by Jeremy Fuller, Director of Home Missions
In the early spring of 2016 I was planning to preach a Revival Meeting in Colorado Springs, Colorado. I received a phone call invitation to preach in a Camp Meeting in North Florida. Accepting the invitation to the Camp Meeting would mean that I would need to be released from my commitment to the Revival Meeting. After much prayer and consideration, I made the necessary phone calls – secured the release from the Colorado Revival and purchased a plane ticket instead to the North Florida Camp Meeting.
April 4-10, 2016
When I made the commitment to the Camp Meeting I planned to go alone. A week or so before the Meeting, the Camp President called and asked if my wife could accompany me and serve as the camp pianist. The previously scheduled camp pianist had a medical emergency and could not come. God worked out the details and so on April 4, 2016 we flew from Harrisburg, PA to St. Petersburg, Florida. Through that day I sensed the Holy Spirit pressing upon me the thought that somehow this Camp Meeting was going to be a turning point in my life and ministry. When we reached our Holiday Inn Motel Room that night I decided to tell my wife what I had been sensing from the Lord. After hearing what I had been thinking and feeling my wife said, “I have felt the same impression all day long!” When we arrived at the Camp the next day (the 5th.) I found out that I was to preach the keynote message. That night before I preached I told the congregation what I believed the Lord had showed me the day before. That this camp meeting was somehow going to be a turning point in my life and ministry. And then proceeded to preach a message from Ephesians 5 about “A Glorious Church” without spot or wrinkle.
Sitting on the right side of the tabernacle near the front was a young family of five that I had never met. Through that week we learned about their situation and heard our very own “Macedonian Call”. They needed us personally – our conference – God’s Missionary Church – to come over and help them.
April 12, 2016
That young man had driven 19 hours to be in the camp meeting. We flew home Monday. They drove back over a period of two days. I asked him to stop on his way through Pennsylvania to New York to visit and have a meal with us. We shared supper together and gave them a place to stay for the night. What God did through that time was further confirmation that He was leading us to visit this young man and his House Church in Taberg, NY.
April 29-30, 2016
I took my family to Taberg, NY to minister to the group that was meeting in Brother Matt Kilgore’s home. There was around 35 people in attendance. This first meeting convinced me that God was leading us to help this group of people to begin a Church of their own.
Bro. Jacob Martin visited the group and ministered effectively on a Friday and Saturday in May of 2016. This investment of time and energy was important to have the collaboration and commitment of the Home Missions Department and the General Board.
July 25-26, 2016
In July my wife and I along with Home Missions Board Member David Wise went to Taberg, NY to encourage and minister again to this group of Christian people. Once again there was about 35 people there for the gathering including 10 brand new people I had never met before.
December 30, 2016 - January 1, 2017
This was the most important meeting of all the meetings we had in the House Church. Not only because of what happened during the services and fellowship time, but because out of those conversations we found a building. Bro. Matt Kilgore asked me on Sunday afternoon what I felt the next step was in the process of starting the Church. I told him that we needed to trust God enough to close doors that He didn’t want us to walk through, but that it was time to get up and start to see which doors would open.
We knew of a Church for sale in Rome, NY. So, I encouraged Bro. Matt to make an appointment with the Pastor and see what would come of it.
January 4, 2017
Bro. Matt made and kept the appointment. During that visit he felt that the door was not opening for us. But when he left the coffee shop where the meeting took place he called a Relator to see if there was perhaps Churches for sale in the city of Rome that he was not aware of. There were none. But the relator knew that the Pastor of the Awaken Church for the previous two years was interested in selling their Church and buying the one that Bro. Matt had just been inquiring about that morning in the coffee shop. Only it was not officially on the market. She gave him the address and he drove to Awaken Church. In the providence of God Pastor Todd Carter was in his office at the Church that morning and when he discovered the purpose for Matt’s visit he was overwhelmed with a sense of God’s providence.
He said, “I’ve been wanting to sell this Church and Parsonage for the last two years.” He indicated that two weeks prior the Lord had asked him to place his desires on the altar even as Abraham had offered up Isaac on Mt. Moriah. He said, “we would sell this 4-bedroom parsonage and the Church for $150,000.”
January 6, 2017
Bro. Martin and I drove to Rome, New York to meet with Pastor Carter, his board of elders, Matt Kilgore, and James Cobb to inspect the Buildings and consider making a purchase offer.
April 14-15, 2017
Bro. Martin and I went back to Taberg, NY to hold a communion service with the fledgling congregation. On Saturday, we met with Pastor Carver to explore the possibilities of purchasing the properties we looked at in January. Only to find that the door was closing to us. Pastor Carver had changed his mind. They were staying.
This was a very confusing development. Bro. Matt said, “Now What!”
I felt like the time had come for an exploratory Revival Meeting. It’s one thing to have House Church. It’s quite another to go to a formal setting where there will be offerings, a pulpit, and a public altar to pray and seek God.
May 11, 2017
On May 11, Bro. Matt secured a Hampton Inn Room which would accommodate around 50 people at the cost of $325.
May 24, 2017
Bro. Matt and Sis. Hilary went out for supper this evening and on the way home decided to stop for ice cream. While Matt was filling his SUV with gasoline another vehicle pulled in the other side of the gas pumps. And out stepped Pastor Carver. They exchanged pleasantries. When he got back in his vehicle his wife said, “Are you going to pretend that didn’t just happen?” He told us later that ever since he had met with us in April and decided not to sell us the buildings that things had gone in reverse for them at their Church. He said, “the Sunday before that unplanned meeting with Matt Kilgore my best people were upset with me.” He was frustrated and felt like they had no future. Running into Matt and Hilary that evening at the gas station convinced him that God was telling him to sell the buildings to us. Pastor Carver met with his board of elders and over the next could of days through text messaging we agreed to meet and negotiate on Saturday, June 10th.
June 6-11, 2017
The Greg Hobelman family joined us for this endeavor. They provided music for the meeting and I preached. Over 60 different individuals attended the meeting with an average of 32 people per service. We received $1,622 in the Revival Meeting offerings as well as an additional $4,000 pledge towards the launch of the New Church on the last night of the exploratory Revival meeting.
June 10, 2017
Jeremy Fuller, Matt Kilgore, Greg Hobelman, and Eric Kanser met with Pastor Todd Carver and his board of elders. This meeting produced an agreement for God’s Missionary Church, Inc. to purchase the 8,100-square foot move-in ready Parsonage and Church, including 140 chairs for $135,000. Praise the Lord!
August 25, 2017
On this Friday morning NY Pilgrim Holiness Conference President John Peabody and Church Extension Coordinator Terry Newman met with Bro. Jacob Martin and I in Middleburg, PA. In that meeting we forged a partnership for the purpose of launching this new Church in Rome, New York. The Lord had been working since November 2016 to bring us our Senior Pastor. The Erik Samborski family has been pastoring in the New York Pilgrim Conference for around 3.5 years, but were feeling the call of God to launch a New City Church Ministry. The Pilgrim Holiness Church will support Bro. and Sis. Samborski through the 18 months to 24 months of his ministry there. They will provide 40% of his salary, the local Church will support at 40%, and GMC Home Missions will support at 20%. This arrangement will allow the local Church to focus on developing the ministries of the Church and paying down the mortgage. At the end of the 2 years the Samborski Family will be released to perhaps start a new Church somewhere for the Pilgrim Holiness Church. The experience Bro. Samborski will gain through this two-year internship ministry will be very valuable and we trust will produce a tremendous gain for the New York Pilgrim Holiness conference. We are very honored and grateful for this partnership. We have been raised up as Mr. Wesley said, “to spread Scriptural holiness across these lands” It’s exciting and humbling to be a part of what is perhaps a historical cooperation between two major holiness denominations. We are very grateful!
September 11, 2017
On this day, my eldest daughter Brena, and I drove to Taberg, NY to meet with the Kilgore’s and the Samborski’s. We began our meeting at 2:33 p.m. and closed at 5:18 p.m. In the meeting we detailed our strategy for launching the Church. After the meeting we shared a meal together and a number of the folks gathered in for a service. Bro. Samborski introduced his family to the congregation and shared his personal testimony of salvation and sanctification. The Lord’s presence was very near. Bro. Samborski spoke passionately with tears. It was a wonderful moment divinely sanctioned producing a unanimous conviction that truly this all had been the work of God among us.
Through September and October, I have met with the Pastoral Team through video conferencing to continue to pray together, to plan, and to prepare for the Sunday, November 12 launch of this new and exciting ministry.
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Dr. Timothy Cooley, Sr.
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