Pathways Christian Fellowship is moving from the South Wales Community Center to the East Aurora Christian Church at 464 Main St. Pathways, led by Pastor Dr. Frank Cerny, MDiv, PhD, will be renting space to hold their Sunday service at 10:15 a.m.
The Fellowship is celebrating 10 years of worship and service to the community this summer. The more than a century old South Wales facility, built as a community center and worship space, has been rented by the church for those 10 years. As part of its mission work, the church improved the community center by painting and updating the old building. The church also facilitated acquiring a grant to make the center accessible on the second floor with a lift.
Pathways was approached by the East Aurora Christian Church late last year regarding possible rental of space in their facility. Many meetings and prayerful planning has brought about an agreement that will allow the EACC to hold their Sunday services at 9 a.m., and Pathways service at 10:15 a.m.
Bill Carrick, from the East Aurora Christian Church, said, “This fits in with our Christian philosophy of being a mission church. When we saw what Pathways was doing in all their mission programs, it was a good fit to have them rent space from us right in the village.”
Pastor Cerny commented that, “There has been some concern that Pathways would be abandoning the South Wales community, which isn’t true since we will continue to run our free community dinners at the South Wales Community Hall on the last Wednesday of the every month and provide support to the Rural Outreach Center (ROC) that serves those communities. We see this is a temporary move for our congregation, until the Rural Outreach Center builds a permanent facility from which we will rent space. Until then, this will be a great worship space.”
Jim Oubre, head of the transition team, said “Everything should be moved in on time at the new location and we look forward to sharing this wonderful building, worshiping and serving Christ as He has called us.” Pathways Christian Fellowship will begin worshiping at the East Aurora Christian Church, located on the corner of Main Street and North Grove, on June 19.
As a mission church, Pathways began reaching out to the rural communities surrounding East Aurora in 2007. By providing a once a month free community dinner, the church began to connect to the community and learn of its needs. One of the first projects was to establish a furniture and appliance distribution center in the basement of the community center; this eventually became the New Paths Household Good Redistribution Center. Soon after, the church initiated a weekend program to provide nutritious food to students who rely on school food subsidies during the week; this became the snack pack program that now serves over 50 students and their families in the East Aurora and Holland School Districts. Other early activities included coat distributions, turkey dinners for families at Thanksgiving and practical gifts at Christmas. In addition, Pathways collects between 150 and 200 gift-packed shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child for worldwide distribution.
On a broader scale, the church has sent teams of 15 to 40 persons for disaster relief in the Gulf Coast area and, more recently, to Georgia to assist in rebuilding and maintaining a resident facility for orphans. A summer workweek has provided home maintenance assistance to residents of Friendship in Allegheny County.
Pathways has also provided support to several communities in Africa. Financial assistance to communities in Uganda, and more recently Liberia, has allowed five communities to dig water wells. The community in Liberia is now able to expand its school and orphanage services.
As the local programs began to expand and service broader needs in rural communities, the Rural Outreach Center began to take shape. The ROC, now a separate faith-based organization, offers multiple services, including social work, counseling, health care and more to the rural communities of southern Western New York. The ROC recently opened a temporary facility at 730 Olean Road in East Aurora.