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.
- CONFER: A constitutional convention is not the answer For the past few years it has been popular for folks of the right persuasion (Republicans and neoconservatives) to call for a constitutional convention ("Con-Con") in hopes of passing a balanced budget amendment (BBA.) A lot of people have jumped on that bandwagon; no doubt your email inbox or Facebook news feeds have shown that.
CITY DESK: Hobel will be missed
Lost in all the hoopla surrounding last week’s announced retirement of state Sen. George Maziarz, R-Newfane, was the loss of another well-known figure in local government and politics.
- HIGGS: More pastors, a new church and more of everything Before I go further back in time, I want to just go back to last week where I took my own advice and spent a couple of hours at the Como, where I enjoyed one of their traditional "parade of bowls and plates of great salads, pasta and meat dishes" and listened to longtime friends of Tom Darro roast him with humor, accolades and best wishes. And best of all no one who came to the microphone mentioned garbage totes or carts. It was a welcome relief.
- EDITORIAL: Time is of the essence in Maziarz probe Voters in the 62nd district and elsewhere across the state deserve the ability to make an educated decision about any candidates who take money from Maziarz while he still has the ability to dole it out.
- GLYNN: Border Patrol chief examines deadly acts A former Buffalo police chief now has the formidable task of reviewing cases where border agents have used deadly force.
- SINGER: Nostalgia for nostalgia: Where will it end? Not only has there been a huge nostalgia boom in America, but we're now getting to the point where there's much nostalgia for nostalgia! Maybe signifying that nostalgia will wear itself out, or, as in the old adage, that it ain't what it used to be?
- EDITORIAL: Barracks site solved -- let's get something else moving The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation heard the community loud and clear this time.
- LETTERS FROM THE ISLAND: Driven to distraction by recent incidents For reasons best left unexplained, Doug drives home from Niagara Falls at twilight many nights, usually alone. It's about 10 miles, 15 minutes, from pressbox to driveway. He exits I-190 at the Beaver Island ramp, hugging its right edge in deference to any mainstream traffic, which would be coming downhill from the left at a 140-degree angle.
CHEERS & JEERS: The best - and worst - of the week for July 19
This paving season has been like no other thanks to a particularly rough winter.
- HAMILTON: Council, administrative hypocrisy, and that is the gospel truth If there isn't a walk-on resolution on the Niagara Falls City Council's upcoming last agenda before the August recess to change the zoning back to what it was prior to the South End Niagara Gospel Rescue Mission opening its hearts and doors, then the city council should just cease its hypocritical practice of even saying prayers before the meeting.
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