There were many obstacles that had to be overcome to
finally have all the legal permissions in place to be able to actively use the
property as the Parsonage/Rectory/Monastery of Ray Of Hope Church Of Our Lord
Jesus Christ, Inc.In the City of Elmira
churches are required to have their own parking lot.This building is built out to the property
line.Various options were explored and
none of them were viable for creating the parking lot space.In the Building Code a Church assembly space
is required to have a professional fire alarm system that is monitored
twenty-four hours a day.The fire alarm
was designed by the New York State Fire Marshal /Fire Commissioner's Office
from Albany, NY and was installed.We
are grateful to the Wood family, the owners ofFire Alarm Service Technology of
Elmira, NY for their generous donation that partially funded the
installation of the fire alarm.
We had tried to find ways to make the building Accessible
for those with different abilities and be in line with the Americans With
Disabilities Act.Each proposal that was
made was not accepted by the City of Elmira.
Finally, when it seemed that all possible avenues of requirements
had been explored and there were still unresolved issues to receiving our
Certificate Of Occupancy to open, an appointment was set to discuss how we
would dispose of the building we were not able to use.It was during that very meeting that there
was another miracle that happened.
First, some background to the miracle.
Mr. Kenneth Frasier had visited with us a couple of times
in December of 2001, right after the donation of the property was made to
orientate us to special facts and features of the building he thought we might
need to know about to be able to maintain it.After all, Mr. Kenneth Frasier had personally cared for the entire
building for years.Mr. Frasier had
built all the cabinets, all of the display cases and closets for his wife to
display all the items she was selling in the Jeanne Frasier's "Distinctively
Different Selected Fashions and Boutiques since 1958" dress shop.Mr. Frasier believed in building his own
crown moulding and delicate trim on drawers and doors by cutting and layering
pieces of specially selected woods together.He had personally built almost everything in sight as we looked around
the building.As Mr. Frasier was leaving
building and wishing us well for the last time we would see him, he was slowly
walking out the main door of the future chapel.Suddenly he stopped, and stared ahead into the street very
pensively.Mr. Frasier turned on his
heels and looked me, Br. Benedict, directly into my eyes and said, "You know,if you ever need a door, there
is a door behind this painting."He
pointed to the painting Mrs. Frasier had commissioned to be painted for her
dress shop, pictured here.
In my mind I immediately was thinking
thoughts such as: "Oh, now why would we ever need a door into this room? We
will never need that door, I am sure.."My mind was just racing with dismissive thoughts regarding ever needing
a door "behind this painting."I thanked
Mr. Frasier one last time as he smiled, looked directly into my eyes and said
David Frasier remembers the artist's
last name who painted this piece as well as some other signs and stationary for
the dress shop as York.David also
recalls Mr. York's studio was on Water Street here in Elmira.Anyone who has further information on Mr.
York is asked to contact us as we would like to fill out the information we
have on him to post here with this story.
If you look closely at the two
following pictures of the building, at the time it was given to us, you will
clearly see the painting in its original location. Unbeknownst to us, this
painting was part of a wall that was covering an existing door which opens to
the interior staircase into the first floor main room.
The painting is visible in this
picture even as we were attempting to paint the building and do all the
required renovations ourselves.There
were no plans to ever move that painting but to keep it there in honor of Mrs.
Finally, after hundreds of hours of
hard work, lots of sweat, and lots of tears, it was obvious that every attempt
to meet the legal requirements to open, that we had tried to fulfill between
December, 2001 and May, 2003, had failed.The day had finally arrived for us to give up our attempts, our hopes
and dreams.A scheduled meeting was set
with Mr. William R. Wheeler, Fire Marshal, and Mr. Robert B. Lutz, Assistant
Fire Marshal to bring the project to conclusion and receive instructions on
what to do with an unusable building.As
Mr. Wheeler and Mr. Lutz stood in front of me, Br. Shawn Benedict, in the main
front room we had so hoped to open as our chapel, I put forth one last and
final question to hear it one last time.
"What would it take to be able to open
this building as Parsonage/Rectory/Monastery of Ray Of Hope Church Of Our Lord
Jesus Christ, Inc.?I am willing to move
here and live here as the Pastor in residence."
Mr. Wheeler said; "The only possible
way to do it is if there was a preexisting interior door that connected this
main room to a preexisting interior staircase to the second floor and then the
building would qualify as a Religious Residence with an Assembly Space.Not having that, I am afraid you have reached
the end of all of your available options, Br. Benedict."
The Moment of Miraculous Truth
Immediately, as if it was a hologram,
I saw a living and moving image of Mr. Kenneth Frasier, who had since passed on
to Paradise, standing behind Mr. Wheeler and Mr. Lutz.This was a vision of Mr. Frasier in
resurrection bliss, there is no doubt in my mind.I could see through him, but he was standing
in 3-D behind Mr. Lutz and Mr. Wheeler.Mr. Frasier smiled gently with an intense joy, it is hard to describe
the joyful energy he was exuding.He
simply repeated the actions of the last time I saw him.Mr. Frasier pointed to the painting with his
right arm and index finger, and then silently mouthed the very same words he
had said to me as he was leaving the last time I thought I would ever see
him;"You know,if you ever need a door, there is a door
behind this painting."He looked deeply
into my eyes and light was everywhere, he smiled and he was gone.
Mr. Lutz said, "Brother, are you
alright?"I said, "Yes.Wait right where you are standing, please,
both of you."I ran into the tool room
and brought out a hand saws-all and started cutting the painting out of the
wall.Mr. Wheeler said: "Stop, you are
ruining the wall."I replied, "It is our
building.Wait a minute, please."I cut the drywall away and they helped me set
the painting against the windowsill.They were both in uniform with white shirts and dark blue pants, now
full of drywall dust.Then I kicked out
the bottom half of the area.I said,
"Gentlemen, behold, a doorway."Mr. Lutz
said; "It has to be an original door."I
quickly looked and we all could easily see the cut out places in the wooden
doorframe where the original hinges had been sometime in the past.
Of course the door you see on the left
was not on the hinges.I found that door
on the curb down the street having been thrown away as trash later the same
I seriously do not remember the words
that were muttered as Mr. Wheeler and Mr. Lutz left out of the front door.They looked very shocked and confused by the
whole experience.There was broken
drywall and paneling everywhere, and there was, most importantly, the needed
door that connected an interior staircase to the main room on the main
We received our Certificate Of
Occupancy and our Maximum Occupancy certification two or three days later on
May 23, 2003 signed by both Mr. Wheeler and Mr. Lutz (who has also passed on to
The Pastor was moved into the
Parsonage/Rector/Monastery of Ray Of Hope Church Of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Inc.
before the expiration of midnight on May 30, 2003 and the first formal public
worship service was held in the great room, the chapel of the Monastery on
Sunday morning, June 1, 2003, the first Sunday of Pride Month, 2003.
We have preserved the now famous
"miracle painting" as we affectionately call it, and moved to the area next to
the altar / credence table dedicated to The Incarnation of the Eternal Word,
which is a 2016 gift to Ray Of Hope Church from Holy Trinity Lutheran Church
here in Elmira, NY.
Just stop and ponder and ask yourself,
what are the odds that Mr. Frasier would have stopped just seconds before he
walked out the front door, and I thought I would never see him again, in this
life, that he would then turn and say to me: "You know,if you ever need a door, there is a door
behind this painting."I am sure the
mathematical odds are astronomical.We
see it as the work of the Holy Spirit and this why we give testimony to the
miracle, the final event that made it possible for us to open.
By the end of 2003 this is how the
The parsonage in Elmira has been open since Sunday morning June 1, 2003, the
first Sunday of Pride Month, 2003. Worship services are held in the pastor's
parsonage chapel every Sunday morning at 10:30 AM.
It is our hope that many people will use our facility, especially other gay,
lesbian, transgender, bisexual, and heterosexual organizations will use our
buildings for their meetings. We openly invite organizations to use our
Come and worship with us on a Sunday and come study the Scriptures with us on
Tuesdays. Pray for us and be sure to thank God for the generous gifts many
people are making as we maintain our worship center and remain open to the
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As a reminder, our Ray Of
Hope Church chapel is open for prayer every day and night from 7:00 AM to
12:00 AM. (Closed 7 hours a day for cleaning and maintenance.) The
Blessed Sacrament, the "Bread from Heaven" (Exodus 16:2, Psalm 78:24,
John 6:32, 41,50,58), the Bread of the Angels (Psalm 78:25), the Bread of God
(John 6:33), the Bread Of Life (John 6:35, 48) the Living Bread (John 66:51), the
Sacrament of the Eucharistic "flesh and blood" of Jesus (John
6:52-56) is reserved in both kinds (Eucharistic bread and
wine) in the Tabernacle in our chapel. Please know you are
always welcome to stop in for a visit with Our Lord present in the Blessed
Sacrament, for quiet prayer, a quiet place to read and meditate, say a rosary,
or just be. Our little chapel could be your perfect get-away.
Who would suspect you were here? If we see you in the chapel we will
certainly say hello and offer a cup of tea or coffee.
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Ray Of Hope Church Of Our Lord
Jesus Christ, Inc. teaches the Doctrine of Universal Salvation.This is the statement we agreed upon in 2011.
"We believe that Salvation is a
gift that God has given to the entire human race.Romans Chapter Five explains this Doctrine of
Universal Salvation.One's personal
salvation is assured by believing in God as per John 5:24.Salvation is best known through the Gospel of
Jesus the Christ, and through rebirth by the Holy Spirit." (Ray Of Hope Church
Of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Inc By-Laws September, 2011Lines 1141 - 1148)