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.
- BRADBERRY: Neither long ago, nor far away ... If you did not catch documentary filmmaker Ken Burns' latest masterpiece, "The Address" on PBS last night, it will be well worth your time to look for the re-run, or to find it online as soon as possible.
- Editorial: Let's go Buffalo! It could be a whole lot of sweet nothings being whispered in our collective ears, but talk about a Buffalo Bills stadium in Niagara Falls, has us chanting "Let's Go Buffalo." Already there are doubters all over town, who just don't want to get their hopes up. We're hearing people say they're reminded of the time those developers of the Mall of America flirted with the Falls when they were shopping for a location for their super mall. They eventually chose another city, Minneapolis, Minnesota.
- CONFER: Don't go soft on teenage criminals New York is one of two states â€" North Carolina being the other â€" that automatically prosecute 16- and 17-year-olds as adults in misdemeanor and felony cases. Other states do so only on a conditional basis at the whim of the presiding judge.
- HIGGS: Gothic architecture -- a fitting structure for church services Before we get involved in the new church building, we need to know what happened to the former structure on First Street which was utilized for St. Peter's Church services for 30 years until 1880 when the present stone church was ready for use.
- GUEST VIEW: NTCC's 'regional approach' aids all local tourism
- GLYNN: Local interest mounts in India's big election A number of people whose families have emigrated from India to the U.S. -- a solid sector of the hotel and restaurant business in the Niagara area -- are expected to hear a message today directly from the homeland.
- SINGER: Locating the next Shaq or Bird? With hallowed college hoops programs thriving around here, plus March NCAA games held in Buffalo (featuring champ-to-be UConn, upstart Dayton and a winnowed 'Cuse), will some new Shaq or Bird be located?
COPS NOTEBOOK: Road rage and turkey shooting
It would be fair to say Ryan Jackson, of Youngstown, has had a difficult couple of weeks.
- LETTERS FROM THE ISLAND: Chronicling crime on the 'Island' Why is Rick Pfeiffer never around when you need him? The guy whose cubicle we shared during the Koop-Jasen-Rice era at Channel 4 now carefully chronicles criminals for the Gazette, notably those a few flakes short of Raisin Bran, but his crime wave is a mere ripple compared to ours.
- HAMILTON: The mirrors of my grandfather's fingernails What we do or don't do will have a greater impact upon our grandchildren's futures than what you might think.
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