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The McKnight family is excited to open their church, Kingdom Culture Ministries, with a community day celebration in Renziehausen Park on Sept. 1. From left to right: Joy McKnight, Morgan McKnight, Gabriel McKnight Jr., Pastor Gabriel McKnight Sr. and Maleah McKnight. (Anthony Tabron II photo courtesy Kingdom Culture Ministries)
When Gabe and Joy McKnight first looked at the former Transfiguration of Our Lord Byzantine Catholic Church, they saw more than an old building with bricks falling from the side.
They saw what they can create inside the 100-year-old church on Sixth Avenue, Downtown. They imagined the families that would fill the pews to hear the lessons brought in a modern Christian style.
“My goals for the church are to simply help people find hope and salvation by spreading the love of Christ and to help shift the stigma on the Christian community,” Joy McKnight said. “We want to be a shoulder and a friend to all.”
The McKnights’ new church, called Kingdom Culture Ministries, will hold a community day open to everyone at 5 p.m. Sept. 1 at Pavilion No. 1 in Renziehausen Park.
At the former Transfiguration church, located at 121 Sixth Ave., they hope to soon offer Bible study, food services, adult day care, child care, youth and afterschool programs and other resources.
Their food pantry will deliver grocers for people who are unable to pick up groceries, the McKnights said, adding they do not want anyone to miss out on the chance for needed food just because they do not have a car.
They also want the church to extend services outside the area. “We plan to reach not only the people of McKeesport, but the people in the neighboring communities as well, by bringing the Word of God to them at church, or their doorstep, providing fun and helpful resources and by focusing on meeting the underlying need of basic necessities in these communities,” Gabe McKnight said.
At the picnic, the McKnights want to introduce themselves to the community and share their plans for Kingdom Culture Ministries.
The event will include open fellowship, free food and scholarship packets for students of all ages. There will be applications for jobs that will be opening at the church – during and after construction.
For the McKnights, the picnic is a way for them to connect with families and learn more about the community's needs. But, they said, it's also a way for the community to learn more about the McKnights and their three young children.
To raise money, the McKnights will be selling a cookbook titled, “Kingdom Recipes from the Heart.”
People who want to donate a recipe for the cookbook or get more information about the church should email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Charlotte Hopkins is a freelance writer from West Elizabeth. She may be reached at email@example.com.
Originally published August 22, 2019.