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The Edge to donate building to Hearthstone Ministries


ADAMS — Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. — Matthew 7:7

That biblical verse, from the New King James Version Bible, mirrors what is unfolding in the village. After Hearthstone Ministries was evicted Aug. 31 from its location at 11 E. Church St., organizers prayed they would find a new home, and they have — maybe twofold.

William A. Sampson, who runs Hearthstone Ministries, said the mission’s thrift store now will operate out of a 1,700-square-foot space at 3 N. Park St., below the Family Dollar. Hearthstone Ministries, he said, still is looking for space to house church programming and classes and expand mission work. The store reopens at 10 a.m. today.

“It’s all been falling into place,” Mr. Sampson said.

He said he has faith that God will continue to improve Hearthstone Ministries’ situation. More prayers soon may be answered, because now that The Edge teen center/ministries, 35 Main St., has closed its doors, those same doors may open soon as Hearthstone Ministries’ second location.

“We saw there was a need in the community so we put in motion to give the building to that need,” said DonnaJo Dowker, who is The Edge codirector and founder, along with her husband, the Rev. Albert J. Dowker, pastor at Honeyville Baptist Church, Adams Center.

The Edge and Hearthstone’s ministries are independent and not affiliated with each other.

The Rev. Mr. Dowker said the decision awaits final approval in state Supreme Court because of the intended transfer of property, free of charge, from nonprofit to nonprofit.

“We saw they need this building more than we did now,” the Rev. Mr. Dowker said.

He said the teen center/ministry is going in a different direction, and there are more opportunities for youths to be engaged in their communities today than there were 15 years ago when The Edge was formed. It has been located on Main Street for 12 years.

Although there will be no Edge physical space now, the Dowkers said the church’s youth mission work will continue.

In two weeks, youths from the program will go to New York City for a mission trip, and The Edge’s band, worship team and drama teams will travel and participate in camp sessions and other youth programs.

Financial support is still needed for those ventures, the Dowkers said; checks may be made payable to NCCYO, and sent to NCCYO, P.O. Box 194, Adams, N.Y. 13605-0194.

As difficult a decision as it was for The Edge board of directors to close the center and give Hearthstone Ministries the building, the Rev. Mr. Dowker said, it was not without careful consideration.

The Edge has been the Dowkers’ passion and part of their identify for a decade and a half.

“Our hope is when we turn this building over that it’ll enrich our community to make it better,” the Rev. Mr. Dowker said.

Mrs. Dowker said the building was named The Edge because it stands beside the South Sandy Creek, and she and her husband wanted to “give kids choice of an edge on life.”

Hearthstone Ministries now will be given that edge. Mr. Sampson said he would not comment on the matter because he “didn’t want to break the trust” he had with the Dowkers, as he told them he wouldn’t discuss the topic with anyone.

“We’re looking for another building,” Mr. Sampson said. “We are constantly looking for another space, whether it’s church or a total community center. We’re hoping to have an area where we could have emergency housing; that’s probably going to be down the road.”

Only the thrift store of Hearthstone Ministries will operate out of the North Park Street location, as it’s too small for other services for the 12-member church and the public.

Mr. Sampson said he cannot thank the Central Square-based Evergreen Estates, the building’s owner, enough for providing Hearthstone Ministries the space rent free.

The group pays for utilities, insurance and related church expenses. He said he got “it all in writing,” so there are not issues similar to those the group had with the landlord for its old location.

Ninety percent of thrift shop sales are generated back into the community through emergency assistance programs run by the ministries group, Mr. Sampson said. Through those efforts, several thousand dollars have gone to needy families in the last three years.

A grand reopening celebration will be held at the store Nov. 8, when cake will be served to customers. The store is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays to Thursdays and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Its telephone number is 232-9994.

People can shop or drop off donations during business hours, or send monetary donations to Hearthstone Ministries, 3 N. Park St., Adams, N.Y. 13605. A donation account is set up through Northern Federal Credit Union, and can be accessed at any branch.

Mr. Sampson said he believes God continues to bless Hearthstone Ministries and the needy families of northern Oswego and southern Jefferson counties that use the thrift shop and the ministries’ support services, because gifts of various donations, money, support and love keep coming.

“We’ve been called to do this,” Mr. Sampson said.

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