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2012 Chamber Gala: Ransomville Free Methodist Church serves community

by jmaloni
Sat, Apr 7th 2012 07:00 am

The Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce will honor nine businesses and individuals at the annual Chamber Awards Gala on Friday, June 8, at the Niagara Falls Country Club in Lewiston. The annual awards gala begins at 6 p.m. and includes an evening of live music, a silent auction, table wines donated by local wineries and businesses, and hors d'oeuvres, followed by a sit-down dinner and awards program.

Ransomville Business of the Year

Ransomville Free Methodist Church has been chosen as the 2012 Ransomville Business of the Year Award recipient by the Ransomville Business and Professional Association. The church is an important part of the community, serving a congregation of more than 140 and also serving as the host location of Ransomville Community Services Food Pantry. Although a "business" has traditionally received this award, the work that the church does for the community could not be overlooked.

Located at 3924 Ransomville Road, the Methodist Church has a long history of service to the community. The Ransomville Free Methodist Church has roots dating back to 1860 in the Town of Porter, but with no actual church for worship. The amazing history of the growth of the church, including how the present location was built, can be found on its updated and informative website, www.rfmconnect.org.

The church is led by a dedicated staff, including Pastor Bill Lowery Jr. (lead pastor), Pastor Greg Harp (associate pastor) and, of course, the one who keeps the details in check, Erin Clifton, administrative assistant. Core values and beliefs keep the staff and congregation focused on their ministry. Those values are expressed in simple words with a lot of meaning including: prayerful, loving, honest, faithful, non-judgmental and team. Joanne Whitney devotes many hours to the Ransomville Food Pantry, ensuring that the communities of Ransomville, Wilson, Youngstown and Lewiston are taken care of.

There is an activity or program happening at the church just about every night of the week. Sunday morning Worship Celebration service is held at 10 a.m. with Kids Jam, and Adult Fusion groups meeting prior to service at 9 a.m. Kids Jam is also held on Wednesdays at 6 p.m.

Fusion groups offer small groups of adults the opportunity to meet for a time of fellowship and study. For those who can't make it on Sunday, "iworship" is held on Saturday at 5:07 p.m. with a more casual atmosphere. The worship services and programs allow people to give God their praise, connect to him spiritually, and understand what it means to live a meaningful life dedicated to Jesus. Other programs offered include: Iron Sharpens Iron - the men's group; a women's group; ABC Pre-school for 3 and 4 year olds; and groups focused on teens, including TNT - Teens Navigating Together and a junior teen favorite, SNOT - Sunday Night of Teens.

A new program that has filled a need in the community is Celebrate Recovery, held on Friday evenings. Celebrate Recovery is a 12-step program based on the Beatitudes. Mission programs are also an important part of the church, from assisting in local projects that need to be done in the Ransomville community, to trips to Haiti and Mississippi. Pig-a-Palooza is a free community event the church sponsors every September. Last year, more than 600 people enjoyed a day of food, music and fellowship.

Having a growing church means staying on top of ways to connect with people and staying on top of projects. Ransomville Free Methodist Church has invested in upgrading technology with new monitors and an LCD projector in the sanctuary. New changes have also been made to the office area, roof and parking lot. The food pantry also moved to a larger area within the church due to a growing number of households served.

Connecting with people is something that comes naturally to the church. It maintains an active website featuring videos of past sermons, resource links, an event calendar, and many more interactive ways to connect. You can even find the church on Facebook. Anyone can sign up to receive weekly email newsletters - Connection 411 - which provides information on informative articles and upcoming events.

The Ransomville Community Services Food Pantry is located on in the basement of the church and operates under the Food Bank of WNY. The pantry has had incredible leadership, focused on serving and giving that has grown from the work of many volunteers, including Debbie Parker and Joanne Whitney. When the pantry started in December of 2010 approximately 21 households were provided food. Presently there are approximately 170 families that use the pantry with more than 240 registered.

Pastor Lowery is excited about new things to come at the church, and is always looking ahead to future growth. Having been ordained in 1979 and serving as pastor at the church for almost 10 years, he has seen many changes and great things happen in the ministry. A dynamic leader, he works hard with his staff and church leadership to create a welcoming atmosphere, open to anyone. Ransomville Free Methodist Church is a group of genuine people, who are learning through conversations, relationships, service and worship, to connect to God and to others. They invite you to come just as you are, and experience this friendly community.

Ransomville has much to be grateful for with a church that services the community wholeheartedly. For more information, call 791-3855, visit www.rfmconnect.org or stop in on Saturday evening or Sunday morning.

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