Practicing What They Preach

If you’ve noticed the storefront for North Wedge Market at 46 Mt. Hope Ave. and wondered what’s happening there, the short answer is, a lot. Rochester Pillar Church or The Pillar, is an interdenominational church that runs an outreach program to help low-income people move toward meaningful work and self-sufficiency. That being said, on my visit there this spring it seemed like I’d stumbled into a three-ring circus. First, some background.

Two summers ago, Pastor Devin Lyles was charged by United Methodist Ministries to pull to- gether a team and reach out to the community at large. ey invited one and all to a Christmas service at the Cinema eater in Decem- ber 2014 that included a free lunch catered by the Highland Diner. It went really well, Devin said, and he was surprised by the wide range of people who showed up.

From that moment on, the team was determined to include people of all stripes and colors. For Easter in 2015 they held a service at School 35 on Field Street and then got busy looking for a space. Devin and his wife Logan were living in Swillburg when rents started sky-rocketing and he saw the need for affordable housing.

The team found an old 6,400 sq. foot factory at 46 Mt. Hope near St. Joseph’s Neighborhood Center, the Dorothy Day House, NYS Parole and other service providers. They were able to get a lease in April 2015 and with a lot of elbow grease moved in, in late October.

As of their grand opening this past April, they had three large rooms re nished in recycled materials – for services, classrooms and o ces. North Wedge Market started as a consignment thrift shop and job training program. It now aims to connect people who need furniture and essentials with people who have items to donate. NWM gets referrals from social agencies like Furnished for Life. eir biggest need is for cribs, car seats, diapers, dishes and small appliances for families with young children. Yes, of course, donations are welcomed!

The church’s team includes Pastor Devin, Pastor Jeannine Zona, volunteer coordinator and advocate, who’s been there since the beginning, Pastor Phil Hownshell, and Brian McCormick.

If you like music – any kind of music – they’ve got it. The Venue offers concerts for all ages and tastes from hip hop to punk, and Alternating Currents comedy show. Open mike on Thursdays will be relaunched in September.

The Pillar also offers personal growth and self-sfficiency guidance for low-income people through Free to Fly, Achieving our Goals Friend to Friend. is non-profit pairs urban and suburban churches with faith and community organizations. The Pillar seeks to “Invite All; Embrace All; Serve All.” Rides are available to Sunday breakfast at 9:30 a.m. and worship at 10:45 p.m. Those who say church is dull and out-of-touch with the real world are invited to drop by and check it out.

Lastly, also under the same roof is Rochester Event Destination; opened by Brock Thresher in April as an event space open to the community for events, meetings, workshops, art exhibits, and music performances. The sole purpose of this small business is to donate a good portion of their profits to area veterans and their families. Local Hero, an apparel line, is his proudest endeavor yet. Order and donate to Local Hero Bravery Gear at Roceventdestination