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NORTH TONAWANDA - A brand new church congregation that was "planted" several weeks ago in North Tonawanda will spring into full bloom today when it officially launches its first public services at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m.
North Tonawanda Campus Pastor Chad Rieselman said the newly named Generation Church will open at 1001 E. Robinson St., in the building formerly occupied by the Abundant Life Assembly of God. Abundant Life was closed in 2009 because of a dwindling congregation.
"The church property was given to First Assembly of God in Niagara Falls in 2010," Rieselman said. "Their vision of starting a brand new life-giving church in North Tonawanda becomes a reality" today.
Rieselman calls himself the "lead planter" of the new congregation. He and a group of volunteers have been cultivating its seeds for several weeks by holding "pre-launch" meetings every Sunday and "sneak previews" for the past few weeks.
"With the help of First Assembly in Niagara Falls, The Chapel at Crosspoint and First Assembly in Binghamton," the pastor said, he and a team of volunteers have been renovating the building "and gathering families from the surrounding neighborhoods to begin a new faith community in North Tonawanda."
To promote their new congregation, members of Generation Church have been hosts to "hundreds of people since January at pre-launch meetings and events like the 'Kids Rock' day camp in July and the 'Friends Day Summerfest' in August," Rieselman said.
He and his wife, Christina, moved from Binghamton with their three children to become partners with Niagara Falls First Assembly to plant the new church in North Tonawanda. The pastor said he "felt the clear call to be a church planter."
The local Assembly churches are loosely affiliated with the Assemblies of God, but for the most part are independently administered.
"Generation Church will be a church that has a life of its own in the community," Rieselman said. "Its mission is to make the name of Jesus famous in North Tonawanda. You can't do that without recognizing and meeting the needs of the people here."
He said, "We're really excited about the momentum that God has given us as we head into our public launch. So many people in the community have expressed their hope for Generation Church to succeed. It seems this church has been an answer to the prayers of lots of families for a healthy church here in North Tonawanda."
The church motto is "Your friends are here!"
The pastor said, "Generation Church will offer a fresh new approach to church. We try to make everyone feel at home here. Our tagline, 'Your friends are here!', was actually born out of a statement made by a Generation Church visitor from Sanborn. He said his reason for coming to church in North Tonawanda was "because my friends are here."
Rieselman said in an earlier interview that people can expect Generation Church to provide:
. A relaxed atmosphere where you are welcome to come as you are.
. Powerful worship and teaching that is applicable to your life.
. A place for children to learn about God and grow in their faith.
. Loving and welcoming people who are happy you chose to worship with them.
Generation Church will hold weekly Sunday services at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m., with simultaneous nursery services and programs for children up to age 12. Members of the congregation also will hold "Life Group" meetings on four nights a week in the church and at the homes of parishioners. More information is available at the church and online.
Generation Church at 1001 E. Robinson St. is a few miles north of the Youngmann Memorial Highway and just west of Niagara Falls Boulevard.

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