ABHMS assists with God’s handiwork in Niagara Falls, N.Y.
The beauty of God’s handiwork is evident in Niagara Falls, N.Y., both at the site where the falls plunge more than 160 feet into the gorge and, approximately 15 minutes away by foot, at Community Missions of Niagara Frontier Inc., a 90-year-old ministry that provides physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual support to individuals and families living on society’s margins. When 2014 funding shortfalls threatened to reduce the ministry’s services by 40 percent, American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) intervened with a $5,000 One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) Domestic Emergency Food and Shelter Grant awarded on behalf of American Baptist Churches USA.
“It was very concerning,” says Robyn Krueger, the mission’s executive director. “We believe in serving the whole person. That is what Christ did in his ministry. He always first met the immediate need for physical healing of those who came to him, but he also offered healing for the spirit. The grant helped us maintain this core aspect of our services.”
A validated ministry of American Baptist Churches of New York State, Community Missions of Niagara Frontier offers 19 ministries, including a homeless shelter, soup kitchen, food pantry, clothing and furniture closet, and parole re-entry and HIV/AIDs program. It also offers residential- and
community-based programs for adults and youth struggling with mental illness.
Across all programs, the mission offers faith services, including weekly worship and fellowship groups and one-on-one pastoral support. Spiritual development is integrated into mental health recovery plans.
“Our faith services also reach beyond the people we serve,” says the Rev. Mark Breese, who coordinates faith services as the mission’s full-time agency minister and director of ministry and community partnerships. “We serve churches by helping them reach their own ministry goals through engagement with the mission. We develop innovative ministry projects with local churches and host mission trips, school and community service groups, and local businesses who volunteer. We teach what it can look like to serve others as Christ served.”
For more information about OGHS Domestic Emergency Food and Shelter grants, contact Victoria Goff, ABHMS national coordinator of Volunteer and Disaster Response Ministries, at [email protected] or 1-800-222-3872, x2449.