Ray Of Hope Church Of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Inc.
The Church in Central New York founded and consistently fostered by the GLBTQIS community. October 31, 2018 was the 35th Anniversary in our 36th year in Ministry.
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Ray Of Hope

Church Of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Inc.

is the original Church in Central New York for

ALL People, including but not limited to

persons who are or might be:

Straight, Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,



Intersex, Queer,

Asexual, Pansexual, Hetero-flexible. 

Anyone who is human!

Married, divorced, remarried, single,

and persons of all gender expressions.

Persons of any faith / religion or

no faith, no religion, or have no idea where to start.


the Church by us, for us, 4 U!

We  ARE  you!

Ray Of Hope Church was founded in 1983

and is serving Syracuse, Ithaca and Elmira New York.

We are serving the world with live interactive worship services,

Bible enrichment sessions, and meetings

through SKYPE on the Internet.

We never held a vote to decide if we would be an INCLUSIVE church for you.

We are not an OPEN AND AFFIRMING church for you.




 church where you can attend as long as you blend in quietly and discretely.


THIS is the church where YOU belong.

Ray Of Hope Church is the church

by us, for us, and made by You.

Artist: Richard Hook
"Head Of Christ"
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Site updated
Announcing the formation of a PASTORAL SEARCH COMMITTEE for 2018. For more information click here.

My House shall be a house of prayer for All People, says the Lord God. (Isaiah 56:7)
Are you gay, lesbian, hetro-flexible, bi, trans, asexual, a straight ally, gay adjacent, pansexual, or any other orientation or gender expression that is not considered "tradtional heterosexual" and someone said you aren't saved?  GOD SAYS YOU ARE SAVED! Click here for the proof you are safe and secure in God.
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)
Visit our chapel and take some time for prayer.  Here is a Facebook Live video showing you how to come in: CLICK HEREOr take a short tour of the chapel here:  CLICK HERE  Use your back arrow to return to our web site.  
See our new Facebook live videos taken during our worship events by going to our Worship page by clicking in the main navigation bar or click here.
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We are called to do the ridiculous while God provides the miraculous. Stop in for some "R & R" Revelation and Response and experience a real encounter with God.
Ray Of Hope Church supports and endorses Elmira's LGBTQIS2SS..... Social Group here at the church building.   Join us for another movie, munchie, and mingle meeting. More information - CLICK HERE  SPECIAL MOVIE NIGHT TONIGHT THURSDAY February 14, 2018

Thursday February 14: Angels In America, Part 3
Each Sunday we read from the Names Project AIDS Memorial Quilt official list of Names during our worship service.  To learn about this 49,000 (2016 ) paneled wonder and icon, click here.
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Do you remember when in June, 2015 then President Obama signed a Proclamation LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, AND TRANSGENDER PRIDE MONTH, 2015?  The words he expressed in that document are timeless.  Be inspired and read them again: CLICK HERE.
This is our Baptismal Holy Water Font given in memory of John Sosadiaz, and  The Candle Of Hope.  Baptized into Christ we are confident to live eternally in the Community of God.  Everyone is welcomed to Holy Baptism at Ray Of Hope Church.
"You are as welcome here as Christ Jesus himself." 
Fr. Bartholomew J. O'Brien [born 5-30-1914 - Entered Heaven 11-7-2003].
He always displayed this welcome above his doorbell on a hand typed piece of paper. see Romans 15:7. 
We are gay by God, for Christ's sake!  It is all God's fault.  God started this rainbow parade, God is leading it, and God will bring it all to completion.  Jun2 28, 2018 Stonewall 49 ~ Br. Shawn Benedict, Pastor
Visit our new scrolling prayers.  Learn to pray in five seconds and enjoy hours of guided prayer, meditation, and actively praising God.  Updated 8-14-18.  Thank you, Stephen Lucas for helping with this project.
+ Ray Of Hope Church Of Our Lord Jesus Christ is Christ-centered in all of its teachings, and therefore does not ascribe to the dogmas, teachings, or practices of any denomination, or para-church organization of the Christian Church. Rather, we maintain an autonomous freedom to draw from the two millennia of immense riches known in all denominations of Christianity. Ray Of Hope Church Of Our Lord Jesus Christ is an "independent" local Church. This does not mean we stand alone, as though on pride or arrogance, rather we seek to share an interdependence with other assemblies and fellowships of believers who endeavor equally as hard as we do to bring the Gospel to all people.
(Ray Of Hope Church Statement Of Faith)

All content on the Ray Of Hope Church, Inc. web site is written for intelligent and interested nonspecialists.  Academic and professional specialists are invited to contact us at rayofhopechurch@aol.com for information on how to visit our St. Benedict of Nursia Memorial Library where all of the material on this web site is sourced.  Our library currrenty has over 6,000 holdings.
Ray Of Hope Church Of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Inc. is the name of this ministry.  The only name associated with this ministry is the "Name above all names."  (see Philippians 2:8-11)
8     Jesus humbled himself,
        becoming obedient to death,
        even death on a cross.
9 Because of this, God highly exalted him
    and bestowed on him
      the Name above every other name,
10      So that at the name of Jesus
    every knee must bend,
    in the heavens, on the earth,
     and under the earth,
11  and every tongue proclaim
    to the glory of God:
(based upon the New American Bible - divine office version  - 1970 with inclusive language added.)

Saint Matthew Shepard, pray for us.
(born. 12/1/1976 - Entered Heaven 10/12/1998)
Martyr of the Christian Faith - Episcopalian -
victim of hatred of young gay men.

Saint Harvey Milk,
pray for us.
(born 5/22/1930 - Entered Heaven 11/27/1978)
Martyr of God, Jewish, giving his life for liberty and justice for all.

Saint Brandon Teena,
pray for us.
(born 12/12/1972 - Entered Heaven
12/31/1993) Martyr - former Roman Catholic - victim of hatred for transgender people.
Join us Tuesday February 19, 2019 for our Bible Enrichment Session - Revelation: The Book!  The Millennial Kingdom of Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Saviour.  Jesus is going to reign on the physical Earth for 1,000 years in the future.  This is a biblical fact.  Come learn about the kingdom we have been pray ing about all our lives when we pray "Thy Kingdom come, the will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven."  At this time we are looking into Satanology as it relates to the Milennium.  Did that get your attention?  Come and see what we are learning. 
You may start the study with us anytime, do come. This is the Bible Study for the LGBTQISA++ COMMUNITY.
It is our Holy Book.  God's Word is intended to bless us and help us celebrate who we aremore information CLICK HERE.
This painting is Nathan Greene's  newly released masterpiece, titled "The Blessed Hope."  It beautifully "captures the emotion and joy of the moment when Christ returns to redeem his children from all walks of life and take them home to heaven. Set against a dark sky, the explosion of light and color, framed by countless angels, this scene reminds us that this world is not our home, and that our hope and trust in Jesus' soon coming will be realized." (Description from the artist's website.) To order copies directly from the artist, Nathan Greene, click here.

From Pastor Benedict in the hour of the shooting in the Tree Of Life Synagogue in Pittsburg, PA today, October 27, 2018. My heart is hurting for the Jewish Community today. My mind is telling me to be involved in political action and do all I can to protect and advance liberty and justice for all. I can do this by being constantly active in conversation, and by being active in voting. VOTE please VOTE for liberty and justice for all. God, please comfort the families of these martyrs of faith, as well as those in law enforcement who risked their lives to protect the innocent. These people have died because they love and worship you, God. They were murdered during their weekly worship. Eleven people have died and many more have been injured. God, we ask you to comfort those who have suddenly been left behind tonight, those who will have someone missing from their home as of this afternoon. Comfort those family and friends of those voices that will not be heard again, whose arms will not hold again, whose hands will not touch again, who were taken from the Earth today while they were at worship. Oh God, help us learn how to respect each other and realize we are all equal members of your Creation. Any hate crime is a hateful assault on you, God. Forgive our hate that is all self-centered. Teach us to live in respect and sacred Love. Lord, hear our prayer.  Shalom aleichem on all who are hurting.

October 31 update:
Last evening Tuesday, October 30, we participated in a community memorial  for the eleven victims murdered in the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. The memorial was at 7:00 p.m. in the Congregation Kol Ami synagogue, which is at 1008 West Water Street, Elmira, NY 14905. Here is the text of the prayer I was honored to lead at the service:  "How abundant are Your works, Adoni; with wisdom You have made them all; the earth is full of Your possessions."  Avinu Sh'bashamayim, Master of the Universe, Have mercy on all who suffer from terrorism and wars, in Israel and the world over.  Protect all of Your creatures against violence; weaken the hands of villains, and lead them to the path of goodness and complete repentance.   Prevent natural disasters: earthquakes, hurricanes, tsunamis, raging fires and tornadoes.  Have compassion on all the displaced, homeless, and starving people in Your world.  Have mercy on your creations.  Comfort the mourners, and heal the injured.  Open our hearts to all human beings in all four corners of the earth.  Eradicate evil from among all the inhabitants of Your world.  A is written:  "You allowed people to subjugate us; we went through fire and water and You brought us out to a place of abundance." (Psalms 66:12)  This prayer was provided by Rabbi Steinitz.

Please continue to remember the grieving and frightened.


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As Christians we celebrate Hanukkah. Why would a Christian church celebrate Hanukkah, isn't that Jewish?  Read More by clicking here.
Ray Of Hope Church celebrated Kwanzaa beginning December 26, 2018 and ending on the seventh day of the celebration, January 1, 2019.  All seven worship services are available for you to read here on our web site.  Also, there are Facebook Live recordings of all seven linked here as well.  Visit our Kwanzaa page by clicking here.
Visit our new Robert C. Bacon Memorial Page.  See the video of his Service of the Resurrection and Memorial Service as well as his burial.  Click here.  To read the program from the Memorial Service Click Here.

Join us for worship this Sunday, February 17 at 10:30 AM as we discuss responding to God with worship.  This is third Sunday in Black History Month.  For more information Click Here.

Read the Sunday bulletin for February 10, 2019 with all the readings, prayers and announcements for the week: Click Here.
Jesus is truly present everywhere. He is also present as he promised in the Bread of Life and the Cup of Salvation in John Chapter 6.  This Bread of Life and Cup of Salvation is what we receive in Holy Communion, the very real presence of Christ in the bread and the wine or grape juice.  Some of Sunday's Holy Communion is stored in the special locked cupboard called a tabernacle and is in the chapel for prayer and adoration of Christ truly present. The tabernacle is in the center of this picture behind the door marked with the P and X (the first two letters of Jesus' name in Greek Xpistos, Christos).  See the stained glass cross Robb Bacon left for us on the left side of the altar, see the embroidered "Last Supper" given to us by Beth Balzer, see the St. Francis statue given as a gift to Brother by Robb Bacon, and all the plants and flowers giving Christ the praise and glory.  You are invited to stop in to the chapel or just keep this moving picture going and enter into a prayer of visitation to Jesus.  Our Lord is present and He is waiting for you.  (YES the candle flames are actually moving in this picture, it is a GIF, a short video clip.)  Take time to meditate here or in person and give God thanks and praise for all the gifts we enjoy in Christ our Lord.
Listen to the GIVE THEM HOPE speech by Harvey Milk CLICK HERE
Read an essay on who we are as the Church of Jesus Christ that was written by Pastor Benedict in 2017. Click Here.
For easy instructions on how to use Skype to participate in our activities click here.
Robert C. Bacon, "Robb" - Founder, Friend, a man of great integrity and passion for giving access to the Gospel to all people.  b. April 7, 1933 to December 23, 2018.  To see the Robb Bacon Page click here.

Dear Friends and Members of The Body of Christ and His Church,


Today February 1, 2019 is the anniversary of the protest of four men against the "whites-only" policy at the Woolworth lunch counter in Greensboro, NC in 1960.  It was brave non-violent acts of disobedience such as this against the unjust laws that sparked and energized the Civil Rights movement.  The struggle for liberty and justice for all is a struggle for the recognition and respect of the inherent equality and dignity of all persons.  There shouldn't be a "struggle" for these things anywhere in the world.  Dignity and equality are God-given expectations, qualities, status, and so on.  Only people attempt to take those gifts away from other people in a variety of power struggles that always lead to unjust ends.  


Ray Of Hope Church embraces and joins in the celebration of Black History Month during February each year.  Together we work as we each are able for the advancement of liberty and justice for all.  These principles are clearly expressed in our Statement Of Purpose.


Below is a description of the Greensboro Lunch Counter event from the web site for the National Museum of American History.  


Together we move forward in Christ.


Br. Benedict


from: http://americanhistory.si.edu/exhibitions/greensboro-lunch-counter


Greensboro Lunch Counter

Greensboro lunch counter

Racial segregation was still legal in the United States on February 1, 1960, when four African American college students sat down at this Woolworth counter in Greensboro, North Carolina. Politely asking for service at this "whites only" counter, their request was refused. When asked to leave, they remained in their seats. Their sit-in drew national attention and helped ignite a youth-led movement to challenge inequality throughout the South.

In Greensboro, hundreds of students, civil rights organizations, churches, and members of the community joined in a six-month-long protest. Their commitment ultimately led to the desegregation of the F. W. Woolworth lunch counter on July 25, 1960.

Ezell A. Blair Jr. (now Jibreel Khazan), Franklin E. McCain, Joseph A. McNeil, and David L. Richmond were students enrolled at the North Carolina Agricultural and Technical College when they began their protest.

Protests such as this led to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which finally outlawed racial segregation in public accommodations.

The closing of the Greensboro Woolworth's in 1993 presented Museum curators with the opportunity to acquire this historic artifact. After extensive negotiations with Woolworth's executives and representatives of the local community, a small section of the lunch counter was donated to the Smithsonian.


Visit our Black History Page.  Click Here.
Visit our Black History Page.  Click Here.