We invited American Baptists from across the country to share their Ministry Stories with the American Baptist Family and with the world! This is a part of the Transformed by the Spirit initiative. Want to share your story? Written and Video submissions are invited at: firstname.lastname@example.org. View the full list of Ministry Story Opportunity Submissions.
Loving Lewis County, NY
Transformed by the Spirit – Ministry Story Opportunity
A collaborative effort of Lowville Baptist Church (in concert with): Bethel Nazarene Church, Abundant Life Church, New Day Church, Lowville Presbyterian Church, and New Life Church
Lewis County is located in what is called The North Country of the State of New York and the village of Lowville is the heart of the county with the court house, social services, a hospital, and the school for pre-k through 12th grade with an enrollment of 1,440 students.
Lowville Baptist Church was founded in 1824 and occupies space in the center of the village. Thirty-two men have served from the pulpit in the one hundred ninety-one years of her existence. The village’s population was 3,470 at the 2010 census with 21.5% of those being over 65 and on some kind of assistance.
Lowville Baptist Church has an ongoing ministry of honoring the local EMS personnel, which includes the local volunteer fire department, the ambulance service, the hospital ER employees, the village and town police departments and the sheriff’s department of Lewis County. During EMS Week in May we have a special Sunday of honoring those who serve by giving each person a pocket-size Bible and providing a meal during EMS Week and at Thanksgiving and Christmas.
The church will use the services of a summer intern who has been hired and will be working with the middle and senior high school age groups. This will include Vacation Bible School involving the churches listed above; the County Fair which brings thousands of visitors to the village and they will have a double booth at the fair offering free water, activities for children, a free book table, and a place for mothers to feed their baby and change a diaper.
Six members of the church were involved in starting a winter mixed seniors bowling league and as a result of that fellowship the witness of the church has expanded and extended into the community and many businesses in the village recognize the church and her members for their caring and participation in helping to keep the local bowling alley open during the severe winter months.
The church hosted the Boy Scout court of honor for one of their own young men making the rank of Eagle Scout. Many county and village personnel from the political structure were in attendance honoring the scout along with the church for her support of scouting.
Lowville is the Cream Cheese center of the world as Kraft has their largest factory of Philadelphia Cream Cheese here and the village is the host for the Cream Cheese Festival in October and Lowville Baptist Church opened her doors for people to have a place to get in out of the weather, use the restrooms, get a free bottle of water, and provided a place for mothers’ to change a baby diaper and another spot for mother’s to breast feed.
New ministries already started since last fall include, but not limited to, include a Prayer Shawl Ministry for those in hospitals and hospice with special needs. Two of those special blessings have been experienced by two members of the church and another five to persons in the community.
Lowville Baptist rotates with 10 other churches to provide services for two nursing homes in the county. The vision is to offer a ministry to the folks who live in these facilities but it is the givers that are getting the blessing.
Baby quilts of various sizes are being shared with the pregnancy center just across the street from the church with what is called Care-Net. This is a ministry offered to unwed mothers who need to talk about their futures and the choices they have available to them. It is a safe place for them to go and not be judged but be heard. Care-Net just recently was able to expand into a larger building and the Lowville Baptist Church was the first to send teams in to help renovate the new place and get it ready for service to these young ladies in their time of need and uncertainty.
A new Helping Hands Ministry provides meals when people are ill, in the hospital and/or at the time of a death in the family. That ministry follows up with the immediate family members after one week and then one month just to make sure the health and well being of the family is being served.
And, the newest task is that of LOVING LEWIS COUNTY. Some 173 households have been identified by various social service agencies in the Village where additional assistance may be offered through the churches listed above. The local social services offices have been very cooperative with sharing numbers as to those the churches seek to serve.
The churches, working together as a team, are seeking some 200 volunteers for the month of August to join in this effort, of cleaning, painting, repairing, building ramps and other measures for home access of the handicapped, plus mowing, cleaning eves, trimming shrubs and cleaning out underbrush.
The target group is the handicapped, the elderly and those that just cannot for whatever reason keep their homes up and need some assistance in doing so.
It is the desire of the team to put pride, joy and a smile back on the faces of people by doing some of the needed small projects around their houses of which they have no way to be able to do it themselves nor the resources to hire others.
LOVING LEWIS COUNTY and the other ministries listed, gives our church meaning, purpose and a vision of what they can do and that ministry is more than being in the sanctuary on Sunday morning.
Looking forward to having our ABCUSA family join us as we seek to reach out in Christian Ministry to live out and practice the words of our Lord found in Matthew 25:34-40 as He tells us “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brothern, ye have done it unto me.”
Rev. James W. Pearson, Transitional Pastor