Pathway’s annual Golf Outing filled with fun, friends, and food

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“The only time my prayers are never answered is on a golf course.” — Billy Graham

That’s a pretty funny quote. But even if it’s true, it didn’t stop dozens of men and women from enjoying Pathway’s annual Golf Outing on Saturday morning. The air was cool. The sun was shining. The food was delicious. And the golf was … well, a lot of fun, if not always up to par.

Most important, all proceeds from the outing benefit Pathway’s Student Ministries. Thanks to everyone who made it such a wonderful event! We can’t wait to play again next year!

Baptisms at Darlington Lake feature ‘awesome sermons’

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Sweltering … 

Sticky … 

Gloomy …

Glorious.

Yes, absolutely glorious.

Despite the stifling heat, the ominous clouds and traces of thunder rolling in from the west on Sunday afternoon, seven candidates publicly proclaimed their faith in Jesus Christ during Pathway’s annual baptism celebration at Darlington Lake. And as they did, it was as if a marvelous light shone through the oncoming darkness.

“Who was encouraged by what they heard today?” Pastor Jeff asked those who gathered for the celebration. “We heard some awesome sermons, didn’t we?”

For sure.

From those who grew up in the church.

From those who followed a different path.

From those who battled drug addiction.

From those who dealt with a difficult home life.

Though their stories were vastly different, there was a common theme: At some point in their lives, they all came to accept God’s free gift of grace. 

And on Sunday, they wanted everyone to hear that great news. Here are excerpts from their stories:

***

Carson Drake

“Last year, my wife accepted Christ and I saw a big change in her life. My brother, Eric, has been praying for me to be saved for more than 30 years. On February 28, it happened. God was there all along for me. I just had to say yes to his grace.”

***

Liza Drake

“I am here today only by the grace of God through faith. My parents provided a Christian foundation for me, but what I needed was a relationship with Christ. I feel it in my heart that I’m not alone. I now live in the presence of God.”

***

Kelsie Martin

“I believe that God loves me no matter what — on my good days and on my bad days. I have come to believe with all my heart that Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior.”

***

Lexie McGee

“Before Christ, I felt helpless and broken. I was having a tough time at home. I have found peace and discovered that God has a greater plan for me than I could ever have for myself.”

***

Kyle Stark

“I hung out with the wrong crowd and I found myself going down the wrong road. Eventually, I got caught up in a big drug habit. When I checked into rehab, I not only found help for my drug problem, but I discovered my Lord and Savior. That’s why I’m taking this step to renew my walk with Christ.”

***

Grayson Stroupe

“I want people to know that I love God and He’s my Savior.”

***

Susan Weido

“I am thankful that God is faithful and never gave up on me. I was recently diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, and I am trusting Him through the good times and the challenging times. God is now the priority of my life. I trust His plan for my life.”



Awana, Ignite moving to Thursdays …

Thursday Programming.jpg

Crosstown.

Awana.

Ignite.
Yay, they’re all on Thursday!

Well, not yet. But they will be soon!

Beginning September 12, Pathway will heighten the already high-energy atmosphere of Thursday evenings by moving our Awana and middle-school ministries from their current Wednesday time slots. So as our adult attenders enjoy our Thursday service, kids in our Children’s Ministry (infants through grade 5) can choose from two options — our popular Awana program or our awesome Crosstown ministry. On the other side of campus, middle-school students can play games, make new friends, and explore scripture in their own unique way at Ignite.

We’ve got lots more to tell you in the weeks ahead, but today we simply wanted to share this exciting news.

It’s true, Thursday will be the new night for Awana and Ignite.

And, as you’ll learn, a whole lot more.

Stay tuned …


Thursday night service launches at Pathway!

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“Yay, it’s Thursday!”

That’s what his T-shirt read as Pastor Ben Marshall hustled on to the stage. Pathway’s Pastor of Student Ministries would then utter the historic first words:

“Hello, Pathway! Welcome to our Thursday night service!”

Despite bone-chilling temperatures, hundreds of regular attenders and visitors gathered in the main auditorium for the first Thursday night service in Pathway’s long history. Wearing the same blue-and-gold T-shirts as Pastor Ben, dozens of volunteers greeted those at the service with warm smiles, fist bumps and hi-fives.
“Yay, it’s Thursday!” Pastor Jeff McNicol declared as he took the stage. “Are you excited?”

His question was greeted by applause, whistles and more than a few shouts.

“If you’re new to the faith, or if you haven’t been to church in a while, you’re in the right place,” Pastor Jeff continued. “We’re ALL brand new tonight.”

For sure.

January 31, 2019, will certainly be remembered as a slice of history.

But we’ve got a feeling it’s simply a first for much bigger things to come.

Yay, it’s Thursday, indeed. The weekend begins early at Pathway.

Unlimited marks one year with continued growth

What a difference a year makes.

We’ve heard that phrase countless times, but it’s become a powerful message of hope at Pathway Church as our Unlimited ministry celebrates its first anniversary. And it’s been a year of significant growth.

When Pathway unveiled its special needs ministry in November of 2017, there was one child in class that Sunday morning. And a month later, when Unlimited conducted its first respite night for families, there were five children present.

Fast-forward to the fall of 2018 and Unlimited consistently sees eight children each Sunday morning, and 12 kids with special needs at each respite event. And when you add in siblings, there are often nearly 30 children playing video games, bouncing on inflatables or enjoying the other respite activities. Pathway also draws quite a crowd during special Playland hours for children with special needs.

“Word of mouth has been wonderful,” said Unlimited Director Jenna Hannum. “As parents have good experiences with our church, they share it with other parents. We’ve started to gain the trust of the community.”

And, Jenna added, volunteers are crucial for those good experiences. She now counts more than 50 overall who serve on Sunday mornings or during the respite nights.

“Our main mission is to communicate the love of Jesus Christ to kids with special needs,” she explained. “And we want to support their family members so they can be active in our church. Please continue to pray for a significant impact on our community.”

Jenna envisions continued growth in the ministry, especially in light of the one question families are consistently asking these days:

“So, what else does Pathway offer on Sundays?”

Jenna smiled.

“As families get more comfortable with Unlimited, they’re becoming more interested in our church,” she noted. “Many of our parents who come to respite nights had not gone to our church in the past. That’s very encouraging.”

Happy birthday, Unlimited.

It’s been a blessing to watch you grow.
And we see no signs of that stopping.


Pathway Café has big opening weekend, bigger vision

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In front of the counter, it looked pretty much like any other coffee house.

A pair of teen-age girls giggled as they pointed to their phones.

To their right, a mother stood near the cooler and asked her preschooler: “Would you like a fruit cup or a yogurt pouch?”

A few feet away, a young couple chatted as they waited on their Mocha order.

And at a nearby table, an older gentlemen smiled as his grandson sipped his chocolate milk.

A typical scene at a typical coffee shop across America?

Maybe, if a coffee shop inside a church were typical.


‘IT’S A PROCESS’

The aroma is what gets you first.

Robust and alluring. You can detect it from 50 yards away in any direction.

“The church smells great, doesn’t it?” asked John Westurn, Executive Pastor at Pathway Church. “Even if you don’t drink coffee, it’s very powerful.”

Sunday, September 9, 8:30 a.m.

That’s the day, date and time the new Pathway Café officially began welcoming customers. And they came in droves. Throughout the morning, a steady line of visitors purchased everything from baked goods, to bottled water, to freshly cut fruit cups. But what they really desired was coffee. Not just any coffee, mind you. They wanted the Pathway Blend, and nearly 250 cups were brewed.

“How many churches can say they have their own coffee blend?” asked Café Director Elisa Martin. She smiled and adjusted her slate gray apron that features the Pathway Café logo.

Elisa explained how the house blend was created by a team of “coffee snobs” in the church, who offered a thumbs-down to countless others they had experimented with over a period of months.

“We finally decided on a five-bean espresso blend from Colombia,” she explained. “All of our coffee is from Colombia. And it’s very good.”

Pastor John agreed.

“Not that our coffee was awful in the old café. It’s just phenomenal now.”

Throughout the morning, Elisa had been busy operating the espresso machine behind the counter, as six other team members filled their roles. Each shift features:

•A barista who makes the coffee

•A cashier (who now accepts credit cards or cash)

•A prep person 

•Someone who takes orders

•And someone who oversees the baked goods.

Depending on their job, volunteers received up to 10 hours of training before the café went live over the weekend. Overall, Elisa leads a team of 40.

“We spent hours at other coffee shops,” she noted. “We studied their pricing and their best practices.”

“There will be a learning curve,” Pastor John added,” and it will be a process. But we’re excited about what’s ahead.”


THE PLACE TO BE

And Pastor John is hoping what’s ahead could be big. He believes the café can have the same unique drawing power as the Playland in the children’s wing, which has attracted dozens of families who hadn’t set foot inside of the church before.

“We want it to be an inviting place for people who don’t know Christ, as well as those who do.”

The café features soft lighting, rustic flooring, and large monitors on which visitors can watch the worship services in real time. 

The area seats 100, and between services on opening day, nearly all of the 21 tables were occupied. Pastor John explained that even more “soft seating,” such as comfy chairs and couches, are on the way.

Items offered are scrawled on a chalkboard above the counter. Besides the main blend, there are specialty Mocha, Americano, Latté and espresso drinks, a variety of tasty treats that are baked fresh, as well as yogurts and parfaits.

All proceeds benefit refugees around the globe.

Elisa stressed that all the cups and straws are eco friendly.

“All of them come from the earth and go back to the earth.”

The café will be open three days a week to start: 

•Saturdays — 5:45 to 7:15 p.m.

•Sundays — 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

•Wednesdays — 6:30 to 8:30pm

“We think Wednesdays could be a big night,” Elisa noted. “Awana and youth group really aren’t that long, and a lot of parents like to stay at the church and wait for their kids. They can have a cup of coffee and meet with friends, read a book, or do some work on their laptop.”

She, too, hopes the café becomes the place to go for the entire community — whether they’re connected to our church or not.

“We want this to be a welcoming, inviting space for a great cup of coffee and some great conversation with friends,” Elisa continued, gesturing to the activity around her. “There’s really no place in Chippewa where you can do that on a Sunday morning. We want to be that place.”

Based on the opening weekend, it’s off to a pretty great start.

 

Vinciks ready for full-time mission work in the Dominican Republic

The Vincik family, from left: Faye, Christian, Jake and Luke. — Photo by Sally Kolodziej

The Vincik family, from left: Faye, Christian, Jake and Luke. — Photo by Sally Kolodziej

 

 

BY TIM KOLODZIEJ
For Pathway Church

 

So there they were, lounging on a beach in Clearwater, Fla.
Dazzling sunlight. A gentle breeze. Waves rolling through the sand and over their feet.
As couples often do, Faye and Jake Vincik gazed out into the limitless ocean view and imagined their family’s future together. After all, it wouldn’t be long before their two boys, Christian and Luke, would begin attending school.
At least that’s what Jake thought.
“Faye said something like, ‘We’ll have to home-school in the Dominican Republic,’ ” he recalled.
Wait … what?
To be clear, Jake had asked Faye to relocate to the DR many times over the past fews years, but her answer was always the same — no. So hearing her latest response left him in a state of euphoria. Not that he wanted anyone to know.
“I was playing it cool,” he said, laughing. “But in my mind I was doing back flips, saving a person in the water and swimming with the dolphins. That’s how good it felt.”
These days, Jake’s right arm is still a little weak following rotator cuff surgery, so it’s doubtful he will be doing back flips any time soon. But next month, Jake, Faye, Christian and Luke will board a plane for the tiny island an hour south of Miami.
And the one-way tickets they’ve purchased are proof of their commitment to do God’s work in the village of La Higuera.
“If I had to describe the past few months with one word,” Jake offered, “it would be ‘Unreal.’ ”
He grinned.
“Pathway has ‘ALL IN.’ We have ‘Unreal.’ ”
 

IGNITING THE FLAME ...

Jake visited the Dominican Republic for the first time in January of 2010 with Hope for Hispaniola, which has taken short-term trips to the DR since 2000. Matt Henderson is the mission’s founder and met the Vinciks at Pathway Church.
“I really don’t know why I went the first time,” Jake admitted. “I didn’t know if it was to check it off a list or if it was a true desire. Within two days there, God revealed a bunch of stuff to me.”
Six months later, Jake went again. Then again. And …
“I knew it was where God wanted me to be.”
He persuaded his wife to join him for the first time in May of 2013.
Then Jake began asking Faye to move to the DR with the intention of becoming full-time missionaries. She was actually receptive to the idea — once they hit retirement age.
“She didn’t think I meant now,” he said, laughing.
So Jake continued to go alone, then began to extend the week-long trips to two weeks, thinking that would make him happy.
It didn’t.
“I’ll be honest, I was feeling depressed,” he explained. “I asked God, ‘Why would you burden me and not my wife?’ ”
But that was before Faye’s revelation on the beach.
So, why the change of heart?
“When we visited the DR together, I could see Jake’s heart for the people,” Faye explained. “It was all God when we went down last year. Jake thrived there. Seeing him in action with the children, I knew we belonged there.”
Christian, now 7, and Luke, 4, are both excited for their family’s upcoming adventure. Faye will continue to home-school the boys in their new surroundings.
“At first, I was really concerned about raising a family and the education down there,” she said. “I never thought I’d be a home-schooling mom. But a lot of my friends here really helped me and it’s gone very well with Christian so far. I know this is what we are supposed to be doing.”
Jake agreed.
“I was looking for something to be called to. I just want to be obedient and give God more of me.”
 

COUNTING THE DAYS ...
 

January 14, 2018.
Jake has had their departure date circled on his calendar for quite some time now. Hope for Hispaniola started a school in La Higuera about 10 years ago, and the Vinciks can’t wait to begin teaching English there at night.
Faye explained that when the students learn English, they have a much greater chance of securing a job at resorts that pay a decent wage.
In addition to his teaching role, Jake also will oversee building maintenance at the school and will spearhead an effort to get the building’s water purification system operating again.
“Clean water is a hindrance in the Dominican Republic,” Faye said. “Getting the water purification system up and running again would be a huge blessing.”
But first, the Vinciks must take care of business here at home.
Jake is now in the process of liquidating his thriving construction business. He’s already sold his truck, and will begin selling off his tools once a few final jobs are completed.
An even bigger priority, he said, is securing relationships with prayer and financial partners.
The Vinciks are asking for prayer in three specific areas:
•To keep the family free from illness and doubt as the departure date nears
•To keep their marriage strong
•And to achieve closure here in Beaver County in a responsible way.
Financially, the Vinciks are still working toward the goal of $20,000 as a sending fund, and ask that you prayerfully consider a recurring or one-time gift to assist their mission.
Though he admits to feeling overwhelmed at times, Jake remembers that the mission extends well beyond human capacity.
“You don’t have to be tremendously gifted or skilled to make an impact for God,” he stressed. “God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things.”
He paused to adjust the sling on his arm.
“My dream is for us to help save a lot of people and grow old there,” he continued. “We’re willing and available, and God is honoring that. We just have to trust that His power will work through us.”
 

(To contribute to the Vincik Family Missions fund, contact Jake directly at jake_vincik@yahoo.com, or go to hopeforhispaniola.org, then scroll down the homepage to see their section.)

Pathway has grand opening for new children's wing

Click on the image above to advance the photo gallery and see more pictures. All photographs by Roy Price.

 

 

BY TIM KOLODZIEJ

For Pathway Church

 

From a distance, it looked as if a fair had broken out.

OK, at least a pretty massive block party.

Either way, the crowd was growing by the minute. More than a half-hour before the scheduled start time, dozens of families had already assembled in the parking lot of Pathway Church. Though Thanksgiving is less than a month away, children wearing T-shirts and shorts munched on hot dogs as they lounged at outdoor tables. Nearby, a warm and gentle breeze kept colorful bundles of balloons dancing in all directions.

Sure, the snacks were satisfying and the weather was wonderful, but make no mistake — the kids came to play.

And they didn’t stop until it was time to go home.

After years of praying and planning, then several more months of construction, Pathway celebrated the grand opening of its multimillion-dollar children’s wing on Friday night. Hundreds of curious visitors turned out to tour and explore the 23,400-square-foot structure. 

The first floor features an indoor playland, classrooms, a computerized check-in area and toddler-sized restrooms with tiny toilets and sinks. The second floor offers a multipurpose room with a huge video screen, additional classrooms, and an area dedicated to children with special needs.

Tracy Yowler is a member of the special needs team who helped design that space.

“I know there is a need for this in Beaver County,” she said. “I can't wait to see how God uses this ministry to serve children with special needs and their families." 

The event began with remarks from Jeff McNicol, senior pastor at Pathway. He then directed the crowd’s attention to a pair of large-screen televisions, which featured a video describing the new building. 

Following a moment of prayer, children’s ministry director Susie Best knelt in front of a huge red ribbon as youngsters from Pathway Kids lifted their scissors.

“In case you’re wondering, they’re child-safe scissors,” McNicol quipped.

“OK, are you ready?” Best asked them. “On your mark, get set, go!”

Snip, snip, hooray.

“The building is open!” McNicol shouted to raucous applause. “Enjoy it!”

As visitors walked the halls they couldn’t help but marvel at the vibrant walls — each covered with imaginative and colorful imagery.

“These are very exciting times at Pathway,” McNicol explained.

He smiled broadly, then turned toward the children climbing, swinging and sliding in the playland.

“We couldn’t be more excited.”

 And neither could they.