Kyle Patterson

The Irony of The Chapel Controversy

Inside the Palace Theater, home of The Chapel at LockportIt seems ironic that there is controversy between the Catholic Church in Lockport and The Chapel at Crosspoint, considering they both are supposed to have the same mission. The Buffalo News published an article Sunday on their front page about the conflict the Catholic Church was having with a new church plant by The Chapel at Crosspoint. The Chapel is a non-denominational mega-church located in Getzville, NY. The Catholic Church historically has been the dominant faith in Western New York yet has been slowly declining in numbers with more and more of their parishes being forced to close. Maybe that is the reason why they are so upset about The Chapel's recent announcement that they will be planting a satellite campus starting Easter, April 4, 2010 in The Palace Theater and across the street in the Old Post Office in dowtown Lockport NY.

The Chapel views Lockport as a great opportunity to continue its mission of giving "every man, woman, and child repeated opportunities to both hear and see the gospel of Jesus Christ." The Catholic church according to an article published by the Buffalo News on Sunday sees the church plant as a threat. The Buffalo News published a copy of a church bulletin written by Rev. James A. Waite accussing the Chapel of slick marketing and live praise bands as a way of drawing in large crowds. 

The Chapel however have done their research on the opportunity that Lockport represents for church growth. According to a study Pastor Jerry Gillis presented at The Chapel at Crosspoint, Lockport has a population of 49,476 people of whom 70.4% of people have little to no faith involvement of any kind. With those types of statistics available the argument that the Catholic church is forming against the new work holds no influence.Yes there is a possibility that some members of the Catholic Church in Lockport would be drawn to their services and this could pose a threat. But if effective ministry was happening and the "market" so to speak was already "saturated" than why do 70.4% of the city of Lockport have no faith connection? That sounds like a great opportunity to reach a city that needs to hear and see what The Chapel has to offer.