A Letter from the President –
As President of the Board of Directors of Seneca Gospel Mission, I want to express our deep gratitude to all of you who have prayed for and supported our mission in South Buffalo over the last year. God has supplied all of our needs through you, and we have continued ministry even during such difficult circumstances over the past year. Of course, some things have changed which at times is difficult for us but not for our God who is in control of everything, and His love and goodness never change.
We were able to continue ministry outdoors throughout the summer with our Building Urban Growers club and food distributions in the neighborhood into the fall. The Community Center where we previously held out wellness and Christian Education programming has not been open for use. But when that door closed God opened another door.
We began collaborating with the Seneca Street Church, sharing space at their facility, and assisting with their weekly meal ministry. We are also working alongside the Seneca Street Community Development Corp. helping with tutoring and Youth club at the church location. We have been able to expand our efforts in the Seneca Babcock neighborhood and are planning exciting new ministry opportunities in the coming weeks.
Please continue to pray for Michael and Aaron for strength, love, and patience and all they need as they serve. Thank you again for your essential role in this ministry as we seek to see people changed by Jesus. Ephesians 3:20 He is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine according to his power that is at work within us.
Brad Belleville – Board President
Announcing our Newest Partnership!
Ecclesiastes 4:9 – Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor.
I am extremely excited to announce that Seneca Gospel Mission has entered into a partnership with Seneca Street Church.
In late December 2020, we approached Dee Finch, lead pastor of Seneca Street Church, about the possibility of sharing resources in order to increase the reach and effectiveness of demonstrating Christ’s love in our community. Subsequent conversations led to the consideration of numerous ways to partner together, including the shared use of the Seneca Street Church building. In February 2021 a Memorandum of Understanding was initiated and executed.
This partnership is not a merger of two organizations into one, it is a reflection of two independent organizations agreeing to share certain resources and certain costs in an effort to strengthen their ability to serve and impact our community in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Each continues to function as an independent, self-governing congregation with separate services, programs, and budgets. While retaining our individual identities, we will be creating joint programs together such as Bible studies, Christian education programs, youth events, and more.
The primary reasons behind this collaboration:
- To continue Seneca Gospel’s 80+ year legacy of service to the community and furthering God’s kingdom
- To provide workspace for Seneca Gospel as our building is in a state of severe disrepair
- Partnering better utilizes Seneca Street Church’s facilities for ministry all week long
- To assist Seneca Street Church in their feeding ministry that provides bread, clothing, and over 1,000 hot meals a month to individuals and families in need
It was obvious from the beginning that Pastor Dee of Seneca Street Church and I both felt that our organizations were being called to something more. Throughout our conversations, we discovered that we have the same vision, same messages, same culture, same DNA, same heartbeat. By serving together throughout the week, we believe God will lead us in how our partnership will evolve.
When two can come together for Christ, it creates that synergy that makes our mission and vision more powerful. This is pioneering something beautiful and incredible, and it’s for God’s kingdom.
The following is a timeline of our Spring and Summer programming plans:
- April & May – Rework the Seneca Street community garden
- June – “BLAST” (Bible lessons and spiritual teachings) a kids Christian education program
- July VBS – SGM, Seneca Street Church, and Seneca Street CDC collaboration
- July & August BUG CLUB – Youth Building Urban Gardeners programs with assistance from Seneca Street CDC and STEPS Ministries
- August – “Impact!” a youth-focused Bible Study and life application program
In God’s Love,
Michael Reid – Executive Director
The Seeds of Partnership
When two individual ideas come together, the end result is almost always better. With that thought in mind, I want to provide you with even more background as to how Seneca Gospel and Seneca Street Church came to know one another.
A little over two years ago now, I started going to a Wednesday morning Bible study chat at Seneca Street UMC. The weekly discussions were a great time to share down-to-earth biblical wisdom and a home-cooked meal, and in the process get to know many of my neighbors in Seneca-Babcock. Little did I know that it would eventually lead to a partnership!
As I got to know Pastor Dee and everything at Seneca Street, I began to realize just how much of a common vision we shared. Since I began working and serving at SGM in 2016, I have had a passion for feeding the neighborhood, and the farm has been the avenue we have used to pursue this vision. Seneca Street Church had also been feeding the neighborhood, through their weekly community meals, in which over 200 home-cooked dinners are given out every Sunday. And so, in increments, our common missional purposes began to weave together.
Then, this last summer we began bringing vegetables from our Promise Valley Farm over to the church, to be given out on Sundays. Shortly after that, I started volunteering with their Sunday Meals. Eventually, I could see that God was leading the dance, drawing us closer to their orbit. It felt like a natural, inevitable fit.
The way we saw it, SGM is already doing great things for the Kingdom, Seneca Street Church is already doing great things for the Kingdom. Hold on for a second here – why not pool our resources and be even more impactful? And so, it came to be.
I could talk about numbers – feeding 220+ people weekly certainly does sound impressive, but the coolest thing about our Sunday meals is that the volunteers are all people from Seneca-Babcock itself. It’s not outsiders coming to the neighborhood, but actually, neighbors feeding neighbors. There’s real humility and an implicit understanding that no one is above anyone else. We are all here to serve each other. And that is, I believe, exactly the way Jesus wanted it to be.
We are extremely grateful for the opportunity to come alongside Seneca Street Church and be partners as we continue to spread the good news of Christ and his Kingdom in Seneca-Babcock. It’s a real honor to be able to serve together.
-Aaron, SGM Program Coordinator