April 2007: A Month to Remember!

The Smellies and the Broomes
“How can I repay the Lord for all his goodness to me? I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord. I will fulfill my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people.”
– Psalm 116:12-14

Some say that the month of April is only known for two things: the Easter holiday and Taxes!! Here in Central New York, it has been a month that we will never forget! Beginning on April 1st, the first Women’s Ministry Leader to be baptized in the church and raised up to servant leadership was appointed! Patrique Antoinette Smellie (pictured center left) was appointed a Women’s Ministry Leader in God’s Kingdom! Our spiritual mentors in the faith, Chris and Theresa Broom, leaders of the Chicago, Illinois church in our fellowship, appointed her at this momentous occasion!

Patrique was born on September 12, 1976 in Kingston, Jamaica. At the age of 3, her family immigrated to Baltimore, Maryland, where she and her two siblings lived with her grandmother for two years, while her mother went to NYC to set up a home for her family. Her father remained in Jamaica, and after 6 years Patrique and her father became estranged. In 1981, her mother returned to Baltimore and moved Patrique and her siblings to Bronx, New York, where they lived for six years. After her grandmother became ill, they moved back to Baltimore.

In 1994, Patrique was accepted into The Johns Hopkins University, where she received her Bachelors of Arts in International Relations in 1998. It was during this time that Patrique was first reached out to by a sister in the Baltimore church, but she refused. She was attending a lukewarm, materialistic Baptist church, and due to her religious pride, did not feel like she needed to change. However, God would soon break her pride down. The year of 1997 was a year of devastating blows to her family. God used these situations to humble her and she started to seek after Him with more of a humble heart.

In 1998, she was accepted to Syracuse University College of Law, where she also decided to enroll in Syracuse’s Maxwell Program for a Masters in Public Administration. In 2001, she graduated from both programs, took the New York Bar Exam, and began practicing as a corporate litigator in a mid-size law firm in Syracuse.

Being from a religious background, Patrique attended several churches in the area, only to find hypocrisy and immorality as God continued to break down her religious pride. She attended a Pentecostal church, which opened her eyes to her own hypocrisy and that of the “Christian” world. The sin of sexual immorality was present in her life and even in the leadership of the Pentecostal church she attended. No one ever called her to a righteous standard, even through she confessed her sin to one of the ministers’ wives. She often wondered, “Why does my life look so different from that of the twelve disciples?” She was ready to give up on “church” and seek God on her own, but she had hope. She began praying that if God sent her someone to teach her how to teach others the Word, she would never leave him. After praying this prayer for two and a half months, Tina Henshaw, a disciple at the Central New York Church of Christ, met her and they began studying the Bible that night with several other sisters!

After studying the Bible for about 3 months, she was baptized into Christ on December 12, 2001! She began working tirelessly to expand and mature the Teen ministry, while also balancing a hectic schedule as an attorney. It was here that she began dreaming for God’s kingdom by giving all her heart and talent to pursue the full-time ministry! God blessed her ministry and her life, and she began dating a ministry intern in the church, Andrew Smellie, in 2003. Andrew was appointed an evangelist on July 24, 2005 and they were married on August 6, 2005! She was hired into the full-time ministry on April 1st, 2006, and they began leading the church in May of 2006 after Chris and Theresa Broom moved to plant the Chicago International Christian Church! Since May of 2006, God has used Patrique to serve and lead the women of the CNY church in powerful ways, as she has worked to expand and mature the women of the church, as well as train other leaders for women’s ministry. Through her leadership and personal example, 8 women have been baptized, 1 restored and 2 moved into the CNY family since her leadership of the women began in May of 2006! To God Be the Glory!

Through His grace God has continued to bless our church with fruit for our labors in His service. The second and third weeks of the month was an incredible time of strengthening and maturing for our fellowship during our Men’s and Women’s Retreats entitled “Men (Women) of Courage” based on 1 Corinthians 16:13, which states, “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong”. Classes included “Courage in the face of Training”; “Courage in the face of Spiritual Loss”; “Courage in the face of Persecution”; and “Courage in the face of Change”. We watched the movie “The Guardian”, depicting the elite Rescue Swimmers of the US Coast Guard, known as “fishers of men” as they place their lives on the line to rescue strangers from danger. The motto of the US Coast Guard is also inspiring, entitled, “So Others May Live”. The spiritual parallels to our own lives were obvious and inspiring to all as we aim to obey Jesus’ call to “fish for men” to know God! (Mark 1:16) It was an incredible time of worship, confession, deep talks and teaching for all as we renewed our commitment to be courageous in loving God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and to love our brothers and the lost of this world as we would ourselves. (Matthew 22:37-39)

Mens Retreat

On the Sunday, May 15th, immediately following our Men’s Retreat, Jonathan Pedican, (center right) a sophomore at Syracuse University majoring in Mechanical engineering was baptized! Jonathan is eager to preach the message to save others at Syracuse University, including his roommate, Jesse, who was also baptized recently! Jonathan is pictured below with Joe Lentini, Maoti Gborkquellie, Cassel Spence, Pat Warner and Andrew Smellie.

Jonathans Baptism

Another great event occurred on Friday, April 27th, as Chris and Kerri-Sue Adams moved from Utica into their new home in Syracuse, New York to be trained for the full-time ministry! Patrique and I, along with all of the church are grateful for their hearts of faith and sacrifice to proclaim the gospel throughout Central New York! The miracles continued to occur as 3 people were baptized into Christ on Sunday, April 29th! Lauren Marfo, a freshman at Syracuse University; Jesse Gray, a sophomore at Syracuse University (and the roommate of Jonathan Pedican!), and Heather Crosby, a single mom! To God Be the Glory!

Laurens Baptism

Jesse Baptism

Heathers Baptism

It is only by our faith in God’s power that these miracles have occurred! It is inspiring to us all, and a testament to the fact that God can use anyone to accomplish His purposes. How can we repay the Lord for all He has done for us? We will continue to be sold-out disciples of Jesus, following the unadulterated Word of God; committed to expanding our numbers as we hold out the Word of Life to the world (Philippians 2:16; Matthew 28:19-20) and committed to maturing our membership as we call every member to be in a discipling relationship (Galatians 4:19; Mark 6:7; Luke 10:1) as we hold each other accountable to Jesus’ standard of discipleship (Colossians 1:28). Please pray for us, and the work that God is doing throughout Central New York. To Him Be All the Glory!

Andrew Smellie