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River Church moves

by Courtney Deeren - Lifestyles Editor
Tue, Sep 24th 2019 09:00 pm
River Church recently moved its location from Rt. 260 to Kenyon Street. The church will be having a welcome service on Sunday, Oct. 13, which will be open to all.
River Church recently moved its location from Rt. 260 to Kenyon Street. The church will be having a welcome service on Sunday, Oct. 13, which will be open to all.

After the Newman Oratory combined forces with the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church on Kenyon Street, the building sat empty for a little while. Over the summer River Church changed that. 

Starting in November 2014 with a few people in a community room, Pastors Jeremiah and Julia Thomas never anticipated their congregation would grow to what it is now. The husband-wife duo has led their community as it grew from building to building. They settled for a while in a space on Rt. 260 in Clarkson, N.Y., but were looking for somewhere more permanent. 

“We were renting,” Jeremiah said. “We knew it was temporary as it was growing. Ever since we’ve been in the Brockport area our arc was to be right in town where we could impact the most people. Also to be able to impact the college campus.”

“We’ve always wanted to be where it was available for the college kids,” Julia said.  

Most of the members of the church agreed this was somewhat of a dream location. 

“There’s a lot of young families in the area too,” Jeremiah said about the new location. 

Jeremiah said one of the focuses of the church is on helping people become successful in whatever they are doing. 

Julia echoed that sentiment, saying “we want people to figure out what their purpose is in life and speak to them specifically about what it is they’re to do. Then they have tools and the ability to be able to succeed in their life.”

Both Jeremiah and Julia talked about the diversity of the people in attendance. 

“We have old people and young people,” Jeremiah said. “We’ve had [people] from every ethnic group. That’s what we’re all about here.”

Several people involved with the church had only good things to say about their experiences there. Arnav Matta, a student from the University of Buffalo drives every Sunday morning and Wednesday night from Hamburg, N.Y., to attend the services. 

“Almost everybody in this room has some crazy story of how supernatural God has done something or the other in their life,” Matta said. 

Sarah Follman agreed, saying she had grown up Catholic and had never felt at home in church before. She and her husband were friends with the Thomas family and decided to come to the church to support them. 

“We just knew more than anything the sure thing in our lives was that the will of God put it in our hearts for our lives to be a part of this church,” Follman said.

Follman also talked about wanting to be more involved with the community as a driving factor for their move to the church. There was also the desire to have more space for children. 

Liz Sadler who works in the kids’ church said they wanted a kid area to be part of the church. 

“We just want a location that that’s the kids’ area and people aren’t moving in and out of it,” Sadler said. “We just want to know where our kids are and that they’re safe at all times.”

There had been other options for the church to move to, but after having a few other places not be quite right, the Thomas’ found this building. It was the right location for the church and had a good amount of space for growth. They were happy to have found exactly what they were looking for after so much time. 

River Church is having a welcome service on Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, and hopes to draw in some of the college community. The Thomas’ originally wanted to do the welcome service during the first week of classes for students, but with just having moved it was too difficult to arrange everything. 


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