Living Hope Church moved into their new facility just a couple of years ago. It sets upon a hill overlooking a large parcel of land with rolling hills and a beautiful lake in the distance. The three crosses stand tall in front of the church (along busy NYS Route 50) as a witness to all those who pass by. Arriving for their 10 am Sunday service, the front parking lot was full … a good indicator that the inside would also be full.
As soon as I entered the sanctuary, I saw Pastor Eric Walton up in the front row just as I had remembered him … worshiping God with great enthusiasm, with both of his hands raised way up high. I had attended Living Hope Church for a brief time back around 2010. At that time, they were meeting in a small space located just down the road from their present location. This new facility was just a vision and a dream at that time. They already owned this land, but they were praying and working towards building this new structure. It’s so good to see this has become a reality! God completed what He had promised them, and everything about it was simply breathtaking.
The worship team had grown considerably since the last time I was there, but I still saw a couple of familiar faces. God always supplies our needs, and I could see that He was supplying the needs of this congregation in a great and mighty way. As we worshiped, I remembered playing music on the very grounds I now stood upon. It was an outdoor event, prior to the church building being resurrected. Pastor Eric and the congregation had faith and waited on God’s perfect timing. Just look at what the Lord has done!
During the announcements, Pastor Eric welcomed us using his wonderful gift of humor. He is always making people smile, and the joy of the Lord pours out of him. After making some announcements, we spent some time greeting one another. It was nice to connect with some new faces and re-connect with others we had not seen in some time. The very purpose of our Church Journeys and the Upstate NY Ministry Network is to connect the Body of Christ. And just take a guess at what Pastor Eric’s message was on!
His message was entitled “Connectability: A Lost Art?”. We need to adhere to the summary of God’s commandments – “Love your God … and love your neighbor as yourself”. God’s love is expressed through us when we reach out to others. We have all been hurt by people before, but we need not let that stop us from loving them. Sometimes we may want to isolate ourselves from others, but that is exactly what Satan wants. God has given us great promises that we can stand upon to fulfill our purpose. He has gifted each one of us to do something significant. Pastor Eric then held up a large mirror and asked the congregation, “What do you see? A weak kitten or a strong lion?”. We need to claim God’s promises. We are more than conquerors! Don’t be mad at the world … instead be filled with God’s love and He will give you the victory!
Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes lined the platform. The congregation was showing God’s love by filling these boxes to give to children in need around the world. After the service, there was a time of fellowship and refreshments in the lobby. Laughter filled the room as we put into practice the very message that was just spoken. Then I turned and looked out the window at the impeccable view of God’s creation.
Eric Walton has pastored Churches in New York and Arizona for nearly 40 years. He began Living Hope Christian Church in 2006 and they moved into their current facility in 2015. This family of believers are united together in love and they have held onto God’s promises. It is wonderful to see God working through Pastor Eric and the people here. They are now worshiping on the land that God had given to them … and in the facility that God had promised them. “Arise, go … into the land that I am giving” (Joshua 1:2)
Services are held on Sunday mornings at 10 am. A nursery (birth-pre-K) and children’s church (K-6th grade) are both offered during this time. Pastor Eric and this congregation really practice what is preached! They have a strong focus on small groups, with over a dozen of them being offered at various locations throughout the week. Come and get CONNECTED!
Church Website – http://livinghopechurch.info
By Donna Hansen Munafo