Native son serves as new pastor at Shiloh Church in Albion
Trellis Pore leads ‘judgement free’ congregation
ALBION – Step into Shiloh Church and Trellis Pore says it will feel much different than what many people may expect to experience inside a church.
Pore said atmosphere is overwhelmingly welcoming, a “judgement free” environment where the past isn’t a focus, but rather the present and future.
“The atmosphere is very relaxed and uplifting,” said the Rev. Pore, who was voted in as pastor at Shiloh on Nov. 21. “So many people have encountered ‘church hurt.’ People shouldn’t feel beat down if they go to church.”
Pore, 38, sees Shiloh as a hospital, a place to help people get better and to see how to live better.
“My ministry is unlike any other,” he said. “We’re focused on the overlooked and those who made mistakes. Your past is your past. We’re more concerned about your future.”
Since he was a young boy, Pore said he has felt very close with God, and a call to help others feel God’s presence in their lives.
Pore grew up in the church, and in what he said is a very spiritual family with lots of prayer and praise for God, even during times of trial and pain.
Pore at about age 5 sang publicly with his family in the Cooper Family Gospel Singers. They performed all over Western New York. He continues a music ministry with the Trellis Cooper Band that performs in the community – often outside of a church.
Since started as pastor at Shiloh , he has brought many of his musician friends to be part of the worship band.
“We have one of the most amazing and anointed music departments you can find,” he said.
The music is a big part of church as Shiloh, and so are the sermons from Pore, and his determination to connect with everyone.
“When he says he loves you he truly means that,” said Ocie Bennett, a deacon at the church since 2003 and the Sunday school leader. “He is trying to do great things in our community and bring our community together.”
The church attendance has already jumped from about 10 on Sunday mornings to about 100 – in the past six weeks.
Pore leads the push for a “judgement free” environment that Bennett said has brought many people to church who hadn’t been inside a church building in years.
“We don’t look at people’s past because we all have a past,” Bennett said. “No one is perfect. We all need help. We’re one big family at Shiloh.”
The church is located at a former one-room school house at the corner of Densmore and Crandall roads. Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church started in 1966. It has been a predominantly African-American congregation.
The church is dropping Missionary Baptist from its name to de-emphasize a denomination. Pore wants everyone to feel welcome. “Heaven doesn’t have denominations,” he said.
Pore works full-time as a corrections officer at the Albion Correctional Facility. He also is a firearms instructor, chemical agent instructor, and CPR and first aid instructor for the Department of Corrections.
He worked downstate his first three years as a corrections officer and has been at Albion Correctional the past 17 years.
Pore also is a member of the Albion Board of Education, in addition to leading the Shiloh church. He and his wife have two kids, ages 4 and 9.
Pore acknowledged he is busy, but he said he feels energized, especially with the new role leading a church in Albion.
“I’d rather wear out than rust out,” he said. “I’m grateful to be back in my own community.”
For the previous 13 years he worked as an associate and youth pastor in Batavia at Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church.
Pore has felt a calling since he was a young boy to ministry. He became a licensed minister at age 19 at Shiloh, where his late father, Jimmy Pore, was a deacon. Trellis grew up attending the St. Paul Baptist Church on Ingersoll Street in Albion where his late grandfather, Willie D. Cooper, was a deacon.
Pore’s grandfather proved a great mentor for Pore in a life of faith.
“He taught me how to pray, to sing hymns and he shared his pastoral handbook,” Pore said. “I’ve been very blessed and thankful.”
Pore for the past two decades preached at some local churches on pulpit supply when the pastors were on vacation. Those preaching opportunities increased in recent years at the Eagle Harbor United Methodist Church, First Presbyterian Church of Albion and the First Baptist Church in Albion.
The Albion Ministerium in 2019 picked Pore to give the keynote address at baccalaureate, a religious service for high school seniors who would graduate later that month.
The Rev. Sue Thaine, pastor of the Presbyterian Church, has had Pore preach for her when she is on vacation. The congregation has been very responsive to his messages.
“He’s dynamic,” Thaine said. “His faith is very alive. He is also a people-person. He comes with all these gifts and abilities, but he is accessible.”
She sees Pore energizing the local Christian community.
“He is amazing partner in ministry,” Thaine said. “I look forward to seeing what God will do through him. The people who encounter Trellis want to be near him. Everybody loves him. He uses his music, in cooperation with the word he is preaching.”
Pore found a larger audience in the community through Facebook. When the Covid-19 pandemic closed churches to in-person services in mid-March 2020, Pore started delivering sermons on Facebook – from his dining room.
“We turned Facebook into ‘Faithbook,’” Pore said.
There were several hundred views on those sermons, and Pore believes those messages helped make church more accessible to many in the community.
He is pleased that Shiloh is already nearing capacity, and may need to expand the building in the near future. Shiloh also will bring back popular church barbecues, and Pore wants to host gospel concerts.
But even more importantly, he wants people to be drawn closer to God when they are at Shiloh.
“I feel honored to be a pastor in my hometown,” he said. “I’ve always tried to treat people fairly, and as Christ would treat them.”