The Rev. Jonathan K. Wixson, the new pastor at the Wesleyan Church, 31 David St., is on a mission from God.
Through community outreach and marketing, Rev. Wixson is looking to revitalize Wesleyan. He said the churchs history of being internally instead of externally focused has isolated the community and potential parishioners.
Were not changing the message, just our methods, Rev. Wixson said Wednesday.
As part of the changes, Rev. Wixson and church members will replace the churchs pews with chairs to create a multipurpose space. The space will be used for movie nights, zumba and other community events as well as Sunday worship, Rev. Wixson said.
The churchs basement will be converted into a teen-only zone.
Its about giving kids a place where they feel they belong and letting them know care about them, Rev. Wixson said. They feel ownership and know there is a place they can hang out that is safe.
Rev. Wixson said he hopes the new spaces will be more inviting to worshippers and their neighbors.
I think people can expect a time of vibrant worship with solid biblical preaching and use of all different media including video and all kinds of different types of worship styles, Rev. Wixson said.
To remarket the church, Rev. Wixson has created a website: www.ogdensburgwc.com.
Rev. Wixson said he hopes the changes will increase parishioners. The church currently has thirty members.
I foresee doubling and even tripling that, Rev. Wixson said.
Rev. Wixson comes to his new call from Turning Point Wesleyan Church, where he served for three and half years. He replaces Rev. Gloria Strong.
Mr. Wixson grew up in Horseheads. He was a youth pastor and an assistant pastor before taking the senior pastor role in Ogdensburg. He has been instrumental in two different church turnarounds and re-launches in his six years as a pastor.
His enthusiasm and intensity is uplifting, Wesleyan Spiritual Formation Director Bruce C. Pero said Wednesday. I think hes bringing the church in a direction weve wanted to go in for a while.
Before the changes, Mr. Pero said the church was in a rut.
We were isolated, he said. We wanted to go out into Ogdensburg and reach the public so we could become part of the community. Rev. Wixson said he does not know how long he will be staying in Ogdensburg.
It could be five or ten years or indefinitely, he said. For now we are focusing on the work to be done here. Im happy to be here.
Rev. Wixson lives in Ogdensburg with his wife, Jamie, and eight-week old daughter, Myka. The church will be holding several events to for the community:
n Today the church will hold a Trunk or Treat from 6 to 8 p.m. at the church. Games, candy and prizes will be free for the whole family.
n A meet the pastor and his family event will be held Nov. 10 with service starting at 11 a.m. Refreshments and snacks after at the pastors house.
n A family movie night will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. Nov. 15 and Jan. 10.
n On Dec. 6 to 9 p.m., parents can take a night off for holiday shopping. Supervision will be provided for children as they enjoy crafts, snacks, a movie, and games. Parents can RSVP by calling 323-9472.
n A candy cane festival will be from 6:30 to 8:30 pm. All ages are welcome. Learn the story of the Candy cane and the love of Christ with a story, crafts, snacks and games.
n Worship is every Sunday at 11 a.m. Sunday school will be offered at 10 a.m. Coffee and refreshments held after the service.