Our Story

"But the ones that fell on the Good Ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience."

Luke 8:15

In the Beginning

It was in August of 1998 that Pastors Wendell and Dona Williams formed Good Ground Ministries International, Inc.. Later that year, in December of 1998, they pioneered Good Ground Family Church in a small back room in the Troy, NY YMCA. In January 1999 they moved to a larger 1200 sq. ft. space in a storefront on Hoosick Street in Troy.

There, they began to grow to the point of requiring two services each Sunday to bless those who came. Though difficult, (their storefront had no central  air conditioning or heating system and virtually no parking), they persevered and the people came. 

In the Spring of 2001, Good Ground made the historic St. Agnes Cathedral, a former Catholic Church in Cohoes, it’s permanent home. The cathedral, built in 1891, is a magnificent structure that we call the “Miracle On The Hill!” 

For over 17 years, the duo would pour their hearts and souls into this congregation and the community. They developed relationships, both locally and globally, that still flourish today. After Pastor Wendell's passing in 2016, the congregation continues to carry out God's plan for our family. 

Our mission is to connect people to people, by creating a family style worship experience; and people to God, by demonstrating love in action and cultivating seeds of faith in the individual.

Good Ground Now

At the end of 2016, Rev. Dona Williams was installed as the lead pastor of Good Ground. Her son Ben now serves as an executive administrator.

Together, they believe that God is leading Good Ground into a new season of ministry. Building on the values of Faith, Family and Love, they are working with the church to impact the world like never before.

We have come together as a family and formed a speaking team. Each Sunday, a member of the team delivers a keynote address from our current scripture-based Family Book. 

We are blessed to hear the Word each Sunday from multiple unique experiences and levels of growth.

Click here to see the Keynote Schedule.

During this challenging time, we have moved our family worhsip experience online.
Please visit our Facebook links on the home page to stay connected.

Our Vision

"And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.."

Mark 16:15

As a family, we are always moving in the direction of the Great Commission. 

We are diligently working towards expanding our overall family impact. From our immediate community, to the capital region, to the entire world.

We have our eyes set on completing renovations to our physical building, as well as our digital infrastructure. These updates will give us tremendous opportunities to expand our ministries, program offerings and community partnerships.

We are very excited about where God is taking us!

Get Grounded and Grow

Want to grow spiritually with a Spirit-filled family? We're saving a seat for you.

Wherever you're at in your faith journey, you'll always be accepted as part of the Good Ground family.

We'd love to connect with you and learn more about your story.

Visit the CONTACT US section at the bottom of the page to grow with us!

Our Family

"And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ"

Ephesians 4:11-12

Senior Pastor Dona Williams

Pastor Dona

Name: Dona Williams

Title: Senior Pastor

Occupation: Senior Pastor, Mother and Grandmother

Hobbies: Reading, Crochet, and Baking

Pets: My dogs Kimo and Klaus

Fun facts about me: I love lobstah!

Background: I am a native of Gloucester MA.  I have a degree from Skidmore College. I am ordained through Rhema Bible Training College. My other careers have involved Secondary and Post-Secondary education, theater and broadcasting.

What I love about our church: I love the family culture and sense of community that we have worked hard to build, both with in our church and within our community. We are committed and privaleged to help the restoration of the city of Cohoes.

Associate Pastor Eric Murphy

Pastor Eric
Name: Eric Murphy

Title: Associate Pastor

Occupation: Architect

Hobbies: House projects, Gardening with my wife, Road trips, Bicycling

Pets: Cat - Bok Choy (aka: Bok Choy My Boy, Choy-yooo, Mr. Fluffy-pants)

Fun facts about me: I have no middle name, never broke a bone, taught myself to eat left handed.

Background: Originally from the Ithaca area, I married my high school sweetheart and 2 weeks later moved to Tulsa, OK to attend RHEMA Bible Training Center with a focus on youth ministry. In 2008 I received a bachelor of Architecture from Syracuse University. Katee and I started attending GGFC in 2010 after moving to the Capital Region. Sitting under the tutelage of Pastor Wendell Williams, I began assisting with the Wednesday night service and spot preaching on Sundays. Eventually assuming the role of associate pastor.

What I love about our church: The name of our church says everything I love about it: Family - evident in the many valuable relationships I have; Good Ground - for personal spiritual growth.

Children's Ministry Director Katee Murphy

Katee Murphy

Name: Katee Murphy

Title: Children's Ministry Director

Occupation: Veterinary Technician

Hobbies: Gardening, crafting and hiking

Pets: Our Cat, BokChoy

Fun facts about me: I love being outside, wearing rain boots and getting my hands dirty in the garden!

Background: I began volunteering my time all during high school in Children's Church and Clown Ministry. As a young adult, I spend a short time doing a traveling children's church ministry. I went on to complete one year at Taylor University for Pastoral Ministries and also have attended Rhema Bible Training Center. My husband and I moved to Albany NY where we began attending Good Ground Family Church. We were drawn to the ministry by the Holy Spirit and the welcoming charisma of the Pastors and members. After becoming members ourselves, I took on the role of Children's Ministry Director.

What I love about our church: I love our sense of community and care for one another. I know I can rely on my church family to love me, pray for me, build me up and point me to our true source for provision, peace, love and joy: Jesus! I also love and appreciate the women in our church and the strength that we give one another being connected at Good Ground. I am also involved in our dance ministry, Garments of Praise. I love worshiping with banners and flags and dancing before Jesus in praise. I also enjoy teaching the children about worship through dance and flags. It brings a lot of excitement and fun, as they join our praise and worship time each Sunday. I enjoy working with our other teachers to bring joy and love to the children that attend our services. We embrace the nature, curiosity and energy that our children bring to each church service and event. We are truly a family church! 

Our Beliefs


The Bible is the inspired Word of God. We accept it as our infallible guide in matters pertaining to conduct and doctrine.

(2 Tim 3:16; 1 Thess 2:13; 2 Peter 1:21)


Our God is one, but manifested in three Persons – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  God the Father is greater than all.

(John 14:28; John 16:28; John 1:14)


is the Son of God, the One Begotten, and has existed with the Father from the beginning.

(John 1:1; John 1:18; John 1:14)


proceeds forth from both the Father and the Son and is eternal.

(John 14:16; John 15:26)


Man is a created being, made in the likeness and image of God, but through Adam’s transgression and fall, sin came into the world.

(Rom 3:10; 3:23)


is the gift of God to man and is received by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.

(Eph 2:8-10)


Man’s first step toward salvation is repentance. The New Birth is necessary to all man, and when experienced, produces eternal life.

(2 Cor 7:10; John 3:3-5; 1 John 5:12)



Baptism in water is by immersion and is a direct commandment of our Lord.  It is for believers only.  It is a symbol of the Christian’s identification with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection.

(Matt 28:19; Rom 6:4; Col 2:12; Acts 8:36-39)



the Baptism in the Holy Spirit is a gift from God as promised by the Lord Jesus Christ to all believers and is received subsequent to the New Birth.  This experience is accompanied by “speaking in other tongues as the Holy Spirit Himself gives utterance.”

(Matt 3:11; John 14:16, 17; Acts 1:8; Acts 2:38-39; Acts 19:1-7; Acts 2:1-4)



The Bible teaches that without holiness no man can see the Lord.  Sanctification is a definite, yet progressive and lifelong work of grace.

(Heb 12:14; 1 Thess 5:23; 2 Peter 3:18; 2 Cor 3:18; Phil 3:12-14; 1 Cor 1:30)



Marriage is the physical, social and spiritual union between a man and a woman instituted by God for the protection, propagation and stability of society through the building of the family. It stands as a testimony to the supernatural union between Christ and His Bride, The Church.

(Gen 2:24; Eph 5:25-33)


Healing is for the whole human person and is wrought by the power of God through the prayer of faith, and by the laying on of hands.  It is provided for in the atonement of Jesus Christ, and is the privilege of every member of the Church today.

(James 5:14, 15; Mark 16:18; Isa 53: 4,5; Matt 8:17; 1 Peter 2:24)



His coming is imminent.  The angels said to Jesus’ disciples…”This same Jesus, who is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as you have seen Him go into heaven when He returns.”   “The dead in Christ shall rise first; then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air…”

(Acts 1:11; 1 Thess 4:16, 17; Rev 5:10, 20:6)


The one who physically dies in his sins without accepting Christ is hopelessly and eternally lost and has no further opportunity of hearing the Gospel or repenting.  It is our hope and prayer that no one dies without Christ because “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is long suffering toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”

(Heb 9:27; Rev 19:20; 2 Peter 3:9)

Our Home


St. Agnes

This stately and imposing citadel of faith has endured on this hill in times fair and foul with its venerable steeple holding high, above the ways of men, the cross of Christ.

The original project, under the direction of the Neary & Stanton Construction Company of Cohoes, was a building of majestic proportion, undertaken by a group of people far from affluent. 

The knitting mills, for which the city was nick named, were the prime source of employment for the great majority of the parish “bread winners”, and yet the undertaking was seen to successful fruition.

Father Francis Hicks, himself a St. Agnes boy, referred to “the Cathedral built with nickels, dimes and quarters and a lot of faith.” 

The nickels, dimes and quarters came hard to those mill workers who found themselves locked into a prevailing wage structure that did no more than provide each family with the barest essentials.

Yet, sustained by an abiding faith, they found the means to raise a magnificent edifice to God’s glory, the rival of any other parish church in upstate New York. 

The cornerstone of the new building was put in place in the summer of 1891, and within the year, the present structure of 14th century Gothic architecture, with a seating capacity of 1000, was completed and ready for divine service.

The parish of St. Agnes’/St. Patrick merged with St. Marie’s to become known as St. Agnes’/St. Patrick’s/St. Marie’s and in February of 1998, St. Agnes’ church closed. 

Though awed by its size, some 100,000 sq. ft., Pastors Wendell and Dona Williams, their trustees, and their congregation felt that it was the Lord’s will and committed to buy the building. In the Spring of 2001, Good Ground Family Church made the historic St. Agnes Cathedral it’s permanent home. 

We have worked diligently to bring this sanctuary back to its intended use through an ongoing schedule of repairs, restorations and renovations.

Good Ground Family Church

The magnificent steeple “on the hill” remains a beacon in the landscape as you approach the city of Cohoes, from all directions.

Long may she stand!

Connect Center

Connect Center

Connecting youth to a brighter future!

The Connect Center for Youth is a community youth center located the city of Cohoes and serving the Greater Capital Region.

It is a ~5000 sq. ft. in-progress retrofit construction project housed inside of the Good Ground Family Church building.

We are committed to breaking the cycle of poverty through youth empowerment.

We believe in making a positive impact in the lives of youth through: 

- Fitness and Nutrition -

- Vocational Training - 

- Life skill development -

- S.T.E.A.M. education -

- Job, career, or school placement -

- Tutoring and Test Prep -

- Mentoring -

Click here to visit the Connect Center online.

Our Community

Our Community


Please Count for Cohoes!

Please fill out the census at:


or call



Garments of Praise

Let them praise his name with dancing and make music to him with timbrel and harp. For the LORD takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with victory.”

Psalm 149:3-4

Dancing is mentioned often in the Bible and is used throughout the Old Testament as a means of worship and praise to God. 

As with other activities, dancing can also be used to worship the wrong idols and many Christians think poorly of dancing all together. God was pleased with dancing that worshipped him.

Contact Us


Good Ground Family Church

49 Johnston Ave

Cohoes, NY 12047







Family Prayer List

Click here to view or add your prayer request to our Family Prayer List.