Local Christian News

Rochester Christian Church Ministries To Hold 17th Annual World Ministry Conference
By Susan LeDoux

Rochester Christian Church Ministries’ Pastor Stephen Galvano was born in Italy just after World War II.  Although he fondly recalls his family’s farm, life was not easy then, and perhaps that is why Pastor Galvano has a father’s heart for pastors struggling in countries like Zimbawe, India, Nigeria, and the Republic of the Congo.

“We got it made in America,” he said.

Although well-traveled, he did not visit Africa until 2000. It was to be a life-changing trip. “There were hundreds of Pastors that traveled all night. Some of them walking, some of them bicycling, some traveling on foot for days to listen to the ministry of the Word. My God, I saw them eating bread and drinking Coke for lunch!”

He said his heart went out to them and he heard the Lord telling him to bring them to his house. “So I invited them to a conference in Rochester” — which would be the first of 17 such conferences.

Rochester Christian Church Ministries at 3177 Lyell Road in Gates, a suburb of Rochester, New York, was the “home” to which Pastor Galvano was to invite them. Originally established on Child Street in the city of Rochester in 1937, it was down to only a handful of people when he became its pastor in 1970. Crediting the Word of God and a sincere love for God and his people, the church gradually grew to serve a much larger congregation.

Galvano said, “God was calling me to minister to pastors, be a father to them. I spoke a lot about fatherhood. The fatherhood of God theme still goes on there. They call me and say, ‘God is moving, we’re still teaching. I’ve become a father myself.’”

This simple invitation to his house is quite an undertaking. “The Lord told us not to charge them a penny,” he said, so after the pastors pay their own travel expenses, the church  provides a very nice hotel, feeds them, and gives them books and tapes of the speakers for that conference.

This year’s World Ministry Conference will run from Tuesday, October 17 through Sunday, October 22. The theme will be Light Your World and speakers will include Bishop Michael Passaretti who heads a congregation of 3000 in Naples, Bishop and Apostle, Antonia Galvano (yes, Pastor Stephen’s cousin) from Argentina, and Dr. Tom Reed from Buffalo, New York.

“Pastors need help and encouragement. The goal is not to try to teach them, but try to be here and support them; show them we love them, that they’re never alone,” he explained.

Pastor Galvano can relate to that feeling of being alone. When asked how he became a pastor, he told an amazing story. When he was only five, his father left him in charge of the family farm at night while the rest of the family went into the city to worship at their church on Sunday. That seems unbelievable now, but Pastor Galvano said times were different then and no one understands the necessary choices people born in foreign countries needed to make.

It was dark that night and the solitary boy became very sick. He did not know what to do. There were no nearby doctors or hospitals, so he did the only thing he could think of. He prayed.

“I asked God, ‘If you are, and if my preacher is right in preaching you, I want to know you by you healing me.’ And he healed me in that second.”  

Later, his pastor allowed him to preach his first sermon about David and Goliath to his youth group at age seven. Yet, even with what seemed a clear calling to ministry, Pastor Galvano almost went in another direction.

When he was living in Niagara Falls, Galvano attended junior college and planned to major in linguistics. When his mother, at age 42, suffered a life threatening heart condition and “actually passed away for an hour,” the family ran home and began to pray. Her physician would later call her recovery a miracle. That was enough for the future Pastor Galvano to change his major from linguistics to theology. He went on to graduate from Zion Bible Institute and later get his bachelor’s degree in education from Central Bible College in Springfield, Missouri.

As Rochester Christian Church Ministries opens a nurturing heart to pastors the world over, it nurtures its own members aw well.

This is a church of small groups. Pastor Galvano explained, “I believe that if the church is big, the church has to be small.” He said the home groups draw people closer and when they come to church on Sunday, they “get the vision of the church portrayed.”

Rochester Christian Church Ministries has an active Christian Pre-School and After School Program, as well as a Transformation Center on Jay Street for anyone who wishes to drop in.

Lamenting the paganism in Europe, Pastor Galvano believes “We’d better go back to the simplicity of the Gospel. Love one another. Care for the lost. Care for the dying. Jesus is the only Savior. My God, we have transformed Christ into an entertainer. There is no more power left in the Church. The anointing of Christ has left it. But I believe in being positive. The later- day reign in coming.” Pastor Galvano believes Christians will unite as they did during the persecution described in the Book of Acts.

“The Bible says that which was holy will become holier and that which was wicked will become wicked still. Light will be seen and darkness will recede. There will be nothing in between — no lukewarmess, no compromising.”

“Light Your World”— certainly a pastoral message for the coming convention and one the world sorely needs.

For more information, go to www.rccm.org.

Through Continued Praise And Worship, Long Island’s Heart Of Worship Church Thrives

By Pat Shea

Speaking with Pastor Mark Dellosso, pastor of the Heart of Worship Church in Lindenhurst, New York, is like speaking with a humanized version of the “Energizer Bunny.” A senior pastor with Heart of Worship Church, originally ordained with the Church of God organization in Tennessee, and now through Victory New Testament Fellowship in Texas, this Long Island pastor speaks quickly, with great energy, joy and passion, on his love for the Lord, for his wife, for his children, for his church, and for all that God has done since Heart of Worship Church began in 2001 in his living room.

“God called us into worship,” explained Pastor Mark. “We were sent out to worship and we just let the Lord lead us, and he has, he certainly has in a mighty way,” laughed Pastor Mark.

Pastor Mark and his family didn’t start out to create a church; it was something that just happened naturally.

“I was an ordained pastor in the 1990s, but I was still working a full-time job. I always thought I’d be an assistant pastor, and that was fine with me at the time, said Pastor Mark.  “When we’d go to church, my wife Lora, who has a real heart for worship, would be leading the worship song and suddenly God would move within her and give her a powerful word. You could actually feel the shifting in the room. It was amazing. But when you change a program that’s already been set, people can get upset,” explained Pastor Mark. “You don’t want that to happen, but you also can’t squash the spirit that God gives you. So we began to have “church” in our home.”

Along with their children, Gina, MarkJohn, and Christian, Pastor Mark and his wife Lora began to hold services in their living room, worshipping and praising God together as a family.

“I could feel God getting into the worship and elevating the atmosphere, “said Pastor Mark. “Our children were part of the service too. My daughter Gina, who was about 15 at the time, would take out her bongos and the boys would take out their musical instruments and we’d play and praise and worship God throughout the entire day. Then our family members heard about our “church in the house” and they wanted to come, and then other people heard and they wanted to come. I think that for some people, church in someone’s house was less intimating then church in an actual church building. Before long, we had almost 60 people worshipping and fellowshipping in our home on a Sunday from morning until around 6pm. We realized that the Lord was doing something special here.”

With little space left at his home to accommodate those wanting to attend services, Pastor Mark began to look around the area for a larger place to hold church.

“We actually found a Veterans of Foreign War (VFW) hall in Babylon, but the fee was more than we could afford at the time, so we just thanked the VFW people and left,” explained Pastor Mark. “But then I got a phone call from them, asking me to come back and share my vision for using their room. I explained I wanted to try and reach young people, teens, and families, part of the community that the Church often let fall by the wayside. I also explained I wanted to have more of a formalized food pantry because at the time, I was running a bread/food pantry out of my car. The VFW agreed to let us use the building and didn’t charge us any rent. The only catch was we had to be out by 1pm every Sunday. So every week we’d set up the musical equipment and chairs for the service and then stop by noon, break it down, clean up and get out by 1:00. It was hard to stop sometimes, especially when the spirit was moving.”

So Pastor Mark began looking for another building. “We just stayed obedient and began praying for a bigger building. We found another place that had 1,000 square feet. We stayed there for the next six years, and then as we continued to grow, we began praying for another building. We wanted a building that had classrooms and an extra bathroom and maybe room for a pantry. We found a much bigger building, 7,000 square feet, in Lindenhurst, and it had everything we were looking for. It had classrooms so we could teach Sunday school, and an extra bathroom and a nursery and offices and a fellowship area, and even a café. It also had a food pantry with shelves!” 

The Heart of Worship church moved into the Lindenhurst building and is currently finishing up its sixth year there, with plans to rent out the facility for the next three years as well.  “It’s really been a step of faith,” stated Pastor Mark. “The rent alone was $48,000 on this building, but the Lord continued to meet our needs and provide for us financially, and we continue to praise, worship and tithe.”

But during a tremendous time of growth in his church, Pastor Mark lost his full time job and it became obvious that maybe the time had come for him to go into fulltime ministry.

“Lora was in full agreement with this decision. And of course once we made that decision, didn’t I get two job offers with amazing salaries,” laughed Pastor Mark. “I realized I had to say ‘no’ to these job offers. Ministering fulltime was something God wanted me to do so I turned down both offers and became a fulltime pastor, and the Lord continued to meet our needs.”

Now 16 years after “church in the house began,” Heart of Worship Church thrives. “I don’t pay a lot of attention to numbers, but I have seen amazing growth in people. We are still a small church, and we all wear a lot of hats, but through it all, we all honor and worship God. That’s what matters. That’s what counts, not who cleans the bathroom.”

There’s been a lot of changes since the days of church in the living room for Pastor Mark and his family. He and Lora will be married 36 years in September, and Lora leads the women’s ministry and is the contact for Sarah’s House, the church’s ministry for unwed mothers. All three of the Dellosso children, Gina, 32, MarkJohn, 27, and Christian, 22, are very involved as the church’s worship team, along with worship team members Chris Tinneny, Jarette DeSanti and Deshawn Bayne. Gina is also a mentor to young girls and MarkJohn serves as the worship and youth Pastor, and Christian leads worship in the Emergent Young Adult services. The three Dellosso children and their worship team friends, also have their own contemporary Christian worship band, Crossing Jordan. Gina is the lead vocalist, MarkJohn is also on vocals and Christian plays a multitude of instruments for the group. The band has released two CDs and are gaining momentum and recognition on the Christian music scene.

“People ask what we did to have our children come out so right and I tell them, ‘I don’t have an answer,’” stated Pastor Mark. “We just planted the seeds, prayed and spent time with them. That’s important…spending time together. And we praised God together as a family. That’s at the core of this ministry. Spending time with people in fellowship, spending time together with families. I am so proud when I see my kids leading the music worship, but not just because they’re my kids, but because they are playing in His Grace. When they were younger, they used to take their instruments and go play their music in the basement. They’d be creating these devotion songs and Lora and I would go downstairs to the basement and listen in awe to the heart of worship through their music. And now, that’s what they have…a true heart of worship for God.”

The Heart of Worship Gospel Church is open to people of all ages. It is a youth-minded church located at 301 West Hoffman Avenue, Lindenhurst, NY 11757. (631) 957-3819. The church hosts a weekly Men’s Fellowship, Bible Study, Children’s Church services on Sundays, Women’s Bible Study and has a food pantry. For more information on Heart of Worship Church, visit www.heartofworshipny.org

Moving Through The Pain Of Divorce

By Tim Bennett

Candy Block, CNY resident and author of the recently published book, The Broken Road: Healing After Divorce (2017), by 5 Fold Media, said to me during our interview that her path to healing from a broken marriage was not easy. In fact, in her case, she said, “It probably took four years.” As co-leader of the Divorce Care group of North Syracuse Baptist Church since 2013 with her current husband, Bob, she was quick to add, “But God has his own time frame for each person and you don’t want to rush it. It takes time for a complete healing, but we can see changes in people after three or four sessions.” The Divorce Care group follows a widely-used, 13-week video teaching course that addresses such topics as: Anger, Loneliness, Single Sexuality, New Relationships, Forgiveness, Finances, among others. The biggest things Block said she wrestled with, after her 2008 divorce, were the overpowering feelings of rejection and all the thoughts of self-incrimination like: What did I do wrong? Did I do everything I could to save the marriage? Am I pretty enough? What if I could’ve had children?

When Block initially met her first husband, however, the words “marriage” and “divorce” were far from her mind. She was working in the cash room of a local department store one day and this man showed up, leaned against the counter, and said nonchalantly, “Hey, you wanna get married?” He was big, with several tattoos, and had an earring adorning his left ear lobe. Definitely, not my type, Block thought at the time. Sounds like a ladies’ man. She responded to him honestly: “Yeah, but not with you.” Little by little, however, she began seeing more of him since he worked at the same store. They talked during breaks. They ate lunch together. They shared confidences. They dated. They agreed to marry. They lived together for five years. They married.

The warning signs, however, were there at the beginning -- the constant arguing about money, the calls to the other women on his cell phone, the lies, and his obsession with hunting. Block said he flatly told her one time: “If I had to make a choice between you and hunting, I would pick hunting.” Although Block confessed that she was raised as a Catholic, she was not a Christian during most of her relationship with her ex-husband. In desperation more than anything else, she began asking Christians for prayer for her marriage at The Healing Rooms of Syracuse in Liverpool and people from the TV organization, The 700 Club. When she finally did invite Christ into her life, she was convinced God was going to save her marriage. “Instead of saving my marriage, though,” Block said, “He saved me.” The final blow to the marriage came one night when she came home from work and sensed that she should look in the center console of her husband’s car. She did, and found another cell phone with multiple calls to the same woman.

Block compared her road to recovery and healing from divorce to riding on a roller coaster. “Everything can be going fine and then all of a sudden you see something in a store or on TV and it triggers all those old feelings and you start crying, or you get depressed and you start reliving things all over again.”

As far back as 2009, Block said she started writing about her experiences. “I had a dream one night where a Scripture was mentioned but I did not know what it meant,” Block said. “I shared it with some people at The Healing Rooms and a counselor there said that it had to do with telling people what the Lord has done for you. I started writing and I felt encouraged that a book by an ordinary person to ordinary people could be a powerful tool the Lord could use.”

In her book, Block shares honestly about her experiences, mistakes, and the major issues many people deal with on their journey to recovery and healing from divorce. She also gives the Scriptures that helped her through and some profound statements by others. For example, under the title, Chapter 10, Unforgiveness: The Spiritual Poison, she includes this interesting thought: Unforgiveness is like drinking a poison and expecting someone else to die from it (Author unknown).  Another quote by Mother Theresa under Chapter 9: A New Relationship, Not a Cure for Loneliness reads: The most terrible poverty is loneliness and the feeling of being unloved.

Some advice Block gives to those recovering from divorce include: Focus on your relationship with God and allow Him to heal you in His time frame; Don’t isolate yourself: Surround yourself with godly people (same-sex, mature Christians); Go through the 13-week course (more than once) Divorce Care series; Find a Bible-believing church; and meditate on His Word.

One of the most dramatic recoveries Block has seen from her Divorce Care Group was a lady who was planning to commit suicide but saw the Divorce Care Group written on the church marquis while she was riding by and decided to give the course a try. Although she would cry during most of the sessions the first time through, she went through the series again and is now fully recovered and going on with her life.

I asked Candy Block what she would like readers to take away from her book. She said, “There is hope, and you do not have to be defined by your past.”

The Broken Road: Healing After Divorce by Candy Block is available through Amazon and the Barnes & Noble website. To contact Ms. Block for ministry opportunities, please write her at: Candith7@gmail.com

Pastor Guy Goodell: 63 Years Of Ministry And Still On Fire For Christ

By Rick Kern

Pastor Guy G. Goodell is a man with a mandate! He has pastored for decades and has preached everywhere from prisons to street corners. He has founded churches and fought for Christian education rights all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court where he emerged victorious. Goodell has also conducted over 200 seminars for various Christian educators’ conventions, helped establish churches and training centers in Haiti, and cooperated with the Reagan Administration to smuggle Bibles into the Soviet Union. Additionally, he has established Bible colleges and seminaries in Romania and several other former Soviet Union countries.

All this on top of multiple articles for countless news outlets and Christian publishing groups, the authorship of numerous books, and the creation and leadership of the Strength for Living Counseling Center through his local church. And as if all this wasn’t enough, he shepherds Greater Glens Falls Bible Baptist Church, located in Hudson Falls, New York, while recently making a commitment to author one book a year until the Lord takes him home.

Oh, and did I mention a pilot’s license, a Ph.D., years of university-level teaching experience, and two-years of studying the Russian language? To say he refuses to rust out, but is instead committed to burning out ablaze with Christ’s love, might help us see the picture the way it is (while making us all a bit uncomfortable about our accomplishments — or lack thereof).

The 76 year-old Goodell was born in Jacksonville, Florida to alcoholic parents which left his home life with a lot to be desired. They surrendered their lives to the Lord when young Guy was about 12 years-old, and the change in them was so stark and jarring that he followed suit a year later.

His call to the ministry came when he joined the military and a Southern Baptist chaplain who took an interest in him challenged him. “He began talking to me about the call to preach and he began talking to me about God’s power on my life,” explains Goodell. “He would train me and have me lead Bible studies on a volunteer basis in the barracks in the old Lowry Air Force Base in Denver, Colorado.” He continues, “Those guys were all going into combat so he wanted to be sure that I gave them the Gospel and gave them the opportunity to get saved. That was when I really came to the realization that God had His hand on me and that I needed to surrender my life to preach.”  

Married some 53 years with two children and three grandchildren, Pastor Goodell spends most of his time at Greater Glens Falls Bible Baptist Church. As might be expected, his church cooperates with many similar organizations to spread God's Word world-wide. The fellowship has multiple ministries that in addition to preaching and teaching, include counseling, evangelizing, missions, children's programs, an onsite bookstore, a Christian K-12 School, and a Bible Institute/College program.

Pastor Goodell is the quintessential servant-leader as reflected in his personal philosophy of leadership. “Basically,” he says thoughtfully, “my philosophy of leadership is for me to be a model of the truth I want people to adopt for their lives.” As a Christian, you cannot argue with biblical logic like that!

In addition to pastoring, Goodell teaches many of the English courses for The College of St. Joseph, a Catholic college in Rutland, Vermont. Three years ago, they approached him to develop a Bible curriculum for the college in tandem with the teaching post. Thus, when he is not preparing sermons, counseling parishioners, or on outreach, he is busy creating classes and interviewing potential professors as he develops St. Joseph’s Bible course work.

About five years ago at the prompting of his wife and suggestion of some of his colleagues, Pastor Goodell began authoring books for publication. He has penned three books, and at this writing has a fourth at the publisher. His latest work, What To Do When Your Storm Strikes, is the result of many years of ministry and problem-solving as a pastor, in evangelism, education, and missionary work. Essentially an exposition of Acts 27, a description of Paul’s trip to Rome at the end of his life, it is a powerful application of the lessons he gleaned from the chapter. Pastor Goodell demonstrates how the principles from Acts 27 can be implemented in the believer’s life when facing crises. “There are twelve principles in there that will work in any crisis that you’re facing in life if you’re willing to apply those principles to your crisis,” notes Goodell.

Much of Pastor Goodell’s work throughout the years has involved counseling and at a certain point he realized that about 75 percent of his counseling revolved around abuse in the home either of children or wives. The net effect was a powerful read called The Christian Abuser that is a lightning rod of controversy in some ways while in others shines the light of hope into some very dark corners of life.  

The Christian Abuser confronts the widespread problems associated with a misguided concept of “headship” among Christian men and the heartbreak of the resulting fallout. “We have brainwashed both men and women to believe that headship is telling your wife what she has to do,” Goodell admits, “and she has to do it when you tell her to do it or to stop doing it when you tell her — it’s a misconception of headship.”

And while it has landed with a splash, getting more than a few people wet with its message who wanted to stay dry, it is a book whose time has come. Having been all over the world, Goodell is convinced that this appears to be a uniquely American Christian problem and address it with tact, compassion, sensitivity, and class. He cites agape love and its landmark description in 1 Corinthians 13 as the roadmap to biblical headship.

“Headship’s primary responsibility is twofold,” he explains, “— to provide direction based on what the Bible actually teaches, and to provide protection for those who are simply trying to take the direction that the Bible gives.” He continues, “So you have to put both of those into place and realize that the biblical concept of headship does not negate the individually of the people under the leader.”

The Christian Abuser has done so well that Christian Book Distributers recently made it available assuring a vast audience and much greater marketability. It can be purchased through them or through outlets such as Amazon or Barnes & Noble as well.

As far as the nature of the problem, Pastor Goodell does not mince words or soften the blow — he tells it like it is, “Abuse in the Christian home is covered up almost as well as a politician covers up the skeletons in his closet.”

Davis College Fostering Character And Equipping Students In Christ

By Rick Kern

That young people will pursue higher education is pretty much a given in today’s America. However, for Christian students it is not an exaggeration to view choosing the right college as virtually a divine imperative. That being said, there are a lot of wonderful Christian institutions of higher learning and among the most impressive is Davis College.

Located in Johnson City, New York, Davis College can trace its roots back to 1900 when evangelist John A. Davis, an alumnus of what would later become Moody Bible Institute, felt led of God to establish a similar Bible institute in the Binghamton, New York area. Fast forward to its present incarnation and you have in Davis College a Bible-centered higher education establishment passionately committed to making an impact upon the world for Jesus Christ. They do this by fostering Christian character and equipping students with the knowledge, experience, and skillsets needed for service and leadership within the church, Christian organizations, and across the globe.

To be sure, the Lord is doing great things through this academic ministry that is so much more than academics. At Davis College, the Word of God is the axis that the entire program revolves on. Thus, they both teach God’s Word and prepare students to handle it with integrity of heart so they can effectually evangelize the lost and disciple God’s people. Additionally, they also create an environment that strengthens students’ faith while deepening a biblical worldview. But there is more!

Davis College crafts a counter culture characterized by biblical reality, an eternal perspective, and heavenly values. “We want to be part of the culture in changing culture. We want to be part of seeing the culture become new and uniquely different. So what we do is really counter culture, it’s against the culture,” explains Davis’ president, Dr. Dino Pedrone. “Coming to college and studying the Bible is not normally what you find in universities and colleges,” he continues. “With all due respect to them, sometimes there is a feeling that you choose your faith and I’ll choose my faith — and if I don’t want to have faith I can choose that. In our college, ours is much more of a distinctiveness as we say there actually is a better way and that’s through Christ, that’s through the Gospel, that’s through His Kingdom. So we are in the culture and we are in a sense counter to the culture.”

With a long and storied career as a successful pastor, Pedrone pastored two churches over a forty year period before taking the helm of Davis College. He is actually a native of Binghamton, New York, and the ninth president of Davis. Dr. Pedrone is passionate about training men and women to serve Jesus Christ through accredited biblical higher education, and has helped develop decidedly leadership-oriented curricula for Davis.

With degrees in Religious Education, Worship Leadership, Intercultural Ministries, Pastoral Studies, and more, Davis is deeply committed to raising up leaders in the Body of Christ. And yet, again, it is more than academics — even biblical academics. “It’s not just biblical knowledge, it’s not just information to spew back out,” notes Pedrone, “but it’s really looking at life through the lens of the Word of God.”

To that end, they also offer a degree in Organizational Leadership, a program designed to train students for leadership and managerial roles within a variety of settings that reach from the church to society at large. And though it is designed to empower students to succeed in the secular arena, like all programs at Davis, its focus is on Christian ministry.

At this writing Davis College is gearing up for an annual Conference at the end of summer that promises to be a powerful asset to Christian leaders. With this year’s theme focusing on the call of God in our lives, this is the tenth consecutive year they have held it. “We’re going to examine that idea of the calling,” says Dr. Pedrone, “if God has called us to something.” He goes on, “We’re going to compare it to a career. A calling and a career are different and we’re going to talk about that and examine that.”

The program will also feature a panel that discusses the anatomy of a healthy ministry as well addressing the dynamics of the long term sustainability of a healthy ministry. “The dominant goal of the conference is the encouragement of the pastor and the Christian leader,” offers Pedrone, “if they leave encouraged we are blessed that they’ve been encouraged.”

Slated for September 19th interested parties can register online at www.davisny.edu or call (877) 949-3248 for more information.  

Mid America Baptist Theological Seminary — Northeast Branch Preparing Students With A Heavenly Call

By Rick Kern

“That ministry is tough and not for the faint of heart,” an opening line on the Mid America Website, could be the understatement of all understatements. From the loneliness and cross-cultural challenges of the mission field to the unpredictability and intense 24/7 commitment that loving a flock as its pastor demands — ministry can be punishing! Thus, preparing for a heavenly call to meet the grueling earthly rigors ministry compels will require a critical combination of academics and discipleship. Enter the Northeast Branch of Mid America Baptist Theological Seminary, one of the most comprehensive and deeply spiritual proving grounds training students to “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to all creation…”

Mid America is subsidized by a donor base that supports a remarkable 40 percent of a student’s educational costs thus offering students an impressively moderated tuition. Accordingly, it affords them a level of financial freedom rarely found accompanying academic excellence of its caliber. And while the curriculum is designed to prepare a student academically for ministry, Mid America graduates learn quickly that there are many more difficult situations awaiting than there are seminary classes designed to address them. At the Northeast Campus, the faculty members are veterans of various ministry venues. They are or have been pastors and missionaries with a wealth of field experience and strive to share that experience both in and outside of the classroom. It gives Mid America’s students a decided edge in their training.

The school, which is gearing up for its 30th anniversary at this writing, is helmed by Dr. Mike Haggard, Ph.D. who is the school’s director and an outstanding servant-leader. Mike’s responsibilities are largely administrative and stretch from brainstorming academic schedules and calendars to making sure that the lights stay on, the grass gets cut, and the snow is plowed. On top of all that he is also a professor of church history and one very busy guy.

A California native, Mike joined the Army fresh out of high school and surrendered to the Lord shortly thereafter. He served as a paratrooper and with some 50 jumps under his belt participated in the 1983 action in Grenada as well as Operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield. He put his 20 years in and retired as a Major in 2000. From there he wound up at Mid America’s flagship campus in Tennessee eventually earning a Master of Divinity degree in 2003 and then going on staff from 2003 to 2014. He wore three different hats during his tenure in Tennessee: Director of Development, Director Communications, and Director of Campus Operations. In 2009, Mike began his Ph.D. program and in 2014 as he was wrapping up its dissertation (which he completed the following year), he found himself led by God to accept the leadership of the Northeast Branch of Mid America.

“I’m just excited that I’m sitting in a place where I can affect the lostness of the region,” he says. “This is the best job I’ve ever had at Mid America and I’m excited to see what God is doing through our graduates.”

Apparently, the Lord is doing a lot! According to their Website, when the school began 30 years ago, there were just three Baptist churches in the local Hudson Baptist Association. Now there are thirty-three with half of those being pastored by the school’s alumni.

Mid America offers undergraduate and graduate degrees, striving to provide each graduate with solid biblical and theological training for effective service in church-related and missions vocations. Additionally, they now offer fully accredited degrees online through their new "Connected Campus," which “connects” distance learners to their exceptional faculty, student community, and the degree of their choice. Haggard explains, “A person can go to school here or online, or with a hybrid model which is both.”  

That includes graduate degrees as well — the school’s Master of Arts and Master of Divinity programs are also completely available online. It is a blessing for those who just cannot uproot and make it to the campus; however Dr. Haggard is emphatic that being on site offers unique advantages. “Here’s what I tell students,” he explains, “if the only way you can get theological education is online, then something is better than nothing, and you should do it. But there’s one thing you cannot replicate through online education and that is the human touch. The human element of discipleship — you cannot replicate that through a computer screen.”

He continues to make his case, “The discussion you have in class with your professor, the professor holding you accountable in the classroom, your peers that are in ministry that are pastoring and are youth pastors that you’re sitting beside in the classroom, that are going through struggles in their churches, that are willing to share with you that struggle and how you can learn from that — you can’t get that online. So I strongly encourage our prospective students; if you can rearrange your schedule to take some of our classes in residence — you need to do it.” Point taken!

Mid America’s Northeast Campus, while affiliated with the Southern Baptist denomination, embraces the whole body of Christ, welcoming students from countless other persuasions. “Even though we hold to a Southern Baptist confession,” notes Haggard, “you do not have to be Baptist to attend here, nor will we endeavor to change you into one.” He continues, “Presently we have Baptist students, Lutheran students, Pentecostal students, and students from non-denominational churches. Suffice it to say, we have some lively classroom discussions…”

The most challenging part of a relay race is passing the baton to the next runner, and the same is true in the race of life. Former president John F. Kennedy echoed this sentiment in his historic inaugural address when he declared that, “The torch has been passed to a new generation…” Dr. Haggard has taken up the challenge of passing a torch ablaze with the light of God’s love to new generations… To work with the Spirit of God to help shape committed, impassioned, and battle-ready believers that are like weapons sharpened for war.

When pondering whether or not to pursue his own Ph.D., Haggard approached an old friend and asked him his opinion about the effort. For his part, he was expecting a deep theological response but was instead offered these simple words, “Mike, a sharp axe always cuts more wood.”

“A sharper axe cuts more wood,” Haggard stresses, “so the sharper you can make yourself through training and education, the better it is for the Kingdom.” Amen!

For more information about Mid America Baptist Theological Seminary — Northeast Branch, call (800) 209-3447 or visit www.mabtsne.edu.

Bliss Summit Bible Camp: The Small Camp With The Big Heart
By  Rick Kern

Their mission is simple: evangelism, growth, and service! And with that modest, yet passionate mandate, Bliss Summit Bible Camp (BSBC) is changing lives and bringing young people closer to Christ. Both their statement of faith and core values are impressive to say the least, reflecting a resolutely biblical framework that guides their efforts. But how exactly does this Bible camp, located in Bliss, New York make it happen?

“We really try to show them God’s love,” explains Apryl Weixmann the camp’s director, and make sure that they’re hearing the Gospel — not just once but during the week multiple times.” She continues, “And our staffers live out the Gospel and Jesus’ message of loving others.”  

Weixmann grew up in church and was saved at the age of 5-years old but it was at the same camp she now directs that her walk with God went to a new level. Her parents had gone on a mission trip to Haiti and Apryl wound up spending some time at BSBC. “I fell in love with camp,” she recalls, “with Bliss Summit in particular. I went back every year as a camper.” She continues, “Then, when I was old enough, I started working on staff.”

It was all so meaningful and helped her grow in the faith so much that when it came time for college, Apryl attended a Christian college that offered a Christian camping program. The unique concentration with its attending externship service at Christian camps brought tremendous vision to her. “It was a really great experience to see all the ways Christian camping can be used,” she reflects, “it showed me what Christian camping could grow into.”

And little did she suspect that it could grow into marriage and a family! Apryl met her husband, Joshua, at BSBC when she was 13 and they reconnected each year at camp until they began to date and eventually married. Now two kids and a husband later, she guides the camp that brought them together.

Bliss Summit Bible Camp was established in 1977 when a local farmer donated the property to Bible Centered Ministries (BCM) who owns the camp. BCM, founded in 1936, has grown into a global non-denominational ministry dedicated to reaching kids and developing churches internationally. They have nearly 800 missionaries serving in over 42 countries across five continents as well as Pacific and Caribbean islands. BCM is committed to making disciples of all age groups for the Lord through evangelism, teaching, and training so that churches are established and the church strengthened.

In their little corner of the world BSBC is doing their part by mixing God’s Word with a world of fun. Sporting an archery range, a fishing pond, water slide, gym, game room, and much more, they keep kids busy and happy as campers learn about the love of God. Apryl and her team place a tremendous emphasis on teaching the Bible throughout the day. The campers participate in morning devotionals, have a Bible class, chapel each night, then the counselor shares another devotional each night before bed.

Furthermore, they underscore Bible memorization and provide incentives for the kids to hide those Bible passages in their hearts. “We really stress verse memorization,” she explains, “We feel like that’s something that’s kind of lost in today’s society.” Those incentives are working wonders as Apryl was recently told that BSBC had a camper that had memorized a whopping 75 passages of Scripture (note that she stresses one passage is five or six verses).

BSBC offers programs for various age groups including teenagers which is somewhat customized for that age group. However, it is not that different from the other weeks as far as the emphasis being on the love of God and His Word. “It really doesn’t differ a whole lot in the sense of what we do,” says Weixmann. “It’s mostly like everything’s taken up a notch for their age level. They get to stay up later, play later night games, and choose some of their activities.”

Bliss Summit also offers a leadership training program known as BaTL — an acronym for “Be a Team Leader.” Crafted for 14 or 15-year olds, BaTL is a two-year gig that participants sign up for and commit to. “The basic idea of it is that we are providing them with leadership skills so they can go back to their homes, communities, or churches and be better team leaders and better team leaders for Christ,” explains Weixmann.

With such an awesome facility you might guess that BSBC is frequently rented out by ancillary groups such as churches, families, and schools — and you’d be right. Apryl, however, wants to expand that program up the road. “We are hoping to provide some of our own retreats in the future,” she notes, “we want to do things like winter camp or pastors’ retreats.”

At this writing Bliss Summit Bible Camp is getting ready to celebrate their 40 year anniversary and has a celebration scheduled June 6th, from noon to 4 p.m. “It’s a time to hang out and reconnect with people you went to camp with as a kid or with as a staff member,” says Apryl. “Everyone can use the camp’s facilities, and we are having people send in pictures so we can get a slide show going.”

For more information about Bliss Summit Bible Camp visit their Website at www.blisssummit.com or telephone them at (585) 322-9975. You can’t miss with people who have been using Scripture, relationships, and creative programming to guide children and young adults along their spiritual journey for 40 years and show no signs of slowing down.

Ontario Bible Camp: A Safe Place Where Kids Can Have Fun And Learn About God

By Tim Bennett

Located only an hour north of Syracuse on the eastern part of Lake Ontario in Oswego, New York is a Christian campground that has been hosting retreats, children’s camps, and special conferences ever since the early 20th century. Beginning as a summer conference center for The Methodist Protestant Church from 1912 to 1942, people came from all over New York to attend the tent meetings. In the early days, people would arrive by train and then be met by a horse and buggy, which would take them the rest of the way to the lakeside camp. Later, the camp was bought by the Ontario Bible Conference, which had its first meeting there in 1921 and still owns it today.

Today, OBC, which covers 52 acres at the shore of Lake Ontario, is overseen by a board of directors from a variety of Protestant and Evangelical churches, and is open from May to October to host small church retreats (up to 60 people), special Christian gatherings, children camps, as well as families or individuals who are looking for a special place to go for summer vacations or personal get-a-ways. “I think we are an ideal place for small churches to have retreats,” Director David Proietti said, “but I don’t think a lot of people know about us. They may think we are in Canada because of our name, but we are not far from Syracuse.” Proietti, a former BOCES teacher for 31 years and currently the principal of Oswego Community Christian School, bought a cottage at the camp twenty-one years ago, and lives on the grounds all-year round. He manages the practical aspects of the camp and makes sure the facilities stay up-to-date and all the needed renovations and repairs get done with the help of numerous volunteers.

OBC’s main focus, however, is its children’s camps in the month of July, which combine a wide range of recreational activities interspersed with Bible sharing, worship, and discussion time. Pastor Al Squitieri of Generation Christian Church in New Port Richey, Florida has been the Bible teacher at all the camps for the last six years. OBC has a special place in Squitieri’s heart because his father got saved during one of the camps when he was young; he grew up going there every summer as a child (lived in Auburn until he was 16); and he met his wife Kaylene there when they both worked as lifeguards at a camp when they were both 16.  “I guess you can say I’ve been going there almost every summer for 50 years,” he said.  Squitieri’s background also includes working in law enforcement for 25 years in Florida.

One of the joys doing the camps, he said, has been seeing the kids change throughout the week. “You always get some kids every summer who start off not wanting to be there but love it after a few days. It’s great, too, seeing the kids’ faces light up like Christmas trees when something from the Bible touches them and they see it for themselves.” His wife, Kaylene, also is very involved in the camps and is in charge of everything related to the waterfront and the pool. She, too, has had a long history with the camp as her parents once directed OBC many years ago.

Some of the activities during the camps include: swimming (in a pool), kayaking, mountain bike riding, soccer, basketball, soccer, archery, crafts, fishing, sitting around a campfire, octa-ball, and other events that help team-building and bonding. The camp season officially starts off with a five-day retreat and grounds set-up for staff workers (12 youth leaders are needed for the camps) from June 25-30. The first camp, called the Intermediate Summer Cap, begins for children (ages 11 to 13) on July 2nd and runs through July 7th. The next camp for children (ages 14-17), called Teen Summer Camp, goes from July 9th  through July 14th and the third camp for children (ages 8-11), called Junior Summer Camp, is scheduled for July 16-21. Those children (ages 13-17) wanting a double dose of the Bible camp experience can return for the last session called Enrichment Week, which runs from July 23-28. The price per camper is $210.00, but scholarships are available and there are also discounts for families with multiple children attending.

I spoke with Abigail Brancato (age 14) and her brother Noah (age 16), who have been going to the camps for years and now work at them, about their experiences at OBC. Abigail said, “Pastor Squitieri makes the Bible so interesting. He gives you a desire to know more about it…I think the camps have helped me be more selfless and treat people with more kindness. They’ve helped me realize how I treat others.”

Noah said, “I think it is a wonderful place to receive the Lord, surrounded by other believers. You’ve also got counselors there, to help you, to talk with, whether it’s something about the camp, or something personal. They can talk you through it.”

Director Proietti said sometimes it can be hard to find the twelve young people (usually from 18 to 22) to commit themselves for the five weeks necessary for the camps to help lead the small groups. “It’s true we cannot pay much,” he said, “but I think it looks a lot more impressive on a resume that you spent your time helping others than other summer jobs you could get. It’s also very rewarding work to see younger people looking up to you. It’s a leadership experience and a time where you can grow closer to the Lord and learn to minister as a team – a perfect opportunity for those thinking of going into the ministry.” Each applicant is carefully screened with a background check and must have a reference letter from their pastor and a personal reference from another adult. Many times, Proietti said, young people from the campus ministry, BASIC, or Brothers and Sisters In Christ, join them at the camps.

“I can’t explain it,” said Chris Brancato, a long-time volunteer at the camp and father of Abby and Noah, “there’s just a peace when you come onto the site that everyone notices, and it goes beyond its beautiful setting.”

To register your child for one of the camps, get involved as a staff worker, or for retreat information, go to www.ontariobible.com or call (315) 593-4684.

Camp Hickory Hill Builds Godly Families For Today And Tomorrow

By Rick Kern

Sprawled across the leisurely fields of Wyoming County, Camp Hickory Hill (originally known for its hickory trees), has been serving local churches for over 60 years. Located in Varysburg, NY, a few miles south of Attica, the nearly 200 acre slice of heaven offers a variety of events and activities designed so people can strengthen relationships with Christ and each other.

The guy who sets Hickory Hill’s sails and leads the team that makes it all happen is its Executive Director, Sam Richbart. A former math teacher at Clarence High School, Richbart is actually a “lifer” at the camp. He began attending Camp Hickory Hill at ten years old and as soon as he was old enough, he became a Junior Leader, then moved to a Collegian, Program Director, and Assistant Summer Camp Director. Sam continued to serve, was eventually promoted to Camp Director, and beginning in 1992 also became the Regional Director for Christian Service Brigade (CSB). Then, in 2008 he was brought on as the Executive Director for Camp Hickory Hill. 

The happily married father of four grown children has been walking with the Lord a long time. “We strive to do everything at camp for the glory of God; with excellence, with humility and with love,” he stresses, and it is easy to believe, based upon their published “Statement of Faith.”

The camp was established in 1955 by a group of godly men affiliated with the Christian Service Brigade who were looking for a place to take young men so they could teach them how to camp and appreciate the wonders of God’s creation. They found a suitable tract of land that was just under 200 acres and actually took out second mortgages on their homes to purchase the property.

Founded in 1937, Christian Service Brigade, which the camp emerged from, seeks to specifically equip the men in local churches to point boys and young men to Jesus and to help them grow into the kind of man that He is. It is a distinctive which goes to the bedrock philosophy of Camp Hickory Hill — they are what they term, “gender-specific,” meaning that they minister to boys and girls separately.

And while it may be what some today might feel is a bit of an outdated take on camp, it has its virtues. “That’s a distinctive we have — same gender ministry,” explains Richbart, “teenagers will often try to impress each other where the opposite sex is concerned and when you remove someone from that formula, a lot of times the conversation can be more real.” He continues, “The way we say it is, July is for the guys, August is for the girls — we added the girls to the ministry a little more than a decade ago.”

Camp Hickory Hill has an impressive roster of all the right facilities and activities. A gorgeous chunk of their 200 acres remains undeveloped to allow the campers to go hiking and camping. Beyond that they have a zip line, an archery range, rifle range, a rock wall/climbing tower, a pool, a pond for fishing and canoeing, a soccer field, a gym, and they are fundraising for a ropes course. The list goes on — as does the fun!

Additionally, they offer a number of innovative ways to make camp affordable. Some of these include substantial discounts for early registration, bringing newbies to camp, and mom or dad signing on as a volunteer for the week. They also offer a 50 percent discount to the children of pastors. “Our feeling is that if the child wants to come to camp,” says Richbart, “and the family wants the child there, then we’ll find a way to get him there.”

They also mix it up in the hope of deepening familial relationships offering father/son, mother/daughter, and father/daughter events — and they have even held them with a mother/son theme. Often, but not exclusively, centered on seasonal retreats the camp schedules a number of family friendly occasions. “Family events have become a staple of what we are able to offer families and it’s been a joy to be able to offer that,” observes Richbart. “It’s grown to be a huge part of what we do.”

Its impressive facilities make Camp Hickory Hill a perfect place to hold retreats, church-related activities, or school functions and lots of people and organizations do. “The camp is a wonderful place for church groups to rent the facility,” explains Richbart. “We can facilitate another church’s ministry or a school’s ministry so we have added that over the years.”

They have their irons in a lot of fires. And while it is not on-sight, Camp Hickory Hill oversees the CBS Buffalo “Iron Sharpens Iron” men’s conference. Iron Sharpens Iron is a first class one-day equipping conference for men of all ages! It is hosted in several locations across the United States and even in Vancouver, BC.

To learn more about Camp Hickory Hill, call them at (585) 535-7832 or visit their website at www.camphickoryhill.org.

Giving Clarity In The Confusing World Of Christian Book Publishing: A Conversation With Andy Sanders Of 5 Fold Media

By Tim Bennett

Probably the most salient point that came out of my recent discussion with Andy Sanders, owner of 5 Fold Media, the Spirit-led book publishing company out of Cicero, New York, was: publishing has radically changed since 1999 when Sanders fell in love with the book industry and worked in the executive office at Charisma Media. “According to recent statistics,” Sanders said, “Roughly 60% of all books purchased today in the U.S. are bought online, whether it‘s going to be e-books, or hard copy. That is why so many bookstores have been closing down over the years. Back then, we also received all our manuscripts through regular mail. Fast forward to today. At 5 Fold Media we do everything online.”

Sanders feels uniquely qualified to navigate would-be authors through this new changing landscape, not only from the first-hand knowledge he gained about the aspects of the book publishing process at Charisma, but also from his own success, with his professional team, of putting out 200 titles in the past eight years. He was especially thankful to be able to help his pastor, John Carter, from Abundant Life Church in East Syracuse to publish his first book, The Transformed Life (2013), which has since gone on to a bigger publishing house in Oklahoma.

Of all the books he’s published, Sanders said, The Passion Translation books (2011) by Dr. Brian Simmons are the ones that really “put my company on the map.” He calls the books a translation, paraphrase, commentary blend of the Bible that will eventually cover every book in both the Old and New Testaments. “His first book was turned down by many publishers,” Sanders said, “but when I saw it I said, ‘Thank you, Lord, for remembering me.’ The books have now sold over two million copies. We did the first seven books and then one of the largest publishers in the world picked it up.”

Sanders, surprisingly, does not bemoan the fact that his authors’ books move on to bigger companies. In fact, he sees it as a “calling” and a win-win for everybody involved. It means that the book is a big success and will only do better.

Another major point Sanders made concerning today’s book publishing is the need for a professional team to produce a successful book. He told me a story about a man who had come to him one day and said he was going to study the industry online and do it all himself. “I saw him years later,” Sanders said, “and this same man told me he was more confused now than ever.” In Sanders’ opinion, writing the book is only one slice of the pie. You also need people that can help you with legal issues, distributing, advertising, marketing, editing, proofreading and administrating the book. In fact, Sanders feels so strongly about educating his authors, he insists that every writer that signs with them go through a training class so they fully understand what they need to do and what 5 Fold Media will do for them.

The print-on-demand revolution has also added new challenges to publishing, Sanders admits. Now, with a little bit of money, anybody can publish a book.  “An older statistic suggest that there are over 130 million books published on earth,” he said, “and there are so many books on Amazon they do not even know the exact number. I saw one book listed at 18 million so there are, at least, that many.” Sanders also shared the sobering statistic for authors--the average book in the U.S. sells roughly 200 copies.

In explaining what his company does, Sanders said they have two divisions or ways of publishing. One is “traditional” and the other is “vanity.” The difference between the two is, with a traditional contract, the author does not have to pay anything. The publisher pays all the costs. With the vanity side, the author contributes substantially for the costs. “In some other publishing homes a ‘true blue’ traditional contract,” Sanders said, “is when the company might buy the rights for the book with an advance of sometimes $2,000 to $8,000 and then give royalties on the books sold. The advance normally works against the royalties at first. Friends that I have with traditional contracts from other companies have told me they get between 13% to 15% royalties sometimes. At 5 Fold Media we do not give out advances with our traditional contracts but we do take the rights of the book and give authors 50% of the profits, which authors are usually happy with.”

Of course, there are certain things that Sanders says he looks for when assessing a book for either a traditional or vanity contract. One. The condition of the manuscript. How much work will it need? Two. The location of the author. If he or she lives outside of the U.S. he will not offer a traditional contract. Three. The author’s platform. Does this author have a channel through which they can sell books or would they just rely exclusively on 5 Fold Media’s platform? Four. He must be confident that this author will keep his feet moving.  “In other words, it has to be a two-party effort,” Sanders said. “I’ve never seen it work any other way.”

There are certain things that Sanders says they will not publish. “We do not allow trash talking, or belittling people or other groups. I’ve seen in some memoirs that they take it too far. I understand that closure is important but some almost give you the guy’s social security number and address.” He also says they will not publish books that bash political people or a book that is majoring on the minors, or theological gray areas.

To be published with 5 Fold Media, Sanders said, there are four requirements: 1) We have to do a thorough review of the book. 2) I must get to know the authors personally. 3) There must be a minimum of two edits—one content and the other copy. 4) All authors must go through 5 Fold Media’s training program. Although 5 Fold Media will look at all types of books, they are particularly interested in those that fall under the categories of “Christian Living” and “Novels.”

Sanders realizes that producing a successful book is not easy. He said: “Authors need to understand that publishing is not for the faint of heart. It is a long-term effort.” For more information about 5 Fold Media, please go to www.5foldmedia.com or send an email to contact@5foldmedia.com.

Holmes Presbyterian Camp & Conference Center Offers 550 Acres Of Reflection, Growth, And Inspiration Strengthening People Of Faith

By Rick Kern

Just north of New York City, one of the most urbanized regions in the world, lies 550 acres of reflection, growth, and inspiration strengthening the faith of multitudes every year. Those who attend its programs or use its facilities may know it as Holmes Presbyterian Camp & Conference Center when they arrive. However, by the time they leave it has become a welcoming Christian community responding to God’s call where lives change and faith grows in a natural setting.

Established in 1946 some 71 years ago, Holmes was the net effect of a group of Presbyterian Christian educators who recognized the benefit of having a place for youth to get away. They bought a lakeside property and began to do youth programming then in 1958 bought the camp next door expanding to nearly what they are now. 

“It really started out as Presbyterians wanting a place for their youth and their children and then eventually families to have a place to sort of get away,” explains Natasha Taylor, Holmes’ Summer Camp and Youth Programs Director. “We’ve been building on that ever since.”

Holmes is a vast swathe of Mother Nature bringing her “A-Game” and is set among pristine forests, lakes, cliffs, trails, and wetlands in the hill country of the lower Hudson River Valley. The sprawling facilities include two year-round conference centers, three year-round retreat cabins, two seasonal youth facilities, a rustic camping program, several tent/trailer and day group areas, and an environmental science and arts program. Three lakes provide the natural resource for swimming and boating activities as well as winter fishing and ice skating.

Holmes Camp also has a singular roster of activities that blends convention with distinction. Old favorites such as archery, arts & crafts, canoeing, and fishing are enhanced by unique pursuits such as baking, cooking out over a fire, paddleboats, and learning about farm animals and growing food commercially first hand.

They offer a full schedule of summer camping programs that stretch from Day Camps to Senior High Camps and everything in between — and then some! On the flip side of all that Holmes offers a number of retreats during the year and has first rate rental facilities that can accommodate self-directed conferences and retreats as well.

“This year we’re doing five-weeks of summer camp and a few youth retreats during the year,” notes Ms. Taylor. “We just had a youth retreat this past weekend and we’ll do a youth retreat in the fall.” She continues, “The bulk of our programming is during the summer but we do have some other youth events and we do a women’s retreat as well.”

With facilities as comprehensive as they have, Holmes attracts quite a bit of outside interest. “Certainly, we host a lot of groups that are doing their own youth or children’s or adult events,” adds Taylor.

Her observations are echoed by Reverend Peter Surgenor, Holmes’ Executive Director who not only elaborates on them, but adds a little history. “Confirmation retreats have been going on for 45 years as sort of a tradition supporting groups of churches,” explains Reverend Surgenor. “We usually have about 200 young adults that are thinking about joining the church here for a 24-hour period and most of the time they come from all three of our governing bodies.” He continues, “There’s a good diversity and kids get to understand that they’re Presbyterian people deciding about faith beyond what they’ve grown up in the church and Sunday school with.”

Holmes actually has four separate and unique facilities that can be used independently by different groups at the same time. During summer camp they use two of them — a set of platform tents with bunk beds around the lake with their own dining and program areas, and another with typical summer camp cabins that is more closely associated with their main lodge where a lot of activities take place.

“In addition to that we have a lodge which holds 75 people,” Reverend Surgenor adds, “and then our ‘Agape Facility’ which is 12 hotel rooms and a very upscale meeting space.” He continues observing, “So we will have another 500 campers from guest programs here during the course of the summer in addition to the programs that we do.”

Holmes Camp has been frequented, for example, by 12-Step groups who hold large conferences on sight, an interfaith youth project, and a number of Catholic immigrant churches from the New York City area. “These churches need a place to come and speak their own language, eat their own food and praise in their own way — to worship God in their own way” explains Reverend Surgenor. “They’re very energetic and we love to see them come.”

In that conciliatory spirit, this summer Holmes is partnering with a group known as “Bridges to Community” to host a set of volunteer trips to Nicaragua. Bridges to Community is a group that engages in sustainable community development that has lasting impact for some of the most impoverished people in the Western Hemisphere. They form long-term relationships with communities and bring volunteers to help work on meaningful projects in housing, health, education, and economic development alongside community members. Thus, this summer’s outreaches will provide participants an opportunity to work on a sustainable development project while living and working with the community being served. Groups will also be able to explore the rich cultural traditions and natural beauty of Nicaragua.

“Our project is a little bit on the Habitat for Humanity model where homeowners put a lot of sweat equity in,” notes Surgenor, “but it’s a low technology, earthquake resistant building method that teenaged volunteers can participate in very actively.”

To assure parents that their children will enjoy a fun, safe, meaningful experience, Holmes Presbyterian Camp & Conference Center has voluntarily submitted to the accreditation process of the American Camp Association (ACA). The ACA is the only nationally recognized group governing youth camping professionals and Holmes Camp is certified as an Accredited Camp by them. Having this accreditation confirms that Holmes has met the highest standards in the quality of camp health, safety, programming, personnel, and administration.

As of this writing, they are organizing an open house to take place on May 22nd, 2017. Complete with hot dogs, hamburgers, and all the fixings, Holmes Presbyterian Camp & Conference Center invites all to share a meal, meet the summer staff, and see what camping at Holmes is all about.

For more information visit their website at www.holmescamp.org or call them at (845) 878-6383.

Silver Bay YMCA To Build New, Multi-Million Dollar Year-Round Lodging, Dining, And Conference Facility

By Liz Hinck

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 Everyone
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.

A Summer 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.

For more information on Delta Lake Bible Conference Center, call (315) 336-7210, email info@deltalake.org or visit the website at www.deltalake.org

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. 

Nyack College 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.

Barden Commercial 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.

Grace Auto Repair is your complete auto repair and automatic transmission specialists, located in Webster, NY - just eight miles east of Rochester.

With more than 30 years of experience, their expert staff offers full auto repair service on most makes and models, both foreign and domestic as well as automatic transmission repair and replacement.

Their highly trained technicians are committed to you. They take pride in their work.

For more information about Grace Auto Repair or to schedule repairs on your vehicle, call them at (585) 671-3470. You can also schedule through their informative website by visiting www.graceautorepair.com.

The Charles Finney School At The Quarter Century Mark
By Susan LeDoux

What began twenty-five years ago as a Christian high school has now become a college preparatory school for students from pre-K through grade 12.

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.

Preview days – Experience Finney for a day:

- 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.

Elim Bible Institute & College Gives Students A Spiritual Foundation For Life
By Terri Cavanaugh

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.

Besides 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 kitchens.

What programs does EBI&C offer?

Elim offers 1-year, 2-year and 3-year programs.

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 financialaid@elim.edu. 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!

Author Shaun Campbell Encourages Believers To Be Unique

By Jennifer Lamey

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 5 million. 

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. (www.LakeGeorge.com/news/Thomas-jefferson.cfm)

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

Christian 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

If you haven’t been to Alpha and Omega – Parable Christian Store at Panorama Plaza lately, you should know it moved a few doors down, and is now between Tops and Staples.

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.”

Clarks Summit University: Serving Undergraduates And Graduates
By Susan LeDoux
Near Scranton, Pennsylvania, lies the small town of Clark’s Summit, which is home to Clarks Summit University. Summit was not always a university. It startled as Baptist Bible College and Seminary 83 years ago in Johnson City, New York. In its first year, 1932, it had only 40 students. Over time, and after purchasing other buildings to accommodate the growing student body, it became clear the school needed a new campus. Governor Scranton himself helped the school relocate to its current site at Clarks Summit, in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Region of Pennsylvania.

Dr. James Lytle, President of Clarks Summit University, explained how a public official came to help a Baptist organization. 

“Governor Scranton was just one of those guys who always had his eye out for what would be good for the area. We have one of those drop dead, gorgeous facilities, and it used to be a Maryknoll junior seminary. The Maryknoll order wanted to give boys who were thinking of going into the priesthood a chance to go to high school in an away-from-home setting. They began to run out of students in 1960 and left this beautiful property in Clarks Summit vacant. Governor Scranton was only four or five miles away. He knew we were looking and gave us some help in finding the property and stepping into it.”

Dr. Lytle took over the school’s Presidency in 2015, the same year Baptist Bible College and Seminary became Summit University. The Good News asked Lytle what was involved in the transition and why they chose to name it Summit University.

“Pennsylvania has a clearly prescribed process for becoming a university and it involves being regionally accredited, being in the state for ten years, and being a multi-school. We have a school of arts and sciences, theology, seminary, school of education —that multi-degree sort of approach, and we fit the qualifications. 

“Many of our graduates go overseas, so when you get overseas, ‘university’ means you did this [education] after high school, but ‘college’ can mean anything at all, so we wanted to use the name ‘University’ in order to make it clear, no matter where our graduates went, they had good post high school, tertiary level qualifications.” 

Lytle’s background certainly qualified him to take the helm of a Christian Bible college and seminary as it changed to a university.  He had taught on the college level for 14 years, and worked with the Mission Board in South Africa for another 14 years. When he returned to academia, it was as Vice President for Academics and then Provost.  When the previous President decided to return to pastoral ministry, Lytle became President.            
While this Baptist institution offers multi-disciplinary dual majors (Bible major being one of the duo), and a seminary, students represent an array of Christian denominations. When considering whether this could be the university/seminary for you, Lytle’s description of a potential student may help. 

“If someone comes to us and asks, ‘I see every student is a dual major, would I fit there?’ The first thing we would ask them is not what denomination they are. We would ask them:
● Tell us about your relationship with Jesus Christ. Do you see Him as your
● Tell us about your approach to the Word of God. Is it a guide you use for your faith, your practices?
“If your answers are “yes,” you are a fit.”  

A visit to Summit’s webpage, www.clarkssummitu.edu, is highly informative. One of the university’s attributes noted in the list of some facts about the school, was that students enjoy mentors for life.  Dr. Lytle explained that when they talk about mentors for life, they are speaking about relationships between faculty, staff and students. When this community group gets together, “it is informal, unscripted, and a relationship builds that helps the students have a grown-up they can talk to.” He added that these relationships happen naturally and continue beyond graduation. 

Relationships even build when students take on-line courses. Like many tertiary level institutions today, online, distance learning is proving to be a popular way to obtain a quality education without needing to relocate.  In fact, Summit currently has 930 students, with only 340 matriculating on campus.

Equally common now, are the high school AP and dual high school/college credits that now accompany many freshmen entering college. Summit University has a unique way of rewarding these students. It pays back the cost of those credits as scholarships, and if GPAs are 3.5 or above, Summit doubles that amount because “the students earned the scholarships by proving they were capable.”  

For people seeking life-long learning, with no desire or need for college credits, the mature adult program allows students to take any course at no cost, for no credit, as long as it does not require any work from the professor. 

While Summit University offers an array of secular majors, it remains a Christian institution and spiritual life grows along with academic life through time set aside for personal devotions, daily chapel, and church attendance. The university holds a ministry fair weekend where students have the opportunity to meet with various churches and ministry organizations in the area to discover where they can best serve the Lord, according to their gifts and interests. 

Dr. Lytle concluded that he would like “Summit University to be the name that comes to mind when you think, ‘I need some help with my family, or the next step in my life. I wonder if that university will be the place to help me.”

He would like Summit University and the Seminary to be, not just a purveyor of degrees, but also the place that helps you minister and serve Jesus the best way you can.

First Baptist Church Of Penfield: Over Two-Hundred Years Old And Still Going Strong

By Susan LeDoux 

Just east of the intersection of Five-Mile-Line-Road and Route 441 sits a tidy white church you could easily miss, but for the large sign and impressive bell encased in a raised brick memorial on the lawn. The sign states First Baptist Church (a member of the American Baptist Churches USA), was the “first religious congregation in Northfield- established 1804.” Local history buffs will learn quite a bit by clicking on “history” at the church’s website, www.fbpenfield.org. There you will learn that in 1804, this town of Northfield eventually would be part of Penfield in what would become Monroe County. 

Although organized in 1804, it took until 1823 to build the church, which they later dismantled and moved to its present location in 1839. Over time, concerned that the wood used to support the church’s 1870’s bell could give out, they removed it from the tower and re-hung it in the memorial, using some of the original timbers. 

Church clerk and Sunday school teacher, Debbie Lochner noted, “We are at a crossroads, bridging past and future. We have a strong core group, working to keep our heritage, examine our goals, and move forward as God leads.” 

Interim Pastor Reverend Philip B. Davis Sr. shared his initial impression of First Baptist.  

“My first encounter with the congregation as a whole was at a flapjack breakfast. I walked into the room and it just felt good.”  

People working together every third Saturday, to serve the community breakfast while raising money for different organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, the Ecumenical Food Shelf, or Learning Links, impressed him.  He said seeing people come together to do the mission work of the church was a beautiful thing to watch.

“Beyond that, we’re people. We’re far from perfect. The understanding we, and a lot of other churches need to develop, is that we’re a hospital or a museum. We’re people thankful for the Gospel, but still struggling to understand how to incorporate the Gospel into our lives,” Davis said. 

Georgia May, Worship and Teaching leader, added, it is the act of “being the church,” not just witnessing in the church. “Being Church” for this congregation involves supporting Colgate Divinity School, the Baptist Home, Shepherd Home, Open Door Mission, Salvation Amy, and other ministries. 

First Baptist remains faithful to its 25-year-old commitment to Rochester’s Cameron Community Ministry. In addition to preparing Sunday dinner at Cameron on each 5th Sunday during the year, they help with Cameron’s after school program, and its emergency food and clothing distributions.
The church is home to Penfield Village Nursery School, cub and boy scouts, and the Elizabeth Clark Dance Studio. The spacious church hall’s wooden floor makes it a perfect venue for the dance studio as well as for the Copy Cats, a square dancing group, which gathers there. 

Moving into the sanctuary, the majestic Andover organ, built specifically for the church, graces worship services. First Baptist developed a connection with the Eastman School of Music’s organ program, and every year, they present a joint concert with the Eastman Organ Initiative. The church organists have been exemplary students of the Eastman, and the current music director is Jacob Taylor, a Doctor of Musical Arts candidate at Eastman. 

Georgia added, “We sponsor, with a small stipend, a soprano and tenor from Eastman who sing with the choir. It started as a project that was endowed by a couple; we’ve had fundraisers, and that’s how we started being able to pay them.” 

Pastor Davis acknowledged the “spectacular” music program, and described the effect of the choir’s musical magic. He said as he listens, the music brings him closer to God. 

“There’s this vibe from Jacob in particular. I have worked with a lot of church musicians and Jacob is in that special class of church musicians,” he said. 

Georgia added that the choice of music each Sunday relates to the sermon topic, which is based on the Lectionary. The after-service discussion hour for adults may be about the pastor’s sermon, but could just as well involve a book discussion, a hot potato topic, a Bible study, or even a movie. 

Since average Sunday attendance is about 75 people, and children grow older, age demographics vary year to year; so the Sunday-school teachers are flexible and creative.  The church currently is gearing up for its VBS program, “Son Games” from August 15 -19. 

Georgia said it is easier to know everyone in this smaller congregation. The deacons visit shut-ins, members in nursing homes, or anyone who needs a visit. Pastor Davis said he is amazed how easily people move in to help each other without a formal plan in place. “When I got a sense of what was going on at that level, I was in awe. This they figured out. It has a sense of authenticity,” he said. 

Although an interim pastor, Reverend Davis does have goals.

“One of the things on my list is to either introduce or acquaint the church with what it means to have a prophetic voice, going back and taking a look at the Biblical prophets and the kind of voices they had, and what they brought to the church and the community as a whole.” 

He hopes his people can claim that prophetic voice “in a way the community hears us that this is the place where I want to learn how life is to be lived. This is the place where I can connect with the eternal love of God to draw the community to Christ (not just this church), reclaiming the prophetic voice where we say ‘Jesus matters.’” 

“I’m standing in the gap momentarily for a place that has a 212 year tradition, doing what I can, being as faithful to Christ as possible.”  

He is not standing in the gap alone. Committed church leaders surround him. 

For more information, visit www.fbpenfield.org.

New Hope Family Services: Helping Those In Crisis Choose Life

By Pat Shea 

New Hope Family Services is a not-for-profit pro-life Christian ministry that Director Martha Raub says seeks to be Christ’s hands extended to offer hope and help to people with pregnancy, parenting, adoption, or post-abortion needs in the Syracuse area and throughout the State of New York. The organizations offers help, support and assistance to women facing an unplanned pregnancy; those struggling with the emotional pain of post abortion; families seeking parenting help or searching to adopt; and teens looking for answers and support in regards to abstinence education. 

The ministry began as the vision of Clinton Tasker in 1958 who was looking to establish a voluntary, not-for-profit professional Christian family service agency. Evangelical Adoption and Family Services (EAFS) was created and became authorized by the New York State Department of Social Services agency in 1965 to provide adoption services, foster care, and related counseling services throughout New York State. 

In 1985, Larry Taylor, the Executive Director of EAFS at the time, took Tasker’s vision one step further when he showed a movie, “Assignment-life” at the North Syracuse Baptist Church. Deeply touched by the movie’s storyline that told of how a pro-choice woman changed her heart to become pro-life, the group of businessmen became determined to create a pregnancy center in Syracuse that would offer women faced with an unplanned pregnancy a place to explore their options. In 1986, New Hope Pregnancy Aid Center opened its doors under the auspices of Evangelical Adoption and Family Services.

In 1992, EAFS and New Hope Pregnancy Aid Center merged into one agency, New Hope Family Services, and resides at its present location at 3519 James Street in Syracuse. Eleven years ago the organization opened a satellite location at 500 Walnut Avenue in Syracuse.  
New Hope Family Services continues to thrive today, and last year assisted over 1600 clients under the direction of Raub, who began as a volunteer for the organization several years ago. Raub accepted the position of director three years ago when she felt God put a stirring on her heart. 

New Hope Family Services is funded completely by donations, and all services are free and confidential. These services include a loving pregnancy care program that offers self-administered pregnancy tests, on-site ultra sound, peer counseling, education and practical assistance to the women facing the fears and concerns of an unplanned pregnancy; parenting education that provides practical skills for developing successful family living; adoption planning services and child placement services; post-abortion counseling and education that offers hope and healing for women and men suffering the pain and loss of an abortion; pregnancy loss counseling for those who have experienced the pain of miscarriage, stillbirth or other infant loss; and abstinence education that encourages young people to view abstinence as a realistic and attainable goal.

“The abstinence education program, Real Love Respects, has reached over 42,000 students in 28 public schools,” stated Raub proudly. “After each presentation students and teachers fill out a confidential evaluation form and we have received a majority of positive feedback from both teachers and students. One teacher commented how our program is always relevant and up-to-date on current issues and students have told us how much they appreciate discovering ‘they’re not the only one’ interested in abstinence and how the program has helped them to make good choices for their future.”

In addition to Raub, the organization has a total of 16 staff members. “We do what we do with a limited staff,” explained Raub. “The majority of our team are volunteers and everyone does an amazing job.” Many of the volunteers work directly as Client Advocates and have had a lasting impact on those who have utilized the services of New Hope. 

“Former clients have reached out to us through the years to tell us how much it meant to have their Client Advocate there for them. It is our goal to reach out to those in need and help support them with God’s truth and love,” explained Raub. 

Those interested in learning more about New Hope Family Services can call (315) 437-8300 or (800) 272-3171, visit www.newhopefamilyservices.com, or send questions to a confidential email address, newhopepace@aol.com.

New Hope Family Services will have their annual fall banquet on Monday, September 26,2016 at the Carnegie Conference Center at Driver’s Village, 5885 East Circle Drive, Cicero New York. Their speaker this year will be David Bereit with 40 Days for Life. You may call 315-437-8300 for tickets.

Mars Hill Network: Taking Back The Airwaves From The Prince Of The Power Of The Air
By Rick Kern

With a mission statement that could double as the opening paragraph of the 29th Chapter of the Book of Acts, it is pretty clear that the Mars Hill Network (MHN) came to play, and play to win! They are winning souls, hearts, and ground from the enemy. And do they play! They play quality Christian programming from music to messages. With a roster featuring choice and chosen vessels who have risen in the ranks to become national leaders, hearts will always be challenged but ears never tickled by servants such as Dr. John MacArthur, Chuck Swindoll,  Ravi Zacharias, Greg Laurie, and James McDonald, just to name a few. Yet, like any transcendent structure that towers majestically against the skyline, what is seen, or in this case heard, could not loom so large or with such spiritual grandeur without what you don’t see — its foundation. 

In this case that would be the dedicated leadership and staff of the Mars Hill Network. These people are not paycheck players who punch a clock and keep their eyes on their work but their hearts on their days off. They are called by God, and zealously team up to use media to impact their communities with the clear message of Christ in hopes of transforming and inspiring the lives of their listeners.   

The Mars Hill Network is a ministry staffed by people who by-and-large are extremely dedicated to its mission and its Lord. And though perhaps it eclipses convention to describe the workers at a radio station as “ministers,” that is pretty much the way it is from the top down — they are all servants charged with going into all the world to preach the Gospel to all creation. And like any minister, though their professions have “job descriptions,” they are more than “professions,” they are “passions.” “I look at this as a ministry,” says Wayne Taylor, MHN’s General Manager, “we’re all ministering here to serve God, encourage the saints, and broadcast the Gospel.” 

Like any organization, those who labor will emulate their leadership, conforming to the example he or she sets with respect to work ethic, professional integrity, concern for fellow employees, dedication to the organization’s mission, and a dozen other critical dynamics. At MHN, that leader is Wayne. 

A veteran of the industry, Wayne has served MHN an amazing 34 years and worn more hats as he traversed the network and its stations than the Mad Hatter. “I’ve done just about everything you can do here,” he reflects, “I went and managed a station in Webster, was a Program Director for two or three years, covered children’s programming, production, and all kinds of things. I’ve been General Manager for 11 years now.” 

Interestingly, the hand of God in crafting his resume is not lost on Taylor. “I really think that the Lord put me up in Webster all those years ago,” he explains. “Working with local churches, pastors, handling things like concerts and pastors luncheons there, the Lord really prepared me for my present position.”

Wayne was raised in what he describes as “a nominally Christian home” saying, “I went to church, but I didn’t get it. It didn’t sink in.” He came up right in the heart of the Baby Boomer era, which as might be expected, found him protesting the Vietnam War with his fellow students at the community college he attended. It was there that the Lord hurled a curve ball right across the plate with what might as well have been a sonic boom. 

“It was the cool thing to do in those days, in 1970 and ’71; protesting,” he recalled. “But one day I was challenged by a Vietnam vet as to why I was involved in the protests.” He continued, “I was trying to come up with reasons from the Bible thinking if I knew what the Bible says, I could come up with a good answer…” 

That incident seems to have provoked a crisis of conscience which led him to a sprawling grave yard where he sat alone among the dead with his Bible and drank in words of life. “The first day I read the ‘The Gospel of Matthew’ and the second day I read the ‘Gospel of John,’” he remembered poignantly. “By the time I got to the Third Chapter of John, God had revealed Himself to me and I wanted to be born again. There were no fireworks, but I knew I had been forgiven. I got it for the first time in my life.”

Wayne’s got his love of radio way back in his youth when he broadcasted music, commercials, and news to his neighbors from his own working AM radio station that was built by his father. However, as you might have guessed, it pales in comparison to his love for the Lord which brought him to Word of Life Bible Institute, then to Moody Bible Institute where he earned a degree in Pastoral Studies. Subsequently, he served as a Youth Pastor for some three years where he actually met a young lady named Evie, who would eventually become his wife. “My love of radio and love of the Lord just meshed,” says the happily married father of two, “though I never knew I’d be here all these years. I’m a blessed man because God’s grace is available to anyone.”   

The Mars Hill Network was essentially established in 1966 when God planted the idea in the hearts of a handful of Christians from the Syracuse, New York area. Upon sharing their vision for a radio station in Central New York, they formed a corporation named “Mars Hill Broadcasting.” The moniker was adapted from Acts 17 where the Apostle Paul preached Christ to the Athenians in the market place and on Mars Hill. Bathing the endeavor in prayer, it moved from miracle to miracle and today has grown to an amazing 19 facilities all across New York State. 

MHN programming is subject to strict criteria that pass through an extensive vetting process. In this way, the Mars Hill Network maintains its professional integrity and assures that what it puts on the air meets the highest biblical and professional standards, reflecting positively on the network, but even more importantly, on the Lord. Their Programming Committee, consisting of a number of MHN’s board members and Wayne, exercises considerable caution in scrutinizing a potential program. Carefully reviewing content, professionalism, the ability to meet the needs of MHN’s listeners, and the host’s theology and reputation, they prayerfully search deeply into the candidates and their organizations. “We don’t want to have someone who has questions hanging over their head on the air,” notes Taylor, “the Programming Committee is very careful.”

The solemnity with which MHN approaches their programming content is simply an outgrowth of their guiding philosophy of ministry. “First, we’re here to proclaim the Word of God,” there’s no other reason we’re here,” declares Wayne categorically. “We ask ourselves if we’re ministering to people. Christian radio is predominantly listened to by believers, but we regularly hear from those who have listened and have come to know Christ through the broadcast alone or the broadcast combined with other witness.” 

In addition to broadcasting, the Mars Hill Network touches their community with extended ministries, which again is simply an overflow of who they are. A non-denominational Christian, not-for-profit, multi-media ministry, they have their hand in a number of undertakings that include workshops and seminars hosted by pastors, teachers, and professionals. They also bring Christian concerts into the MHN broadcast region and offer high quality children’s programming supported by MHN Hilltop Kids. The Hilltop Kids ministry focuses on spiritually nourishing children’s events and resources, while engaging in student outreach that works with and offers support to related outreach leaders and organizations. Moreover, they have developed a ministry to the military and their families.  

Obviously, MHN needs to operate in the black like any business. That being said, the reality is that the Mars Hill Network is a ministry; more of an organism than an organization, whose “business” is to be about the Father’s business! “We’re here to reach the lost and come alongside the local church as well,” Taylor declares forcefully. “We want to reinforce the work of the local church and encourage Christians to walk the walk and be relevant in the world.” 

They have walked that walk themselves for nearly half-a-Century and remain ever vigilant to be sure that any changes will continue to form the image of Christ in them personally and in their corporate identity. And while the MHN continues to carefully add new stations as they feel the Lord leads (they hope to launch two others by the year’s end), they are very prudent about building broadcast facilities. “Our vision is not to see how many radio stations we can set up,” explains Taylor, “we let the Lord open the doors.” The growth and impact of MHN cannot help but bring to mind the words of the majestic risen Christ in Revelation 3:7 where He describes Himself as the One who, “…opens and no one will shut, and who shuts and no one opens…” 

For more information about the Mars Hill Network, visit their website at www.marshillnetwork.org or tune you radio to their flagship station, 102.9 FM.

Camp Whitman On The Shore Of Seneca Lake Finding The Love Of God In Tetherball, Tie-Dye, And Tubing
By Rick Kern

To say that the Finger Lakes are breathtaking could well be an understatement of epic proportion. Among the Lord’s seminal masterpieces, if there was even a shadow of doubt about our God’s artistry in creation, the briefest visit to the shore of any one of the Finger Lakes will put it to rest. Awe-inspiring and sublimely beautiful, they are an iconic reflection of the supernatural crafting the natural, and the perfect piece of real estate to conduct a camp for children, young people, and the developmentally disabled. Which, by the way, is where you will find lots of them this summer, drinking in the dawn and dusk at Camp Whitman on the shore of Seneca Lake.   

And though the splendor of creation, with all the majesty of its natural wonder, inspires a transcendent sense that you are gazing from time into the eternal portals of heaven’s throne room, the prevailing peace and beauty of the quaint countryside is easily eclipsed by the spiritual grandeur that is Camp Whitman; its people: campers, counselors, and staff.   

Tucked into the western side of Seneca Lake between Geneva and Watkins Glen, Camp Whitman features well over one hundred acres packed to the hilt with everything necessary to ensure a memorable camping experience. A little piece of heaven on earth, the property boasts organic highlights that include private lake frontage, woods, ravines, meadows, and a pond where campers can fish or enjoy paddle-boating. Additionally, an engaging roster of wildlife can be found in its vast expanse of wood lots and it is not uncommon to catch a glimpse of rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks, deer, groundhogs, and dozens of bird species including the impressive great blue heron, osprey, and even bald eagles.

Their facilities allow campers to enjoy swimming in their pool, boating on Seneca Lake, scenic hikes along their many trails, a wide array of games on their main field, and of course, what would camping be without memorable, moonlit nights sitting by a crackling campfire...  

The Main Lodge/Dining Hall is the camp’s axis of activity and primary rallying point for evening programs and meals, as well as the meeting place for crafts and games. And while every camp offers a healthy mix of old favorites such as swimming, archery (new this year), crafts, and campfires; Camp Whitman has it all and then some. 

Their activity playbook includes a singular assortment of pursuits such as banana boating, disc golf, ice-cream making, a labyrinth, tie-dying, music, a low ropes course, and gaga — a Hebrew word that means “touch-touch,” and is a safer, less competitive version of dodge ball. These novel offerings enhance tried and true camping standards like tetherball, canoeing, hiking, and volleyball.

Camp Whitman, which takes its name from Marcus Whitman, a missionary who pioneered the Finger Lakes area light years ago, is owned and operated by the Presbytery of Geneva, in partnership with the Presbytery of Genesee Valley. Accordingly, it is a member of the Presbyterian Church Camp and Conference Association (PCCCA) and is required to be licensed by the New York State Department of Health, with inspections twice a year. 

They run six one-week-sessions, beginning in early July and continuing through mid-August. Their first five sessions are traditional residential summer camp programs for school-age youth between the ages of Kindergarten and 12th grade. The final session, called “Pine Camp,” is a residential recreation program for teens and adults between the ages of 11 and 60 that have developmental disabilities. With activities customized to accommodate the distinctive needs and interests of these unique campers, Camp Whitman opens their arms and hearts to embrace campers with downs syndrome, autism, traumatic brain injuries, and learning challenges. 

“They bring such joy to us, we try to customize their activities to their ability,” explains Lea Kone, Camp Whitman’s Director. “We have found that this is a population that has been marginalized and hasn’t had as many opportunities as others.” She continues, “By using this program, they are able to just be themselves and relax. They have the same needs as the rest of us.”

Each week during the season, Camp Whitman welcomes about 65 campers, along with a staff of some 15 counselors, lifeguards, coordinators, directors, and a full support team. Among the more unique characteristics of the camp is its organization into smaller “family groups” which are determined by age and grade level. “Our choice to organize our camp into ‘family groups’ is one of many qualities that made Camp Whitman truly unique,” says Ms. Kone. “Set in the woods, our ‘family groups’ are clusters of small four-bed cabins circled around a central fire ring.”  

Two or three counselors live among and lead camping groups of nine or 10 youth during each session. These family groups are co-ed, but cabins are separated by gender. They share meals (an experience that is more an act of ‘breaking bread’ than just eating), participate in activities together, and develop friendships that can become lifelong family relationships. Living in close quarters cultivates a deep sense of community, inspires true friendship, and candidly encourages children to come out of hiding and open up, while sharing and exploring their faith in a safe and caring environment. 

Lea further explains, “Our groups are organized with both boy and girl campers — again, in separate cabins, and male and female counselors. This creates a ‘family feel’ that is comfortable and familiar to our campers.  It also allows them to play, share, and learn from campers and staff of both genders. There are not very many camps that offer this type of structure, and we think it’s a really cool feature of our camp.”

The campers sleep in small four-bed cabins clustered around a central campfire ring.  Counselors either sleep in the same cabin as campers or in an neighboring cabin, and are on duty chaperoning campers 24 hours/day. The cabins are simple, but comfortable, and do not include electricity or water. In a grand old tradition that doubles as a reality check, restroom facilities include well-maintained outhouses adjacent to each cabin area as well as a shower house with hot showers, flush toilets, and sinks (just to counter any “First World” anxieties that might compromise  the campers’ experience). 

That being said, no matter how sorely missed they may be, televisions, computers, telephones, and WiFi are off limits for campers. And though they may or may not see it that way, campers are given an uncommon opportunity in today’s world to “unplug” for their week at Camp Whitman and instead “power-up” with the wondrous camp community. Campers may receive mail and email each day, and a coordinator or director is always available via phone to facilitate a connection with parents in the event of an emergency.

Ms. Kone has a resume that begins with her involvement as a camper at Camp Whitman in the late 1980s. Her experience ultimately led her to work in other camps in the northeast, and down an educational path supporting her tenure as director at Camp Whitman.

And while Kone’s Master’s Degree in “Outdoor Recreation Administration” equips her for the title she has, no learning institution can teach the love and passion she has for God, for what she does, and for who she does it with! Her directorship is something of a juggling act that probably finds her with as many balls in the air as there are seagulls soaring over the shores of Seneca Lake. She handles hiring, training, recruitment of campers from area churches, paper work, budgetary constraints, and then the white collar comes off. You’ll also find her cooking in the kitchen, with a plunger taking on a clogged toilet, fielding questions from careworn counselors who need a shoulder, and on it goes.

Camp Whitman is a lot of fun, yet like its missionary namesake, their program rests on a foundation that always keeps the greater and more compelling eternal considerations front-and-center. From games like “Password” that finds groups acting out a scriptural lesson, to the three formal services conducted throughout each week, to the volunteer minister on site during each session, to the sense of community reminiscent of the First Century church so carefully cultivated, Camp Whitman has got it going on! They do not practice what they preach; instead, they preach what they practice, just as their website declares: “At Camp Whitman we specialize in providing a traditional overnight summer camp experience focused on exploring the outdoors, developing friendships, and growing in our connection to Jesus Christ.”

To learn more about Camp Whitman, visit their website at www.campwhitman.org or call them at (315) 536-7753.

Camp JYC, Feeling Friendship With Jesus In The Foothills Of The Allegheny Mountains

By Rick Kern

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a “Comrade” is An intimate friend or associate: a companion, or: a fellow soldier.  And for Camp JYC, sporting an acronym that stands for “Jesus Your Comrade,” the word “Comrade” couldn’t be a better fit. The camp’s director, Martin Hatch, explains that “Camp JYC focuses on what really matters in life, the really important things and on building a foundation for lifelong learning and love for Christ.”

Among the more unique features of the camp is the fact that it is an extension of the First Baptist Church of Franklinville, a non-profit organization that is entirely funded through donations and almost exclusively staffed and maintained by volunteers. “It’s very unique,” notes Hatch, “I’ve always been told that Camp JYC is the only camp owned and operated by a single church in New York State. The only paid positions are the counselors in the summer; everything else is done by volunteers.” 

Camp JYC sits on 160 acres of land which was donated in the late 1950s by a farmer, Mr. William Clark of West Falls, New York. They started out in 1960 with tents and an outhouse, and have grown to six cabins, a swimming pool, bathhouse, pond, their main lodge, hiking trails, and numerous other facilities — all of which support an engaging ministry that includes some five very busy sessions through the month of July. While their maximum capacity tops off in the mid-80s, they average about 40-to-50 campers per session.     

“Ministry” is really the right word for what Camp JYC actually does as they use their facilities and programs as a way to have fun while sharing the love of God and teaching truth. They strive to nurture individual Christian commitments and develop Christian leaders while presenting the Gospel of Jesus Christ as the only means of salvation. 

The team at Camp JYC is very diligent to follow through and do what they can to help campers who have surrendered their lives to Christ grow in the faith. “We try to be very careful here that kids don’t just raise their hand and walk forward, we don’t want them to enter into this decision lightly,” says Hatch, “we want them to understand the gravity of their decision, that this is a lifelong commitment with lifelong implications.”  

To that end, they make every effort to keep connected and help them grow. “We try to stay engaged throughout the year,” says Martin. “We try to encourage them with their walk and get them plugged in to local churches.” In keeping with the camp’s identity as a ministry, he brings in exceptional, committed Christian counselors such as students from Houghton College, and they often develop deep enduring relationships with the campers. And though Hatch tries to bring them back for subsequent camping seasons to nurture the initial relationships that the counselors have cultivated with the kids, under the best of circumstances they will ultimately graduate and have to cut ties.

For Martin Hatch, Camp JYC isn’t a home-away-from-home; it has basically dominated his whole life and been a home from the womb, through birth, and ever since! His parents, both very strong Christians, were involved in the camp since the 1970s and even held their wedding reception there in 1979. His father, who was a carpenter, actually helped build many of the structures on the property. And in fact, Martin saw Camp JYC before he even saw his crib as his mom and dad stopped at camp to show him off as a newborn on the way home from the hospital.

Martin grew up on the property and went from playing there to becoming a camper, then a junior counselor, a senior counselor, to assistant director, and finally the camp’s director. He and his wife assumed the top spot in August of 2014 after having been involved as workers with Camp JYC some 20 years. “We heard that the husband/wife team that had served as director were moving on,” he recalls, “and that was going to leave a big hole. We spent time in prayer then worked alongside of them and took over when they left.” 

It is a position that entails just about everything from administrative work, to fundraising, to staff interviews, hiring, budgeting, and basically anything else you can think of. “I’ve been involved here my whole life,” says the father of three, “and we really see a vision here. It’s such a unique opportunity for kids and we didn’t want to see it fall by the wayside. It’s a labor of love — we want to see kids impacted for Jesus here.”

Resting on top of one of the highest hills in Cattaraugus County, its breathtaking scenery and notable facilities often keep Camp JYC humming with activity in the off-season booking family reunions, weddings, and retreats. The National Guard has even rented it out for military-related purposes. 

Martin continues to build relationships with other churches to attract new campers, and invests considerable time and effort in maintenance and the upgrades necessary to keep the camping facilities functional and attractive. His “to-do-list” is daunting with a number of infrastructure projects demanding his attention, but as God’s ministry, it is up to God to provide. For example, the cabins are showing their age, so he is working on a maintenance schedule for them and the log dining hall needs a new foundation so they are looking at a new structure to be designed to replace it.  

“We’re really just trying to gear up for the future,” Hatch observes, “and make sure that Camp JYC continues to enjoy the success we’ve had for the past 55 years.” 

They offer early registration incentives, family discounts, and have a limited number of sponsorships. You can learn more about this unique ministry of the First Baptist Church of Franklinville where Jesus is your comrade, by visiting their Website located at www.campjyc.org  or by calling them at (716) 676-2148.

Bliss Summit Bible Camp, Where The Word Became Fun!

By Rick Kern 

The Word of God confronts so many gritty issues of life, we don’t often think of it as being fun, but if you have any doubts, just check out Bliss Summit Bible Camp. Its directors, Patrick and Emily Barringer, have dedicated their lives to the principle, especially when it comes to a camper’s understanding of the Word of God. And as oxymoronic as it may sound, they take making the Bible loads of fun very seriously! 

“At Bliss Summit Bible Camp, everything we do is directed by our mission of evangelism, growth, and service,” says Patrick Barringer. “We seek to share God’s Word with those who have not yet heard or accepted it, encourage growth in believers through teaching and Scripture memorization, and provide service opportunities for those ages 14 and up to foster further growth through service.”

The Barringers have helmed the camp’s directorship for some three-years, but both have been deeply involved with “Camp Bliss,” as it is affectionately known, since the late 1990s. In that time, the now husband and wife team have served in nearly every role necessary to make the program a success, both before and since they’ve been wed. The couple is now five-years into a beautiful marriage that has two up-and-coming campers with a third on the way. 

Patrick and Emily, both believers since their childhood, share an unwavering commitment to their work at Camp Bliss as a call from God, and have dedicated their lives and family to its ministry. Formally speaking, they are recognized as missionaries through Bible Centered Ministries International, (BCM), a global non-denominational ministry dedicated to reaching children and developing churches worldwide. The Barringers are in good company as BCM has more than 700 missionaries serving in over 50 countries across five continents as well as in Pacific and Caribbean islands. 

However, back in their little corner of the world Patrick, a former high school math teacher, has gone from teaching kids to count numbers, to teaching them how to count on God — and he loves what he does. Nevertheless, to pull it off, he and Emily have to raise their own support which is no easy task. Yet they joyfully bear the burden in obedience to God to reduce costs and keep camp affordable. “We do it because it’s a way to make the camp inexpensive,” explains Patrick. “It would cost a lot more if we drew a salary. We try to make camp affordable. We even provide scholarships if needed.”

Patrick and Emily place a premium on relationships and creating a family-like atmosphere through the camp’s activities and personal interactions. The staff is actually coached on creative ways to build relationships, key characteristics of different age groups, and the “how-to’s” of improving conversation skills. “Good communication is the key to good relationships,” muses Patrick, philosophically.

The camp has a full roster of most standard camp activities such as archery, fishing, and rocketing down a huge waterslide, activities which are supported by first-rate facilities. That being said, Bliss Summit Bible Camp readily lives up to its name providing campers with multiple exposures to the Living God and His Word. “We have age appropriate Bible classes in the mornings, chapel services in the afternoons, and counselor led devotions each night before bed,” Patrick notes. “Our Bible teachers are volunteers from local churches, the chapels are led by local pastors or church leaders, and the counselors are trained on how to provide Christ centered devotions.” 

He continues, “Throughout the week campers and staff are also encouraged to memorize scripture. We incentivize this in our Junior Weeks by allowing the campers to earn both points for their cabin and Legos that they can take home with them for each four-to-six- verse passage they memorize.”

Their emphasis on teens also focuses on relationships. In addition to Teen Camp (Grades 7-12), young people 14-15 years old who are looking to improve their communication and leadership skills can participate in the Camp Bliss “Be a Teen Leader” (BaTL) program. Designed to mentor and equip young leaders to grow personally and strengthen their local church and community, it’s a great way to spend the summer serving God and growing both personally and spiritually. “Those accepted into the program will participate in intensive team building and leadership workshops while also serving the campers by helping in the kitchen,” explains Patrick. “Optimally, students would participate for five weeks during the summer for both summers as that would allow them to complete our full curriculum.”

The prospects for growth and service at Camp Bliss continue with opportunities to be on the counseling staff for those 16 and older. “This is largely a service opportunity, because staff salaries are kept low to keep prices down for campers,” Barringer continues. “We provide a whole week of staff training during which staff are fully equipped to be successful in managing a group of campers for a week and, more importantly, in sharing the Gospel.”

Additionally, the group holds two fundraisers a year, and is also open to larger groups for activities such as retreats, youth gatherings, college groups, and even family reunions.

Deep, meaningful relationships and affordability are Camp Bliss distinctives. “As our camp is in rural Western New York, one of the major concerns we face is keeping camp affordable,” notes Barringer. “If a camper doesn’t attend because they can’t afford it, how can we share the Gospel with them? As a result, we work hard to keep costs low and provide camperships for those who would not be able to attend for monetary reasons.”

There are a number of ways to get behind the Barringers and their work at Bliss Summit Bible Camp. For example, there are opportunities to support the scholarship fund, the Barringers themselves, or donate materials the camp needs (they have an Amazon wish list), as well as serve there personally. For more information on Camp Bliss, call them at (585) 322-9975, email Patrick at director@BlissSummit.com, or visit their website at www.blisssummit.com.

Camp Li Lo Li: Reflecting The Life, Love, And Light Of Jesus Christ

By Susan LeDoux 

Back in 1953, a group of Christian Brethren from seven local churches envisioned a campground for people of all ages, where visitors would come into relationship with Jesus Christ through activities, fellowship, and Gospel teaching. In an interview with The Good News, Camp Administrator, Terry Wilson, said the contraction of the words “life, love, light” won the naming contest for the new camp, to reflect the life, love and light of Jesus. 

Nestled along the Allegheny River, the campgrounds on Sunfish Run Road, Randolph, NY, near the Pennsylvania border, grew to include: 

● A man-made lake and pool.
● Facilities for archery, horseback riding, doing crafts, ball games, and more.
● Cabins, a lodge, chapel, camp store, climbing tower, and rope zip line. 

After two years of running the camp in Allegheny State Park, the one time dairy farm was finally ready for campers in 1955, and has remained a blessing for visitors for 60 years.  

“Increasingly today, kids spend more time in front of a screen somewhere. It’s important to have them outside, active, and busy. We’ve been given by the Lord this wonderful property, and we want to use it to its fullest,” Wilson said. 

While the camp is open year round with winter snow camps, the busiest time is during the summer. Family Week camp begins the season and another Family Week closes it in September. 

“Extreme Weekend,” is for young adults 18-27, who want to experience greater challenges during Family Week. They will hike, repel, and engage in an all-day event involving teams, while still sharing family time and chapel. Wilson noted that some of these once young adults now bring their own children to camp.” 

Other camps, whether they are for pre-teens, teens, Counselors in Training (C.I.T.), or the annual Adventure Trip, each have their own directors. Wilson explained that the directors (all volunteers) had been campers themselves at one time, and then moved up to become counselors and finally staff members.  

Each director is responsible for developing “a theme where people will see the Bible in a new light. With the stories of Jonah, Noah, Moses, Jesus’ miracles, we want to create a memory campers will take away that will lead to their spiritual growth.” 

Returning campers, who want to become counselors, take a two-week Counselor in Training program. This includes intensive classroom studies where they learn about children and how to relate to them. They then observe and assist senior counselors in the cabins. Wilson said he was “encouraged by the quality of the kids that have come through and have gone on to serve well here at camp.”

Besides the traditional camping experiences, Camp Li Lo Li hosts an annual Country Crafting retreat for women. The ladies enjoy fellowship while immersing themselves in their favorite craft projects — knitting, quilting, scrapbooking, crocheting, etc. The camp offers younger women a discount for the retreat as a way to encourage preservation of these skills down through the generations.

The annual Adventure Trip in July offers an off-campground weeklong experience. One year, people camped in tents in the Adirondacks. Another year they travelled to Louisiana on a mission trip, after Hurricane Katrina, to help rebuild churches, schools, and houses. This year, campers will go to Lake Hammond, south of Corning NY.

The camp is always available for retreats, conferences, and various church groups. It accommodates 25 to 200 people, and provides the A/V and sound equipment you may need. If you are interested, Wilson suggests the sooner you call the better. Cost depends on how many nights and meals are involved or if you require a lifeguard or ropes facilitator. 

Whether it is family or teen week, country craft weekend, or group rental, Wilson believes it is most important that Camp Li Lo Li fulfills its mission: “To present the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the teaching of God’s Word to children, youth, and families within a rural camp setting.” 

“If we miss those two things, we’ve missed our purpose,” Wilson said. “We want to be sure people come here, hear the Gospel, understand the Gospel, and they know they need to make a decision. We don’t force a decision...it’s got to be a decision they make. They need to know the Lord loves them, cares for them, and wants to have a relationship with them. That’s the core and foundations of everything we here at Camp Li Lo Li do.”

For more information, go to www.liloli.org.

Experience The Difference At The Upper NY United Methodist Church Camp And Retreat Centers

By Jennifer Lamey

The Upper New York Conference of the United Methodist Church connects over 900 local churches in New York State and includes six camp and retreat facilities. In 2010, the North Central NY, Troy, Western NY, and Wyoming Conferences joined forces to create the Upper New York Conference with over 168,000 members. The Conference Vision is to “live the gospel of Jesus Christ and to be God’s love with our neighbors in all places”. This vision is clearly the base of each Church and ministry.

Part of the merger included adding six separately operated camps under one organization. With a strong mission mindset, the Upper NY Conference camp and retreat ministries offer a wide variety of locations, attractions, and settings to fit each camper’s desires for the perfect get-away.  It is their goal to offer a place where people can escape from daily distractions and connect with God in his beautiful creation.

Long before the six camps merged under the Upper NY Conference, the United Methodist Church developed seven foundations for each of their camp and retreat ministries. These foundations emerged out of the prayerful consideration of two questions:

“What must we do well in order to be truly effective now and into the future?”

“What is absolutely vital for us to focus on in fulfilling the church’s mission within the unique camp and retreat setting?”

With these questions in mind two summits were held and the seven foundations created. To partner with United Methodist Churches and agencies joining forces in a common mission, Provide sacred places apart to grow in faith and fellowship, Extend Christian hospitality and community, Nurture Christian faith and discipleship, Develop principled spiritual leaders, Teach creation care and appreciation, and Inspire and equip lives for love and justice. These simple (at first glance) foundations are the root of the camp and retreat ministries success.

The Upper NY Conference camp and retreat ministries are located throughout New York in the Adirondack Mountains, the Finger Lakes, Tuscarora Mountain, Western NY, and Findley Lake near the PA state line. Each of these locations offer a unique setting and recreation accommodations, however Director of Camp and Retreat Ministries, Mike Huber states that what they all have in common is their “stunningly beautiful locations.”  The camps and retreat centers run their own programs including youth summer camps, as well as hosting other groups and organizations.

Aldersgate – Adirondack Region Greig, NY 
Boasting over 200 acres of land in the foothills with gorgeous views of three Adirondack lakes.
Aldersgate’s rich history dates back to 1946 when the Northern New York Conference of the UMC purchased land on a small lake. As new buildings were built and new attractions added, Aldersgate continued to influence lives and change hearts for Christ. Now the grounds offer accommodations for large and small groups, retreats, and hosted camps. Aldersgate also leads a week of traditional youth summer camp. 

With property on three lakes, Aldersgate is big on water recreation. Along with the usual rowboats and canoes, the camp has two floating rafts and an AquaPark! For the non-aquatic campers, there is plenty of hiking trails, a ropes course, sports fields, an archery range, and of course ping pong. After a long day of exploring the Adirondacks, enjoying the water, and growing closer to Christ, campers enjoy relaxing by the fire.

The stunning location is also available for weddings and receptions.  

Skye Farm - Adirondack Park
Skye Farm is located on Sherman Lake and boasts 400 wooded acres ready to explore.  Skye Farm’s history dates back to 1942, when three men – Luther A. Brown, H. Elliot Chaffe, and C. Walter Kessler – sat on a big boulder near the outlet of a beautiful lake that was nestled among the majestic Adirondack Mountains and reflected on the glorious green of the forest. They thought this was the ideal spot for a Christian adventure camp, a vision was cast and the site was established as a summer camp and retreat center.

Over the years a variety of facilities were added for summer camp programs, retreats, meeting, gatherings and events. Skye Farm offers a full summer camp schedule for ages 6 to 18. The Challenge Course provides premiere team building exercises for retreats, non-profit organizations, and youth camps. Skye Farm offers boating, on Sherman Lake, good food and great hospitality. Miles of hiking trails through the scenic setting offer a great way to rejuvenate and relax.

Family camp is a great way for families to share summer fun.

Casowasco - Finger Lakes Region

With over a mile of shoreline on Owasco Lake, Casowasco offers a large variety of water based recreation including rowboats, canoes, pontoon boat rides, and funyaks. For an even bigger adventure campers can step of a high dive onto a giant pillow-like blob, launching their friends off the tip of the inflatable blob into the depths of the water. Activities also include The Summit Slide and two floating rafts (one with a slide and one with a diving board).

Last year 1,200 youth campers enjoyed the high adventure water activities and high and low ropes challenge courses, as well as the dance and drama teams. After a full day of adventure campers gather at the outdoor chapel and amphitheater seating 200 people.

The beautiful Lakeview Chapel or outdoor Lakeside Chapel are available for weddings and the newly renovated dining room is ideal for receptions.

Sky Lake – Tuscarora Mountain
Located on top of Tuscarora Mountain, rustic Sky Lake is the ideal get-away to relax and unplug.  The staff already has a chair waiting for you that overlooks the picturesque lake. Even in a large group of 200 people, guests can easily enjoy the peace of God’s creation on a hike through the almost 1,000 acres of woods. The private lake offers two waterfronts with a variety of activities, and with large fields for sports or games the word “bored” doesn’t exist at this camp. Sky Lake is two camps in one with the Summer Camp West Shore and a year round retreat center on the East Shore.

They also run special needs programing for adults in partnership with local organizations. To learn more about this program visit their website at www.skylakecenter.org

On top of summer camps, Sky Lake is a year round facility with great meeting spaces. Founders’ Lodge has a stunning floor-to-ceiling fireplace that is perfect for retreats and conferences in all seasons.  For a summer retreat, the rustic Caldwell Pavilion will not disappoint. Serving as the headquarters of activity during peak season, Caldwell is complete with showers, a small kitchenette, and a large common area. The staff says, “Caldwell is sort of like camping indoors!”

Asbury – Western New York Near Letchwork Park

Asbury, a premier retreat center is located on Silver Lake in Western NY. With over 60 acres and more than a quarter mile of shoreline, and an outdoor heated swimming pool (with waterslide!), ropes course, and sports fields Asbury offers something for everyone. Guest’s love the newest lodge, The Manor, which has a beautiful lake view porch complete with rocking chair. While this facility offers a beautiful escape into nature, it is also “adult-friendly” with comfortable beds and even complimentary wi-fi available for guests staying in the Manor.  

Findley – Findley Lake
Findley Camp and Retreats 140 acres and a quarter mile of shoreline on Findley Lake’s large variety of recreation activities include a Low Ropes challenge course and team building initiatives, hiking, cross country skiing, boating, archery, and treehouses to name just a few.

While Findley can accommodate large groups, there is a special year-round cottage that is perfect for small groups.  Bethel Lodge’s three bedrooms will sleep 8, with a kitchen, cozy living room and full bath it’s the perfect place for a weekend getaway with the friends.

Located near Peek n’ Peak Ski Resort and snow mobile trails for Winter Wonderland fun.
Regardless of which location you choose, Director Huber states, you will experience “Christian hospitality in a radical way. The staff have the light of Christ in their heart.” The camp and retreat centers tagline is “Transforming Lives”, Huber says, “[that is] not just a slogan, I’ve seen people’s lives changed. At the end of the week we want [guests] to know three things: there is a God, God love them, and wants a relationship with them.” That is the Upper NY Conference Camp and Retreat Ministry’s standard of success.

To learn more about the Camp and Retreat sites visit www.campsandretreats.org.

The Greater Story, Celebrating 70 Years At Camp Cherith Of Western New York!
By Jennifer Lamey

Each year Camp Cherith of Western New York has grown, developed, and added onto their rich history as a nature-loving, Christ-centered youth camp. This history is woven into each camper’s personal story of how Cherith impacted their life. With over 70 years of changing lives, Cherith has gathered a lot of stories, while the grounds remain in Hunt, NY, a piece of Cherith is taken away with each person that leaves better than they came. The many stories of this amazing camp, their caring staff, and the campers are all woven into the colorful tapestry that is God’s greater story.

When asked what she loves most about Cherith, Camp Director Evie White answered, “[I love] the relationships you build with people. I have relationships from when I went to camp as a little girl.” Director White attributes the high retention of returning campers to the relationships that are built at camp. Not just relationships with one another, but relationship with God as well.  

Not only do these relationships offer personal fulfillment, they also build important social skills. Being together without technology involved provides campers with an opportunity to talk with one another and to explore God’s creation without distraction. At Cherith relationships are built while exploring nature, they are genuine relationships with a foundation of meaningful attention and conversation.

Cherith’s rich history begins with the name (pronounced “Care-ith”) from 1 Kings Chapter 17 when God sent Elijah to the brook called Cherith and then sent ravens with food to nourish him. In this same way campers are nourished at Camp Cherith with the Word of God. With this verse in mind the camp staff and counselors take bird names instead of using their given names, “to symbolize the role they play in a camper’s life: feeding them spiritual food.” Director White.

Camp Cherith began as a week-long girl’s only summer camp in association with the Pioneer Clubs. The camp was hosted at different locations until landing in Hunt, N.Y. in 1970. Programs were focused on building a deep spiritual foundation, skills, and lasting friendships. Cherith remained a girl’s camp until the late 1990’s when director Nancy Hanson added a parallel boys program. Offering a parallel camp allowed boys to have the same opportunity to attend Cherith without becoming a co-ed summer camp. Boys and girls have camp during the same weeks, but maintain separate schedules. 

An Intentional Time of Fun, Learning, and Friendships 
Cherith offers a camping experience for each age group’s comfort zone. For young campers that are not ready for a sleepover camp, Cherith’s week-long day camp from 9 AM-5 PM with a range of recreation activities, free time, and bible study is just right. For 2nd-5th graders that are ready to try out a sleep-a-way camp, Cherith’s Mini-camp runs from Sunday-Wednesday. It’s ideal for first time campers that are timid about being away from Mom and Dad for a whole week. They have the same experience as the full week campers, only slightly shorter, going home on Wednesday (with the option to extend their stay for the full week).  

Cherith offers 5 full week sessions (Sunday to Saturday) for campers ages 7-17 (grades 2-12). Choose one week or extend your experience to 2 or more weeks (weekend stays are available for older campers.) In addition to the basic camp week there are several special programs that can be chosen for extra adventure.  

While the length of time varies, a typical camp day is the same across the board.  At the beginning of the week campers choose three activities from a large selection to pursue throughout the week.  Instead of the campers doing activities collectively or having a different activity for each day, they break into smaller groups and do all three of their activities each day. A small group environment promotes greater comradery and learning. Most importantly, it provides another opportunity for instructors to teach the Word of God and answer any spiritual questions in a comfortable atmosphere. Activities include Horsemanship Riding Lessons and a Red Cross swimming program, to name just a few. Director White says, “The goal is to take kids from where they’re at, [activities] begin with basics and move through to advanced.” Focusing on learning three main recreational activities and having time to practice each day builds skill and confidence in campers, especially since they can continue to build on their talents year after year. 

Recently Cherith added Adventure Tree Climbing to their list of recreational activities. When man made rock walls became a staple activity at summer camps across the country, Camp Cherith decided against the trend and chose to utilize a natural resource for fun. The Adventure Tree Climbing Program “goes with the philosophy of being in nature” said Director White.  The program takes tree climbing to the next level with certified instructors, harnesses, rope, and 40 feet of climbing. Camper’s pull themselves up the tree with a system of rope loops.  Once they reach the top and have taken in the view to their hearts content, they belay down.  “It’s new, different, and physically challenging” Director White. The program is also available for groups.
While the activities are unique, engaging and just plain fun, the real focus and drive behind camp Cherith is growing closer to God.

Each day campers have counselor lead bible studies with 6-8 campers with a discussion and interaction atmosphere. During this time kids are saying, ‘what does this mean?’ and ‘how can I apply this to my life?’ with a dedicated Christian counselor guiding them closer to the Lord.  Often bible studies will take place in one of the open platform treehouses. Reading the word of God while being completely surrounded by His beautiful creation is a powerful illustration.
The focus on intentional fun, friendships, and building skills is truly woven into each part of the day. Even during meal time campers are developing social skills and table etiquette by sitting at round tables and passing dishes family-style.  

After just a few moments at Camp Cherith it is abundantly clear that in a world where technology saturates nearly every aspect of life, Camp Cherith stands apart. Maintaining their founding value of drawing closer to God in nature, they offer campers a refreshing experience of equal parts heart-pounding adventure and soul-searching quiet.

To become of a part the Greater Story yourself attend an upcoming event:
Spaghetti Dinner and Auction May 14th:
Proceeds for camp scholarship fund visit website for details www.CampCherithWNY.org

May 13-14 Girl’s Sneak Peek Weekend:
A sneak peek into summer camp, this weekend offers new campers a condensed camp experience: bible study, snacks, a campfire, and lots of games.  An opportunity to explore the grounds, meet new friends, and get a taste for what to expect in the summer.  Ideal for first time campers that may be timid about their first “sleep away camp”.  Mothers, Grandmothers, and even Aunts are invited to join this fun-filled weekend. Girls 7-17 yrs. (6yr. welcome with guardian).  The goal is to “pack as much fun as we can into the overnight,” says Director White.

70th Anniversary Gala September 24, 2016.
Celebrating Camp Cherith’s rich history and highlighting the stories of present and past campers and staff. Look for more information in later editions of The Good News.

To learn more about Camp Cherith’s Greater Story visit www.CampCherithWNY.org.

Missionary Aviator Camp Soars Into The Hearts Of America’s Youth
By Rick Kern

This July 10th through the 16 th will find an eager group of young people jumping out of their skin as they gather in Broadalbin, New York. What could possibly be popping off that is able to ignite the hearts of contemporary Christian youth with such passion? No, it’s not the premature launch of iPhone 7s, nor is it that artificial intelligence-based tablet that does their homework for them… It is that the only mission aviation adventure camp “Brigade Air” (BA) is hosting in the Empire State this season, and it is absolutely incendiary among a generation whose hearts are absolutely combustible! Located some 40-plus miles from Albany, last year’s inaugural collaboration with the Sacandaga Bible Conference to conduct the camp was such an inspiring, life-changing success that BA is again partnering with them to hold the event.

And while Brigade Air has yet another demanding roster of Mission Aviation Adventure Camps scheduled this year, blanketing the nation from New Jersey to California, Bruce Wolff, the driving force behind their creation, never could have imagined how the dreary drone of a Cessna Turbo 206 and its pint-sized cargo hold loaded with hope could mean so much to so many — especially Jesus. 

It’s a two-edged sword that seems like a lifetime ago, yet feels so much like yesterday that Bruce Wolff, the aircraft’s missionary pilot, can still hear the sleepy buzz of the plane’s engine offering its curious comfort as it echoed through the cabin. Wolff, tried, true, and tired, scanned the horizon then carefully checked his instruments. Glancing behind him, he was satisfied that the lumber he had loaded inside the cabin was still tied down securely, and judging by the clatter coming from the cargo pod beneath the plane, his clucking commuters were still doing fine. Who said chickens couldn’t fly? There were literally a dozen of the fowl carefully placed in a burlap sack and tied securely in the plane’s cargo hold. The livestock and lumber were all good but now they were the least of his concerns. As he saw his destination looming in the distance, he banked the aircraft, leveled off, and began his descent, his feathered passengers profusely protesting.

The plane bounced along the rugged landing strip then rolled to a stop amid a chorus of cackling complaints as he taxied in for the sixth and final time today. The Cessna was a workhorse, a modern missionary mule, and with about two hours until sunset, a satisfied smile crawled across his face as Bruce stepped from the aircraft to greet the village leaders awaiting him and his cargo. Now, at long last they could finish those desperately needed bunkbeds for the school, eat fresh eggs, and count on a steady supply of their favorite cuisine: Pollo Asado! Furthermore, the case of Spanish New Testaments would double as textbooks while giving God’s truth the high ground in the battle for the hearts and minds of the village’s emerging generation. Endemic poverty was just a little less endemic today, God was good every day, and a beaming Bruce Wolff was one weary warrior night and day; he’d been at it since 4 AM.

For this servant of God who is a skillful, tenured commercial pilot, aircraft mechanic, and certified flight instructor, there are some things in life that are worth much more than money, things that Bruce Wolff has used to navigate his pilgrimage through this world. Among those things are biblical precepts that, while charting his course through time, will endure well beyond it. Those would be things like loving others as yourself, things like pouring your life out to share the Gospel, and things like paying any price to embrace the call of God on your life. 

And yet, who would have ever thought that dedicating his life to meeting Third World need would result in Bruce Wolff taking a First World bull by the horns and launching one of the most innovative and impacting youth ministries to challenge the status quo of our nation’s up-and-coming generation? For while his tenure as a missionary aviator lasted but six years, since Y2K he has surrendered himself to a little project making a big difference called, “Brigade Air Mission Aviation Adventure Camps,” or “Brigade Air” for short.

Simply put, the group, structured as a 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit, establishes week­long camps that inform, mentor, and challenge Christian young people, ages 14­18, toward careers in missionary and humanitarian aviation. In addition, however, their program also provides a forum to bring the uncompromising call of God to bear on the conscience of today’s youth. It is a clash of kingdoms as the sacred engages the secular through an adventurous, educational, and fun filled camping experience that routinely cultivates a love for flying, a passion for Christ, and a vision for serving Him globally through aviation.

During the nearly 16 years since its creation in June of 2000, Brigade Air has conducted 140 camps in some 20 states and four foreign nations. Wolff and his squadron of volunteer staff have served 3,000 young people in vastly diverse settings from remote rural airports surrounded by farmland, to sites located beneath New York City’s airspace.

In addition to its camps, the group also establishes Brigade Air Clubs. At present, there are approximately 70 home schools, church youth groups, and Christian schools using the aviation mentoring curriculum developed by BA and built around Christian and mission aviation experiences. The clubs are hosted in various venues including churches, homes, and local airports. Their primary purpose is to leverage a young person’s interest in aviation while building Christian character and maturity, as well as imparting a passion and a vision for God’s call on their lives.  
According to the 56 year-old Wolff, who serves as BA’s Executive Director, the challenge is both fun and formidable. “There’s a tremendous shortfall of manpower in missionary aviation,” he says, “so how do you entice young people to go into this field?” He continues, “It takes a special cut to take on the training because you have to invest years of your life after high school before you even set foot on foreign soil. But if God’s calling you, you obey, and He’ll provide.”

And he should know! The son of missionaries, Wolff spent a number of his formative years on a Salvation Army Bible College compound in Nigeria (yes, the Salvation Army salvages souls as well as old clothes). Along about 1967, things got really messy and extremely alarming as the country suffered a military coup bringing two assassination attempts against Bruce’s father. It led the endangered family to leave everything behind and evacuate to America.

Having given his heart to the Lord at seven years old, he eventually found himself at The King’s College in New York, where an encounter with renowned missionary, the late Elisabeth (Betty) Elliot who spoke at his school, changed his life. Elliot made herself available to students for some one-on-one time which Bruce took advantage of.

“Her message was absolutely scriptural and penetrating,” Wolff recalled, “She didn’t speak to be popular and her direct style really got me thinking differently about my life. She made me realize that God had been preparing me for something and I’d better get with the program.”

One of her comments pierced his heart so deeply it literally kept him awake the entire night. It was so profound that even though the words were spoken a whopping 39 years ago in 1977, they still echo through the years and Wolff can recall them verbatim today. Like the oracle she was, Elliot pointed her finger in his face, looked right through him and cautioned, “Your role in God’s guiding you is to listen carefully and obediently! Even if you have the slightest inkling that the Holy Spirit is leading you into ministry or missions, you owe it to God and to yourself to put everything you have into making that calling sure, because it may be the only inkling you ever get.”

Her words resonated through Bruce’s soul with all the subtlety of an erupting volcano, and though he readily admits he “went into missions kicking and screaming,” he went!  He graduated from Moody Aviation in Tennessee at the age of 30, and served as a missionary pilot and mechanic for six years assisting evangelical church planting missionaries in the Sierra Madres Mountains of Mexico.

The passion that intensified as he matured in his calling while spending quality time on the frontlines heightened his awareness of the often gaping, irreconcilable distance between the faith he heard American Christians broadcast and the faith he actually saw lived out when it was tried. Far too often spiritual reality seemed to be more conspicuous by its absence than its presence among the believers he got to know. 

“The Gospel is an invasion of our human value system,” Wolff observed, “everything we think is important in the natural world, Jesus Christ turns on its head. It’s upside down to everything the world says is important. Something’s off in the popular church model we’re using in the United States, because we want our cake and we want to eat it too; we want the world and heaven. But just look at James 4:4 or Matthew 6:19-21; every one of those truths speaks to a sweeping and critical transformation!” 

Words like that may hold very little meaning or power when heralded from the safety of suburbia or an insulated ivory tower. However, for Bruce Wolff, who truly went all out to be all in on the Great Commission, and for whom the cross is more than a harmless piece of jewelry, it is a perspective forged in the fiery furnace of a make-it-or-break-it faith through his ministry. It is also the spiritual blueprint of Brigade Air’s playbook and the bedrock of their highly successful, life-changing programs. “We do this because of our love for God and because of the ongoing need for mission aviation personnel to assist in spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ to those who do not have access to it, because there are no roads there,” Wolff wrote in an article last year. “It is an early recruitment tool for mission aviation and affords an opportunity to come along side young people and encourage their growth in Christ.”

The role of aircraft in contemporary Christian missionary work is critical and the need for missionary pilots is greater than ever. Frequently, an airplane is the only way to get practical expressions of God’s love such as food, medical supplies, and basic necessities to those struggling against the effects of war, poverty, and natural disasters. In addition, missionaries themselves are helplessly dependent on missionary pilots to drop food and other life and ministry-sustaining supplies that enable them to continue their work. Anyway you cut it; the cargo brought by the missionary aviator is a shipment of hope at the end of a parachute.  Brigade Air is on the forefronts of this ministry dynamic, passing the torch as it challenges teens to dedicate their lives to standing in the gap today for the privilege of offering buckets of blood, sweat, and tears to become mission aviators tomorrow. 

To learn more about Brigade Air, simply visit their exceptionally informative website at 
www.brigadeair.org  or call them at (520) 248­0980. Again, their sole 2016 Mission Aviation Adventure Camp being held in our state (in partnership with the Sacandaga Bible Conference) is located in Broadalbin, New York, July 10-16. Click on their Website’s “Camps & Campers” menu to register for this one-of-a-kind program.

Camp-Of-The-Woods: A Purposeful Vacation In The Adirondack Mountains

By Jennifer Lamey
For whatever your vacation style is, Camp-of-the-Woods has you covered. Whether you enjoy hiking, rock climbing, relaxing on the beach, or a great concert and dynamic teaching you will find something for everyone. Camp-of-the-Woods is a Christian family resort and conference center located in the Adirondack Mountains in Speculator, New York. Deep in the stunning mountains, this 90+ acre resort boasts a state-of-the-art sports complex and a natural beach on Lake Pleasant to catch a few rays. The facility can accommodate large groups with a fully equipped 1,300 seat auditorium.
The camp has a rich history of serving Christ for over a century. Founded in 1900 by George Tibbitts as “Camp Iroquois” on the shore of Lake George. Throughout the past 115 years the camp has served as place of renewal for families and individuals to escape their daily demands and re-focus on Christ. On August 1st 2005 Jim Hammond became the current camp director. The camp is owned and operated by Gospel Volunteers, Inc.
Although many updates and changes have occurred over the years, the main focus remains the same. Mr. Hammond desires for Camp-of-the-Woods to be a “purposeful vacation location” he explained, “Our goal is to have everyone that comes through the gate see Christ”.  This is not a place to simply relax and unwind. This is a time to quite the daily distraction of life and seek Christ, which will provide a renewal unlike any other vacation! 
The mission of Camp-of-the-Woods is to present the Biblical truths of Jesus Christ, develop Christian leaders, strengthen the faith of individuals and families, and promote global evangelism. The leadership filters every decision through these four mission principals to ensure the correct choices are made for the camp. 
In order to accomplish their mission, the leadership has developed five distinct ministry arms all centered on the camp’s main goal of building up the body of Christ.
Summer Season
Beginning the week before July 4th and running through Labor Day weekend Camp-of-the-Woods offers week-long vacation packages for families. Unlike many other camps that provide youth summer camps, Camp-of-the-Woods invites the whole family to camp out for the week and enjoy all of the fun. By doing this, they’re creating a time for families to bond over shared experiences and adventures away from the demands of daily life. Director Jim Hammond loves to “walk through [the] dining hall and meet five generations having a Christ centered vacation [together]”.  
These ten weeks of summer adventures cannot be beat. Each week begins with a dynamic worship service lead by professional musicians and vocalists from the country’s top music schools. After worship families review the list of programs and activities offered throughout the week and begin making their customized schedule, attending as many or as few events as they wish. The options are vast including miniature golf, rock wall, tennis, water sports, as well as games and competitions hosted by the Rec. staff.  Some weeks have a sports emphasis which include time to play and train with professional athletes at the state-of-the-art sports complex on the grounds. And when you need a break from pushing your body to its limits, stop into the auditorium for a great teaching by one of the internationally known guest speakers such as Ravi Zacharias, Alistair Begg, James McDonald, and Erwin Lutzer to name just a few. As parents enjoy their speaker, children K-12 have the opportunity to hear age-specific Christian education with their peers. Being able to customize the schedule ensures there will be something for everyone to enjoy while leaving plenty of time for family bonding over a peaceful hike or bon-fire. It’s a great time for “Christ-centered family fellowship” stated Director Hammond.

Conference Season
From September to June, Camp-of-the-Woods is a full service conference and retreat center hosting Christian organizations and church groups of all ages. In the heart of the Adirondack State Park, Camp-of-the-Woods is an incredible place to hold any retreat, offering fully-equipped meeting space, beautiful landscape, and diverse recreation activities for each age group including ice skating and an indoor pool. As well as offering cozy sleeping accommodations and exquisite buffet style dining options. In addition to hosting, Camp-of-the-Woods also runs two of their own events each year during the conference season. Held over New Year’s and Presidents’ Day weekend these events are specially programmed for families, individuals, and groups alike.
Another arm of Camp-of-the-Woods’ ministry is the Christian girls camp location on an island near the main grounds. Camp Tapawingo is for girl’s ages 9-17, girls and their leaders use their camp time to draw closer to the Lord, to learn his Word, and to understand who they are in His eyes. It is an excellent opportunity to escape society’s ideals and explore Christ. 
Tapawingo’s mission is, “To clearly and lovingly glorify Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior through personal example, meaningful activity, Biblical direction and Christ-centered relationships in a safe and friendly environment that promotes healthy growth and development in all areas of a young woman’s life.” Tapawingo is accredited by the American Camp Association and the Christian Camp and Conference.
LIFT (Leaders in Further Training)
LIFT which stands for Leaders in Further Training is a semester-long program designed to train a new generation of Christians. “I saw a huge void of Christian leadership in the corporate world” explained Director Jim Hammond. LIFT seeks to cultivate culturally aware, culturally effective 19-26 year olds through equipping them with a biblically grounded faith. This program is offered at no cost to students. During the semester students will learn from staff and guest speakers, and have numerous opportunities for outreach and service, as well as challenging outdoor adventures. Students also take a two week long cross-cultural mission trip, previous destinations include Nigeria, Brazil, and Ecuador). One of the very special aspects of LIFT is the relationships developed over the semester. The intimacy lends to honest and deep friendships among peers, and one-on-one discipleship and mentorship with teachers enabling students to truly dig into the material they learn and apply it in their daily lives.
Not only is this program an incredible personal journey, but it is also able to be applied to college credit with NYACK College, Cairn University, and Roberts Wesleyan College. 
Missions Program
The final arm of ministry is to support global evangelism. In addition to Camp-of-the-Woods’ local ministries, Gospel Volunteers, Inc. also stretches out to reach the world with the Gospel by supporting 14 active missionaries, 4 retired missionaries, as well as funding projects that will bring the good news of Jesus Christ around the world. The camp has an active hand in supporting ministries in Thailand including evangelism literature, and constructing the Chiang Rai Training center housing two churches and reaching more than 10,000 students.

Each of these five ministry arms work together to support the camp’s mission.
If you are looking for a purposeful vacation location that is dedicated to presenting the Biblical truths of Jesus Christ, developing Christian leaders, and strengthening the faith of families and individuals alike, Camp of the Woods is what you are looking for. Their heart for Christ and to honor and serve Him in all things is clearly seen in their ministries.

To learn more about the facility and programs offered at Camp-of-the-Woods visit www.Camp-of-the-woods.org. 

Camp Cherith WNY Swings Into Action, And Much More!
By Carolyn Pollock

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 ccwnytree@gmail.com 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 dgressinger@frontiernet.net.  

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.

The Food!

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.

The Outdoors!

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

Dr. Gregory Alan Thornbury, President Of King’s College In NYCLocated 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

Dr. Doug Cullum, Vice President and Dean of Northeastern SeminaryImagine 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.Northeastern Seminary  

"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 woodardkym@nes.edu.

A New York Pastor Pens Sobering Book On The Seven Churches In The Revelation
By Rick Kern

Dr. Orville Beckford 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 inDr. Beckford’s book, “The Seven Churches of Asia Minor”  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

Michael Hennessy, Open Door Mission Executive DirectorThis 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 Open Door Missionabsenteeism. 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

Doreen Teed, director of Care Net Pregnancy Care CenterWhen 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. Pregnancy Care Center of FL Nurse Sue Connor

"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

Reverend Michael Velardo, NYSB’s Director of Education and DeanCalvary 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;" andNew York School Of The Bible  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

Dr. Shirley Mullen, President of Houghton College 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." Houghton College

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

NCF Academy 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 ofNCF Academy  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

Steve Grant, the school’s Director. 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 Joseph Business SchoolFellowship, 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

Michael Cavanaugh,President of Elim Bible Institute and College 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?

● Have they been released from bondages that hold back spiritual life? Elim Bible Institute And College

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

Dr. Brian Albrecht, President of Global Outreach MissionThe 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 theGlobal Outreach Mission 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

Pastor Tony GoddardThe 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!"Christian Community Church of East Williamson

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

Dr. Michael G. Scales, President Of Nyack CollegeFinding 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 Nyack Collegeinterdenominational 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

David Riddell, director for Asbury Camp and Retreat CenterRemember 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.Asbury Camp and Retreat Center

"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

Duffield CampIf 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 sinceDuffield Camp 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

Bob Emmett, Camp DirectorNestled in the Township of Hopkinton, in the foothills of New York’s Adirondack Mountains, Mandaville Camp and Retreat Center sprawls on a land of over 200 acres.

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.

Emmett finds these events are a great "way to get summer campers back and follow through with them, and see how they are doing in their spiritual growth and daily life." Mandaville Camp and Retreat Center

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

Ron Uhlman, Odosagih’s Interim DirectorWhen 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). Odosagih Bible Conference

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

Principal Todd Steltz of Lima Christian SchoolTake 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. Lima Christian School

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

Pastor Tim Luddy of Brighton Presbyterian Church 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 Presbyterian Church 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.

The Charles Finney Christian School: "Do Something Greater"
By Susan LeDoux

Principal Michael VanLeeuwenBy 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 Charles Finney School:

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

President Dino Pedrone of Davis CollegeAs 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.
Davis College

"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

Hundreds Attend Joseph’s House Fundraising Event in Syracuse, NYThere 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.
Hundreds Attend Joseph’s House Fundraising Event in Syracuse, NY

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

Joseph’s House V.P of Operations, Maria Miller, can be reached by email at
maria@jhfw.org, or by phone at 315-720-2248.

Northeastern Seminary Offers Classes in Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and the Capital Region
By Susan LeDoux

Caleb Matthews Director of Admissions at Northeastern SeminaryHas 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. Northeastern Seminary Offers Classes in Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and the Capital Region

"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.

tudents 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

Delta LakeCelebrating 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

Camp Cherith WNYThe 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.”
Camp Cherith WNY
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.”

With its Campers in Leadership Training (CILT) Program, CCWNY also gives young people who have been campers in the past an opportunity to commit to a two-year practical training course so they can become counselors when they are high school seniors or graduate. “The CILT program gives our young people practical information on leadership and working with children that they can use for the rest of their lives,” White said. 

For more information on supporting the Camp Cherith of Western New York (CCWNY) ministry or to register a camper, go to www.campcherithwny.org or call 585-468-3850.

CAMP-of-the-WOODS: A Christian Family Resort and Conference Center
By Susan LeDoux

Camp of the WoodsCAMP-of-the-WOODS, a 90-plus acre Christian family resort, conference and retreat center, began life as “Camp Iroquois” on the shores of Lake George in 1900. Now 114 years later, CAMP-of-the-WOODS sprawls along the shore of Lake Pleasant in Speculator, New York. (Speculator is located, depending on your frame of reference, one and a half hours north of Albany, one hour east of Utica, or one hour north of Amsterdam.) The camp’s founder, George “Pop” Tibbitts, would be proud that it has grown into a large resort and conference center that can host hundreds without losing sight of its original mission to help people focus on Jesus Christ.  

Steve Tamm, Vice President of CAMP-of-the-WOODS, spoke with The Good News about the camp’s past, present, and future. After George “Pop” Tibbitts died in 1948, Gordon L. and Don Purdy served as directors until Norm Sonju took over leadership of the camp. In 2005, Jim Hammond became the CEO and continues in that role today. 

You could describe Tamm’s journey to CAMP-of-the-WOODS as a series of divine appointments, starting with 24 years of experience in the airline industry. When reorganizations led to family relocations, Tamm decided to exit the business. He obtained a graduate degree with teaching in mind but that was not to be. Instead, he met Jim Hammond at church and, after volunteering at CAMP-of-the-WOODS, Tamm accepted Hammond’s offer of a full time position. 
Camp of the Woods
“This wasn’t on my plan but it was God’s plan,” Tamm said. His passion for CAMP-of-the-WOODS reflected the precision of God’s appointments as he enthused about what this multi-generational facility has to offer.

The summer season features nationally-known speakers such as Rev. Alistair Begg (already sold out), Dr. Rex Keener, Dr. Knute Larson, and others. Families have been coming for years to the speakers’ sessions that are held Monday through Friday; one couple celebrated their 63rd year there. “It’s a blessing, privilege and a huge responsibility to run this conference center,” Tamm said.

Fortunately, the large staff helps visitors with everything from accommodations to choosing from the many available activities. Canoe trips, white water rafting, hikes, and water skiing are only a few of the outdoor attractions. For those who prefer indoor activities, the huge Sonju Sports Complex holds two gymnasiums and several courts for basketball, volleyball, or soccer. A state-of-the-art climbing and bouldering wall, plus a family-style game room add to the attractions found in the Complex. An entire building devoted to Arts & Crafts is connected to the Buirkle Conference Center. There is even a camp museum and library.

The music program features highly-trained musicians from around the world who help lead daily and Sunday worship services. Their Friday and Saturday concerts feature a wide variety of styles from classical and opera to Broadway hits and big band. 

Top Christian speakers share their messages during the Sunday morning services while kids from kindergarten through grade 12 receive age-appropriate Christian education. Teen ministry and activities bring new friendships and fun. 

CAMP-of-the-WOODS maintains ongoing programs in addition to the summer schedule. On an island off their beachfront lies Camp Tapawingo, a Christian camp for girls ages nine to 17. According to CAMP-of-the-WOODS’ website, (
www.camp-of-the-woods.org), “It is a place where girls are free to be girls without the pressures and expectations of society.” Young girls can grow in a deeper understanding of God’s Word and realize even more how He loves them. 

The camp’s “Leadership in Further Training” discipleship course (LIFT) is a free, semester-long, college level program that aims to teach young adults culturally relevant, biblically grounded ways to approach and represent their faith. The LIFT program has been going on for 15 years with activities that include a cross-cultural mission experience, biblical teaching, and outdoor leadership training with lots of physical activity.  Participants engage in outreach service to the community and benefit from servant/leadership training.  

“Whereever they may go in life they have become biblical leaders that can display Christianity,” Tamm said.   

CAMP-of-the-WOODS’ annual conference season runs


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