Extending Our Families

This past year has continued to provide some challenges, as did its immediate predecessors, especially in the area of weather. Yet we still manage to gather, worship together and extend our hearts outside the church’s walls. That is where a Deacon’s heart lies.

We expanded our refugee ministry this year by working with Jewish Family Services in assisting a recently arrived Ukrainian family of 5 (the Balanovychs) in assimilating to American society. As a result, we added them to the food drive and Christmas gift efforts and have begun tutoring and mentoring efforts on Sat and Sunday evenings with Deacon Tom.

In staying connected and continuing to serve our Congolese family (the Moises) from pre-Covid times Thanksgiving foods were collected and brought to each family. This Christmas many of St. Peter’s parishioners donated gifts for the Moise and Balanovych’s family. Here are some pictures of both families.

Moise Family
Balanovych Family
Balanovych Family

Florence KilamboKalumbu Becomes US Citizen!

Many of us have gotten to know Florence over the last few years. She has mainly attended the 10 am service and has become a parishioner at St. Peters. I am very pleased to report that Florence obtained her Citizenship on July 14, 2022, congratulations Florence! A celebration of her journey and hard work was held on July 14th in the St. Peter’s undercroft,

The following story is written with Florence’s consent:

Florence was born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. She and her husband were imprisoned in the Congo. Florence’s crime was providing education to women who were abused, and in need of health care. She was able to leave the prison after 1 month, with the support of a Judge that had known of her work as a nurse. He gave her $20 for a cab, and upon release she was forced to go into hiding for fear of further political arrests.

Her husband was also arrested while living in the DR Congo and died while imprisoned. She does not know what happened to him, but suspects that he was slain. A Human Rights organization, and a church in her hometown, helped her receive a Visa to leave the Congo.

Florence arrived here 10 years ago with refugee status. Once in our country, she lived at the Viva La Casa Shelter for 1 year, awaiting asylum. The Nuns from the order of St. Francis gave her work as a Nurses’ aide, for they knew of her work as a Nurse in the Congo. She continues to work with the Nuns even though her workplace was sold and is now called Fredonia Place.

Florence has 4 grown children.  She hopes that she can work to bring her children to this country. They all believe they must “leave it to God”.

Our Vestry has been very supportive of Florence efforts and hard work. She thanks the Vestry and all her friends from St. Peters for providing that care. Please take the opportunity to sit down with Florence and get to know a remarkable child of God.

Lois Tripp | July 2022

Deacon Diana Leiker returns to St. Peters!

The Venerable Diana Leiker

St. Peter’s is my home church and the one that supported me throughout the ordination process. When I was ordained in December of 2016, I was assigned to serve at another parish in the diocese and have been there full time for five years. Since taking on the role of Arch Deacon for the diocese of WNY, just before the pandemic hit, I have discovered that my role is evolving and changing and I recognized that more flexibility in my schedule as well as location, was needed.  At this time, I am so excited to be able to serve at two churches, two Sundays each. As a part time deacon at St. Peter’s I am able to help Deacon Tom and the wonderful, giving people of this congregation with their ministries and assist Father Dan at the altar. 

I am a retired art teacher, mother of four grown children, Bree, Kristin, Will, and Rochelle, and have nine grandchildren who mean the world to me. Before I retired I decided to do something “country-ish” (since I live on 2 1/2 acres of land) and now am a crazy chicken lady, with a small flock of birds. Along with my rescued dachshund, Hans, and cat, Windy, I get lots of lovin’ from my pets.  I try to be creative with my art whenever I can, but don’t always carve out time like I should.

With Deacon Tom, I am a member of the Commission to Dismantle Racism and Discrimination. I am also a member of the Standing Committee, co-ordinate a respite care program in Batavia, and work with refugees. As Arch Deacon, I also am involved in the ordination process for aspirants within the partnership. I am busy, happy, and always available to help.