New church thriving under husband-wife pastoral team

By

Hundreds of commuters use Route 138 daily to travel to and from work, or to take care of their shopping needs. It’s possible, however, that only a handful of those drivers have noticed the large beige building at 427 Turnpike Street that houses Fountain of Grace, a non-denominational church that offers Sunday services to a diverse congregation, a licensed daycare center, and several outreach opportunities.

Gloria and George Irabor

Gloria and George Irabor

George Irabor is the senior pastor of Fountain of Grace. A native of Nigeria, he started the church in 2006 in Dedham with a congregation that had six members. The membership grew, and within four years, Irabor needed a larger space with ample parking and access to transportation. He found it in Canton.

Irabor has two roles. He is the senior pastor in Canton, which he calls the mother church, and the overseer of three smaller Fountain of Grace locations in Worcester, Lynn, and Brockton. There is a resident pastor at each of the smaller locations who was trained by Irabor. There are some 500 members at the Canton church, with “a lot of kids and a lot of families,” Irabor said. Members hail from Canton and from communities across the region, including Brockton, Framingham, Dorchester, West Malden, and Rhode Island.

Irabor enjoys preaching on Sundays, but his deep satisfaction as pastor is to work with people one-on-one and help them discover their potential.

“I like ministering to people and seeing the transformation in their lives,” he said, “seeing them do things, go back to school, venture into business.”

Church administrative assistant Kristine Hoffman agrees. “His gift is helping others,” she said. “He builds people up and sends them out to prove their ministry.”

The executive pastor at Fountain of Grace is Irabor’s wife, Gloria, also from Nigeria. She plays a strong role in the church. “I take care of the daycare, the women’s ministry, and the children’s ministry,” she said. “I support my husband. I preach.”

Fountain of Grace Academy is a licensed daycare center for children ages six weeks to five years on the church grounds. It is open five days a week from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. There is also an afterschool program.

“It’s a Christian-based daycare,” Gloria Irabor said. Forty-five children are enrolled at the center, and even though not all are church members, they are taught Christian values. “We set a moral standard,” she said.

Gloria Irabor describes herself as someone who is all about empowering people, and she works with female members of the congregation on that message.

“I teach them to be modest, good wives, to raise their kids and to manage family and work life,” she explained.

The women’s ministry meets the third Saturday of each month. Children ages two to 13 can participate in the dance ministry on Saturdays that includes Bible readings, dance, music and games. They have taken part in community service by sorting clothing at Cradles to Crayons and put together back-to-school items for children in shelters in Brockton.

Members of the church have helped to feed the poor at the Pine Street Inn in Boston and Father Bill’s and Mainspring in Quincy. Locally, they have organized groups of church members to adopt a street in Canton and clean it. On more than one occasion they have worked with a member of the Canton Department of Public Works on a Saturday to pick up trash on Greenlodge Street, helping to beautify it for local residents and train commuters. In his office, George Irabor has a framed proclamation from the Canton Board of Selectmen. It is dated November 13, 2013, and recognizes both Irabors for their service, dedication, and commitment to the youth and citizens of Canton.

George Irabor has a plan to help other members of the community. His dream is to someday build a transition home for non-violent offenders and staff it with counselors and other trained personnel to help them have a second chance in life.

“Seeing people grow,” he said. “That’s the most important thing — for them to overcome their obstacles.”

In the meantime, he and his wife will continue their ministry at their church on Turnpike Street and welcome new members.

“It’s a family church,” he said. “It’s just like a family here. You’re not judged about where you come from. We accept everybody.”

For more information on Fountain of Grace, go to www.fogbos.org.

Share This Post

Short URL: http://www.thecantoncitizen.com/?p=26986

avatar Posted by on Sep 25 2014. Filed under Features. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
Canton Citizen Absolute Landscaping

Search Archive

Search by Date
Search by Category
Search with Google
Log in | Copyright Canton Citizen 2011