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This Week’s LION: Angelique Labadie-Cihanowyz: A Vision Builder

This Week’s LION: Angelique Labadie-Cihanowyz: A Vision Builder

Try this experiment with your friends. Name a company or product and ask your friend to say the first thing that comes to their mind about that name. Companies spend billions of dollars in advertising to get you thinking of one particular word or simple phrase; Coca-Cola (delicious), McDonald’s (I’m lovin’ it), Subway (Eat fresh),

Try this experiment with your friends. Name a company or product and ask your friend to say the first thing that comes to their mind about that name. Companies spend billions of dollars in advertising to get you thinking of one particular word or simple phrase; Coca-Cola (delicious), McDonald’s (I’m lovin’ it), Subway (Eat fresh), Kellogg’s (They’re GR-R-R-reat). Even better, a company wants their product to become synonymous with what it does, for example, we “Google” something to look on the internet, and “Xerox” a document when we use a copying machine.

This little lesson in business psychology also represents the difficulty when a company or institution wants to “re-brand” itself. Once an idea gets in the collective mind, it is tough to change it. It takes a leader with commitment, wisdom, and energy to move the institutional boulder in another direction. Thus, when Sojourner Truth Ministries in Williamsport decided it needed to get past the common impression in the community that they are merely a food kitchen for the needy, they knew they needed a special kind of person to make this happen. It turned out that the person was right on their board — Angelique Labadie-Cihanowyz.

Angelique had only been in charge for less than two weeks when we met in a storeroom that was being cleared out to become an activity center. The old church building on 501 High Street in Williamsport is being wholly revamped for its new focus. The sanctuary pews are being removed to make room for tables and play centers. It is not just fresh paint on the walls and colorful decorations that will be new. Director Angelique has a vision to not just continue the work of “messy grace” — helping the disadvantaged with Christian love and practical help. Her eyes see brand new possibilities to make their humble little building become a Christian community center — a “safe place” for the most at-risk children as well as the elderly who are lonely — an inviting location to all age groups, a destination point for all sorts of people seeking help. In short, the ministry is about to become very much alive with a new focus, a new vision, a new dream.

It is a big job, but Angelique Angelique Labadie-Cihanowyz shows all the signs of leadership that are needed to accomplish this formidable task.

She grew up in Michigan but moved to the Lehigh Valley in Pennsylvania in 1990. She made a good living selling furniture and raising her three children, which she must not have done too bad a job, given that her oldest son is about to receive his Ph.D. in astrophysics! But Angelique was also a committed Christian with a huge heart, and one day through tears in her prayers she asked God, “What do you want, Lord?” She sensed the Lord telling her, “I want it all!” It was at that moment she decided to serve God with her life.

Providentially, she met a pastor in the Wesleyan Church who asked her to help out in a food pantry, and almost instantly, Angelique knew she had found her calling. It wasn’t just serving food, but getting to the real needs of individuals. She entered the seminary to become an ordained minister and focused her church work on those who were in recovery. She became particularly interested in human trafficking and slavery in the United States and noted how vulnerable young people who live in lower income are to the predators.

Up until a few weeks ago, Angelique Labadie-Cihanowyz was pouring all that energy and passion into pastoring a Wesleyan Church in the Lehigh Valley, even though she lived in Williamsport with her husband and served on the board of Sojourners Truth Ministries. The board finally prevailed upon her to take the helm of the work in Williamsport, and Angelique agreed.

Sojourners Truth Ministries invites you to come and see what this new “brand” looks like. They are hosting a “Meet-n-Greet” with the new Ministry Coordinator/Director at their center on 501 High Street in Williamsport, Thursday, June 7th at 5 p.m. But be careful — the passion and spirit of Angelique Labadie-Cihanowyz is contagious!

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  • Dawn Blanchard
    June 2, 2018, 10:33 am

    Her name is Angelique Labadie-Cihanowyz. I worked with her when she was Director of Born 2 Fly Lycoming County.

    REPLY
    • Webb Weekly@Dawn Blanchard
      June 4, 2018, 9:58 am

      Thank you Dawn! We will correct the spelling of her name online.

      REPLY