Boarded up homes line the streets surrounding New Generation Ministries on Buffalo’s East Side. The neighborhood can nicely be described as distressed. But inside New Generation on Good Friday, the song remains the same.
“Community to me represents family. A family sense,” said New Generation Pastor Stephen Kulu. “And whether it’s the common denominator for all people that are in the community, that we are all human. We’re all people and we all have a struggle. We all have something that we’re going through.”
A former drug dealer, Kulu has since found his faith. His vision is to create a hub for community development, starting with senior housing in a lot across the street from the church.
Pastor Gabriel Gaulthier of Prince of Peace on the city’s West Side shared Kulu’s view of neighborhood outreach.
“Pastor Kulu here, even on the East Side, he’s making a great, great impact in our community,” Gaulthier said. “And we don’t essentially need to be in the four walls, and really when you think about church, church is not a building.”
Gaulthier said helping people out of desperate situations is in the spirit of Christ’s teachings.
In Kulu’s neighborhood, he believes his own story can lead young people away from the allure of street life.
“Having more of them testify about their lives, because a lot of them come from the street too, right where I came from,” Kulu said. “So they saw my life and they were like ‘well I can still wear what I wear, I can still be me, but be saved.’”
In addition to the senior center Kulu wants to build a soccer and lacrosse field on land adjacent to the church. Without a developer’s name attached to the project, Kulu said he cannot get a permit.