Pastor Cooper and Love Fellowship Worship Center was featured in an article for “The Good News” Christian Newspaper. Read the text of the article below.
Pastor Cooper of Love Fellowship Worship Center
Believes Every Christian Is Called To Ministry
By Susan LeDoux (The Good News)
“Can you bring together a group that can attract others with love?” That was the question God put on Lead Servant and Pastor James R. Cooper Sr.’s heart in 2006. Although at the time, straddling dual roles as a Xerox employee and an ordained minister, Cooper said “yes” to this question, and Love Fellowship Worship Center formed in 2011. The congregation settled into its permanent home last year at 740 Marshall Rd. in Chili. When approached about this article, Pastor Cooper suggested The Good News meet some of the congregation because the church “isn’t about me, it’s about the people,” he said.
Eddie Hammonds Jr. and his wife Sherri Tanner Hammonds were seeking a particular church home because Sherrie is of Muslim background and often felt lost and alien in Christian churches. She was seeking balance as she tried to learn the difference between the two faiths. The Hammonds felt welcomed the first Sunday they visited, and Pastor Cooper’s preaching style was just what Sherrie was looking for.
The Fellowship holds Bible study on Friday evenings. It draws about 30 people, many not even members of the church. After the main discussion, Sherrie likes the small groups where people share what the evening’s message meant to them, “because God’s Word touches people in different ways.”
Sherri grinned and said, “It’s like Goldilocks and the 3 little bears. This church is just right!”
Shaquan Wiggins had been attending a large church, where there was little chance for a pastor/member relationship, when his mother suggested Love Fellowship Worship Center. Known and appreciated by his pastor now, Shaquan runs the sound board during worship. Arlene Brown learned hands on ministry as she visits the sick and feed the hungry. But it was the teaching that attracted her to Love Fellowship Worship Center.
Claiming the verse that tells us we can do all things in Christ who strengthens us, Arlene is one of the churches’ Word Ministers. Already an outstanding Toastmaster (of Toastmasters International) she mentors others in the art of delivering sermons. Improving all aspects of communication is not only her mission as a Toastmaster, but also as a Christian so she and others can share the Gospel comfortably.
As Arlene talked about her ministry, Pastor Cooper added that he believes everybody is called to ministry; it is just a matter of what that ministry is and how one uses it. He encourages his congregation to serve wherever they find their calling.
Drew Miltsch and Bob Ludwig are using their talents to worship and serve God. Miltsch had been playing piano at another church but attended Praise Night at Love Fellowship Worship Center in 2012. He returned every Sunday thereafter because he felt God was speaking to him and he had to be there.
“Not that I wasn’t hearing from him outside, but it was very clear on Sunday mornings.” Bob Ludwig plays guitar and he first visited the church to accompany Suwilanji, a female vocalist from Zambia, Africa. When he returned to promote another of her concerts, Pastor Cooper mimed strumming a guitar and suggested he always bring his guitar to church. “I brought it with me when I came back. The love here is so intense and real…it’s what keep me here.”
When Danette Campbell-Bell and her husband, Maurice, opened their home to a Chinese international student, Danette felt called to introduce the girl to Christ. Despite her past negative experience with a church, she checked the internet and discovered Love Fellowship Worship Center. She walked in with trepidation, ready to flee at any moment, but they took their seats after receiving a warm greeting. That Sunday she learned about Love Fellowship Worship Center’s outreach to the people at the corner of Bay and Niagara streets in the city. “Wow,” she thought, “this church is actually doing something.”
It all began a few years ago when a young man had been murdered at that corner. Remix Ministries stepped in to help them heal and Love Fellowship Worship Center soon joined them, bringing food, love, clothes, prayer, and music.
“We don’t treat them like “those people,” Pastor Cooper said. He told of a young man who said he was ready to turn himself in to the police, after Cooper talked and prayed with him. Another man quietly pulled a knife from his pocket and dropped it into a gutter.
“You think you’re doing something for others, but it has done wonders for us and our faith walk. The crack house across the street is gone. The people are respectful and talk to us,” Cooper said.
A friend invited Reander Hogue to Love Fellowship Worship Center. “The teaching, the people loving on me, touched my heart,” she said. Now she passes that love on in her role as “gatekeeper” (greeter).
Pastor Cooper spoke of Reander’s gift of discernment; she is able to warn the church or people of things that are coming, as well as give direction. Drew Miltsch said seeing this in Reander was a huge growth experience for him. “I didn’t understand prophecy but when I saw it…I wasn’t such a skeptic.”
Pastor Cooper’s wife, Terri, leads the youth ministry, which has three components. The first was obvious as, downstairs, about 20 students, K-12, were busy studying with volunteers from the University of Rochester.
The second is creative dance, where children perform on special occasions like New Years, Christmas and Easter.
Finally, “College and Career” helps 7th to 12th graders prepare for life after high school-whether in a trade or college.
By hearing stories from this close knit faith family, it became clear that here the Word is wonderfully preached, and learning takes place on every level. People are loved, valued, and empowered to be the people God created them to be.
If you are looking for a loving church home, visit any Sunday. Reander will make sure you feel welcome, and you may just decide to stay a while.
Love Ministries Fellowship corrected to read Love Fellowship Worship Center