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Charles the Deacon

Updated: Aug 1, 2023

The Fire-Starter by Athol Barnes


I was one of the blessed ones because I can say that I knew Charles Criniere. We met on the 4th of July 2015. He had walked from the neighborhood with some of his children to celebrate the holiday with the greater community on the hill at Grace Point church. However, before we could enjoy the fireworks, it started to rain, and a strong thunderstorm disrupted all our plans. I offered to take him home, and quickly realized that I would need a bigger car!

Over the years we greeted each other as our paths crossed, but we never really got to know one another until 2020, when he and his family joined our church family during the pandemic.




Charles quickly stepped into leadership, joining our leadership team, and was ordained as a deacon. He infused everything he did in the church with his passion for prayer. He was a man of wisdom and was ready to articulate new ideas with passion and clarity. Frequently, he would challenge our leadership team to take steps that we would not have taken, and he had a gift to inspire faith for new ventures.


Charles was a rare human being; he had boundless energy and had the capacity to motivate people into action in a brief conversation. He was a fire-starter and had a passion for moving things forward, but once the vision was rolling, he was ready to move on to the next thing.


In July of 2020, we were driving back from a mission trip in Cincinnati, and Charles sat next to me for twelve hours in the van. There were so many initiatives and ideas that came out of that time, it kept us busy for a year as a church.


He was the kind of man that everyone wanted to be around. But it wasn’t only because of his dynamic personality and smile, he was a man totally committed to his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” Charles became a new creation when he became a follower of Jesus.


He spent many early morning hours in the prayer room, praying for wisdom, praying for his family and praying for the Church. He had a passion for the Bible and would always be seen holding a well weathered Bible in his right hand, always ready to flip it open and share a word from the Lord.


The time spent in the place of prayer and in the Word of God, transformed Charles into the man that we knew and loved. Though we miss him intensely, he continues to inspire us towards a life of devotion and wholehearted commitment to Jesus Christ.


Athol Barnes


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