Since the summer of 2013, a 60-year-old canoe hung from the porch of 66 Schuyler Street in the Village of Belmont, New York. The words “Healing Waters” appeared along the side. This is how Brian and Tina Edmister announced the coming of a new community center called Healing Waters.
They had prayed about turning the old Belmont Daycare into a place of healing for the 1,000 residents of Belmont.
They also prayed that the waters of the Genesee River become a source of that healing, according to Kathryn Ross.
According to Tina Edmister, “My husband and I have prayed for a long time and we felt that we were being led to reach out to the community and help families and youth. There are a lot of families who need help and a lot of children who have nothing to do.”
“When the old building went up for sale,” according to Ross, “the Edmisters saw their chance.” Healing Waters provided a community center where families could come together.
Ross writes, “For Brian Edmister, part of bringing families together involves kayaking.”
Mr. Edmister is a kayaking enthusiast and instructor. He has years of experience teaching and conducting guided tours. He believes, “It is a good way for families to do something together.” In addition, “We have the kayaks, the knowledge and the perfect location to make that happen.”
Kayaking is not only just a way of bringing families together in Mr. Edmister's opinion. It provides opportunities to teach responsibility, build positive values and gain a sense of accomplishment.
Kayaking also offers every paddler the privilege of use one of the country’s greatest attributes: the Genesee River.
Mr. Edmister is principal at Genesee Valley Central School. He and Tina are members of the Genesis Bible Church, which “Is located on the banks of the Genesee in Scio.
Mr. Edmister has faith in the “healing waters” of the Genesee. He foresees a time, according to Ross, when people will kayak and canoe the Genesee River from Shongo to Letchworth and beyond. With the help of Genesee River Wilds group, local campgrounds and others, it may become a reality sooner than later.
Healing Waters open in March 2014. Thus far, it has been a community endeavor with hundreds of volunteers.
Dilan Gilluley is one of those volunteers. He is setting up a computer clinic and plans to teach basic computer skills.
Other volunteers have included laborers from Otis Eastern Services, Inc.; the village of Belmont; local contractors; neighbors; BOCES students from Fillmore, Wellsville, Bolivar-Richburg and Friendship, led by Mike Fidurko; students from Houghton College; and Kristin Buchholz's art students from GVCS, who painted the 60-year-old canoe built by James R. Doyle.
Healing Waters is a nonprofit currently affiliated with Genesis Bible Church