I’m always amazed each time I visit a church that I had not previously heard of. How can that be? Here is a congregation of brothers and sisters right here in Schenectady, located on the busy corner of Carman Road and E. Lydius Streets. As we took some outdoor pictures, the influx of traffic signaled some wonderful evangelistic opportunities. Carman Road Community Church is a Christian and Missionary Alliance Church. The C&MA is known for their strong focus on missionary work, with over 700 U.S. Alliance workers serving in over 70 nations. The U.S. Alliance is part of a global movement more than 6 million strong who share a passion to evangelize our neighborhoods and the world.
The late Pastor Jerry Myers served as Senior Pastor at Carman Road Alliance Church from 2006-2012. In 2012, his grandson, Daniel Forney, moved from Middleburgh, NY to become the new pastor. Dan has served here as Senior Pastor here since that time, along with his wife Amber Forney who serves as the Children’s Ministry Director. When we arrived, the worship music was just beginning. I spotted Pastor Dan who was playing a Cajon (box drum) while tapping a tambourine with his foot. Worship Director, Sarah Powell, lead the team consisting of 2 guitars, a keyboard and several singers. It was a full sound, yet it wasn’t so loud that it overpowered the voices in the congregation. Following the worship, Sarah lead us in prayer, including a special prayer for the persecuted church.
Pastor Dan’s message was entitled, “My Heart Exults the Lord”. In 1 Samuel, Hannah’s heart exulted the Lord. Our goal as Christ followers should be that our hearts would be exulted to God. Throughout the sermon, Pastor Dan shared many powerful quotes including this one by John Piper: “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.” Hannah exults the Lord because He is holy, He is sovereign and He is our shelter. May we examine our own hearts. Where do we find our worth and our treasure? May we exult in the Lord because of His goodness. May our hearts be completely satisfied in Him. The closing song was based on Psalm 34, so I opened the Bible to the Psalm and was able to sing most of the song through the scripture. Psalm 34:3 (KJV) “O magnify the Lord with me and let us exalt his name together.” This perfect song of reflection helped us take in all that we had just heard.
After the service was over, I realized that an offering had not been taken. In the back of the sanctuary I spotted an offering box. Pastor Dan shared that they encourage generous giving, but do not “pass the plate”. Most of the people stayed for fellowship and we had the opportunity to meet many new friends. This past Spring, I had met a Carman Road church member, Noreen Powell, at a ladies’ retreat. A gifted artist, it was a blessing to see her using her gift at Carman Road. Several of her paintings were displayed, and just last week she painted during Sunday morning worship for the first time. As I spoke with Pastor Dan, he was enthusiastic about what God was doing at Carman Road. He shared with me his heart for not only his church, but for the Church as a whole. I was impressed to hear of his connections with other pastors in the area, and his strong desire to connect with even more.
Stop by this busy intersection sometime and see just how active this church is! Worship service is on Sundays at 10 am and is always followed by a time of fellowship, food and coffee. On Thursday mornings from 10 am until 12 pm they offer “FUN4TOTS”. Infants through preschoolers are invited to come and learn through music, movement, art, games and stories surrounding a weekly theme. American Heritage Girls (held the 1st and 3rd Mondays, 6:30-8 pm) is a program for girls ages 5-18 that focuses on leadership and character development through community service and special events. They also hold “Doxa” services on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays @ 7 pm. This is a unique time with churches from all around the Capital Region joining together in UNITY to worship Jesus in ONE accord.
As I left that day, I took another look at their outdoor church sign and noticed it displayed a quote by Corrie Ten Boom – “Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.” All day long cars stop at the red light on that busy intersection. While sitting there waiting for the light to change, they have a lot of time to read this sign. Carman Road Community Church is even named after the road on which it sits. This is no coincidence. This is their mission field, and I believe God is going to use this church in an even greater way to share the GOOD NEWS with their community. Come and exult the Lord with them!
Church Website – www.carmanroad.com
By Donna Hansen Munafo