About The ACS of Western New York

In 2006, having recently retired, I was channel surfing and came across a show about The Apostle of Common Sense: G. K. Chesterton. Both my wife, Lynne, and I were hooked on the show, as well as the EWTN station where it appears weekly. Consequently, we joined the The American Chesterton Society. We devoured each issue presented in Gilbert Magazine, which is a bonus for joining the Society. That name was strangely familiar; Chesterton ... Chesterton. But where had I heard or read the name? The little grey cells starting turning and turning. Years before, in school, I remembered reading a poem by Chesterton. I recalled distinctly checking my Grandfather’s cigarette pack to make sure of the name; Chesterfield was quite different from Chesterton. There was more to the name than I thought. The seed was planted more than 45 years ago.

Then in 2009 I met Mr. Dale Ahlquist at a weekend event called Re-Awakening Wonder, held in Rochester. There he and a group of other noted speakers and authors, including Joseph Pearce, gave talks on Chesterton. The program ended with a lengthy Q&A session. I was impressed when Mr. Ahlquist made sure that he introduced me to other Chestertonians (people interested in G.K. Chesterton) from Buffalo.

Being impressed with the one on one attention each celebrity gave the audience Lynne and I were determined to see such an event come to Buffalo. Driving the one hour trip back to Buffalo we returned with a mission. Gilbert Magazine was the next step. Gilbert Magazine is the Society’s magazine which promotes Chesterton through articles and quotes on or about the great man G. K. Chesterton.

After visiting the Society website I got all the info we would need to start our own chapter. Contacting the American Chesterton Society we then asked for any known list of Gilbert Magazine members in the Buffalo area. Armed with addresses and e-mails, we proceeded to contact Buffalo area Chestertonians. E-mails and postcard fleeted to possible attendees. Our first meeting was held in October at the Amherst Wegman’s coffee area; a place where people can meet informally in the upper level. About 8 Chestertonians came to our first meeting. We were off and running. While Wegman’s is nice, Chesterton, it must be realized, deserved a better place than between actual meat and potatoes. Chesterton is the meat and potatoes of the mind more than the body. Within several months we saw that the coffee bar scene was okay, but perhaps a better place could be found. Barnes and Noble seemed a likely and highly conducive place. After meeting with the Barnes and Noble manager at the Niagara Falls Boulevard location, we were happy to learn they would provide us with the kind of meeting place we were looking for. Since April, our small group of fluctuating numbers of 6 to 10 meet there each first Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. For one to one and a half hours, we meet to discuss Chesterton and his works.

All during this time of creating the local Chapter we worked on getting Mr. Ahlquist out to Buffalo. After a brief negotiation we were able to secure a time and a place for him to come out to Buffalo for a one night speaking engagement. In addition to Mr. Ahlquist were also able to secure Dr. Chuck Chalberg to attend to render his personification as G. K. Chesterton. Currently we are actively developing the Western New York Chapter, running meetings, building the Chapter web site, operating a Chesterton Yahoo Group and utilizing various promotional tools like radio and press releases. It is our hope to expand this current Chesterton event into an annual event with other notable Chesterton speakers.


Phil Viverito

heretics Saint Thomas Aquanis, The Dumb Ox