The Gospel on the air
By Jim Poole
Local churches have a broader reach to the public, thanks to Mike and Dominga Lent.
They operate Spirit Broadcasting out of the Aker building on South Grand Street Cobleskill, and they expect to expand their Christian-based television programming.
Mr. Lent has a long history in broadcasting, having helped build, with Pastor Richard Smith, the station operated by Cobleskill Full Gospel Church in Warnerville.
Pastor Smith died last October, and the congregation didn’t have the resources to continue the station, according to Mr. Lent. The Lents bought the production equipment and moved it to Cobleskill.
This was more a labor of love because both Lents have full-time jobs.
“Pastor Smith had the calling, and Michael had the ability,” Ms. Lent said of the start-up. “We wanted to carry on.”
“We want to get the Gospel out,” Mr. Lent added. “That’s our mission.”
They broadcast a range of services from Calvary Assembly of God, Fusion Community Church, Schoharie County United Methodist Churches, Valley Bible Baptist and St. Vincent de Paul Roman Catholic Church.
The Lents video the Calvary services; the other churches send theirs to Spirit Broadcasting for programming.
Although church services have been televised for years, broadcasting has become dramatically important recently.
“When COVID happened, nobody could go to church,” Ms. Lent said. “This is a nice tool for churches to reach their people.”
And even now, when people can return to church, there are gathering limitations, so congregation members can still watch at home.
“Some people just don’t feel comfortable going to church yet,” Ms. Lent said.
Spirit Broadcasting, whose main network is Cornerstone Broadcasting from Pittsburgh, also shows national Christian programs, talks and music.
Their station is 32.l, and other channels they offer are 32.2, Daystar; 32.2, Preach the Word, out of Atlanta; 32.4, Sunlight Broadcasting; 32.5, Spirit TV, a 24-hour Christian music channel.
People in the Cobleskill area need an antenna to receive the broadcast, and Mr. Lent said he’d help anyone install an antenna and would also help other churches add their services.
Spirit Broadcasting is also on MidTel, channel 147, “so wherever they have MidTel cable, they can get it,” Mr. Lent said.
The couple is always looking for new programming, and Ms. Lent added that they’re hoping to add family-friendly movies.
Sprit Broadcasting is a non-profit and has a 501(c)3 designation. It’s supported by donations.
“We’re not looking to retire on this,” Mr. Lent said, laughing. “We’re only looking at money to support it, not to make money.”
Mr. Lent is an IT/AV technician and director of stage and lighting for Cobleskill-Richmondville Central School, and Ms. Lent is a clinical applications analyst for Bassett Healthcare.