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EverPresent Church

EverPresent Church in City Centre celebrates 10th anniversary on Sunday

By Jazmyne Boozer
the nortons everpresent church
Jason Norton, Michelle Norton, and their daughter Camilla.
Photo by Howard Owens

When pastors Jason and Michelle Norton began their church at the local YMCA with one other attendee, they had no idea their church would grow. 

“It wasn’t really a church plant,” Jason described. “It was more like a church seedling.”

The church grew slowly. 

Jason recounts some of his stressors were if anyone would show up for that week. Soon one attendee turned into five. From there, the couple moved to the YMCA’s workout room in which they would set up and transform the ordinary gym to a place of worship every Sunday. For three years, the Norton’s called the YMCA their home church. 

Now, some 60 members later and growing, the church is in its permanent home in Batavia. But it wasn’t easy. The Nortons needed to buy the building in order to honor their mortgage plan. The pair decided to launch a building campaign in which locals and others could donate to their cause and help them buy the building. The goal was to raise a whopping $50,000 in two years. 

Through the donations of the local Batavian community and businesses, they were able to raise $20,000 in-house alone. Then, an unexpected donor came up with the balance -- Pastor Greg Locke of Global Vision Bible Church in Mt. Juliette, Tenn.

Locke is known for helping build and donate to Christian churches around the country. He heard about EverPresent’s need for their building and wrote a check for $31,000. 

“At this point now, the church technically has no debt. We own our own space.” Jason said. 

To celebrate the church’s tenure, EverPresent Church is planning on throwing a celebration on Sunday.  All in the community are welcome. Attendees can expect a regular service with guest worship leader Greg Skolaski, a dedication of various ministry leaders followed by hors d'oeuvres. 

“A huge thank you,” the Nortons said to those who would be unable to attend. “The businesses of Batavia over the years, prior to paying off the mortgage, have been very generous. We do basket raffles and fundraisers; they’ve always been super generous with supporting anything that we do. A super huge thank you to every business and all those who live in Batavia and all those who have done what they could to help us be successful.” 

Church leaders deliver message at City Hall, want to talk over dinner

By Joanne Beck
Jason and Michelle Norton

Pastor Jason Norton and his wife Michelle became upset this past Friday afternoon when a rather loud and proud message for PRIDE week was displayed in the city parking lot in front of their church in downtown Batavia.

He and Michelle said that they are not a gay-affirming church, just as much as they wouldn’t have wanted a beer tent out front.

Not only did they not like the venue — a staging area for the annual LBGTQ parade and festival — to imply what type of church they were, but the event apparently blocked other needs for repairs and entry into the public lot, which conveyed a lack of communication they would have appreciated.

Once the pastor of EverPresent Church in City Centre voiced his intent to take the matter to City Hall, he faced backlash from a segment of the community, he said. He posted that since events, such as Drag Queen Story Hour, are happening at the public library, then he has decided to do likewise with his church message: For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

“My point is this, that on social media today, I don't need this. Because I said that we were coming here, we've already been barraged with the titles of bigotry and hatred, and homophobia, the list goes on and on. And on. I just wanted to go on the record tonight to let people know that not only are we a people-affirming church who loves all people, we love God and His stance first,” he said. "We are actually moving forward now, with having some dinners and some open discussions and some forums, that we can all meet in a peaceable manner to talk and discuss these things and why we believe this.”

His online post had reaped well over 100 comments, mostly debates between opposing LBGTQ beliefs. There was a similar ongoing debate recently on a series of photos posted by The Batavian from that PRIDE event.

Michelle Norton expanded on her complaint to add that further communication about the event and location of the staging area — with opportunity to negotiate — would have been ideal so that the church entrance at Batavia City Centre wouldn’t have been blocked.

Jason Norton focused on the principle of his ire, and gave as examples himself, as a  former drug addict who was invited in and accepted by a church that allowed “us to come in and experience God in a way that proved his love, and proved there was a God,” he said. He also spoke of his own daughter and how she struggled with bisexuality. He did not shame her but prayed for her and taught her about God and Jesus, he said.

"But we did not compromise on God's Word. We did not water it down to try to change God's word to fit into her choices to make her feel more accepted or approved as a lifestyle choice that she had made. Why did we do that? Because God is sovereign. And his viewpoints and his stance on certain things are steadfast and immovable. And I do not have the authority or the power to change or excuse me to change God's position on what is right and what is wrong,” he said. “Three years ago, our daughter came to the understanding that her lifestyle doesn't fit in contrast to God, and ... she asked God to help her to heal her. She experienced Jesus, not religion. Two and a half years ago, Tasha died suddenly. And I don't know how I would have lived with myself if I had buckled and twisted the truth of God and changed the scriptures to accommodate the struggle that she was going through and showing her a falsehood.”

City Council listened to the couple until their time limit was up and offered no comments about the subject matter. Councilman Bob Bialkowski asked about the way events work in city parking lots. City Manager Rachael Tabelski said that the backdrop of the stage was at the facade of the church building, but it is in a public lot.

“So when we do event applications, we can take into consideration placement of things and try to help those who would like to do events in our city parking lot to maybe have better flow,” she said. 

Fun in the Son draws families downtown

By Joanne Beck
Ashley  of Batavia with snowcone
Ashley, 5, of Batavia, enjoys what she described as a pink and blue "flavored" snowcone during the second annual Fun in the Son event hosted by Ever Present Church Saturday in downtown Batavia. Photo by Joanne Beck.

 

Raeliss Velaz of Batavia
Raelexiss Velaz, 10, of Batavia, picks out a prize after winning the ping-pong toss at Fun in the Son Saturday afternoon. Photo by Joanne Beck.

 

Kashmarae Pearsall of Batavia
Kashmarae Pearsall, 9, of Batavia takes aim with a ping pong ball with hopes to win a prize during Ever Present Church's second annual festival in downtown Batavia. Photo by Joanne Beck.

 

Girls playing ping pong at Fun in the Son
Kashmarae Pearsall and her sister Raelexiss Velaz, both fourth-graders at John Kennedy Intermediate going into fifth grade this fall, play the ping-pong game at Fun in the Son Saturday in the parking lot next to Ever Present Church in Batavia. Photo by Joanne Beck.

 

Raelexiss Velaz and Colleen Evans 6/10/23
Kashmarae Pearsall of Batavia poses with Ever Present Church member Colleen Evans, who volunteered to help out during the second annual festival. "It's been pretty steady," Evans said of the kids lining up to play the ping pong game Saturday. And as for this year's event, "It's been really busy," Evans said. "I love it. I get to come outside and meet people. I love it." Photo by Joanne Beck.

 

Arliss and Evalyn  Reed of Batavia
Arliss Reed, 2, and his sister Evalyn, 3, goof around in the bounce house as mom Tiffany McAllister of Batavia waits on the sidelines. Photos, here and below, by Joanne Beck.

 

Evalyn Reed

 

Fun in the Son second annual 6/10/23
Several food, craft and game vendors participate in the second annual Fun in the Son festival Saturday in downtown Batavia. Photo by Joanne Beck.

 

EverPresent Church hosting Mass Deliverance Service

By Press Release

Press release:

Are you or a loved one struggling with anxiety, fear, panic disorders, depression, obsession, sleep disorders, PTSD, schizophrenia, eating disorders, disruptive behavior, bipolar disorder, hearing voices, or seeing hallucinations? While some of these conditions may have scientific explanations, others may not.

Doctors often attribute these symptoms to physical or mental disorders and prescribe drugs to treat them. However, some believe that many of these symptoms are actually spiritual in nature.

As Christians, it is believed that some of these issues can be caused by poor decisions, wrong choices, and engaging in activities that are not in line with biblical teachings. This can include occult practices, sorcery, or witchcraft, even if engaged in unknowingly.

The Bible offers guidance on these matters, and Jesus Christ offers deliverance and healing. If you or a loved one are struggling with afflictions, you are invited to attend a Mass Deliverance Service on Feb. 17 at EverPresent Church, located at 4 Batavia City Centre in Batavia. Parking is available in the former JC Penny lot. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and the event begins at 6 p.m.

If you have any questions, please call (585) 297-3155.

Man accused of grabbing tot in church nursery Sunday identified, charged with unlawful imprisonment

By Billie Owens

Press release and photo from the Batavia Police Department:

The Batavia Police Department investigated the potential abduction of a child during church services.

On Sunday, June 2, at or about 12:31 p.m., it was reported that a white male, later identified as Bruce Sattelberg (DOB:07/03/1947) was attending church services at EverPresent Church. During the service, Sattelberg got up from where he was sitting and left the sanctuary.

About five minutes later Sattelberg returned to the sanctuary with an approximately 1-year-old child. The parents of the child were sitting in the sanctuary attending the service a few aisles away. Upon noticing Sattelberg holding the child, the father approached Sattelberg and took custody of his child. Sattelberg then vacated the service.

The Batavia Police Department worked diligently, investigating every lead to locate Sattelberg.

Sattelberg was taken in to custody without incident and was issued an appearance ticket for unlawful imprisonment in the second degree. He is scheduled to appear in Batavia City Court at 1:30 p.m. on June 18.

Sattelberg has been barred from EverPresent Church and its functions.

We would like to thank the community and its citizens for all the assistance with locating Sattelberg.

The Batavia Police Department would like to remind everyone to be observant of your surroundings and contact the Batavia Police Department if you see or notice something suspicious.

The Batavia Police Department can be reached at 585-345-6350, the confidential tip line at 585-345- 6370 or online here

Pastor says security team will 'tighten things up' in wake of today's tot-grabbing incident

By Billie Owens

A routine Sunday service at EverPresent Church in Downtown Batavia turned into alarm and some confusion around 12:30 today when a little boy in the toddler room was grabbed by a male guest and brought into the sanctuary while Pastor Jason Norton was preaching.

The man was immediately approached by ushers and he left the child, exited the building, and drove off in his blue Toyota. No one was injured. Someone snapped a photo of his license plate.

After communicating with nursery workers, the Emergency Dispatch Center was called straightaway and Norton said this afternoon that police are investigating the incident, which was dispatched as a "suspicious condition."

Norton would not identify the guest, but said he is elderly, from Rochester, and has only been living in Batavia for a couple of months and has attended services alone at 4 Batavia City Centre about four or five times. The pastor said he has no other information about him or his mental health.

"He seemed nice enough," Norton said. "But you never know."

The church, now in its sixth year, has about 50 to 55 congregants. A couple of young women volunteer for childcare during services and there is a security team in place that keeps an eye on things.

The guest that abruptly went into the nursery, though he had no family members there, had left the sanctuary to go to the men's room, which is in the same area as the nursery.

A nursery volunteer told Norton he attempted to grab one child and was asked about permission or family ties, something to that effect, confusion ensued, and he grabbed the tot's brother instead, proceeded to the sanctuary, and sat down.

"It happened so quickly," Norton said, adding that initially they were reluctant to talk about the incident publicly, thinking it made their security look weak.

"I said 'Maybe it is weak. We need to tighten things up,' " Norton said. "We don't know our weaknesses until they're exposed. This kind of thing can happen anywhere. That's the world we live in today. No one was hurt. It could have ended much differently."

Norton said the man "has been trespassed" -- meaning he will not be allowed back on the property.

For initial post, click here.

EverPresent Church invites all to its Grand Opening Weekend -- movie, open house, Sunday service

By Billie Owens

Press release:

EverPresent Church invites you to visit our new location at 4 Batavia City Centre, Batavia. We are excited to announce our Grand Opening Weekend on May 18-20 at the former Homestead Center also former home to Roxy’s Music Store.

EverPresent Church was founded in 2013 in the local YMCA. Not long after its beginning the church found a new home at 8 City Centre, formerly Center Stage Dance Co. Although EverPresent Church embraced its new location, we still longed for a space we could call home.

The conversation started back in 2015 with the owner of The Homestead Center but a deal wasn’t stuck until the summer of 2017.

Since our move into our new location we have been very busy settling in and making it our own. We are excited to be holding services and If you are looking for a warm friendly environment with a caring community of believers this just might be the place for you.

We are a family oriented church with great vision for you and our community. We are excited to see what God has in store for our church and anticipate great things for the future of Batavia.

If you are looking for a church and it’s been difficult to find where you fit or feel comfortable, this is the place for you! We are Real People, living Real Lives, with a Real Hope! We invite you to check it out and celebrate together as we help one another on this journey called life.

Grand Opening Weekend

  • Friday, May 18th at 5:45 p.m. -- MOVIE NIGHT showing “THE GREATEST SHOWMAN." Free popcorn and water; pop available to purchase.
  • Saturday, May 19th -- OPEN HOUSE from 2 to 5 p.m. Come by and check out the place, get some info about the church, and meet the pastors. 
  • Sunday, May 20 -- SUNDAY SERVICE at 10:30 a.m. Join us for a time of worship and an encouraging message.

We guarantee that you will experience God and His love through the people at EverPresent Church. We look forward to meeting you!

"Real People. Real Life. Real Hope!"

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