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Two churches ready to continue a long tradition

Traditions a half-century in the making will continue at two churches in Lockport and Niagara Falls this Lenten season.

Emmanuel United Methodist Church and First Presbyterian Church of Niagara Falls each has scheduled a seven-week luncheon series.

Lunches at each church will begin at noon.

This is the 52nd year of the series at the Lockport church, said organizer Christa Caldwell.

Attendees are invited from various churches across the city as preparations move forward for Easter.

"The hope is there will be something uplifting, a positive kind of message," Caldwell said.

The tradition began at the church because it is located very close to the former main plant of the former Harrison Radiator. In fact, it began just as a men's luncheon, Caldwell said.

Emmanuel United Methodist, 75 East Ave., will host the following Wednesday lunches:

*Wednesday -- Fay Cleveland, retired Methodist pastor; vegetable lasagna.

*March 4 -- Deborah and Alex Franco, mother and son from Lockport, will speak about their work on several international missions; baked chicken.

*March 11 -- The Rev. James Hardy, First Presbyterian Church of Lockport; roast beef.

*March 18 -- Tricia Degan of Niagara Hospice; baked ham.

*March 25 -- Ann Marie Linnabery, History Center of Niagara; chicken and biscuits.

*April 1 -- The Rev. Flavia Skilbred, First English Lutheran Church of Lockport; pot roast.

*April 8 -- David Greenfield, of St. Mary Catholic Church; penne with meatballs.

The meals at the Lockport church will be catered by Molinaro's Restaurant, and the cost is $7.50.

In the Falls, the Lenten Luncheon Series also has been happening for more than 50 years and takes place at First Presbyterian Church, 311 First St.

Meals cost $5, and for more information or to make a table reservation, call 285-3555.

Like in Lockport, it started at a time when there was a greater bustle of workers looking for lunch than there is now in the city's downtown area.

"We've continued it just as a communitywide thing," said James R. Brunn, First Presbyterian Church historian. "And now we're running out of people to do the work, but we're still able to carry on."

Here's the schedule of speakers and meals to be served on Thursday's at the Falls church:

Thursday -- The Rev. William Allegretto, Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph Parish at St. Joseph Church; baked chicken.

*March 5 -- The Rev. Harvey L. Kelley, New Hope Baptist Church; baked boneless pork chops.

*March 12 -- The Rev. William Lowery, Ransomville Free Methodist Church; glazed ham balls.

*March 19 -- The Rev. Jeff Milsten, St. James Evangelical Lutheran Church; turkey a la king.

*March 26 -- The Rev. Robert Bellingham, Niagara United Presbyterian Church; manicotti and meatballs.

*April 2 -- The Rev. Langdon "Buddy" Hubbard, First Presbyterian Church of East Aurora; homemade meatloaf.

*The Rev. Isaac Iniasota, St. Stephen's Episcopal Church; vegetable lasagna.

e-mail: abesecker@buffnews.com

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