Calvary Tabernacle opens new church building on Maple Ridge this Sunday

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 15 October 2021 at 8:43 am

Photos by Ginny Kropf: Pastor Vincent Iorio stands beside the sign which will stand in front of his new church on Maple Ridge Road, until the rest of the money can be raised for a digital sign. The building is also home to a Spanish-speaking church.

MEDINA – Sunday will mark the end of a long journey for Calvary Tabernacle Assembly of God, when their new building on Maple Ridge Road finally welcomes members for its first service.

“It’s been five years in the making,” said Pastor Vincent Iorio. “Like everybody else, Covid set us back a year. Prices of building materials skyrocketed, but fortunately, the main part of the structure was up.”

Iorio, a Medina native, has been pastor of the church for 16 1/2 years. A graduate of Berean University of the Assembly of God in Missouri, Iorio received a secular degree and pastored at a church in the Adirondacks for 12 years. Assembly of God was his first full-time church. The church was started in Shelby Center as the Baptist Church, and was part-time associate pastor.

This sign in front of the new Calvary Tabernacle Assembly of God on Maple Ridge Road will soon be replaced by a new digital one. Five years in the making, the new church will welcome members for its first service on Sunday.

Calvary had been meeting at the old Medina High School on Catherine Street, until local entrepreneur Roger Hungerford purchased the building with the purpose of renovating it into upscale loft apartments.

“That was our impetus to build a new church,” Iorio said.

He said Hungerford had been wonderful to work with and gave them time to find a new home.

They had purchased 36 acres on Maple Ridge Road a few years before, with the ultimate goal to some day build a new church. When the decision was made to go ahead with their plans, the pastor said he formed a Fresh Start Committee, to aid in making decisions about the new building.

Pastor Vincent Iorio stands at the front of the sanctuary in his new church, where the altar will be.

“After all, this wasn’t about me,” said Iorio, who is 67 years old. “It’s about them.”

Committee members are all under 40. They carry on the pastor’s mission of looking to the future. They shared in decisions about the design of rooms, colors, etc.

A Spanish-speaking congregation, whose pastor is Jovannie Canalese, has met at the Assembly of God for many years, and will continue to have their services in the new church at 2 p.m. on Sundays.

Iorio stressed they used all local contractors, with two exceptions. The structure cost just shy of $1 million, and since breaking ground in the summer of 2016, 70 percent of it has been raised.

The new church building has a garage, large room for the food pantry, a nursery, classrooms, offices, state-of-the-art sound and visual booth, coffee bar, large fellowship hall, modern kitchen, children’s church area and a 160-seat sanctuary.

In addition to modern public restrooms, the nursery and food pantry each have their own restroom. Donna Poore is food pantry manager and this week they began the monumental chore of moving goods from the old church. The food pantry will officially open to the public from 9 a.m. to noon on Oct. 26. Until then, all food pantry needs are being handled at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church on West Avenue.

Iorio said during Covid they broadcast services over car radios in the parking lot. The services are still broadcast live on Facebook. Bible study, a children’s group and prayer meetings will resume on a regular basis.

On Oct. 26, the public will be invited to join the congregation in worship. A formal open house will be planned in the near future. Sunday mornings begin with coffee bar at 9:30 a.m., followed by worship at 10:30 a.m.

“This is the first church I’ve built and it’s the last,” Iorio said. “I lay awake at night stressing about it.”

Some outside work remains to be done around the front entrance of Calvary Tabernacle Assembly of God, which will open with a service for members on Sunday. It will open to the public on Oct. 26.