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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

February 1, 2021 - 5:01pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in COVID-19, news, notify, City Church, Salvation Army.

The distribution of free food for local residents may not be grabbing the headlines the way it did at the start of the pandemic, but the programs haven't stopped and the need has not subsided, according to leaders at two organizations involved in handing out bags and boxes of vegetables, dairy products, and canned goods.

"We've been feeding 500 families a week," said Ryan Macdonald, a pastor at City Church, which conducts free food distributions on Wednesday mornings at St. Anthony's on Liberty Street. "There's a lot of need out there. It's sad."

While The Salvation Army is not giving out as much food as it did when the pandemic first started when it utilized well-publicized drive-thru distribution days at Northgate Church, its three-day-week allocation at its location on East Main Street is still exceeding the pre-pandemic demand for food, said Todd Rapp, the local coordinator of emergency services.

"We're still seeing a significant need," Rapp said.

It's been a year since the first COVID-19 case was officially recorded in the United States, and 11 months since the first case was recorded locally.

People are out of work and are worried about paying their bills, both Macdonald and Rapp said.

"People are scared," Macdonald said. "They're scared to go out and that's hurting the economy."

Neither program requires recipients to provide financial information and is open to all residents who feel they need the assistance. 

The Salvation Army, 529 E Main St., offers drive-up pick up on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. If you want to receive food, drive up, call the phone number on the sign, and somebody will assist you.

City Church's distribution at St. Anthony's starts at 9 a.m. on Wednesdays and lasts from one to two hours, depending on food availability.

Rapp said The Salvation Army also has a program to assist people with housing and he wanted to remind people that even though there is an eviction moratorium in place, tenants are still obligated for their rent. He said the Army has assisted a few local landlords who need food assistance because some tenants haven't been paying their rent.

December 13, 2020 - 12:27pm

Photo, Ryan Macdonald, left, a pastor at City Church, and Batavia chiropractor Tom Mazurkiewicz.

Submitted photo and information.

Batavia chiropractor Tom Mazurkiewicz continues with the tradition of Don Carroll's Toy Drive for the 28th year, accepting unwrapped Christmas toys at his office for distribution to local children ages 2 to 15.

If you'd like to donate something, his office -- Mazurkiewicz Family Chiropratic -- is located 184 Washington Ave. Donations can be made during regular business hours through Dec. 18.

"Dr. Tom" is offering a complementary office visit to those who donate.

He is partnering with City Church once again. They have selected 25 families based on need and will distribute the toys individually to the families' homes.

Mazurkiewicz and City Church thank everyone once again for their support of local families in need this year.

November 5, 2020 - 3:45pm

Although Interim City Manager Rachael Tabelski believes the Genesee Area Family YMCA could play a significant role in the future of youth services in Batavia -- enabling the city to cut ties with Genesee County to fund a youth bureau executive director, an advisory group linked to the city isn’t convinced that is the best way to proceed.

A resolution to terminate the county’s youth bureau operating agreement with the city, a contract that calls for partial payment of the salary of Jocelyn Sikorski, Genesee/Orleans and City Youth Bureau executive director, came before two Genesee County Legislature committees this week.

On Monday, the Human Services Committee approved the measure, sending it to the Ways & Means Committee on Wednesday for a final vote before being forwarded to the full legislature for ratification.

Ways & Means decided to table the resolution, however, minutes after a letter from the City Youth Board opposing the dissolution of the inter-municipal agreement found its way onto The Batavian and, likely, into the hands of Ways & Means Committee Chair Marianne Clattenburg.

No one on the committee would comment when asked why the resolution was being tabled, but it is clear that the Youth Board’s opposition as well as the committee’s desire to let the city make the first move are the major reasons.

As a result:

  • The county is stuck in a holding pattern as the city leaders work through their differences. All indications point to a public discussion in some form or another at the City Council Business Meeting at 7 p.m. next Monday.
  • Tabelski is saying that there was no indication of any disagreement from the Youth Board with her proposal for the city to go in a different direction – looking at the YMCA to provide youth services -- and cut the $20,000 annual expense to help fund the executive director’s position.
  • The City Youth Board, in its letter, contends that it was not afforded an opportunity “to discuss alternative options with the Interim City Manager … prior to her decision.”

County Manager Matt Landers said he is dismayed over the situation.

“With any board or organization that dedicates so much time toward improving the community, it is obviously not a good thing to read the dissatisfaction and unhappiness of such a board,” he said. “As far as the county’s perspective, we’re a partner with the city and we certainly want to assist the city in meeting their needs with the youth. But at this point in time, it is important that we let the city decide how they want to move forward and then we can react accordingly.”

Landers said he and the legislature agree that the city should take the lead in this matter.

“We kind of put it in their hands … instead of the county going out in front and dissolving a contract. If it’s something the city really wants to do, then that’s something that they can lead out with first.”

He also said that it could be the right time to assess the agreement and explore other options.

Landers: Time for Reevaluation?

“At the end of the day, the relationship that we had with the city for a youth director was a good idea – and it was something put in place before my time as county manager, but it was a way to share services,” he said. “With any kind of agreement, you evaluate and see if there’s a different way to do it.”

Tabelski said she articulated a “different way” during an Oct. 27 meeting with the Youth Board, whose members are Dave Twichell, president; Paula Fischer, Nick Russo, Kathryn Fitzpatrick and Kristen Gloskowski. Al McGinnis serves as the City Council liaison.

“I had the pleasure of meeting with the Youth Board to talk about the situation the city finds itself in regarding budgeting amid COVID in our current budget year, the programming that we weren’t able to perform over the summer – summer recreation – and the strategic hiring freeze at the city,” Tabelski said. “We talked about what the upcoming budget for the city was shaping up to be, which is early in the budget process.”

Tabelski said she outlined big ticket items for which the city is responsible, such as snowplowing, public works, leaf collection, yard waste services, and police and fire response, and other services such as youth programs, economic development, contracting for the operation of the Falleti Ice Arena and maintaining athletic fields (including Dwyer Stadium) for residents to utilize.

“While Council won’t look at the budget until January, right now department heads are working with vendors on pricing and setting up contracts for services with the goal of providing a budget to City Council that remains within the tax cap,” she advised. “We are fiscally responsible to the citizens of the City of Batavia while still providing services that we know residents demand from the city.”

She said financial constraints and the impact of COVID-19 forced the cancellation of the 2020 summer recreation program and the ongoing closure of the Liberty Center for Youth afterschool location on Liberty Street.

Unable to Reopen Youth Center Yet

“The ability to reopen the Liberty Center for Youth is still taking time to make sure protocols are in place, barriers put up and bringing back staff. So right now, the YMCA and the city share staffing requirements for the Liberty Center for Youth to open,” she said.

Since the city has not been able to hire part-time employees (due to the hiring freeze), a discussion with the county ensued, leading to a proposal to terminate the joint agreement for youth bureau supervision.

“Knowing what our budget looks like for next year, I said that we were willing to look at that and the goal was to have the program coordinator and the assistant city manager, which is myself, take on any responsibilities needed to get the youth programs up and running, and to continue,” Tabelski said.

Currently, the city is in the midst of a job search for a permanent manager – Tabelski was hired last year as the assistant manager – and also has no youth program coordinator as Lydia Schauf resigned that position to accept another job.

“We were left basically with the commitment from the Y to help reopen the center but with no employees available to staff it,” she said.

Tabelski said she explained this to the Youth Board, emphasizing that it “was time to look at it to understand what the city might be able to do in an effort to save money and deliver the programs at the same level to the residents and potentially use the YMCA as part of the strategy that I am looking into.”

Tabelski Promotes Pact with YMCA

She said she has a high regard for the YMCA, calling it a “professional organization that has an expertise in providing recreational services in our community.”

“In my mind, it makes sense for us to look at this as a broader partnership,” she said, noting that she has kept City Council informed of her activities in relation to youth services. “This could be a huge win for the YMCA and the city.”

Tabelski said she is negotiating with the YMCA to gauge its “capacity and ability” to provide afterschool and summer recreation services for the city’s youth, and added that other communities, including Perry and Geneseo, contract with the YMCA to provide their summer programming.

She said she left the door open for City Youth Board members to contact her, Sikorski or McGinnis but, to her knowledge, that has not been done. She also said that she was not informed that a letter would be released to the media.

“At the meeting, the youth board members indicated they understood the financial hardship that the city was in, they gave examples of their workplaces having to cut and lay off people, and they indicated a willingness to continue to be involved in youth programming and services and make sure those programs continue,” Tabelski said.

The interim city manager is hopeful the city would be able to enhance its youth services by contracting with the YMCA. She also defended her stance.

“I think it is incumbent upon a good manager to look at every piece of the organization and especially when we’re faced with challenges such as COVID and employee shifting,” she said. “I guess it was a perfect storm to examine how we deliver this service and see if there was an agency, such as the YMCA, that would be more capable, have more capacity and more resources to actually deliver the program and possibly enhance that program on behalf of the city.”

Tabelski said the goal is to continue to provide youth services at no or at a minimal charge – especially for summer recreation – and is convinced there are “multiple ways that can be negotiated to do that.”

“Right now, we have a contract with City Church for the St. Anthony’s building for the Liberty Center for Youth that runs another four years,” she said. “I think that as we do some long-term planning, we certainly want to look at the interaction between the current site for afterschool and what potential there might be for the (YMCA) Healthy Living campus (one of the city’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative projects).”

Youth Board Reacts to 'Done Deal'

Fischer, responding this afternoon to emailed questions after talking with Twichell, said the City Youth Board’s intention was to send the letter with their concerns to City Council, but when The Batavian ran a story from the Human Services Committee meeting, it felt it was necessary to inform the public of what seemed to be a certainty.

“Once the information from the October 27th meeting was digested, it was apparent that the proposed changes to youth services would affect the quality of youth programming,” she said. “Many of the comments made by Rachel Tabelski and Jocelyn Sikorski were concerning. Ms. Tabelski was not aware of the differences between the County Youth Services and the City Youth Services. The City Youth Bureau provides direct youth programming and the County Youth Bureau does not.

“Despite the resignation of the only full-time city youth bureau employee, Ms. Sikorski was still in favor of abandoning the city program with no experienced staff remaining by ending the contract between the City and County with a year remaining. Also, Ms. Tabelski’s comment in the article, 'The city’s goal is to continue its youth programming – Liberty Center for Youth at the City Church St. Anthony’s campus on Liberty Street and the Summer Recreation Program – to the extent we that we can' was also alarming."

Fischer said the youth board did not contact Tabelski or Sikorski before sending the letter since the board is appointed by City Council and that Tabelski and Sikorski are employees and not voting members of the board.

As far as the Oct. 27 meeting is concerned, Fischer’s position is that Tabelski did receive comments from the board “regarding the outsourcing and charging for youth programming.”

“It was apparent that Ms. Sikorski had already went to the legislature and City Council with the proposal and was presented as a done deal,” she said. “When asked who would run the youth programming, the interim city manager shrugged her shoulders and said the assistant city manager, and the board asked who that would be and she said ‘me’. So, it was apparent that this was not well thought out after the resignation of the youth bureau coordinator. This sent up red flags that the youth programming was being phased out.”

The City Youth Board also does not agree with Tabelski’s plan to contract with the YMCA.

“The Board feels this would not be in the best interest of city youth,” Fischer said, adding that youth board members should be brought into the decision-making process.

“We are an advisory board. I would hope City Council would engage the City Youth Board on all matters going forward during these trying times,” she said. “The board would like to see services at the Liberty Center for Youth and the Summer Recreation Program resume once it is safe. These valuable services are less than 1 percent of the city’s budget.”

August 5, 2020 - 3:19pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Church, St. Anthony's, food distribution, COVID-19.

City Church hosted another in a series of free, drive-thru food distributions at St. Anthony's this morning.

Video by Mo Schoen at Pixel Pro Video.

July 13, 2020 - 3:41pm

Press release:

The Salvation Army in partnership with The United Way, City Church, Byron-Bergen Central School District, Oakfield-Alabama Central School District and Foodlink would like to announce the schedule for the upcoming drive-thru food distributions.

When participating in this distribution please have your trunk/hatch/backseat cleared out to receive three to four boxes of food. Volunteers are not permitted to move your property due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Should you need to pick up for a friend or neighbor you may do so by providing their photo ID showing a separate address. Please wear a mask. 

You will remain in your car and volunteers will load the food.

Should you have any questions about a specific distribution contact that organization directly.

JULY

July 15 at 9 a.m. -- Northgate Free Methodist Church -- 8160 Bank Street Road, Batavia (585) 343-6284

July 22 at 9 a.m. -- Oakfield-Alabama CSD -- 7001 Lewiston Road, Oakfield (585) 948-5211

July 29 at 3 p.m. -- Byron-Bergen High School -- 6917 W. Bergen Road, Bergen (585) 343-6284

AUGUST

Aug. 5 at 9 a.m. -- City Church (St. Anthony’s)— 14 Liberty St., Batavia, (585) 343-6895

Aug. 12 at 9 a.m. -- Oakfield-Alabama CSD -- 7001 Lewiston Road, Oakfield (585) 948-5211

Aug. 19 at 3 p.m. -- Byron-Bergen High School -- 6917 W. Bergen Road, Bergen (585) 343-6284

Aug. 26 at 9 a.m. -- Northgate Free Methodist Church -- 8160 Bank Street Road, Batavia (585) 343-6284

SEPTEMBER

Sept. 2 at 9 a.m. -- City Church (St. Anthony’s)— 114 Liberty St., Batavia (585) 343-6895

July 8, 2020 - 1:31pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Church, St. Anthony's, batavia, news.

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City Church hosted another in a series of food distributions at St. Anthony's today.

Ryan Macdonald said the church will announce more food distribution days soon.

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