A 2-hour drive from Albany, NY, the Village Church was well worth the trip. Driving through God’s artistic creation was refreshing. The magnificent mountainous views made the perfect prelude to our visit. We arrived early and took a quick tour. You could sense the unity among the people here instantly. They were preparing for a Thanksgiving feast after the service and the aroma filled the air, adding to the family like atmosphere. We certainly chose the right Sunday to visit!
The Village Church began about 25 years ago under the leadership of Pastor Roger Brooks. Pastor Roger, who currently still attends, laid a solid foundation. About 15 years later, Mark Sanchez took on the role of Senior Pastor and served for the next decade; another building block. Currently, the church is lead by Senior Elder David Lane, along with a core group of church members. They are extremely passionate about avoiding a “religious” hierarchy. They know that rules and legalism do not change people, but rather the power of the Holy Spirit.
Entering the sanctuary of the churches we visit is always one of my favorite parts of the Journey. I’m always looking for the uniquenesses, and one really stood out at the Village. This was the very first time I have EVER seen the congregation’s chairs set up in a circular pattern, with an area for the speaker in the center. It was a different experience to be able to see the faces of those around us as we worshiped together. Towards the back wall we noticed the wood stove being filled up with wood and we could feel the warmth it gave on this chilly Sunday morning. Soon the fire of the Holy Spirit would be filling the room as well, warming our hearts.
The worship team consisted of a drummer, guitarist, bassist and several singers. As they played “Mighty to Save”, I was reminded of our trip through the mountains to come here. The chorus begins with, “Savior, He can move the mountains. My God is mighty to save; mighty to save”. What a perfect, divinely picked song for our visit. As we sang it, one of the singers asked that each one sing this song over the region that each person was from, unaware that we had just traveled all the way from Albany. There were many children present during the worship time and it was apparent that they were enjoying themselves. One little gal was dancing to the songs, while another one was busy waving and smiling at us. These children were free to enjoy the worship, and it was a joy to see how everyone embraced these little ones. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14
Following the worship, elder David Lane shared a few words and welcomed everyone. He then introduced the speaker for the day, Kelly Swan. This young woman preached a powerful message well beyond her years. She spoke about going through trials, sharing the story of the Pool of Bethesda (meaning “House of Mercy”). Just like the man who waited 38 years for his healing, sometimes we also must wait on God. “Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk!” (John 5:8-9) God wants us to live life more abundantly. We have the power to rise above our circumstances. We need to pick up our mats. We can have victory over those things that lie dormant inside of us. We have the ability to RISE UP AND WALK! We closed in song and prayer as the people tearfully worshiped. This message made quite an impact on all who were present. God truly moved some mountains!
Family is the essence of the Kingdom … and so it is at The Village Church. Sunday services are held at 10 am with a nursery, “Super Kids” (ages 5-12) and “Youth Group” (ages 11-18) held during this time. They also offer “Hope Sessions” (lead by Lee Johndrow) where a trained team will pray and encourage those in need with words of affirmation, healing and comfort. And they have a strong focus on home groups, giving people an even deeper time of fellowship to help build strong relationships.
A strong community of faith, the Village Church is a place to call home. It is a safe place to come and belong; where people can discover their God given identity. For those who live nearby … it’s time to come home. For those who live afar … I encourage you to make the scenic drive through God’s creation and enter this village.
Church Website – http://villagechurchswanzey.com
By Donna Hansen Munafo