First Posted: 8/26/2014
Country Alliance Church, located in Newton Township, had an outdoor get-together called Hot Dog Day on Aug. 23. The church members enjoyed both food and fellowship as they mingled with each other and ate hot dogs cooked on the grill.
“Despite of the rain, we still had a good time and good fellowship,” said church member Joyce Degilio. “A lot of the community came out including old friends we haven’t seen in a while.”
Friends and family members of the church also roasted marshmallows and made s’mores over a campfire during the night. They also sang songs and told stories around the campfire. Sitting around the fire, they took turns adding a phrase to each story.
One of the church members who attended Hot Dog Day was new assistant pastor Robert Lopez, who recently joined Country Alliance Church. He has been serving as Pastor Don Morgantini’s assistant since June 1.
“It’s good to have an official role,” said Lopez. “I feel very blessed. It’s a privilege to work under Pastor Don (Morgantini).”
Although this is his first pastorate role, he had many roles in preaching in the past. Originally from Manhasset, N.Y., he went to college in Massachusetts at Gordon College, in which he graduated in 1999. Lopez became a Sunday school teacher at his in-laws’ church in Valenzuela City, Philippines.
In 2007, Lopez graduated college at Alliance Theological Seminary in Nyack, N.Y. He then became a Sunday school teacher in a church called CJCB (The Church Jesus Christ Buildeth), which is located in South Ozone Park in Queens, N.Y.
Subsequent to this, he and his family moved to Dalton. He preached a few times at Fellowship Baptist Church and once at Free Methodist Church (currently Waverly Community Church). He is currently getting his doctorate of ministry degree at Baptist Bible Seminary in Clarks Summit.
Lopez and his wife of five years, Shalom, currently live in Dalton. Together, they have a son John, age 4 and a daughter Tamara, age 2. As assistant pastor of Country Alliance Church, Robert teaches mid-week service on Wednesdays.
“We feel very welcome,” Shalom said about being part of Country Alliance Church. “The people make us feel like home.”
What Lopez likes most about being a pastor is the opportunity to bring the Word of God and visiting people if they open up their homes. He also enjoys counseling and preparing for sermons. Although he had diverse church experiences, Lopez is committed to serving Christ now through the Christian and Missionary Alliance.
“We like the area,” he said. “We think it’s very tranquil. I really love God and his people.”
Lopez attended Hot Dog Day with his wife and two kids. It was his first event as assistant pastor of Country Alliance Church.
The idea of Hot Dog Day was created during a board meeting. The board members wanted to have an old-fashioned picnic.
“Everybody had a good time cooking marshmallows over an open fire,” said Morgantini. “The Lord is the same inside and outside. We enjoy his company.”