Merging Churches May Buy Former Holy Family Church

The former Holy Family Church in Fulton.
The former Holy Family Church in Fulton.

The leaders of a soon-to-merge church say they’re waiting on final approval to buy the former Holy Family Church in Fulton.

Pastors Abel Searor, of Beyond Borders Church of God of Fulton and Lawrence Falco of Full Gospel Church of God of Baldwinsville say their offer has been presented by the Catholic Diocese of Syracuse to the Vatican for approval.

The Fulton congregation, which meets at Searor’s home on Oneida St., counts 46 members. “His home is stuffed,” said Falco. The Baldwinsville church, which meets in a community room at Village Green in Baldwinsville, numbers 25 to 30 members.

The pastors said the combined church would keep the Full Gospel name.

Full Gospel is affiliated with the International Church of God, one of many religious organizations that use the Church of God name.

It is a Pentecostal denomination, which claims more than 6 million members around the world.

Holy Family church was forced to close by the Catholic Diocese of Syracuse, one of many church closings and consolidations across its district. The congregation was moved to the former Immaculate Conception Church across town, with the congregation renamed Holy Trinity Church.

The third church in that trinity is the former St. Michael’s Church on Beech St. It closed several years ago and was sold in 2008.

The pastors are seeking temporary space for their combined church while they wait for the sale of Holy Family to be approved and for the sale to close.

The closed Fulton Tourism Center.
The closed Fulton Tourism Center.

They approached the city about using its Community Center in City Hall as a temporary church. Mayor Ron Woodward suggested that they consider the vacant Tourism Center at Bullhead Point park.

“We were thinking that would suit us for a few months,” Falco said.

Tuesday, they asked the Fulton Common Council for an update and were told to submit a full proposal for the use of the building. Woodward said the church would have to pay the city to rent the building, to cover the city’s costs.

The center was built using grant funds, to serve as a tourist welcome center. Two attempts to run an information center out of the building have failed, as have several attempts to run a small restaurant in the building. It has been vacant for a year.