“People Becoming Fully Alive in Christ”
As prior residents of the Niagara region, John and Aimee sensed the Lord stirring their hearts to return and start a church in the Niagara Falls area. With their three children, John and Aimee sold their house, left their family, friends, jobs, ministries and church family in the Adirondack region and moved to Niagara County where they began holding church meetings in the living room of their rented house in the Town of Wilson.
In this home setting, the family identity of our church was formed. John even preached portions of sermons with his son in his arms. Each Sunday, members pushed a dear lady in her wheelchair across the lawn, and helped her up the steep stone steps. When a few precarious trips through the snow-covered lawn proved dangerous, the leadership team at the Elks Lodge behind the Fashion Outlets in Niagara Falls graciously welcomed us to meet in their facility. From this rented hall, RiverLife Chapel was officially launched in January 2009.
The church began to grow primarily through word of mouth, with members coming from diverse areas such as Niagara Falls, Newfane, Youngstown, Lewiston, Wheatfield and as far away as Holland, NY. Our congregation saved money while searching for a more permanent home. In April 2011, God provided the means to purchase the Old Hardings restaurant building on Creek Rd. in Porter/ Youngstown. With a warm welcome from the Town of Porter and extensive support from the local community, a yearlong renovation process was completed and we held our first worship service on Pentecost Sunday, May 27th, 2012 with great celebration and thanksgiving.
In 2017, the Lord began leading the congregation into a new season and the next phase of the vision. Sensing the Lord was calling our founders to a change of roles at RiverLife Chapel and a call to return to the Adirondack region, John and Aimee formed a Kingdom Partnership to lead RiverLife Chapel into the next season. In February 2017, local pastoral leadership was transitioned to Pastor Kevin Cole under the general oversight of Pastor John and in local partnership with Lead Pastor Josh Hamlin of New Covenant Church in Tonawanda, NY. Central to this transition was the call of John and Aimee to serve their home congregation of Church of the King Queensbury NY, where they currently reside. While pastoring Church of the King, John still serves RiverLIfe Chapel as the visionary leader and general overseer.
And our history continues to be made, most importantly through lives that are being transformed. People continually testify that they are coming to know Jesus more intimately and to love others more sincerely. Restlessness is being turned to peace, despair to hope and sadness into joy! We have seen troubled marriages saved, bad habits broken, new dreams coming alive and a growing congregation that truly enjoys coming to church. One family even drives over an hour every Sunday to attend, because “Sunday is the best day of the week!” Another member said with tears in his eyes, “All my life I knew about God, but now I truly know Him!” Jesus is alive and RiverLife Chapel is a congregation of People Becoming Fully Alive in Christ! If you are in need of the abundant life of Christ, consider being a part of our history and, better yet, a vibrant part of His Story!