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October 31, 2022 - 9:04pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Halloween, City Church, St. Anthony's, batavia, news.

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City Church hosted a Fall Festival at its St. Anthony's campus on Liberty Street on Monday, with activities, games, a hay ride, a bounce house, face painting, candy and grilled cheese.

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October 29, 2022 - 3:00pm


The City Church is hosting their Annual Fall Festival on Monday, October 31st from 6-8PM.  This will be located at the St. Anthony's Community Center at 114 Liberty St in Batavia.  Everyone is welcome to come on out.  There will be hayrides, games, bounce house, food and candy for the kids!  Visit our Facebook page or www.thecitychurch.com for more infomation.

October 18, 2022 - 11:00pm

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As members of the city’s Planning and Development Committee mulled a request Tuesday for a digital sign  — which would be the first one approved for downtown Batavia — all action came to a hush at one point.

Members Ed Flynn, David Beatty, Chairman Duane Preston and John Ognibene looked at each other for guidance.

“Does anyone want to make a motion?” Flynn said. “What is acceptable? What is definitely not acceptable?”

Ryan Macdonald, on behalf of City Church, and contractor John Flannery made the request for the church at 210-212 East Main St. They asked to install a 99-square-foot electronic message board sign on the upper west side of the former theater’s existing marquee sign, and a 41-square-foot electronic sign on the upper east portion of the marquee.

Electronic signs have not been allowed in the central commercial district of the Business Improvement District, per city code. Such signs in areas outside of BID cannot change more than once every 10 seconds and images and messages must be static, not producing the illusion of scrolling, moving objects, expanding or contracting shapes or any similar effect of animation, the Batavia Municipal Code states.

david_beatty.jpegSo if the committee approved the sign, those three variances would have to be assessed. Members discussed the 10-second rule, mostly being against such a quick turnover of messages.The whole idea would be a “big step” to take, Beatty said, and could also set a precedent for more of the same downtown.

He gave a visual of Jimmy Stewart’s character in “It’s a Wonderful Life,” staggering down the streets of Potterville as commercialization has taken over.

“I’m not saying that’s what you’re doing,” he said to the applicants. “It’s going to be different, and quite a large sign in itself.”

Beatty suggested using some creative thinking to accomplish the goal of advertising church events and its schedule another way with signage.

Macdonald explained that the digital sign would provide opportunity for people to know what’s happening in a more direct way while driving up and down Main Street. This is a project that’s been on the table for two years, he said, as church leaders have researched a full restoration of the marquee — at a cost of more than $300,000 — and less expensive options.

“This was kind of the halfway mark,” he said.

He also echoed Preston’s comment that going electronic is a “sign of the times.”  People live by their phones, Macdonald said, and put them on their car dashboards to watch movies.

“That’s the world we live in,” he said.

Dunkin’ Donuts, which is not in the downtown district, was mentioned as an example of a sign that Macdonald said is being made with “antiquated technology.” That’s not even an option for the church as such technology is not even being used anymore, he said.

Preston sympathized with having to use the even older method of climbing a ladder to snap letters into place on a marquee sign. But all members agreed that 10 seconds was not enough time between message changes.

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The proposed sign would provide an opportunity to disseminate church news “for someone that may not be on social media,” Flannery said. It’s about more than just service schedules, he said. Messages would also include a welcome greeting, a Christmas play promotion, and the like.

“There's more opportunity for people within the community to have the opportunity to participate in something, that may be other than a normal mass that's happening,” he said. “I think you would want as much ability with what they're going to provide. Because I think it's a once in a lifetime, once in our lives job. You want to do that right.”

preston.jpgFinally, Ognibene made a motion to approve the request with the stipulation that the message cannot change more than every 60 seconds instead of every 10 seconds.

Ognibene, Flynn and Preston voted yes, and Beatty was the lone no vote. He just didn’t see the need for the larger, electronic version of the existing marquee, Beatty said.

This vote will serve as a recommendation to the Zoning Board of Appeals, which will review the request during its meeting next week.

Preston said he wasn’t certain it was the right decision, but that it’s now up to the ZBA for final approval.

“They may not, even though we approved it for zoning. We just made a recommendation at this point, to address the three variances,” Preston said, answering The Batavian’s question about setting a precedent for others. “It's opening up a can of worms.”

File photo of David Beatty, and photo of Duane Preston, above, by Joanne Beck. Sign photos courtesy of the Planning and Development Committee's applicant materials.

September 13, 2022 - 8:19pm
posted by Press Release in news, City Church, food distribution, batavia.

Press Release

In an effort to ensure the safety of students and staff during arrival and dismissal periods at Jackson Primary, the Batavia City School District, Batavia Police Department, and the City Church would like to remind the Batavia Community of the recommended pickup route for the City Church Community Food Distribution program at St. Anthony’s. 

The City Church currently hosts a bi-monthly food distribution program for community residents at St. Anthony’s Church. Those community members who wish to participate in the program must access Liberty Street via South Swan Street, Osterhout Avenue, or Otis Street. 

All food distribution traffic will be redirected to avoid Liberty Street between South Jackson and Sumner Streets and South Jackson between South Swan and Liberty Streets (the areas directly in front of and adjacent to Jackson Primary). Please see the attached map for the recommended route. 

The City Church Community Food Distribution program is scheduled every two weeks at 8 am on the following dates: September 14, September 28, October 12, October 26, November 9, November 23, and December 14, 2022.

August 10, 2022 - 1:20pm

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Pastor Ryan Macdonald from City Church, St. Anthony's site, says it’s been a pleasure to be part of a community social gathering that brings everyone together to share in food, fun and activities. 

"The weather played in our favor tonight with lower humidity and being cloudy and cooler than the heat wave we have endured throughout this summer," Macdonald said during Tuesday's Community Night Out event. "This year I would say brought in 1,000 people over the course of the event.  We had over 50-plus vendors and more additional sponsors. We are so thankful to get behind the police department with the K-9 unit, and they are just a blessing to the community, and we are glad to be a part of it."

Photos by Steve Ognibene

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August 9, 2022 - 9:57am
posted by Howard B. Owens in community night out, City Church, St. Anthony's, Batavia PD, news.

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The Batavia Police Department, in conjunction with The City Church, hosts its annual Community Night Out event this evening, a community-building campaign that promotes strong police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make safer neighborhoods.

The event starts at 5:30 p.m. 

Various organizations and groups once again will be participating, which will include free food, a bounce house, games for kids, and more.

Photo: File photo from 2021 by Howard Owens

 

July 27, 2022 - 10:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Church, Watson Street, batavia, news.

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More than 75 volunteers from City Church were on Watson Street in Batavia on Tuesday morning cleaning up the street and the yards of residents -- doing whatever they could to improve the upkeep of the yards, the street, and the sidewalk.

The visit was part of a ministry called Eight Days of Hope.

A lot of times, noted Ryan Macdonald, a pastor at City Church, people who don't make a lot of money find it a lot harder to do the simple things to maintain their property, and Eight Days of Hope offers assistance without any judgment.

"As an example of what we're speaking about -- trash bags," Macdonald said. "Trash bags aren't cheap any more. And so if you can't afford to buy a pack of trash bags that puts you in a tough spot with trash, and so what we've been working on today is some cleanup, some pickup, and not pointing a finger. Just helping."

Eight Days of Hope just finished a project in Buffalo, where the organization, which works nationally, helped more than 1,000 people.

"Their mission is to help people, to love on people, to bless people," Macdonald said. "They care for people. They care for the nation. They care for neighborhoods that need a little extra help, and they just want to bless people." 

Top photo: Ryan Macdonald. Photos by Howard Owens. 

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April 19, 2022 - 10:12pm

Press release:

BATAVIA, NY– In an effort to ensure the safety of students and staff during arrival and dismissal periods at Jackson Primary, the Batavia City School District, Batavia Police Department, and City Church have joined together to create a new recommended pickup route for the City Church Community Food Distribution program at St. Anthony’s. 

The City Church currently hosts a bi-monthly food distribution program for community residents at St. Anthony’s Church. Due to the program's popularity, some traffic concerns have emerged around Jackson Primary, resulting in serious safety issues along with traffic backups during school arrival and dismissal periods. 

In response, a new route has been established to access the Food Distribution Program pickup line. The new route will be in effect starting with the April 27 distribution date. Those community members who wish to participate in the program must access Liberty Street via South Swan Street, Osterhout Avenue, or Otis Street. All food distribution traffic will be redirected to avoid Liberty Street between South Jackson and Sumner Streets and South Jackson between South Swan and Liberty Streets (the areas directly in front of and adjacent to Jackson Primary). Please see the attached map for the updated route. 

The City Church Community Food Distribution program is scheduled every two weeks for the following dates: April 27, May 11, May 25, June 8, and June 22.

“The Batavia Police Department is asking for the cooperation of all motorists in the area of the Jackson Primary during arrival and dismissal times to adhere to all parking and traffic regulations. Specifically, we want to ensure that motorists do not create unsafe conditions near the school during the City Church's food distribution dates as they wait in line. Therefore, we are requiring anyone attending the food distribution program to avoid the area of South Jackson between South Swan and Liberty Streets. We appreciate everyone’s cooperation to ensure the children remain safe during arrival and dismissal times,” said Shawn Heubusch, Chief of Police. 

“I applaud the City Church for providing an important and valuable resource to our community. Our collective priority must also be the safety of our students, staff, and bus drivers at Jackson Primary. I’m happy the school district, City Church, and BPD were able to come together to reach a collaborative and mutually beneficial resolution. I also want to thank Batavia residents for their cooperation as we roll out the new route,” said Jason Smith, BCSD Superintendent of Schools. 

 

 

April 19, 2022 - 8:00am
posted by Joanne Beck in news, celebration, City Church, batavia, St. Anthony's, notify.

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From a men’s prayer breakfast to a pastor’s home, a YWCA meeting room and, finally, to a renovated movie theater, City Church has grown in size, stature and presence over the last 25 years.

That growth and existence was recently celebrated by the Batavia-based church community with a four-day celebration of family activities, an egg hunt with a special bunny, and an Easter Sunday service.

Senior Pastor Marty Macdonald saw the process as one of submission rather than a forced plan.

“That disappoints many people that, you know, are very goal-oriented … and I believe in all that, but I also sometimes believe that your dreams and your goals when submitted to the Lord, you have to be willing to allow him to move in that direction,” he said during an interview with The Batavian. “Because if you live long enough you find out life isn't always what you hoped it would turn out to be. And many times, if you entrust your life to God's process, he'll make it better than what you hoped or thought it would be.” 

And it was God’s process, he believes, that took a simple men’s breakfast to draw listeners to Macdonald and ask him where his church was located. “We don’t have a church” was his reply, and that served as the springboard to hold gatherings at the home of Macdonald and his wife Patti.That small group first met for an Easter Sunday service in 1997. Three or four years later, Rose Caccamise of Roxy’s Music Store then suggested to meet at YWCA on North Street, which is where the church settled until its numbers outgrew the space and a larger venue became available. 

In 2001, the church moved into the former Mancuso Theater on East Main Street. There has been another spurt of growth in 2016 with an expansion into the former St. Anthony’s Roman Catholic Church on Liberty Street, on the city’s Southside. 

From that first major step to set up at YWCA, Macdonald has reached out to his most reliable guide. He told Caccamise, “Let me pray about it.”

“I hung up the phone. It's kind of funny because I just felt really like the Lord saying to me, do I have to make it any plainer to do? So we did that,” he said. “We didn't have a sound system, and Rose, she gave us the sound system. She said whatever you can pay for, pay for it, because we weren't taking any money at the time; we just were getting together. So that's the formation of, you know, how we began, how it started.”

During an anniversary celebration talk last Thursday, he gave the analogy about a turtle on top of a fence post: you know he didn’t get there on his own, he said.

“And that's the way it is in my life and in the church as well, that a lot of people help,” he said.

One of his friends in Bellevue, Washington even inadvertently helped with the church name. Macdonald was at Dunkin’ Donuts mulling over possible names and thinking about his love for Batavia and the city community. It then came to him: City Church. The friend’s church had the same name so Macdonald asked if he could use it, and the reply was yes. City Church became incorporated as a not-for-profit. 

“You can see now, and going back to having goals and visions, my mind worked to that scale. But God, he had a bigger goal and a bigger vision,” he said. “Sometimes our goals and our dreams are much smaller than what God has for us.”

Church leaders pursued the theater once it came up for sale, he said, which was “amazing,” especially given the fact everyone was meeting at his home about four years prior. And then “we're moving into (the theater).”

“It was mammoth, you know, from meeting in your living room into a space to have 600 seats. And that was just a huge undertaking for us back then. But it's proved out to be an incredible place for church and for our multiple outreaches that we do on a regular basis,” he said.

The church has remained nondenominational — which isn’t to say Macdonald is “anti-denominations,” he said — as a community church with origins of being home-based, as early Christians had done. And as time has moved on, the congregation has grown under the tagline of “we do life together.”

“Because I'd hate to do it alone,” he said.

Part of doing life together includes his wife Patricia (Patti), and three sons, Benjamin, married to Amanda, and three children; Ryan, married to Samantha, and two sons; and Garrett, their youngest son. All of them help out at the church, and “I couldn’t have done it without any one of them,” the pastor said. Ryan assists with the ministry full-time and has developed into a polished and mature preacher, the proud dad said, and is doing “just a fabulous, fabulous job.”

“My family means just so much to me. And I'm just so grateful that they're all in church with me,” he said, adding that they all live in the nearby community. “And I'm just incredibly fortunate for that, I really am just fortunate.”

Macdonald credits son Ryan for taking the lead on repairs and revamping St. Anthony’s, plus activities such as open gym night and food distributions. 

“He's really just done a phenomenal job, turned that property around,” Macdonald said. “Just think of that. You know that St. Anthony's school was empty for 10 years. Nothing at the church for years … I walked in that church, there were pigeons flying through it. The school had holes in the roof, there was so much water running in there. And that's all been transformed. And largely, that's attributed to him and his gifting in that he's done an incredible job.”

The Generation Center, a large meeting and dining venue on Center Street, is another aspect of City Church, besides its many community programs. There are four weekly church services, small group sessions, open gym, activity night, game rooms, and food distributions every other week at St. Anthony’s for a crowd of up to 1,000 people. There are also celebrate-recovery groups and a food pantry. These programs have made “an incredible difference” to people in need, he said.

Macdonald keeps in touch with some of those needs as an active member on the Downtown Business Improvement District board, Community Justice Advisory Council and as a Notre Dame High School board member. He’s also been known to climb aboard a piece of equipment, say a forklift, and do what’s necessary. 

“And so we keep active in the community, and we love our city. We love the people that love our county or region. And I'm just really grateful for where we're at right now, really,” he said. “Now I really believe that God cares for the city, He cares for people. The Bible says ‘when the city is healthy when the city rejoices, people prosper.‘ And I really believe that, I see that in our city. I see our city greater now than I've seen it in the years that I've been there. 

“We're always going to have challenges. People are going to think things should be one way or the other. But where the city is at right now, where it's headed, I really think it's amazing to see the changes that are taking place.”

Editor's Note: Howard Owens contributed to this article. 

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Top photo: Senior Pastor Marty Macdonald leads a service on stage at City Church in Batavia. Ryan Macdonald follows in his dad's footsteps as a full-time ministry assistant at City Church. Senior Pastor Marty Macdonald and members of the congregation participate in an Easter Sunday service at the East Main Street church. Photos by Howard Owens.

 

December 24, 2021 - 6:00pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Church.

September 19, 2021 - 11:44am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crossroads house, City Church, music, arts, entertainment, batavia, news.

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Past and present came together Saturday night at City Church in a 15th-annual "Musical Memories" concert in support of Crossroads House in Batavia.

This year, the free concert honored COVID caregivers and honored victims and survivors.

Performers this year included: The Rochester Hitmen, The Park Avenue Brass, St. Joseph’s Batavia Brass Ensemble, The Hamburg Kingmen Drum Corps, and Mighty St. Joe’s Drum & Bugle Corps.

Photos by Alecia Kaus/Video News Service.

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June 23, 2021 - 4:02pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in St. Anthony's, City Church, batavia, COVID-19.

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Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, City Church, at its St. Anthony facility, has continued to offer free food to anybody who drives through on the distribution today. There was another distribution this morning with a line of cars stretched down Liberty Street and dozens of volunteers helping with the distribution.

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June 22, 2021 - 2:18pm

Press release:

The City Church and St. Anthony's are excited to announce the opening back up of their Tuesday Night Activity Nights on July 6th.

They offer basketball, four square, a game room and the Liberty Arts room will be open.

The gym floor has been recently updated and is ready to be played on!

This will occur every Tuesday night from 6-8 p.m. at the St. Anthony's Community Center located on 114 Liberty St. in Batavia.

Everyone is welcome and food will be provided.

They are excited to welcome the community for a night of fun and friendship!

April 4, 2021 - 2:14pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Church, batavia, Easter.

Via City Church

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