing, human resources, accounting, and well beyond. With the goal of producing the finest vanguard of Christian business leaders in the community, the school meets Saturdays from 8:30 AM to 3:00 PM, and offers an iconic roster of some of the most outstanding instructors available.
"Entrepreneurship is a calling from God," notes Steve Grant, the school’s Director. "As you align yourself with God’s purpose, He can help you grow your business beyond your wildest dreams."
Grant, the Regional Vice President of a major insurance company, has not only been a successful businessman for decades, but he is also a dedicated Christian who is passionately committed to the Lord and building the Kingdom of God. He, along with some others, such as Reverend Stephen J. Andzel, pastor of New Creation Fellowship, share a common vision of Christian business professionals bankrolling vital ministry ventures and advancing the Lord’s purposes. Thus, they have embraced entrepreneurship as a distinct call of God, and set about to raise an army of believing businessmen and women to become successful business leaders using biblical principles.
"There should be a noticeable difference between how the world does business and how Christians do business," explains Mr. Grant. If you do things ethically and morally, people will be drawn to you. It’s a calling, a ministry."
As a young believer, Grant was sold out to God but still struggled with the desire to make money burning in his heart. It seemed to run counter to what he had been taught in church. The thinking of the church at large embraced the constricted concept of serving God being relegated solely to the "Five-fold Ministry" at that time. Yet his passion was to make money with a mission and turn a profit with a purpose. In time he realized that entrepreneurship was in fact a distinct and legitimate call of God, just as valid and biblically sanctioned as the call to foreign missions. "When I see a Christian do business," he says, "there should be a sense of, ‘Wow, there’s something different about that person. They don’t have to stoop to the level of what often times the world does to make their business a success.’"
Based in Chicago, Illinois, the flagship Joseph Business School was created in 1998 pursuant to a vision given to Dr. William "Bill" Winston. Dr. Winston, who pastors a church of an astronomical 20-to-30-thousand people, wanted to provide practical business and leadership instruction that employed biblical principles. The JBS Website (www.jbs.edu) explains that Winston hoped, "…to empower adults to develop indispensable skills as successful entrepreneurs and business leaders thus equipping them to eradicate poverty in their lives and communities which will glorify God."
As the school began to enjoy success, Dr. Winston found himself in Western New York on numerous occasions, and, according to Steve Grant, felt that the Lord wanted to establish a Joseph Business School in the Greater Buffalo area. It confirmed a vision that Pastor Andzel had been praying about, thus the Buffalo satellite opened last year joining five additional affiliates in the United States and seven outside of our country. "The goal is to produce entrepreneurs, not a get-rich-quick-scheme," explains Mr. Grant, "it’s for those who have the call of God to be a blessing to the church and their community."
Their Mission Statement says it all. The purpose of the JBS is to:
Train Christians who are called to be entrepreneurs how to start and operate profitable and successful businesses using biblical and practical principles; and to empower them to release God’s anointing so they will prosper and establish God’s Kingdom in the earth.
"For nine months we’re going to pour into our student’s lives the best business information from the best instructors," declares Grant, "how to operate by biblical principles, and how to make their business a success because they’ve been called by God to do it."
The school’s guiding Scripture passage is Isaiah 48:17, "Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, "I am the Lord your God, who teaches you to profit, Who leads you in the way you should go" (NASB).
"The purpose for wealth is to build the Kingdom of God," continues Grant, expanding on Isaiah 48:17, "the purpose for wealth is to build the church. And if we allow God to teach us to profit, we don’t have to use the Babylonian system and the ways they’ve learned to make money, that’s the foundation of the Joseph Business School."
JBS also follows Deuteronomy 8:18 passionately, "But you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth, that He may confirm His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day." It is their basis for investing temporal resources in God’s eternal Kingdom, creating institutions of salt and light, and pushing back the Kingdom of Darkness through submitting the business world to the Lordship of Christ.
As bold as it sounds, like possessing the Promised Land, the JBS, with its impressive roster of dedicated instructors, is committed to seeing its graduates establishing solid businesses that produce $1 million in revenue in just three years! "We want to produce millionaire entrepreneurs," Grant reflects, "so they can be a blessing to the church and the community."
For more information about the Joseph Business School, call them at (716) 631-8595 or visit their website at www.jbsbuffalo.com.
An Interview With Michael Cavanaugh, President Of Elim Bible Institute And College
By Susan LeDoux
Elim Bible Institute and College began 91 years ago in 1924 when a young preacher, Ivan Q. Spencer, felt called to found a school centered around seeking and depending on God. In time, the school outgrew its space in Hornell and Red Creek, and in 1951 purchased the present campus in Lima, New York. Now covering 75 acres, its mission remains to prepare Spirit filled Christian servant-leaders for worldwide ministry.
Its current President, Michael Cavanaugh, also serves as Vice-President of Elim Fellowship, an association of 900 pastors, ministers, and missionaries. He is the author of The Power and Purpose of Singleness, and a motivating speaker as well.
The Good News asked Cavanaugh to describe the current spiritual and academic life at Elim.
The Good News: How is the experience at Elim different from other Christian colleges?
Michael Cavanaugh: Elim’s central focus is the spiritual development of the student. Though our academic standards are high, our students are spiritually challenged to grow through many aspects of the Elim experience.
In their first month, they will attend our Foundations Weekend, where students address four issues for their lives.
● Have they committed to the Lordship of Jesus Christ?
● Have they been baptized in water since they believed?
● Are they comfortable with spiritual gifts?
Missions Emphasis Week in October brings speakers to share their experiences from working in many nations. The week ends with the ETHNOS Conference where students wrestle with the question, "Could God want me to make an impact in the nations for Him?"
In January we have Prayer Week with no classes. For five days, from 8:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., students are challenged through dynamic speaking, prayer and worship. In this time, God takes the Bible and makes it come alive in students’ lives. Many say it is the most impacting week of their lives.
Prophetic Presbytery time occurs in March when leaders with confirmed prophetic gifts lay hands on our seniors and speak a prophetic word over their lives. Many former students testify these words gave them direction for years. Additionally, students become more comfortable and experienced in the use of spiritual gifts.
The last major event is the Oasis Leadership Conference where nearly one thousand pastors and leaders gather to be challenged and inspired. Elim students help run this event, thus gaining practical ministry experience, meeting Christian leaders, and often making connections that lead to ministry opportunities when they graduate.
At Elim, ministry opportunities abound for the undergraduates. Every student experiences "out station" ministries where they serve in churches and care ministries throughout the Rochester area. In addition, every student gives 2 hours of service a week in ministries on campus, thus enhancing their practical work experience. Additionally, all students will serve in New York City for 3-6 weeks, preaching in churches, feeding the hungry, ministering to AIDS victims, and more.
When the students go for internships in New York City, they have the opportunity to participate in urban ministry at a high level. We also work with them in some classes that help them learn life skills like, personal finance, public speaking, management for the Christian leader, marriage and family.
We also have traveling ministry teams that represent the school at various churches. One such team is called "Patmos Worship" that leads church services or youth gatherings.
The Good News wanted to know about accreditation and President Cavanaugh was pleased to share the latest news and how it will impact the students.
For years, Elim Bible Institute and College has had high academic standards with transferrable credits to many accredited Christian colleges, but we have never pursued accreditation ourselves. That changed this year with application to TRACS (Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools), a national accrediting agency for Christian educational institutions. We expect to receive accreditation in 2015, at which time, students and their families will receive tax benefits for attending an accredited institution. Not only will our credits be even more transferrable, our students will be able to receive Federal grants and loans.
The Good News: What kind of Certificates and degrees do you offer?
Michael Cavanaugh: We have two certificates and one degree students can receive. Our one year program, "Year in the Son" leads to a certificate. A student can also receive a two year associate degree from the New York State Board of Regents and, finally, for a student who stays all 3 years, there is an additional certificate on the practical aspects of ministry. At the conclusion of this, students can receive Christian Worker credentials from a ministerial association.
The Good News: How do students hear about Elim?
Michael Cavanaugh: The majority was referred by a pastor, parent, or alumni, and we’ve worked to make referring a student easy. If you go to our website, www.elim.edu, click on "refer a student" and give us the person’s name and email. It’s amazing how a personal act like that and our gentle contact can have a life-time impact.
Our classes are available to anyone of any age, from young people to those who are in life transitions and want to focus on spiritual renewal, or people in midlife who are interested in pursuing ministry as a vocation.
To be honest, I believe every high school student, young adult, or young married couple could benefit from at least a year at Elim Bible Institute and College. Elim is about preparing people for life and ministry. One year could turn a young Christian from becoming a victim to becoming a powerful influence for Christ in whatever college or career they choose... The simple fact we have learned is that a person could have great spiritual gifts, but if they don’t know how to live that gift, it will never reach its fullest potential.
Global Outreach Mission Doers of the Word Actions Speak Even Louder than Bible Studies
By Rick Kern
The headlines resemble walls closing in, packaging the unthinkable in trendy clichés that are splashed across newspapers, televisions, radios, and computers. With an apocalyptic zeal, every living room in the nation is bombarded by escalating atrocities at the hands of terrorists, political corruption and turmoil, intensifying war, tens of thousands of displaced people suffering, rampant starvation, the unmitigated proliferation of fatal diseases, moral anarchy legislated in the name of freedom, and on it goes as subtle as quicksand…
And yet, marketing this madness does more than sell newscasts. While journalists are gearing up to go to work, scrutinizing current affairs, Pulitzer Prizes, and sweeps week, there are those who see it trending differently. A case in point would be Dr. Brian Albrecht, President of Global Outreach Mission (GOM). To see this headline-laden world with its endemic savagery, staggering need, and catastrophic crises through his eyes, is to see the sheer unstoppable love and grace of God in action.
GOM is a missionary juggernaut passionately committed to the Great Commission with a gritty, albeit unassuming determination, that in God’s good judgment might just inspire a 29th Chapter of Acts someday. The 70-plus year-old organization was launched in Toronto, Ontario (Canada) in 1943 and opened across the border in Buffalo, New York one year later. Initially christened as the "European Evangelistic Crusade," it was established by James Stewart, a Scotsman with a passion for souls and a burden for Europe in the wake of the Second World War. In 1970, Dr. James Blackwood took the group’s helm and changed its name to Global Outreach Mission, reflecting a new focus that reached beyond Europe to the rest of the world. Today, Dr. Albrecht and his team coordinate efforts in some 57 countries and help support the labors of a whopping 550 missionaries.
"We believe in the sovereignty of the Holy Spirit," explains Albrecht, "rather than place people where we see there is a need; we have found that the best way people can be used by God is to help them go where they feel they are called to." With more than 30 years serving GOM, Dr. Albrecht assumed its presidency in 2003 upon Dr. Blackwood’s departure, and continues to help expand its vision to connect Christians with their calling.
Among their more recent pursuits is an effort to plant churches throughout the United States and Canada. To date the strategy has spawned several new fellowships thriving throughout Pennsylvania, Florida, Kansas, and Western New York with their number expected to increase as the Lord leads. This First World thrust, with its domestic investment, reflects Dr. Albrecht and GOM’s passion for America and Canada to be supported in their unique call and role in the Great Commission. "The base is eroding," observes Albrecht, "and if we don’t strengthen the base, there won’t be any missions." Thus, in its two inaugural nations, both divinely gifted with unprecedented abundance, GOM’s establishment of churches dedicated to sending and supporting missionaries has become the fulcrum of the group’s latest visionary thrust and missionary strategy.
Additionally, Global Outreach Mission has merged with the Niagara Bible Conference, a 35 acre campground located in Olcott, New York. And while the facility’s name is soon to become Niagara Shores, its use as a ministry tool will continue to grow as it is engaged for conferences, discipleship programs, lodging missionaries, and much more…
Global Outreach Mission’s expansion into its home turf is really nothing more than the ministry being true to itself and its calling. "We’ve always been into evangelism and church planting," observes Dr. Albrecht, it’s our basic spiritual DNA."
If there is an axis that GOM’s evangelistic world turns on, however, it is practical altruistic endeavors that express the love of God and make its message more than words. "Humanitarian projects are the best ways to open doors," says Albrecht. Consequently, the group has a long, storied history of constructing churches, housing, schools; they do medical work in 10-15 countries, set up dental clinics, and more…
And they do it all through people — vulnerable, loving, and committed Christian missionaries who become God’s hands that reach, feet that go, and His voice that calls as they pour themselves out to fulfill Christ’s mandate to, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation" (Mark 16:15).
Supporting short and long term projects, GOM is getting the job done. "Believers in Western New York have been a great help," says Albrecht. "They’ve traveled overseas, done medical projects, helped with well projects, and trained kids in schools." However, the need is always there just as Jesus said it would be, "The poor you always have with you," (Matthew 26:11). Consequently, GOM is always looking for ways and resources to help meet it. "We’re looking for partners," Dr. Albrecht explains, "for people to come along side with us to get the Gospel out and plant churches and help those who need help."
GOM attracts and cultivates people and projects with an eternal perspective, anchoring their earthly efforts in an everlasting outcome. And while they invest a substantial percentage of their material resources to meet human need, they do so with their eye on the prize of a heavenly return on that investment. It’s a two-edged sword that expresses love in a tangible manner to serve others while doing so in a way that points people to the ultimate expression of God’s love — Christ dying for the salvation of their souls.
"Statistics tell us that the average believer here invests roughly 2.5 percent of their money for Christian purposes," Albrecht notes. "And with that 2.5 percent a lot of really important stuff happens."
And that "stuff" is a big deal! Sometimes it is the "stuff" found on GOM sponsored radio broadcasts that reaches literally thousands of people. Sometimes it’s the "stuff" found streaming from the eyes of tribal chiefs who have heard the Gospel for the first time at the dedication of the GOM sponsored well standing in the center of their village. They look on in awe completely humbled that a group of men came thousands of miles to give them a source of fresh water in the name of Jesus, and then explain that they can freely receive living water. Other times it is the "stuff" taught in a village school freely constructed for some 300 students but now making room for one thousand kids, eager to learn. And whether it is the "stuff" necessary to set up dental and medical clinics, dig wells, construct schools, translate the Bible, or feed children, it is the "stuff" of dreams for untold hungry hearts and impoverished people that God loves.
Dr. Albrecht continues, "Suppose that 2.5 percent of Christian income donated for God’s work was 10 percent; we would have four times the impact around the world and magnify the reach of the Gospel four times more than it is."
For Brian Albrecht and the team at Global Outreach Mission, the Great Commission is more than theology. It is a sacrificial, yet enriching lifestyle that lives out the Lord’s dream to overcome the world’s nightmares. Building treasure in heaven isn’t a poetic metaphor or spiritual concept for GOM — it is a very present eternal reality walked out in the love of God. "I enjoy my work," says Albrecht, "I enjoy seeing people come to Christ. We want to do the best we can with the time we have left to serve the Lord Jesus."
For more information about Global Outreach Mission, visit www.missiongo.org, or call their office at (716) 688-5048.
Christian Community Church of East Williamson - Running to the Battle
By Rick Kern
The stone hurled at Goliath of Gath wasn’t very big and neither was the young shepherd-boy who went up against him. Yet the boy and his stone took out a gargantuan, nine-plus-foot seasoned warrior who stood against his God and his God’s people. David may have been a youth, but he had his priorities and faith in the right place at the right time. He boldly got in the colossal Philistine champion’s face declaring, "You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied’" (1 Samuel 17:45).
With some 80 to 100 people in attendance on a typical Sunday, Christian Community Church of East Williamson is not very big either, arguably a bit short of mega-church status. However, what the steadily growing fellowship lacks in numbers, it more than makes up for in boldness, daringness, and effectiveness under the passionate leadership of Pastor Tony Goddard.
Moved by love for God and people, Goddard is a boots-on-the-ground minister whose vision and spiritual valor has him leading the charge in "…the name of the Lord Almighty" without thinking twice. He could have taken his playbook from David, "We don’t run from stuff, we run to it," says the clergyman. "A lot of churches don’t even acknowledge the reality of the spiritual battle!"
The 46 year-old father of three has been married 17 years and graduated from Elim Bible Institute in 2004. He has been in ministry for many years, however, and has a resume that embraces numerous denominations including American Baptist, Free Methodist, and Assemblies of God. Additionally, Christian Community Church (CCC), where he has served as Senior Pastor for seven years, is affiliated with Elim Fellowship, and living proof that a local church will assume the characteristics of its leadership.
Among the more high-profile outreaches CCC has brought to the community, is their annual Bible Prophecy Conference. Scheduled in November each year, the epic event brings in celebrated experts that are able to evaluate the trends of today’s history and apply end times prophecy to them. "Things are really ramping up fast, globally," Goddard observes, "We want to make people aware about what the Bible says about our times." Well attended since they began two years ago, the 2015 conference is slated to take place this November 6-7 and again promises to attract insightful speakers who understand the times.
Interestingly, though the conference has enjoyed much favor with local clergy, it has not been embraced by his colleagues as readily as Pastor Tony had hoped or expected it to be. "I’ve had people coming against me for wanting to do a Bible prophecy conference," he explains quizzically. "One local pastor actually screamed at me, ‘Everything you think you know about this book is going to be proven to be wrong!’" Not in Goddard’s mind, however, to him the Bible Prophecy Conference, which has become a CCC distinctive, is essential for Christians to maintain an eternal perspective. "In a day and age where there is less and less interest in what the Bible says prophetically, we’ve never been closer to the return of Christ than we are now," he observes. "People have a false sense of security and are dropping their guard, but this is no time to kick back and rest on our laurels."
Not given to backing down from what he feels the Lord is leading him to do, while it grieves his heart to hear such disparaging words from a fellow minister, it’s onward and upward for him and CCC. "I’m just trying to get people to love the Bible and do what it says," he declares resolutely. It’s a pretty simple philosophy and one that has Pastor Tony out in front of his flock running to the battle with them close behind.
And according to Goddard, a battle it is! Along with Assistant Pastor, Gordon Pike, Goddard and Christian Community Church spend plenty of time in the spiritual trenches as it were. "We don’t go looking for it, it just happens and we deal with it," he says. "We have the authority to deal with this and our job as a church is to get people free." Among the fights he brings to the Devil’s doorstep, is a ministry of deliverance. "I don’t go looking for this," he explains again emphatically, "God brings it to us and we try to help."
"We don’t need some newfangled thing," he explains passionately, "that’s marketing and I’m past it. God spoke to us and our priorities are to love people, reach out, worship wholeheartedly, go to the streets, the prisons, and door to door — and that’s what we do." And to do it, CCC puts legs on the love of God as they reach to find lost causes and embrace them with His reality. They have a food pantry, help people pay the rent at times, and minister to the homeless huddled in underground subways; bringing blankets, food, coats, Bibles, and tracts. All in addition to conducting adoring worship services and teaching parishioners how to press in to God’s call on their lives and live up to their light.
"If I had to summarize our church in one word it would be ‘love,’" says Goddard, "love without compromising the truth." He continues, "Everyone gets loved on — hugged. This ‘little church’ is the most loving, sincere, non-clicky fellowship…" With the kind of love, zeal, and combat faith blossoming at Christian Community Church, it’s not likely to stay a "little church" for very long. For more information call (315) 589-9190 or visit their Website at www.cccew.org.
An Interview With Dr. Michael G. Scales, President Of Nyack College
By Susan LeDoux
Finding the right college can be daunting for anyone. That’s why The Good News was interested in learning more about Nyack College and Alliance Theological Seminary, a Christian college with campuses in both Manhattan and Nyack, New York. We interviewed Nyack’s 12th President, Dr. Michael G. Scales, Ed.D.
Dr. Scales brought extensive experience to his appointment as President of Nyack College in 2007. He had served as Executive Vice President and Vice President for Advancement and Enrollment, and had worked as a consultant for 50 colleges and university presidents. From those perspectives, Scales determined that Nyack College had the "most compelling story in higher education." That seemed like a powerful conclusion, so we asked Dr. Scales to elaborate.
But first, a little history is necessary to establish the context of Scales’ response. Nyack’s founder, Dr. A.B. Simpson, was a Presbyterian pastor in New York City in the 1880’s. When his flock objected to the immigrants he brought into the church, Simpson declared he was not interested in being a "respectable Christian," but wanted to be a radical follower of Jesus. As part of the 19th century American missionary movement, he set out to form an interdenominational alliance with others devoted to serving unreached peoples. A first step was to found the Missionary Training Institute, the first Bible College in North America and forerunner of the current Nyack College.
While Simpson formed the original Missionary Training Institute in 1887, the Christian Alliance (an interdenominational fellowship of Christians seeking a deeper Christian life) and the Evangelical Missionary Alliance merged to form The Christian and Missionary Alliance. At first, it was to be a support group for all evangelicals devoted to serving God, but it eventually became a denomination. The Alliance Theological Seminary at Nyack College is the Christian and Missionary Alliance’s seminary in the United States.
And so, it is Nyack’s DNA that Scales finds so compelling. He believes the college has returned to its original purpose of reaching out to all people.
"When I looked at the background of our founder who said, ‘Our Master knew no color line except the blood red cross,’ I realized this was not a johnny-come-lately institution."
Scales believes Nyack is a microcosm of our world, with 50 nations and 30 languages represented on campus. White students make up only a quarter of the student population, and this diversity is one of Nyack’s five intentional core values.
He described the student body as a "salad bowl," where everyone’s traditions, culture, and heritage are respected, even down to the food service. "If we can’t make the Kingdom of God work here, where can we?" he asked.
The Good News: Nyack offers a Writing Center to help students develop writing skills for course work. How prepared for college do you see students today?
Dr. Scales quickly pointed out that "preparedness has very little to do with intelligence," and that perhaps the smartest people in the country are quarterbacks in the NFL. Yet they weren’t necessarily prepared for college. He noted that more than half of their students are eligible for Pell grants due to lower family income, and research has shown economic status is an indicator of how well one is prepared and motivated for college.
"In our country’s Christian circles, we have to take seriously these people who will be leading our country, so we do our best to develop preparedness."
Nyack College has much to offer academically, and indeed, academic excellence is another core value. Degree options include an Accelerated Degree Completion Program, 38 baccalaureate degree majors, the Alliance Theological Seminary, masters’ degrees in organizational leadership, business, mental health counseling, and childhood education. Because the college was founded to reach all peoples for Christ, its Global Service-Learning offers the opportunity to travel around the world and study topics such as arts, history, music, Bible, theology, business, social work, nursing and intercultural studies.
Being globally engaged is another core value. "The mission that prompted Dr. Simpson to long for Nyack to become a university was, and is, a global mission. It is believed that the last words spoken by our founder was a prayer for graduates working in ministries worldwide."
These core values work together and result in two other core values: exalting Christ by being socially relevant and becoming personally transformed.
The Good News: What would you say to someone looking for a seminary?
Dr. Scales: Seminary students represent 80 different denominations. Alliance Theological Seminary (ATS) has a large Masters of Divinity program with 400 students, and their Doctor of Ministry program has over 100.
"We want to be a support for all Christian people. We try to have a big tent. We’re open to any evangelical group that’s trying to build the Kingdom of God."
The Good News: As a college president today, what do you see as some of your greatest challenges?
Dr. Scales acknowledged the pressure that can lock a college into a business model, but he feels a greater urgency to remain focused on Nyack’s mission.
"We hire people who fit in with our mission; the right people, the right place, the right time... If you’re not careful, you get into a business model." He added that a college’s best hope to sustain itself is adaptability. A college must be sensitive to its environment, regulations, bureaucracy, and cost, but must never lose focus of its mission.
The Good News: What are your plans going forward?
Dr. Scales would like to see the college become a university in New York State, which means it has at least 3 doctoral programs. In addition to the Doctor of Ministry, they are working on a PhD on Ancient Judaism and Christian Origins, and the other being a Doctor of Psychology.
"I want enough breadth in our institution so our students can leave here and create self sustaining ministries, businesses, or anything that would be of service so our students can be light and salt around the globe."
For more information call 800-33-NYACK or visit www.nyack.edu.
Asbury Camp & Retreat Center - The Right Place For The Genuine Christian Hospitality!
By Pat Shea
Remember the children’s story about the little blonde girl who drove three bears crazy while she tried to find a place (not to mention a chair, a bed and delicious food) that was "just right?" For individuals, church groups and families searching for a retreat center or summer camp with all the amenities that is not too big or too small, Asbury Camp & Retreat Center may be just the right fit.
Located on the shores of Silver Lake in Western New York, Asbury Camp & Retreat Center is a non-profit retreat and conference facility that is open year round.
As part of the Upper New York Camp and Retreat Ministries, which has six camp and retreat centers throughout New York State, Asbury Camp is owned and operated by the Upper New York Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, which is comprised of over 900 churches in Upstate New York with 168,000 members.
"One of the hallmarks of Asbury is the genuine Christian hospitality that we offer to every individual that steps foot on the property," stated David Riddell, director for Asbury Camp & Retreat Center, and marketing coordinator for the UNY Camp & Retreat Ministries. "Whether it’s a day meeting, an evening event, an overnight retreat or a week-long program, we believe in making every moment count for each person."
Asbury offers something for all ages and groups of all sizes. Once thought of primarily as a summer camp, Asbury is proud of the strides that it has made in the past few years to partner with churches and organizations and turn the facility into a premier retreat and conference center destination.
"In 2010, our board and leadership made a strategic decision to power down our traditional summer camp program and instead focus on providing more spaces for our churches and groups to host their meetings and retreats," stated Riddell. "That transition was a hard transition for families, but with camper numbers declining over the previous decade by over 70 percent, we had to shift our focus."
That shift to hosting more conferences and retreats proved to be a wise one. In 2014, Asbury served over 135 different groups, over 5,000 people and over 13,000 plates of food.
Over 80 percent of the revenue generated for the camp now comes from guest groups; 10 percent is generated from programs that Asbury runs; and 10 percent is generated by donations.
Despite the shift from being primarily a summer camp to being a retreat and conference center, Riddell is quick to point out that the care and consideration Asbury staff members have always shown their guests has never faltered, it has only increased.
"One of the unique aspects of Asbury is that we are small," explained Riddell. "We are not your run-of-the-mill-summer-camp, but we are also not your [overly] large conference center either. We typically host two-to-three small groups of 20 – 25 guests at a time. This allows us to focus on each group individually."
To help prepare for guests, Asbury has a guest services team that works hard in making sure that every group has a successful program. "We believe that this team is unique," explained Riddell. "We don’t simply book a group initially and then talk with them when they arrive on site. We remain in constant communication leading up to the retreat, and even after, to ensure that everything was what they had expected and needed."
Sue Russell, the assistant director for Asbury and a Deacon in the United Methodist Church, works with local retreat facilitators to develop unique programs that appeal to a wide audience. Just a few of the retreats running for Summer 2015 include: "Together Time, a family retreat" scheduled for July 13-15; "Reach Out: Community Mission Experience," scheduled for July 19-23; and the Asbury Express summer camp programs scheduled for July 26-29 for ages 7-9 and 10-12, and August 2-5 for ages 13-19.
Although Asbury is operated by the United Methodist Church, all of the center’s programs and events are open to the public.
"It is our hope to continue to develop new programs and events for individuals and groups to strengthen their relationship with God through a retreat experience," stated Riddell. "That is why Asbury works hard to provide unique experiences, whether it is a women’s retreat, family retreat or a specialty retreat like photography or a contemplative prayer retreat."
The retreat programs are planned out approximately two years in advance and include a wide variety of activities as well as lodging and hearty meals. "Our staff strives to make each meal delicious and in the summer months we offer local produce options and serve a lot of fresh and healthy options," stated Riddell. "An example for breakfast this past weekend included buckwheat blueberry pancakes and buttermilk pancakes, served with our fresh maple syrup processed from our own maple trees on the property, along with a fresh fruit salad with honey and lime, oatmeal, yogurt and fresh berries. For dinner we served a roasted turkey with red roasted mashed potatoes, homemade country style stuffing and honey glazed carrots and chocolate cheesecake shooters for dessert!"
For guests with dietary needs or restrictions, Asbury’s food service team and manager work together with the guest to make sure their needs are met throughout their stay. "We serve many guests who are vegan, vegetarian, lactose/dairy-free and gluten-free or have allergies," explained Riddell.
In addition to the food service team and guest services team, Asbury has a year round staff of nine team members. In the summer months the staff expands to include eight to 10 summer ministry team members that are comprised mainly of college-age students.
In regards to lodging, Asbury offers two retreat lodges that have motel-style accommodations to sleep up to 70 guests, meeting rooms, Wi-Fi throughout the facility, high-speed internet access, flat screen televisions and audio/video equipment.
There are also seven seasonal summer cabins, ideal for summer camp programs, youth or college retreats. Each cabin has a bathroom inside and offers dormitory bunk style accommodations with a total overnight sleeping capacity of 150.
Activities are plentiful at Ashbury. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, the facility offers an outdoor heated swimming pool, complete with water activities such as a water slide, and basketball, and lounge furniture for guests to enjoy. Basketball, Soccer, 4 Square, Tetherball and many other outdoor sport activities are also available. For guests that enjoy the water, Asbury waterfront hosts a large sundeck that goes out over Silver Lake, a favorite spot for worship, bible study and meditation. There is also kayaking, canoeing, water tubing and fishing.
Looking toward the future, Riddell has plans to create more spaces and places on the property for guests to explore and enjoy nature. This summer, in addition to the outdoor gazebo and gardens, an outdoor prayer labyrinth will be added for guests to enjoy.
"While we strive to have a premier retreat facility we also want to offer opportunities for guests to encounter God in new ways that they may not have experienced before," stated Riddell. "God has continued to bless our staff and ministry in the work that we do. We have faced many challenges over the past couple of years in developing Asbury into a premier Christian retreat center, and without God’s help, we would have not been able to accomplish these great things."
For more information on Asbury Camp & Retreat Center or to view a complete listing of upcoming retreats, visit www.asburyuny.org.
Camp Duffield Shares The Love Of God Through His Creation
By Rick Kern
If the Garden of Eden existed today, there’s a very real possibility that the Lord might have relocated it from the Middle East to the 137-acre swathe of paradise better known as Camp Duffield. Nestled well off the beaten path, the breathtaking facility is tucked into a picturesque panorama in scenic Delevan, New York, and is available for camping, conferences, and retreats.
The camp was originally located in Allegany State Park and known as the "Allegany Conferences," until 1938 when its name was changed to the "John R. Duffield Conferences" to honor Reverend J.R. Duffield of Olean, New York. The clergyman, who passed away the previous year, had been a leader in creating the conferences as a venue to minister to young people. The youth programs continued at that site until the late 1940s when a new property was evaluated for development. Sensing God’s leading, the governing Presbytery gave the move a green light and the camp found itself relocated and formally dedicated in October of the following year, though it had actually been in use the preceding summer.
Accordingly, Camp Duffield has been serving campers of all ages, economic situations, and backgrounds since 1950, enabling them to appreciate the sights and sounds of God’s beautiful creation. And to this day they continue the tradition of providing a supportive Christian environment where imaginations, life skills, and a sense of community are fostered. Their stated mission is to know Jesus Christ and make Him known through nurturing individual growth in faith, strengthening family relationships, and building communities of love, care, and acceptance.
In late 2007 the camp was sold to Camp Duffield Inc., an offshoot group that began running it in the summer of 2008. They are a nondenominational organization that is deeply sensitive to the convictions embraced by all Christian persuasions, and recognized as a 501(c) 3 non-profit business structure. Mrs. Mary Owens, who sat on the board some five years and was its president for three, explained that because Camp Duffield is not affiliated with or supported by a specific denomination, it has instead garnered considerable support from the love and commitment of former campers and their families. "We have no base to draw from," Mrs. Owens explained. "People who began as campers at Camp Duffield now volunteer and support us. We really appreciate that connection and want to keep it going through the generations."
One former camper’s life was so touched through their camping experiences that they recently gave a very large donation making it possible for the camp to offer a scholarship to anyone who wishes to attend. Additionally, though capably running a facility as vast as Camp Duffield demands quality, knowledgeable, and hard-working staff, compliance with a number of regulatory mandates, and just as much paperwork as footwork, they actually have just two paid staffers. Owens is brimming with gratitude as the excellence of the camping experience rises to the excellence of its people. "There are unbelievable man-hours put in to keep up the camp," she says. "We have volunteer medical staff, cooks, and counselors, and even have an engineer, geologist, and teachers. We’re blessed with a lot of professional people and they come from very different backgrounds from all over Western New York."
Mrs. Owens, whose background as a pediatric nurse and youth director make her perfectly qualified to help lead Camp Duffield, notes that theirs is one of the few camps that accepts people over 18 years-old. "We have a lot of return campers," she observes, "each kid has a place to go where you can be accepted, everybody’s accepted."
Duffield’s attendance continues to consistently grow with some 50-60 younger kids during the first week and 25-30 teens the second week, and on it goes. "The kids want to keep coming," says Owens, "we do quite a program and really bring them into nature." She continued, "Watching animals on National Geographic is great, but it’s not the same as interacting with wildlife, animals, and even insects. They get to actually experience living things — we even make a terrarium every year and then take it apart and let the creatures go."
In addition to weekends or weeks that are available all year round for group rentals, Camp Duffield offers several unique programs. For example, they have a three day "Chipmunk" program for first-timers, which requires a parent to accompany their "rookie" camper, but allows them all the prerogatives of a seasoned attendee. It’s a fantastic introduction to the camping life!
They also have "Music Camp" for 3rd through 8th Graders. While including all the usual camp activities such as campfires, swimming, and lots of games, Music Camp is a matchless experience for those who love to sing, dance, and perform.
The same age-group can also take advantage of "Science and Nature Camp," which provides an exceptional opportunity to explore nature through experiments and hands-on activities. Whether it’s new campers discovering the woods, learning about the pond from a frog’s perspective, or studying the stars, creation is viewed from a whole new perspective. Additionally, return science-campers can be found dabbling in chemistry, geology, ecology, and much more — days are spent learning about God’s world through the eyes of a scientist while, again, fitting in time for swimming, hiking, and singing.
Because teenagers seem to walk in two worlds and embrace a completely alternate reality at times, Camp Duffield has created "Night Owl Camp." Affectionately known as a teenagers dream schedule because participants stay up late and sleep in late, it includes all the standard camp amenities but jump-starts the day with late night games, hikes, and campfires.
Among the more novel formats and ministry tools Camp Duffield has developed, is their "Single Parent/Blended Family Camp." Embracing all families with arms wide open wherever they may be on the single-parent journey, the staff strives to offer love, hope, and acceptance through an exceptional camping experience geared to the unique challenges faced by single parents and blended families. "This camp becomes a lifeline," says Mrs. Owens. "We bring in speakers that help single parent/blended families deal with their unique challenges. Everyone truly becomes like a big family."
And finally, one of the most distinctive expressions of God’s love, is their "Challenge Camp." Designed expressly for developmentally disabled adults, Camp Duffield’s experienced staff provides an unrivaled camping experience for mentally handicapped adults. While centering on the usual camping pursuits, the program for these very special people offers an unusual activity roster that includes campfire sing-a-longs, swimming, fishing, bingo, theatre in the woods, crafts, camp Olympics, and a talent show. In short, it is a rare and wonderful weeks’ worth of grand and unusual experiences.
"They just steal your heart," Owens says, "the hard work and volunteers are just amazing."
On top of the conventional summer camp schedule, Camp Duffield also offers men’s and women’s retreats as well as an alumni reunion retreat.
"I believe that Camp Duffield is a very special place," says Mrs. Owens. "It’s a place where children can be children and families can come together. People find a space that takes them out of our hurried world."
For more information visit www.campduffield.net or call (716) 877-0581.
Camp Mandaville - Offering Bible-Based Camping and Retreats
By Susan LeDoux
In an interview with The Good News, Camp Director, Bob Emmett, explained that Mandaville is owned and operated by Bible Centered Ministries International, and began life in the 1950’s. A church in Massena, NY had requested that BCM send a missionary to work with children in the North Country. Martha Mandaville answered the call, and immediately set up a Bible club, release time classes, and arranged youth rallies.
Another missionary couple, Herb and Phyllis Spence, worked with Mandaville, and after Phyllis died, Herb carried on in her stead. In line with BCM’s ministry of evangelism, discipleship, leadership training, and teaching the Bible, the Spence’s wanted to reach even more children. They created a Christian camp for kids and a retreat center for adults in 1974, and named it after Martha Mandaville.
Whether you’re six or sixty years old, Mandaville Camp and Retreat Center offers something for everyone throughout the year. From January through March, summer campers return for overnight retreats and winter fun.
Even though the camp’s primary goal is evangelism and discipleship, Emmett believes that using God’s outdoor creation fits well into their niche. After hunting season, Mandaville offers a men’s game dinner, featuring all sorts of mouthwatering specialty dishes. A guest speaker, the Gospel message, along with various activities, help the men get to know each other better.
In the same vein, Mandaville hosts the Department of Environmental Conservation’s bow hunter/trapper education course. Through that DEC contact, the New York State Trapper Association came aboard, and sponsors its annual week-end camp at Mandaville. These events offer Emmett the opportunity to talk about who they are and what they do; invite people to take the available literature home, or ask any questions they may have about Jesus.
However, it’s the summer camp that buzzes with activity for all age groups.
There is the Base Camp’s ‘Leadership Mountain’ that grew out of Emmett’s own experience in the 1980’s, when he was program director of a leadership training and development program at a Rhode Island camp.
"I remember it well. It was an opportunity to work with teens who had gone through the length of the camp experience and were at a place where they could contribute, could be challenged to step up and take on additional responsibilities."
After initially introducing this concept at Mandaville, a new director for this program tweaked it into an intense 3 week experience, after which many "graduates" go on to become counselors, or even camp program directors. Teens develop leadership skills, and hone their talents and spiritual gifts which they then plug into their local churches.
"It’s neat to see the fruit of that program in the lives of these young people," Emmett said.
Among the various on site camps, the Pioneer Boys Camp is one of Emmett’s favorites. Boys from 5th to 8th grade, spend a week in a wilderness area. They gain outdoor living skills and complete projects, such as constructing Adirondack lean-tos, or building bridges over creeks. Because they use real tools, three to four staff members work closely with 10-12 campers.
First through third graders attend Primary Summer Camp. It’s a shorter week, Monday through Thursday, for these kids who are "supercharged, full of energy and just want to have fun." The camper to staff ratio is 3:1, as the kids sleep in dorms and enjoy cookouts. When asked if there were problems with homesickness, Emmett said the parents seem to have a harder time leaving their children than children missing home.
"We have to do more to keep them busy. If done right, we will see them come back... It’s fun to see the younger age group move up through the ranks."
Among the on site facilities, the Creation Center evolved from a just having a tarp cover to its current 24 by 32 foot structure. A local taxidermist once donated specimens such as a white-tailed deer, a turkey, beaver, and coyote to the Center. "It’s like walking into a North Country woods," Emmett said. Campers study the animals and note their observations. They go on rambles to the near-by swamp, visit a beaver lodge, and study how God’s creatures do what they do.
It’s easy to hear Emmett’s enthusiasm as he describes his life. Although he had never gone to camp as a child, God redirected him when he came to know Jesus at age 23. Always athletic, with a love for the outdoors, he applied to a Christina Liberal Arts school in Rhode Island to major in recreation. When he felt God wanted him to help kids avoid some of the traps he had fallen into, Emmett transferred to Houghton College, narrowing his focus to outdoor recreation. He met his wife when he worked at a wilderness therapeutic camp in North Carolina.
In February 2001, Mandaville faced closure because the Spence’s, in their 80s, could no longer manage the camp full time. The Emmetts were planning a mission trip to Sri Lanka when BCM’s offered them the directorship of the camp. They moved in a month later.
While Mandaville Camp is now going strong, Emmett believes "the key to our effectiveness is to come along side local, Bible-believing churches," although many are small and struggling.
To build relationships and show the value of the camp and retreat experience, Emmett visits a church outside their immediate area once a month. Over the next five years, they hope to establish relationships with five to ten new churches, and expand their reach to a 100 mile radius.
For more information about Mandaville Camp and Retreat Center, go to www.mandaville.org.
Odosagih Bible Conference Gears Up for a New Season Amid Changes
By Rick Kern
When the "Roaring Twenties" roared into the 20th Century following the First World War, they collided raucously with the culture like a storm making landfall. With the United States and its European counterpart each riding a sustained wave of economic affluence, both sides of the Atlantic Ocean found itself inspired by a younger generation exhilarated with a passion for life.
Things that were viewed as outdated moral standards were discarded like lackluster clichés, giving way to eager new pages of history just waiting to be written. Social novelties that included jazz music, glamor-laden movie stars, and dynamic sports heroes found the friendly glow of the spotlight with the emergence of an artistic freedom that seeped into every nook and cranny of the times. A new kind of reformation was on!
Yet as the spring of 1922 found lavishly adorned flappers tearing up the dance floor and revolutionizing the role of the modern woman, it also found Rev. John Whitney, Rev. Laurence Cornwall, Rev. John Williams, and Dr. M.T. Shelford in one accord appealing to God for the land upon which the Odosagih Bible Conference (OBC) now stands. The four men knelt by a tree stump and claimed the promise of Jeremiah 33:3, "Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not" (KJV).
They asked the Lord to establish a Bible Conference, a meeting place that would accommodate spiritual gatherings and the proclamation of the Word of God. The Lord heard their prayers and in 1927 the land was purchased, while a year later they bought the dance hall which had been leased as a tabernacle. God had blessed them and answered their prayer, as attendance at their Sunday evening meetings snowballed. The dancehall went from being filled with frolicking young people doing the Charleston, to worshipful Christians calling upon the Lord. Today there is a plaque mounted at what has become known as the "Glory Stump," marking the spot where the four men humbled themselves, knelt, and called upon God. It was here that great and mighty things far beyond all they could have possibly imagined began to unfold and continue to this day.
Back then, the Seneca Indians called Lime Lake "Odosagih," which basically suggests fresh, pure, living waters and seemed like the perfect name for the new venture. Tucked unassumingly into the southwest shore of the picturesque lake in Machias, New York, some 45 miles south of Buffalo, Odosagih Bible Conference is the picture of old-world charm. It has come a long way since God answered the prayers prayed at the Glory Stump, and has grown in the grace of God from one lone former dancehall to an amazing 39 buildings spread across 65 acres.
A multifaceted facility, its grounds include cottages, campsites, a motel, guesthouse, dining hall, and recreational areas. The motel is perched high above the lake and offers a breathtaking panorama of its shimmering waters swaddled against the quaint country landscape. And when it comes to activities and enjoyment in a godly environment, Odosagih leaves nothing to the imagination. You can enjoy glistening Lime Lake in paddle, row, and sail boats, and can even arrange to be baptized at OBC. They still offer an old fashioned tabernacle where people gather to worship, and their dining hall boasts an open buffet with outstanding home cooking. The facilities also include a pool, miniature golf, pontoon boat rides, fishing off the dock, tennis, shuffleboard, and volleyball, as well as RV and camping grounds.
They have the whole package and it attracts families, church groups, retreats, and more. In addition, OBC continually offers its own programs. For example, from the 4th of July weekend through Labor Day, each Saturday they offer a 5 P.M. buffet followed by a concert. And Sunday through Friday, at both 10:30 A.M. and 7 P.M., the Bible Conference provides speakers and musicians that share the Gospel in word and music. Odosagih also sponsors a Men’s Retreat, two Ladies’ Retreats, several Prayer & Fellowship Dinners, and special dinner events such as their Sweetheart Banquet. While their full summer program has them buzzing with activity, they are open all year round for retreats and offer seasonal sites to accommodate every need.
"We want to see people saved, edified in the faith, and provide a place of rest and relaxation for families," explains Ron Uhlman, Odosagih’s Interim Director. "We’re there to minister to guests, and offer quietness and reverent worship through the preaching of God’s Word and the ministry of music.
Uhlman’s tenure with Odosagih reaches back to 1980 and he has served in various capacities including stints as both President and Vice President of the board. His present responsibilities, however, were assumed following the tragic death of his predecessor, OBC’s longtime Director, Roger White, who passed away last January. "I never imagined I’d be doing something like this," Uhlman said. "The Lord put me in here and the board told me to be acting director for a period of time; we’ll be searching for a permanent director probably come late autumn."
Uhlman is more than qualified to handle the position having worked alongside Roger White for years at Odosagih. In addition, he developed the necessary skillsets during his 33 years as a teacher for the Eden School District, during which time he often served as a Union Representative. There is a lot of paper to push running an operation as vast and complex as the Odosagih Bible Conference. But that’s not all — with the summer season at the door, there are staff applications to review, candidates to interview and hire, speakers and singers to schedule, and the list goes on. However, Ron is well aware that his new position demands more than experience and organizational skills. "A lot of people are praying for me daily," he admitted, "I couldn’t do it without them."
On top of everything else, the group is in the midst of a capital campaign to raise $400,000 to bankroll the creation of the Whitney Activity Center. The vast complex is expected to greatly enhance the services OBC provides all year long. It promises to offer a full-size high school gymnasium, meeting rooms on both sides of the building that can be used for break out sessions to facilitate retreats, and the ability to hold services, concerts, and meetings in the building year round as the gymnasium will serve as a multipurpose room. In addition, the facility will house a snack shop area across the front of the building with a small kitchen and a stage area for speakers, musicians, or skits, etc.
Odosagih has come a long way since 1922 when John Whitney and friends prayed according to Jeremiah 33:3. God has answered and shown great and mighty things, offering His people a place of quiet relaxation and reverent worship. For more information call (716) 353-8555 or visit www.odosagih.org.
Finding Faith and Excellence at Lima Christian School
By Susan LeDoux
Take a leisurely drive along Route 15A as it winds through the countryside south of Rochester, and you will eventually come upon Lima Baptist Church. Literally attached to the church is the Lima Christian School — what Karen Scheuermann, Director of Marketing and Development, calls the "best kept secret in greater Rochester."
Scheuermann should know. She has experienced Lima Christian as a parent, teacher, and now Director of Marketing and Development.
"We love our little school. I subbed in public school and even though I make less here, I don’t want to go back."
If you accept the administration’s offer of a personal tour and the opportunity for your potential scholar to shadow a student through his day, you will discover the school has much to offer.
Celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, LCS is a college preparatory, co-educational, K through 12 school. Relatively small with about 200 students, LCS partners with Genesee Community College to provide college credit courses in English, Psychology, Statistics, Pre-Calculus, Calculus I and II, and Physics I and II.
According to Scheuermann, "Its mission is to support families in the Christian education training of their children. Through Bible-centered instruction in academics, athletics, and the arts, Lima Christian School challenges students mentally, physically, and spiritually... Our goal is to create a generation of high achieving young men and women who will be servant leaders impacting their communities, their region, and their world for Christ."
The school accomplishes this in many ways. On the monthly Casual for a Cause day, students and teachers dress in jeans and donate to a cause. The latest recipient was "Pure for God," a ministry promoting not only purity but the Gospel and increased holiness.
High school students go on school sponsored mission trips, such as last spring’s trip to Mexico. Then there’s the Memory Project, where advanced art students turn photos of Indian orphans into portraits and send them back to the children in India.
Students reach out closer to home too. Ninth graders volunteer to rake leaves in the community. The Father’s Heart Ministry, a church based group that affiliates with Joy Community Church in Rochester, helps the homeless. Students pack food for Joy’s neighborhood outreach, deliver meals, work in the food pantry, and clean houses.
A comprehensive sports program offers varsity soccer, basketball, baseball, and softball for boys and girls, as well as modified sports for middle grade students. "Summer’s Best Two Weeks" combines practicing sports and Bible study in an annual sports camp.
School clubs offer skiing, bowling, drama, and music. LCS is presenting "Little Women" this year. Chorus, band, jazz band, instrumental and voice lessons fill out the music program.
Small and rural though the school may be, it has a strong international student program. Currently seven students hail from China and two from Vietnam.
LCS uses the Sycamore software system to keep parents informed of all aspects of their children’s school life, from grades to homework assignments. School administration may use this system in the future to "flip" the classroom experience. In this new approach, the student would listen to the teacher’s lecture at home on his computer and do the "homework" assignment in school where the instructor is available to help the student and further clarify the lesson.
In the wing set aside for the little ones, kindergarteners settle down for their naps in a darkened classroom with a sofa and inviting carpet. In another room, beginner readers curl into their beanbag chairs as they loose themselves in books during a free reading session.
Another delightful stop on the grand tour is the library. Today it is filled with impressive art work, from paintings to fabric art in the form of quilts. Artists include students, teachers, and even the head of maintenance, whose framed photos reveal a talented photographer.
A loving spirit seems to permeate the school — from Chapel every Friday to state of the art science labs. Today, one teacher shares her lunch hour in her classroom with her daughter and a group of her daughter’s friends. A few girls enjoy a quiet lunch in the art room. Students in the halls readily stop to chat with faculty.
With a small student body, each student is appreciated as an individual. Paraprofessionals from Honeoye Lima School District work along with the teachers to assist students with special learning needs, such as ADHD. Scheuermann added that they use all available services as well as BOCES.
Walking in the halls, Principal Todd Steltz personally greets teachers and scholars alike. Raised in Greece, New York, Steltz has been a teacher since graduating from college. His first position was as a Spanish instructor at Norstar Academy. After marrying and between two mission trips, he earned his Masters Degree in Christian School Administration at Baptist Bible College. Wanting to be closer to aging parents, Steltz accepted the position of principal at LCS two years ago. "When I walked through the door, I felt God’s presence and thought, ‘I want to get plugged into where God is working,’" he said. "We have a new wing and 40 new students this year."
A phone survey of new school families showed the main reasons for selecting Lima Christian School are the people and the Christian values that permeate everything, from classes to sports. Parents expressed the belief that instilling a Biblical world view in their children is important to them.
Visit Lima Christian School’s Facebook page or webpage at www.limachristian.org for more information.
Brighton Presbyterian Church Brings Hope and Transformation through Jesus Christ
Lida H. Moore
With its bicentennial anniversary quickly approaching in two years and its easy access across from the newest Wegmans off Route 490 in Rochester, New York, Brighton Presbyterian Church (BPC) is a landmark that many people see every day as their automobiles cruise down the highway.
Pastor Tim Luddy recently provided information to The Good News to update readers on this ministry’s continued mission to provide hope and "transformative growth" to the community, through the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He also spoke about how BPC shares the "1775 East Avenue" building with three other ministries and a para-ministry.
The Good News: Please give a brief history of Brighton Presbyterian Church (BPC).
Pastor Tim Luddy: In 2017, Brighton Presbyterian Church (BPC) will celebrate its 200th anniversary. In 1816, the Rev. Solomon Allen came to the Brighton wilderness from Southampton, Massachusetts, to bring the Gospel to the newly-arrived settlers. He packed his saddlebags with Bibles and Gospel tracts and rode his horse through dense woods to the isolated settlers’ farms. Under his leadership, nine men and 13 women organized the Brighton Church in 1817 at the Stone-Tolan House. The church’s first wooden structure was dedicated in 1825 on the south bank of the newly-completed Eire Canal. In 1867, the building, now surrounded by Brighton Cemetery, was destroyed by fire. Subsequently, the church purchased the East Avenue farm of the late Benjamin Blossom, a church deacon for many years, and the next year erected a large, stone building on the lawn of the present church. Two years later, in 1870, the congregation voted unanimously to join the Presbytery of Rochester and to change its name to Brighton Presbyterian Church (BPC). The current building was dedicated in 1914. Nineteen pastors have formally served at BPC since 1817. I was installed as pastor in July 2010. BPC is a member of the "Confessing Church Movement" of the PC (U.S.A.).
On April 5, 2014 we celebrated the 100th year anniversary of the current sanctuary. The first service held in the then-new sanctuary occurred on this date in 1914, Palm Sunday of that year. We celebrated that anniversary and look forward to the Bicentennial of BPC in 2017.
The Good News: What is the church’s guiding vision as a ministry today?
Pastor Tim Luddy: The guiding vision for ministry at BPC is… "With hope of mercy and new life, we see our city being transformed in love through the life-changing Good News of Jesus Christ." The Scripture behind this is Jesus’ commandment to His Church - "The Great Commission", found in Matthew 28:19-20: "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." [NIV] This passage guides all that we do at BPC. Every program and outreach is geared toward the work of cooperating with the Holy Spirit in making disciples -- new and mature. The Greek verb translated by the NIV as "to make" is the same verb used to describe the activity of a potter working the clay on a wheel. The work of disciple-making involves getting dirty…going where people are…being available to them in their contexts. This is what we strive to do.
The Good News: Please highlight some of the individual ministries of the church and how they are impacting church members and the community.
Pastor Tim Luddy: Our Sunday worship combines contemporary music and traditional hymns, biblical teaching, and fellowship. BPC desires that all who enter its fellowship experience Jesus’ love, healing, salvation, and transformative growth, and it offers a Gospel-centered Christian education for all ages, thriving outreach ministries such as Yoke Fellows (men’s ministry), Soup Sisters (women’s ministry), bi-weekly Sunday afternoon services on the 2nd and 4th Sunday of each month at 4 pm (contemporary worship with a short teaching and prayer), an annual Women’s Day of Refreshing, Vacation Bible School and free picnics on the lawn every summer.
All of these are designed to meet men and women where they are in life and continually introduce them to the Good News of Jesus Christ. For BPC, the Gospel is the one main thing. We look for new opportunities to introduce the Gospel in plain language and reintroduce it in winsome ways through these outreach programs and more.
The Good News: Does the church have any new initiatives or goals that it is working on at this time?
Pastor Tim Luddy: Like any other mainline church, we have our struggles. Yet, alongside these struggles, God has given each person an amazing hope for the future. We believe that God has an important role for BPC as a part of the greater church of Jesus Christ in Rochester, NY.
God has blessed us with a lot of space: beautiful space that can and is being used to preach the Gospel and build disciples. A little while ago, God alerted me to something that I saw as I drove my daughter back to college. We were on the way when my eyes spotted a stand-alone building with two signs. On the left was a Taco Bell sign, and on the right, a Kentucky Fried Chicken sign. I saw two entryways that provided access to one common area. One could turn left for tacos or right for chicken. What was the common denominator? Both places sold food. That scene has been etched in my mind and is now a guiding principle for what is happening at BPC right now.
With an abundance of space, we have sought and God has led other like-minded congregations to come and share space with us. We currently have two other congregations worshipping along with BPC with a third congregation coming in this fall. We also host a vibrant para-church ministry. Because of the diversity of worshipping communities, we are now referring to the building as simply, "1775 East Avenue". That may change in time but it seemed logical and generic enough for all of the churches and ministries that share the building. So you can see…one building…different expressions of the church…all a part of Jesus’ heart in John 17:22-23: "I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me."
The pastors at 1775 East Avenue gather for prayer each Wednesday morning. We pray for each other, our ministries, families and, most importantly, for our common interest in bringing the Good News to the City of Rochester. Together, we offer a variety of worship expressions and ministry opportunities both within each congregation and together. We have regular joint services. This fall we will collaborate in a nationwide crusade, Harvest America on October 5, featuring Greg Laurie.
God is clearly in this gathering of congregations, even if just for a little while. Together, we can do more for the Kingdom of God than we can separately. And in Rochester where the winters are very cold, we need a sheltered base to preach the Gospel -- that is the future of 1775 East Avenue.
The Good News: What do you believe are some unique aspects of your particular ministry?
Pastor Tim Luddy: Not only does the congregation of BPC bring its own giftedness in the areas of prayer ministry and disciple-making, but we are also excited to work alongside these other vibrant congregations and para-church ministry. Together, we bring a host of gifts to the needs of the people of our community and city. Our location is ideal in that it is on three major bus routes and across the street from the new Wegmans. Our building is easily accessible from both Routes 490 and 590, and is at the eastern entrance to the city via East Avenue.
The Good News: What is the greatest challenge your ministry faces at this time?
Pastor Tim Luddy: One of the greatest challenges faced by any church today is the declining interest and attendance at worship services. I believe that part of that is due to a failure of the church as a whole to preach the Gospel and a loss of the Gospel as the central part of ministry.
I was in business for 25 years before God called me into ministry. While in business, I learned that a company’s vision and mission statement was paramount and designed to be a guiding principle for all of the company’s endeavors. To deviate was to apply resources away from the direction that everyone else was going and being led.
Jesus has told us to "go and make," not to "wait and see". As a mainline congregation and part of this hybrid ministry at 1775 East Avenue, we must heed our "C.E.O.’s" clarion call to bring this Good News to the many broken and hurting hearts in Rochester and around the world.
The Good News: What do you believe are the greatest obstacles right now for the Church in the United States, considering recent statistics of young people and people of all ages leaving the Church and having no interest in religious affiliation?
Pastor Tim Luddy: I believe some of the greatest obstacles I have encountered since I entered into full-time ministry four years ago are the fact that many look at those in the Church as hypocrites who are immovable in their doctrines and who primarily declare what they are against rather than what they are for. The Christian faith is the constant source of hope for the world. Jesus is the only Source of Truth and hope concerning the problems of sin and death. The church needs to winsomely declare this message of hope over and over again. Not just to those who have not yet heard it, but also to the Church itself, young and old. At the same time, we must not be dishonest in our approach. Jesus is still the way, the truth and the life.
The Good News: How long have you been at the church and what is your background in ministry?
Pastor Tim Luddy: I have been at Brighton Presbyterian Church (BPC) since July 2010. I experienced God’s call to enter ministry full-time after 20 years in business and an active life in the Church in Connecticut and Ithaca, New York. I graduated from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in 2007 with a Master’s of Divinity degree. My passion is to help people grow in their knowledge, understanding, and daily application of the life-changing Good News of Jesus Christ. My focus and passion for ministry is to encourage people by helping them to understand how what was written in biblical times applies today in their lives. I am married to the love of my life and best friend, Kerry, who also graduated with a Master’s degree in Counseling from Gordon-Conwell. We have been married for nearly 27 years, and have four children.
The Good News: What has been your greatest takeaway or most memorable experience since you have been serving at the church?
Pastor Tim Luddy: My greatest takeaway while ministering amongst God’s people here has been the privilege I have had to see God mold and shape lives, including my own, in ways that only He can. This transformation has not been without pain…yet always with hope. Hope for a future of a vital Gospel-centered ministry and hope for an eternity in God’s loving presence. Alleluia!
My most memorable experiences have been listening to the stories of some of the older saints who worship with us. To hear their many stories of God’s grace and blessing in times of tumult and war have lifted my spirit. The church is indeed a multigenerational gathering that is for all ages. I have often seen and experienced that here.
The Good News: Please add any other information about Brighton Presbyterian Church that you would like our Good News readers to know about.
Pastor Tim Luddy: BPC is also a part of the Urban Presbyterians Together (UPT): A consortium of 10 congregations located within the City of Rochester. The UPT began gathering more than five years ago for mutual support and shared mission. We’ve evolved into a vibrant network of mission, discernment, and care. The ministers meet monthly; a core team meets monthly as well to coordinate plans for outreach.
BPC is a small, but growing, congregation - a diverse community with a blend of cultures, children and seniors, from city and suburb, with a wide variety of backgrounds and interests. What we share is a common God, a desire to know Him better and to share His love with others. We worship with traditional hymns and contemporary music. We enjoy insightful biblical teachings and Christian fellowship.
With the hope of mercy and new life, we see our city being transformed in love through the life changing Good News of Jesus Christ. Come and join us as we seek to take part in what God is doing in this city!
The Good News: What is the best contact information for the church if people want to visit or find out more about your ministry?
Pastor Tim Luddy: Join us for worship on Sunday mornings at 9:30AM in our fellowship hall. You can learn more or email us from our website at http://www.brightonpresby.org. If you have any questions or would like more information about our congregation or what is happening at 1775 East Avenue, please contact our Director of Community Relations and Discipleship, Kerry Luddy, at (585) 473-5876, extension 3009. Or you can call me at the same number, extension 3007. You can also follow us on Facebook.
By now, the 2014-15 academic year at the Charles Finney School is on the way. Visitors and potential students will have toured the school during the summer open house events, and a mood of high expectation blooms in the school’s administrative offices. The Good News visited with Tara Bator, Director of Admissions, to talk about Finney’s new and expanding initiatives.
There are two things you should know about this school named after Charles Finney, the noted 19th century Presbyterian minister and revivalist.
First, The Charles Finney School is a distinctly Christian school.
While the school sets its own curriculum by grade level (K-12) and does not necessarily use Christian texts, it incorporates Scripture and supplemental material to give a Biblical foundation for everything, Bator explained.
"For example, there may be an essay question on a biology test asking ‘what about this particular topic shows that God created this?’"
Even the youngest students are taught concepts behind words such as "integrity". Teachers will connect the word with Scripture and reward children with "tickets" when they demonstrate that concept with their peers.
Required Bible classes and weekly chapel services strengthen the students’ faith formation. In addition to various mission trips, such as the upcoming trips to Malawi and Panama, high school students fulfill community service requirements through Project Compassion, headed by Rev. Dr. Peter Burch.
The last issue of The Good News published Dr. Burch’s account of Finney’s Project Compassion Team that came to help after Camp Good Days and Special Times was flooded this spring. Compassion work is not limited to the high school students, however. Now elementary and middle school students are getting involved with activities, such as fundraising or finding donated items that can serve those in need.
It’s about compassion, service, and giving back, Bator explained. The Compassion 2015 event is coming up this fall with a mission trip to Highlands, New Jersey. According to the website www.dosomethinggreater.com, Project Compassion’s impact is
"Inspired by Jesus who ‘did not come to be served, but to serve,’ Project Compassion has completed over 330 acts of compassion since September of 2012. We put ‘no limits’ on what God can do; as a result, student missionaries from The Charles Finney School have traveled over 7,000 miles, completed eleven disaster relief trips, and served the Lord in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Arkansas, Kentucky, and Louisiana. Project Compassion never ceases and never loses heart because we can always do something and ‘doing something is greater than doing nothing.’"
Secondly, Finney school prepares students for college and career.
Its graduation rate is consistently 100% and there is no reason to think the current enrollment of 275 students will not follow suit. Finney School is growing those programs that have been successful in the past, while its new science labs and equipment offer potential for even more exciting innovations.
As a college prep school, Finney has expanded its "dual credit college courses." Roberts Wesleyan College evaluated the Finney dual credit teachers as teaching at the level of college professors. Consequently, students taking college-level literature, writing, psychology, calculus, and visual arts are dually enrolled for those courses in Finney School and either Roberts Wesleyan or Monroe Community Colleges. Taught at Finney, the courses carry the Finney price tag rather than a collegiate one. In addition to dual credit courses, the school maintains its honors track and AP courses.
One of Finney’s college guidance activities is the required Internship Program for seniors to help them experience a taste of their future careers. For example, some students worked at the U of R Medical Center; others who thought teaching may be their calling had the opportunity to work with the younger students at Finney.
Bator is excited about Finney’s academic innovations as well. The school is adding to its college prep emphasis with their S.T.E.M. (science, technology, and math) courses. And for the younger students, they added a Full Option Science System (F.O.S.S), which is a more hands-on type of curriculum for K-8 with more in-depth labs. "It starts as early as kindergarten," she said.
Finney’s robotics program is still going strong after winning the Finger Lakes Competition at RIT in 2013. "We have a CNC machine and 3D printer; both have to do with our Computer Aided Design (CAD) course and robotics," Bator explained.
The Finney School’s international program opens the school to students from around the world. Because it serves as an international agency, the school can sign J1 and F1 student visas.
And, if you are homeschooling your children and would like to incorporate or transition to the institutional school experience, Finney offers placement for your child.
As excellent as the faculty is, Bator acknowledges the importance of involved parents.
"We live on parent involvement — really a Finney Family. Finney’s goal is to partner with parents so you know that what your child is getting in school is what you’re reinforcing at home."
She pointed out that with a small student body, education can be more individualized and where necessary, counseling, teacher mentors, or Chaplin Samme Palermo is there to help.
Clearly, "Do something greater" is not just the motto at the Finney School. It’s a way of life.
For more information about Finney School, go to www.finneyschool.org.
Davis College Educates and Empowers Students to Impact the World with the Gospel of Jesus Christ
By Lida H. Moore
As one of the oldest Bible colleges in America, Upstate New York’s Davis College in Binghamton has trained and empowered countless men and women to wholehearted and devoted service focused on spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ and touching the lives of people all over the world with His light and love.
"Through the ministry of Davis College, it’s been exciting to see God at work in sometimes impossible situations, shifting outcomes for the better and doing more than we could ever have imagined," said Dino Pedrone, ninth president of the over-100-year-old college. "The hand of God continues to bless this ministry, and I couldn’t be more excited about the future of the college and the remarkable days ahead as we continue to bring God all the glory in everything that we do."
Davis College, the only fully-accredited Bible College in New York, is accredited by the Association for Biblical Higher Education, regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission of Higher Education, and by the Regents of the University of the State of New York. It offers three options for pursuing higher education opportunities which include attending classes onsite, becoming a student at one of the 18 offsite locations, or registering online for one of the over 60 courses in Bible and Theology, Liberal Arts, and Professional Studies.
The college’s most recent underlying theme, "Pursue God," has emphasized the priority of Scripture and a biblical worldview as students are encouraged to get to know who God is as described in Psalm 19 and to know Him so as to live a fully committed Christian life, Pedrone said.
"It’s impossible to live a Christian life in ourselves but instead we must allow God to live through us as we become broken, yielded vessels and then His power becomes alive in us like dynamite and we can live victorious lives," Pedrone said. "We’re all on a journey and we want our students in this academic environment to recognize Christ is all and is in all. We begin our classes in prayer and professors dialogue with our students in ways that allow valuable lessons to be taught about life and living for Christ.
Pedrone has seen many changes in higher education since he graduated in 1967 from Davis College, which was then named Practical Bible Training School. A native of Binghamton, he previously was the pastor of two churches for a combined service of over 40 years. He also served as president of the Florida Association of Christian Colleges and Schools before returning to Davis College in 2008 as President.
"We’ve had significant growth in our enrollment for the past six semesters as we look for and develop many different opportunities to train students who are called to be pastors, worship leaders, and educators. We even help homeschooled high school students take classes that can be applied to their college education," said Pedrone. "One example of a unique opportunity that the Lord has allowed us to be involved in for a few years is the training of pastors in a French-speaking Baptist Church in New York City and teaching our curriculum in French, Spanish, and Creole so that these pastors can earn Associate and Bachelor Degrees," Pedrone said.
The college has also been on the forefront of helping students with the financial challenges of higher education. It recently launched the Financial Liberty Exercised (FLEX) program which will be offered to all incoming freshman in the fall of 2014 so they can freely choose a career and not worry about their ability to pay back school loans. The program offers assistance to students and parents in paying back loans based on a graduate’s income if they do not meet specified income thresholds.
Pedrone said that because he believes one of the greatest challenges facing higher education institutions is student loan debt, the college is proactive in finding ways to help students with the cost of their education. Approximately 92 percent of Davis College students receive scholarships and 98 percent receive financial aid.
"As our society changes dramatically and no longer favors the Judeo Christian values, we are in a battle for the truth and solid Biblical education is so important. There is a great need for building relationships in our communities to bring the knowledge and truth through the Gospel to our world," Pedrone said. "We have a wonderful opportunity to help our students to spread the light in this darkness and come up with solutions as they share the grace of God and see how we can abound more than we could imagine in what we have in Christ."
Pedrone said that God has opened many doors for the college to grow and advance the Gospel. At this time, the college has raised a quarter of its Capital Campaign goal of $2 million which will go toward completing the renovation of nearby property on over four acres and will include a 500-seat chapel, several classrooms, and offices. In addition, the school recently announced that it has become a full member of the United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA) Division II for its intercollegiate athletic programs.
"We are so thankful for the partnerships with so many organizations and ministries like The Good News, Christian newspaper in Western, Central and Upstate NY. I would encourage your readership to come out and hear me speak as I travel throughout the area and learn more about Davis College and the many opportunities God is giving us to serve Him," Pedrone said.
For more information about Davis College, go to www.davisny.edu or call 877-949-3248.
Hundreds Attend Joseph’s House Fundraising Event in Syracuse, NY
By John Petrilli
There are concerts … and then, well, there are … CONCERTS! On the evening of August 1 a strong and enthusiastic crowd numbering in the multiplied hundreds packed into Believer’s Chapel in Cicero, New York to hear Matt Maher sing. And not one of them left disappointed.
Matt Maher delivered. Big time. I walked away commenting to myself and others that this was, without a doubt, one of THE BEST concerts I’ve ever been to. Seriously. Matt is one interesting, entertaining, creative and genuine individual. He certainly has an incredible way with words, and a sense of humor to boot!
By the time it was all over, the entire crowd was on its feet, singing along with the gifted artist at the top of their lungs! Faces were alive with the joy and excitement that only comes when the Holy Spirit fills a worshipping group with His wonderful presence. What was so unique about this night was that it was a truly cross-generational event where everybody thoroughly enjoyed themselves.
More on that "after a word from our sponsors". The cool folks who have opened Joseph’s House right here in Syracuse. One ancient sage advised Christians to "Not waste their time cursing the darkness, but instead, light a light". Many find it easy to bemoan the tragedy of unwed pregnancies and abortions in our land … but the founders of Joseph’s House decided to just DO something about it.
In less than a year they’ve dome something few ever thought possible, much less even dared to try. They’ve established a home for women in the midst of crisis pregnancies. They not only help the women choose life, they take them under their roof and wing for two entire years to see that they get established and become capable of mothering and parenting their child.
Matt Maher did a superb job weaving his well-selected songs into the theme of the evening. He pointed-out some insightful parallels between the place a woman with an unplanned pregnancy finds herself in and that of the person who carried Jesus as an unmarried woman. How Mary surely didn’t "plan" to have a baby, much less the Son of God. How both Mary and Joseph bravely faced some awesomely tough decisions. How Joseph, the unsung hero of the story, so unselfishly agreed to father an "illegitimate" child that wasn’t even his own in an ancient cultural climate far less understanding, forgiving or supportive as ours might be today.
Maher softly strummed his guitar as he commented, "Joseph’s House is named after a man who was willing to step into a pretty scary circumstance. He cared for a child who wasn’t his, no questions asked. Two thousand years later we’re not talking about Joseph’s carpentry. No one’s talking about his chairs and his tables. An angel shows up to Mary and tells her she’s full of grace, and I’m like, ‘Well, of course, you’ve gotta be if you’re gonna carry the Son of God’. But I’d like to think that that grace spilled over to her husband Joseph as well.
"I was thinking about Joseph. Your whole life you’re a carpenter… and God comes along and says, ‘Listen, I really need you to take in a young woman as your bride, and oh, by the way, she’s currently in the middle of an unplanned pregnancy. There’s nothing planned on the human side of the pregnancy of Jesus Christ ... I don’t think that’s what (Mary) was planning. And when you look at a ministry like Joseph’s House, it makes me think of Andrew, it makes me think of Joseph, these people of faith who are willing to step in and take in a young woman who’s a mom, and all the burdens and fears that come with that."
"Grace is a funny thing… we can’t live without it, yet it’s the thing we probably think the least about. But if not for grace we probably wouldn’t all be here. Grace is most sufficient when I’m most weak … when I’m most incapable … grace is most sufficient when you feel you are the least amount together in your life."
I was especially moved as Maher pointed out how God is most glorified, not through magnificent sunsets, etc., but through people. The Bible is a running account of stories that tell how simple, everyday people were greatly used of God. And how we, each in our own simple way, can become the next chapter in His ongoing storybook. The artist cited Andrew as the model par excellence of this type of low-profile but high yield Christian service. Andrew quietly led his family and his friends to the Lord. Maher sincerely believes that to change our world for the Lord we don’t really need another Christian superstar or "hero". We simply need a whole lot more Andrews, faithful individuals who quietly go about their business winning others to the Savior.
Matt’s lyrics are supremely original and fresh, filled with spiritual insight, often counter- intuitive, and decidedly unconventional. Of course the perennial chart-topping artist sang most of his most-loved songs. Opening with a rousing, foot-stomping version of "Let All the People Say Amen!", the band seamlessly transitioned into a powerful revival song titled, "Burning In My Soul". "I Need You", "Come Awake" (Christ Is Risen from the Dead) were also performed before a hungry crowd that couldn’t get enough. Loudly chanting for an encore, Maher’s band answered the crowd’s plea with their hit, "Love Will Hold Us Together".
Maher ministers with such joy and fun that it was so much more than the delivery of a repertoire. It was a great composer and artist sharing his heart for God, love for Jesus and the wisdom he’s gained as a Christ-follower. All encased in the fine art of poetic expression that comprises great music and hymnology. Honestly, it was impossible to not join in the celebration and pure, wholesome fun!
For more information about Joseph’s House visit www.josephshouseforwomen.org.
Joseph’s House V.P of Operations, Maria Miller, can be reached by email at email@example.com, or by phone at 315-720-2248.
Northeastern Seminary Offers Classes in Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and the Capital Region
By Susan LeDoux
Has attending a seminary ever crossed your mind, even though you can’t imagine yourself as an ordained minister? Perhaps you already enjoy a secular professional life, but feel the tug of the Spirit to discover a life rooted in a deeper commitment to Christ and the people around you. And what if you do feel the call to ordained ministry?
Northeastern Seminary held an informational meeting on Roberts Wesleyan College Campus in Rochester, NY on July 24th to answer those questions and more. People gathered at 6 p.m. in Roberts Hall to hear Dr. Douglas Cullum (Vice President, Dean, and founding faculty member of the seminary), Lisa Bennett (Associate Vice President for Enrollment and Communications) and Caleb Matthews (newly appointed Director of Admissions) discuss the nature and purpose of Northeastern Seminary and its masters degree programs.
Dr. Cullum spoke about Northeastern and why one would consider a seminary in the first place. "Virtually everybody comes to seminary due to internal prompting," he said. For some, their denomination requires ordination for pastoral leadership. For most, it’s a nudging or sense of being on a journey. One may sense a need in the world and perhaps this is a response to that. Coming to the seminary may be the "end result of a long discernment process."
In Northeastern seminary, students are deeply immersed in the foundational resources of Christianity; that is, Scripture and the way God has led his people through the ages. "It’s shortsighted of modern people to think the Holy Spirit just woke up and started working. It’s good to look back over the shoulders of the saints of the past and the (work) of the early church fathers," Cullum said.
Did Rochester need another seminary besides St. Bernard’s Roman Catholic Seminary and Colgate Crozer Divinity School? Cullum believes diversity offers great riches. "Little by little, the barriers get broken down. Rather than becoming vulnerable, we build bridges." He noted that all Christians have far more in common with each other than they do with non-Christian groups. The three seminaries belong to the "Rochester Consortium of Theological Schools" so students can take courses from any of them without changing schools, thus building those bridges of understanding.
"The ecumenical approach draws a circle of inclusion without sacrificing the message of the Bible," Cullum concluded.
There are Bible colleges and universities with excellent departments of religion, so what exactly is a seminary? Cullum explained that a seminary combines elements of both. In a way, seminary stands between Bible College and University religion department.
Seminarians need to study the Bible, but they also need the academic theological study of how God has worked through the ages.
Taking off his glasses and peering through them as from a distance, he said, "When I study the Bible through my white, male, Methodist lens, that (particular vision) is what I see. I can’t help it." The broader theological study helps us look at other Christian perspectives.
Northeastern Seminary holds the high view of Scripture that it is truly God’s Word to humanity. "With the help of the entire faith community, we will get the essentials right," he said. "Because God is speaking to us, we are obligated to have our lives formed around that mandate… It’s not about telling people the meaning of every verse in the Bible but that God is speaking in every verse."
Therefore, all Northeastern’s Master’s programs begin with a core curriculum that looks at church ages (Biblical Era, Formative Era, Protestant Era and the Modern/ Postmodern Eras) from a historical and cultural aspect. Students study the interpretation and use of Scripture as well as the theological issues and contributions to the church in each era and consider application to ministry in the 21st century.
Students attend class from 6 to 10 p.m. one night a week. Because all Northeastern’s masters programs are accredited by Middle States Association, NYS Board of Regents and Association of Theological Schools, students can anticipate 20 to 25 hours of class prep every week.
Students select the Master’s program that best supports their personal goals.
Master of Arts (two to three years) and two semesters of internship.
• in Theological Studies (52 credits), the degree for going on to Ph.D. program, teaching or lay ministry.
• in Transformational Leadership (53) credits. Based on Biblical models of leadership. Prepares the student to run an organization or marketplace ministry, for example.
• In Theology and Social Justice (52 credits). The degree for one who cares about those in need; wants to develop a service organization or start a program to address an issue.
• Dual degree program – Theology and Social Work.
Master of Divinity (92 credits) (three to four years) and four semesters of internship. It prepares students for ordination, work in missions and chaplaincy.
Regardless of academic path, the Personal Spiritual Formation component is required at Northeastern. Graduates attest that this Formation helped them know God more and grow closer to him. In PSF everyone belongs to a faith sharing group. Students attend mandatory retreats (spouses welcome) and eight chapels where they experience various faith traditions from among the 30 denominations to which students have belonged over the years.
"Life can be lived in a ‘monotone of ordinary’ 95% of the time," Cullum said, noting a comparison to his dog’s life. This is not a cookie cutter approach to spiritual formation. Rather, it provides holy moments when one can ask, "Where is God?"
Because Northeastern offers classes via live video broadcasting, students living in Syracuse, Buffalo and the Capital Region can matriculate without a long commute. Visit www.nes.edu for contact information and the schedule of additional informational meetings for Rochester as well as the Buffalo, Syracuse and the Capital Region. Certification programs and opportunities to audit courses are also available.
Valued as an individual and guided to design the degree program that best reflects one’s calling, the Northeastern Seminary graduate will be well prepared to serve the church and the world.
Delta Lake Bible Conference Center Celebrates 90 Years
By Lida Moore
Celebrating its 90th year of ministry, Delta Lake Bible Conference Center Executive Director Steve Clark gives God the glory for the impact the ministry continues to have on people of all ages and from all walks of life. Located just north of Rome on a 39-acre site overlooking Lake Delta, this four-season retreat and conference center hosts a variety of adult and youth programs for churches and ministries.
Several events are planned in the upcoming summer months to highlight the ministry’s longevity as it celebrates reaching thousands of people with the motto, “To the glory of God: Touching hearts and enriching lives in a relaxed atmosphere.” Clark said that through the many camp activities, programs, worship services, and unique fellowships, there have been so many people touched in a special way by their Delta Lake experiences.
Christian Contemporary Artists Shane & Shane from Texas and, for the second year, popular songwriter artist Aaron Shust will also perform in two separate concerts in July at Delta Lake.
“It’s an exciting time for the ministry and such a blessing to be a part of an organization that presents the Gospel and sees its transforming power in the lives of people from every demographic,” Clark said. “During one of our youth Winter Camps this year, we had a couple of kids accept Christ as their personal Savior and then just recently a funeral home called us to say that a gentlemen who had recently passed away left in his will his desire for donations to come to us instead of receiving flower donations.”
This recent donor had been a camper for over 20 years as a part of the ministry’s Haven Camp program, which is a weeklong camp experience for the developmentally disabled. This summer seven Haven Camps will be held on site. On its website, the Haven Camps are described as a “safe and fun environment [that] gives the special needs campers an opportunity to laugh and play while experiencing the love of God. Campers enjoy Bible stories, a hayride, movies, singing, boat trip around the lake, swimming, puppets and crafts, just to name a few.” Haven weekends are also held in the autumn and spring.
Clark, who grew up as a Delta Lake camper, also served as a youth counselor and member of the board of directors before becoming the Camp’s Executive Director a year ago. He even recalls meeting the donor when he served as a counselor years ago. “His decision to make a donation to the ministry is a wonderful testimony to the importance of Delta Lake to so many people. This gentleman wanted his legacy to be making a Kingdom impact in a place that meant so much to him.”
Each summer the ministry also has traditional weeklong camps in July for children in 3rd through 12th grades. They can enjoy activities such as rock climbing, archery, drama classes, waterskiing, cake decorating, swimming, and boating. This year’s theme is from Romans 8:37, “More Than Conqueror.”
On the grounds of Delta Lake Bible Conference Center are a lodge and mini-lodge with dormitory-style bunk beds, cabins, RV and tent sites, Main Tabernacle (seats 1,300 people), Youth Tabernacle (seats 350), Delta Center with dining room, offices, meeting rooms, snack shop, and Pavilion which houses the gym with basketball and rock climbing available. There have been recent updates to the dining room. In addition, a 250-foot zip line that overlooks the lake with the highest point at 100 feet was installed last year and has been enjoyed by people ranging in age from 12 to 80 years old. Several water sports are available such as tubing, pontoon boats, speed boats, kayaks, and row boats.
“It’s very easy for us to get overwhelmed and focus on the programs and projects of the Delta Lake ministry, but it all pales in comparison to what God is doing in the lives of the people who are a part of this ministry,” Clark said. “We are so thankful for all that God has already done in the ministry. We are looking forward to the future, and through strategic planning we want to make sure that the impact grows.”
“With studies showing that Christians aren’t studying and reading their Bibles as much as in the past, we are hoping to build more into our programs that can help increase the importance of Bible study and reading in the lives of the people who come to Delta Lake,” Clark said.
Delta Lake also offers year-round retreat opportunities to various groups, including churches, women’s and men’s groups, and college students. Clark says because of the size of the Delta Lake Bible Conference Center site and facilities, they are able to host multiple groups at a time. During their popular times of the year, the facility is booked early. During the height of the summer season, there is a staff of 100 people, but throughout the year the ministry depends on faithful volunteers with a small staff.
For more information about the Delta Lake Bible Conference Center or to book a retreat or conference, go to www.deltalake.org or call 315-336-7210.
Camp Cherith of Western New York Encourages Campers to Cultivate Personal Devotion to Jesus
By Lida H. Moore
The logo featuring a majestic, huge oak tree with a cross in the center of the tree trunk symbolizes the mission of Camp Cherith of Western New York (CCWNY), to uphold “Christ in Every Aspect of Life”. The camp ministry’s goal is to transform lives, cultivate disciples, and train leaders through a Bible-based, Christ-centered outdoor camping program for children and youth.
Camp Director, Evie White, said that a former camper and staff member designed the new logo to feature the familiar giant oak tree, which sits on the camp’s 100-acre property, while incorporating the love of Jesus and the Gospel as is represented by the Cross.
Staff and supporters of this ministry are passionate about campers not only developing skills in such areas as outdoor living, horsemanship, archery, and nature and crafts, but more importantly on developing a close relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ by prioritizing daily devotional time, prayer, small group Bible studies, and camp fire messages.
“Our oak tree is a favorite spot for many people at camp and the cross in the logo reminds us that every part of our day, every minute of life is an opportunity to allow Christ to be rooted in us,” said White, who has been a part of CCWNY ever since she was a camper many years ago. “We want our campers and staff to know what it means to give everything to God, to live wholeheartedly for God, and then to see the great things that God does through them.”
On May 16 -17, CCWNY was holding its annual Sneak Peek weekend for those interested in previewing what over 300 campers each summer experience at this camp, which is located in Hunt, New York, approximately 65 miles southeast of Buffalo and 55 miles southwest of Rochester, in the Genesee Valley, near the southern end of Letchworth State Park.
At the Sneak Peek weekend, there were opportunities to meet the camp staff and sample fun activities, such as camp fires, hiking, and archery. In addition, on May 17 there was a spaghetti dinner and silent auction to raise funds for providing scholarships for young people to attend a week of camp.
After careful reflection and prayer, White chose this summer’s camp theme, “All In,” and the corresponding Scripture verse is Luke 10:27, “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind;’ and ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” “It’s been a difficult year for my family because of the sudden tragic loss of my oldest son, Joshua, last September. But God has been so faithful,” White said. “During the first few days of the grieving process, my mind just kept going to our Camp 2013 summer theme, ‘Rooted and Grounded in God’s Love’ from Ephesians and our theme song, I Shall Not Be Moved -- I’ve had God’s peace and comfort surrounding me at all times.” White recalled from her camp experiences last summer, all the Bible studies, devotions, and talking to the campers about trusting God in all situations.
So this summer she feels compelled to make sure that the staff and campers know that they must be “All In” with their commitment to Jesus and following Him. “I want them to recognize they must surrender everything to God and not hold back anything,” White said. “The situation my family has experienced over the past few months because of my son’s death has certainly changed and shaped us and gives me new fervor with which to reach our campers and staff with the message of the Gospel and all God has for us as we live for Him.”
This six-decade camp ministry, with property that now encompasses beautiful rolling hills including meadows, woodlands and a stream running through the site, ministers to campers from ages 7 to 17 in July and August. CCWNY offers three weeks of girls-only camps and two weeks of boy/girl parallel camps. To register campers online, go to www.campcherithwny.org. The campsite also includes a lake, corral, swimming pool, creek, tree houses, target ranges, and activity fields that allow campers to experience the wonders of God’s creation while having fun with friends.
“Through the generous donations and support of many people who believe in Camp Cherith’s mission, we have maintained our $295 per week camper fee and provide our campers with the opportunity to choose three skill-building activities, like swimming, riflery, horsemanship, crafts, hiking, or outdoor living,” White said. There is also one week for which campers can sign up for Adventure Camp where they experience total immersion in outdoor living for an entire week.
Most activities are designed to offer a progression of skills so campers can enhance their knowledge and rise to a new skill level in that activity. Campers can earn awards from The American Red Cross, Camp Archery Association, and National Rifle Association (NRA).
“We’re very thankful for a grant from the NRA that has allowed us to build and equip an NRA Rifle Range on site,” White said. “We now have all the equipment and the training to offer this activity with great instruction to our campers, and the range is also available to other groups and individuals to rent.”