I am so proud of our brothers and sisters in the Frontier Baptist Association and for the ways we were able to respond over the last month to the tragedy here in Buffalo. This is an article that was published by the Alabama Baptist Convention.

Churches respond, serve community after tragic Buffalo shooting

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On May 14, a shooting at Tops supermarket in Buffalo, New York — that investigators have called a racially motivated hate crime targeting African Americans — left 10 dead and three others injured. Since that tragic day, the massacre has brought believers together across racial, generational, socio-economic and denominational lines to mourn the victims and love their neighbors in Jesus' name.

Delivering help
As a result of some inner-city stores closing due to copycat threats, Michael Flannery — director of missions for Frontier Baptist Association — worked to deliver food in partnership with Mark Hamiblton, pastor and elder of Faithful Stones Church, an evangelical congregation near the crime scene.

"This event has struck all of us in the deepest senses of the word of grief as we see what took place," Flannery lamented. "We need prayer relating to going forward and meeting the needs," he said, "but also to have a period of peace and serenity that takes place through the grieving process here in Buffalo."

The Baptist Convention of New York, The National African American Fellowship of the Southern Baptist Convention and Frontier Baptist Association leaders joined SBC Executive Committee interim president Willie McLaurin and local pastors as they prayed via Zoom. Those who gathered prayed for wisdom and unity among believers and for peace, safety, healing, hope and comfort for victims' families and the Buffalo community.

Eric Napoli, church planter at Sheridan Parkside Community Church in Tonawanda and co-pastor of Amherst Baptist Church in Buffalo, partnered with Pastor Hamilton at The Community Peace Market to provide fresh food, an evangelical message and fellowship on a corner a short distance from the shooting site on Jefferson Avenue.

Sheridan Parkside and Faithful Stones members also partnered to host "We Love You Jefferson Avenue" unity festivals featuring a barbeque dinner, games, a declaration of the gospel message and individual prayer and fellowship.

"[Faithful Stones] is right there in the middle of this and people are stimulated right now to hear the good news," Napoli declared."The gospel is the center point," he said. "Our model is to build unity within the community, to give dignity, value and joy-filled life to people and in doing so, to show people that we are a united force."

Some attempted to promote hatred after the shooting, Napoli noted, but his close relationship with Hamilton illustrates unity within the Body of Christ."Every time I walk into that parking lot or that church it's a sweet time of relationships," Napoli said. "We need to be stimulating relationships for all these churches that are outside the city to connect inside the city."

New opportunities
William "Bill" Smith, lead pastor of North Buffalo Community Church, said outreach events have motivated some of his members to step outside their comfort zone for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began limiting in-person gatherings. "We're all just going to go in and give what God would allow us to give so we can connect," Smith said.

Ministry efforts are focused on engaging the Body of Christ, at whatever level individuals are comfortable, Napoli noted. "We all need to be sharing the gospel," said. "My heart has been so broken in this past week or so. I've had so many more opportunities to pray with people and to share with people and to love people in an on-the-spot kind of counseling type of situation than I have for a long time."

Prayer requests
Believers can pray for churches involved in ministry efforts, Michael Flannery suggested — that they not move on to the "next thing" too quickly, but instead have wisdom for meeting long-term needs. Rev. Smith added, "Pray that our eyes would be open, that we would position ourselves in a way where we're not hunkered down inside of our comfort zone, but that God would [motivate us] to get busy doing the things that we've been called to do."

Terry Robertson, Baptist Convention of New York executive director-treasurer, requested prayer for ministry families impacted by the shooting."God has empowered them to deal with this situation," Robertson acknowledged. "[But] there are elements of what is going on in the spiritual battle in Buffalo right now that they're not going to be over for years to come."


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Hello Randall Family and Friends!

We are thrilled to report to you that we have successfully hired a new Family Minister for Randall Church!  He comes highly recommended from several trusted leaders in our area, of whom have told us they would hire him again in a heartbeat. Our Randall Church elders, pastors, and search team have been thumbs up all along the way during our extensive interview process.

We are not yet giving his name, but we would love for you to pencil us into your calendars for 6pm Sunday evening, June 19th where you will all be able to come and meet him, his wife, and his 3 year old son. This will be part of a fun evening of fellowship together in the parking lot, where we get to celebrate our church’s 2022 graduates with a graduate parade, as well as the leader who will shepherd the next generation here at Randall for many years to come.   

Thank you so much for your prayer support for us during this tiring season. God remains faithful to His promise to supply our needs according to His will. After 15 months, after 3 rounds of candidates, after piles of paperwork, and after hours and hours of interviews… God has provided His candidate for our congregation here in Williamsville, NY.

Praise be to God for His indescribable gift!

- Pastor Milo 

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Brothers and Sisters,

What is suffering? Suffering is the bearing of pain, inconvenience, or loss; also, the pain endured; distress, loss, or injury that is incurred. And we know that sin, and the resulting separation from God, is the source of all suffering. But now, in the gospel, Jesus has fully entered into and redeemed all our suffering by His death and resurrection. 

Now this is an amazing thing, that the Lord redeems suffering in this way, by absorbing our suffering into Himself so that we might know God. More amazing still, it will be through our suffering, as we live a life and die a death like his, that others will come to know God. What a privilege! Truly, the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church. But there is a balance to keep in perspective.

First, not all suffering is equal. Sometimes we suffer for doing evil, and that is not the same as suffering for the sake of the gospel. Sin is deceitful, and we do not want to allow for excuses when our behavior is sinful. For example, it is wrong to purposely offend people with the Truth, or to bludgeon people with Truth. The Truth must be balanced by love. If we have no love, and we suffer for it, is Christ honored by that? (See 1 Peter 4) But even if we must suffer for our own sinfulness, it will still turn out for our good. The Lord disciplines those he loves. (Hebrews 12:5-11). 

Second, if the Lord allows suffering in our lives, and we are not at fault in any way, we also know that he will strengthen and sustain us through the trial. Thus we can count it all joy when faced with trials of any kind, knowing that the Lord is producing good in us through them. (James 1:2-3) We briefly mentioned this as we commented on Eph. 3:7, that whatever the Lord calls His servants to do, He will also empower and equip them to do it, especially if we are called to suffer for His sake. He is with us always; He will never leave or forsake us.

Then, if we think and say we are willing to suffer for Christ, what's stopping us? Today is the day to die for Him, not in some unknown future.  Reject comfort in exchange for service. Turn off the TV and love your neighbors. Prayerfully consider how much money is enough, and how much turns our hearts to idolatry. Then give the rest away. Give until it hurts–here we have no eternal city, but we seek one that is to come. Spend less time at work and in your hobbies, and more with your wife and kids and grandkids. Seek God's face. Let's deny ourselves, take up our crosses, and follow Him. What He calls us to do, He will empower us to do–for His glory, and our good.

For His Glory,

Pastor Eric Farley (Fieldstone Church Plant)

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Today is a day our family doesn't forget. Today is the day that our son Josiah was born in 2009. He was born with only three chambers in his little heart, but with a big fight in his belly. After a series of surgeries, procedures, and sleepless nights, Josiah passed away 249 days later in January of 2010. Our family was blessed to have every moment we had with him.

Last weekend, here in Buffalo, our city was the recipient of a horrific mass shooting that took the lives of 10 members of our city of good neighbors.  It's all over the headline news right now, but I want to write it down, so that my memory doesn't fade on the context of the day when I look back years later.

We took our kids out of school for a couple hours apiece this morning, and served the people in our city hurting the most right now, very much in the same way that complete strangers served us during our grief, all those years ago. It was good to be the hands and feet of Christ today. It was good to work. It was good to pray. It was good to cry.

If you are interested in serving to support the community we love, there are many ways people are coming together. Here are a few we know about that have local presence on the ground.

North Buffalo Community Church
Fillmore Community Church
Faithful Stones Fellowship
Buffalo Community Fridge
Buffalo Resource Council 

Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Romans 5:12-13

- Pastor Milo

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 What a beautiful day it is! 

I was out very early this morning before the sun came out, and the moon was shining full and bright. I stood for a moment in my driveway, mesmerized by the beauty of the creation of God. I was taken back by the way that our human eyes capture what even the best camera lense misses at the periphery. God’s creation is tremendous to behold, and it fills me with awe and wonder.

This afternoon, I look out and see God’s wonderful creation once again. Blue skies fill the window in my office, and the sidewalks out along the street have been crowded all afternoon with people basking in the rays of sunshine. Spring has sprung, and even if we get another cold snap or two before the month comes to an end, we know it it is only temporary. The facts of life are demonstrating themselves all around us. God keep the balance of things in motion. The seasons are changing. New life is budding all around the world. Can you see it? Can you hear the sounds? Of course you can!

Today, when you walk around your neighborhood, when you see the people on your street you haven’t been around since the kids went trick-or-treating, this: let your light shine. Just like the sun shines on us this afternoon. Just like the full moon shines over the earth on a crisp clear morning. You are to be a city on a hill for the sake of Christ. 

“Whatever you do or so, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus.”
Colossians 3:17. 

Represent Christ!
- Pastor Milo

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