Contrary to rumors that have circulated recently, the Buffalo Christian Center is not on the verge of closing, but it is in the process of shifting its focus more toward city congregations.
"The Buffalo Christian Center is committed to the city, and we are here to stay," the Rev. David Grainge said. "We want to reach out to the neighborhoods that surround the center as well as the greater Buffalo community."
A Niagara Falls native, Mr. Grainge took over as director of the center Oct. 1. He formerly was co-founder of Reaching Urban Neighborhoods, a multiethnic Christian outreach ministry to youth and adults in Philadelphia.
Mr. Grainge succeeds the Rev. Brad Ringer, who left Aug. 1 to devote full time to Repossession Company, his own youth ministry.
The center, located at 512 Pearl St., provides a variety of facilities and programs, many of them aimed at teen-agers. Facilities include a gymnasium, swimming pool, roller rink, 1,100-seat auditorium and Christian bookstore.
Because the director's post was vacant for two months, programming suffered and rumors developed that the facility would close, Mr. Grainge said.
Although the center traditionally has received much of its financial support from suburban churches, it has served both suburban and city congregations.
That will continue, Mr. Grainge said, but there will be a new emphasis on working with city churches, particularly those that operate in storefronts or aging buildings that lack adequate support facilities.
"We want to network and bring the Christian community together," he said.