Niagara Gazette — The people at the Chapel at Crosspoint don’t put a Nativity scene out on its front lawn like a lot of other places do. Instead, they place theirs inside — and not just inside of the church, but also inside the hearts and the homes of its members and friends. Like many other churches, the Chapel recognizes that long before there was the story of a Santa Claus, before there was a multitude of gifts flooding under our Christmas trees, and before there were rivers of foodstuffs cascading off our tables, there was the living, breathing scene of a man in a manger that stood over a poor mother, as she adored and cared for her sleeping child. That is what Christmas is about; because without that scene, there could not have even been a Merry Christmas? How do the Chapel and their friends place that living Nativity scene into the hearts and homes of people? They use real children who are looking for love, and they want to use all of them — at least that’s their goal. Sadly, in Erie and Niagara counties alone, there are about 1,000 children in various stages of the foster care systems. Some are awaiting the reunion with their natural families, while others are awaiting what is called a Forever Home. Homes like yours, where when those children are accepted, they are there to stay for the rest of their childhoods. The Chapel wants to give the ultimate Christmas gift by taking every child that is waiting to give love to and to receive love and caring from an adult, regardless of what time of the year that it actually happens. Isn’t that what Joseph did, that man in the manger scene? And here is both the irony and the opportunity: Google lists about 1,000 religious ministries in those same two counties. Is it a match made in Heaven? Maybe. But it will be, only if at least one additional family from each of those ministries would either provide a foster home or support for child and their family. It can also happen If each ministry commits to joining the Chapel and their friends in being real friends, by helping each step of the way with what John Camardo calls Wrap-Around Support. Camardo, the Director of Operations for the Chapel, says that there is more support for families who foster and adopt than just helping them through the process. “There is the Family Support Network, which are individuals coming along side families who are bringing children in their home,” he said. “They are providing services such as babysitting and transportation support, as well as wrapping around the family with more basic things, such as preparing meals, helping with homework and spending time with them.” Comardo goes on to say that, “In the acts of service, there are endless possibilities. In the end, it is about identifying the needs and helping in whatever way that they can.” And that is what we all need to do – whatever we can. Because, isn’t that what we are here for? Isn’t that what Christmas is really all about. If you have room for a Nativity scene in your heart, then please be upfront in encouraging your ministry to visit www.every-child.com/ to see how it can become a part of this great commission; and then visit it yourself to see how you can help. Wouldn’t it be great if these two counties could be the first to clear the foster care roles? What then could we not accomplish?Contact Ken Hamilton at email@example.com.
- HIGGS: Beautify Niagara plans and the next landmark church I have had a lot on my plate recently during a time when I usually spend more time cleaning plates.
- TOM'S CORNER: Severe vs normal service recommendations for the 'other' fluids in your car The Gazette has partnered with local automotive expert Tom Torbjornsen to publish his weekly national column. Tom's Corner will appear in Thursday's editions.
- GLYNN: Spirit's stock soars on NYSE Talk to anyone who's ever flown Spirit Airlines and you're bound to hear the same complaints that passengers on other low-budget carriers always convey. The seats aren't exactly comfortable.
- SINGER: Living in a world of nukes Few around here need to be reminded of the Manhattan Project's environmental impact, and one sometimes wishes that Enrico Fermi, Niels Bohr et al. hadn't done research that eventually helped create a new, Dr. Strangelove weapon and world.
- LETTERS FROM THE ISLAND: Time to take stock of recent Island news Time's a-wastin', as our comic-strip cousin Snuffy Smith used to yowl when a new batch of moonshine came in. Tonight, 2 a.m. becomes 3 a.m. and we "lose" an hour's sleep in exchange for later daylight.
- HAMILTON: The Niagara Edition SUV and 1st Friday Club Even though Niagara Falls already has a tremendously famous name, can we make it even more famous than Nik Wallenda's Niagara tightrope walk here, was spray starch and shredded cereal enough for us? Do you think having a Niagara version of a major vehicle manufacturer's automobile is too much to ask?
DELUCA: Niagara parents considering move for medical marijuana
To really see how you really feel about medical marijuana, you'd have to meet Tony Tallarico. He's 9-years-old and just a beautiful kid, with dark eyes and dark hair. I met him just the other day in his Portage Road home and, as his mom and I talked, he sat in his wheelchair in the middle of his family's small living room repeatedly turning his head left and right, his eyes casting about the room as is he was searching for something.
- GLYNN: Tesla's name rebounds with new electric car It's rarely if ever mentioned, but a new car rapidly gaining consumer attention is named for a pioneer in the hydroelectric power industry at Niagara Falls.
- BRADBERRY: And the award goes to ... Solomon Northup Fearing that Twelve Years a Slave would meet the same demise as the 1985 blockbuster, The Color Purple, I was set to be disappointed by the Academy Awards presentations last Sunday evening.
- CONFER: Veterans tax exemptions making school boards uneasy School boards eyeing the new, optional veterans tax exemption in New York State face perilous choices: Who do you please? Who do you offend? Veterans or the majority of taxpayers?
- More Columns Headlines