A fairly new collaboration between the traveling ministry of Glorious Destiny and Cornerstone Church has brought a youth-based event to the Batavia church that includes a live and lively musical performance and lots of free goods, from snacks and drinks to groceries, games and gift cards.
With enough negative energy already in the world, these Friday evening gatherings are meant to offer a peaceful and fun alternative for kids and families, organizer Omar Herrera says.
“And of course, in this day and age, you know that there's a lot of violence and other things that the youth shouldn’t be doing. So we just definitely want to steer the community away from that type of lifestyle, away from just getting distracted and away from going astray or anything like that. So we just want to create a safe space where people can come and really just want to be safe, be secure, and know that they are loved, know that they are cared about, know that they have a plan, that God has a plan for them, that they can be somebody,” Herrera said to The Batavian Friday afternoon. “Pastor Paul (Doyle) came to us, he used to have a youth program and wanted something new. He had a building and he had the resources, so we sat down and brainstormed some ideas to reach the youth.”
Fridays at the Rock is at 6 p.m. every Friday at Cornerstone Church, 8020 Bank Street Road, Batavia.
These upbeat nights are opportunities for kids to “eat, fellowship with everybody, have games, prizes, live performances, and give an encouraging word,” he said.
“It’s one of the methods to reach people,” he said. “Anyone can go if they want to go, and whoever wants to come can come. We have had many families with a single mom who might not have a car … we will pick them up and take them home when they want to go home.”
Organizers provide free transportation to and from the event, and only ask that participants register in advance by a QR code or phone. From the first event, attendance has been at least 40 strong, with at least 100 people showing up by the fourth event, he said.
“I would say one of the biggest visions that we have is — because of certain circumstances that are going on in our life, in this day and age, basically, in this world — we want to create that space where they can come in and not think about those problems, that they're going to not think about their situations or not think about anything, but really just enjoy life,” he said. “Let the kids be kids. Let adults enjoy their kids and just see them have fun. And really have fun with them, and win prizes as well. You just have a great space where people can really just enjoy life.”
There is also a free grocery giveaway after the church service at 10 a.m. Sundays. An assortment of free goods, including meats, breakfast items, bread, dry goods, fruit, vegetables and baby food will be distributed after the service.
When asked the source of all the free goods, Herrera attributed it to God’s power and the generosity of Western New York’s businesses and farmers.
“One of the guys who helped me, he had connections with stores and farmers, and they just donate to us,” Herrera said. “We can give out food to the community. It just started out of nowhere. God told us to go to these stores, and they are constant suppliers.
“Where our vision is, our vision is the world. However, we’re based in the United States and right now, we’re doing a lot of work in the United States, and, of course, we’re based here in Batavia, and a lot of what we’re doing is out of New York.”
Glorious Destiny is a nonprofit that is now based in Batavia and working with Cornerstone Church, though Herrera said that he and the 40 or so missionaries do a lot of traveling, whether it’s to Rochester for a blanket and glove distribution or farther away to hand out jackets, socks and blankets to homeless in Philadelphia and New Jersey.
Many of those missionaries are young musical artists who provide the live performances for the Friday rock series, which might feature some hip hop or rhythm and blues, he said.
Glorious Destiny Missions, Inc. is a Christian organization that is "committed to spreading the love and message of Jesus Christ through various means around the world," according to its website. Its vision is based on Habakkuk 2:14, which states, “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.”
For more information about these programs or to get a ride, text ROCK (for Friday) or PANTRY (for Sunday) to 347-352-6720.