Beginning January 27th. following worship Pastor Lou will conduct a three Sunday membership class that will meet after the morning service. If you know anyone who would like to be a member, please talk to them about joining this class.
“Supper at Six” will again take place on Saturday, May 21 from 6 to 9 p.m. in the fellowship hall at the Massapequa church. Members of both congregations are invited to attend as well as friends and family. Please bring a dish. Beverages and desserts will be provided. Each person is asked to bring a wrapped gift or re-gift that is valued at no more than $10. We will conduct our traditional gift swap which is always lots of fun!
Hope to see everyone there!
What I Did on Spring Vacation. . .
My family spent a lovely week in a beautiful place: Portland, Oregon. Both my wife and I have close relatives living there, and Louis and Velma found a lot of cousins to play with, on both sides of the family.
Portland is a study in contrasts: on the one hand, it is a self-consciously beautiful city with wonderful plantings, attractive and user friendly public transportation, plentiful benches and resting stops for pedestrians, laid-back coffee houses (not all Starbucks!) and striking views of the Willamette River and the great volcanic mountains to the east and north. Much of the waterfront has been transformed in recent years from a dismal commercial wilderness into a lovely public park. On the other hand, the poor and homeless are omnipresent, often asking for a handout. Recently, the mayor declared that the homeless could legally camp on any public green space, and this has led to small tent settlements springing up in many neighborhoods. Permanent residents near these areas are not amused, and political trouble is brewing. In addition, I learned from a college friend who is now a prominent attorney in the city that Portland’s high school graduation rate is abysmal. And this in an area that is now heavily dependent on tech industries that demand a highly skilled and highly trained workforce.
On Sunday morning, I visited a local Presbyterian congregation in a suburban area about 15 miles from city center. The Oak Hills Presbyterian Church has a membership of about 140 but a remarkably high attendance record, averaging over 100 each Sunday morning. The congregation seems about evenly divided between an early “contemporary” service and a later traditional service. The annual budget runs close to $250,000. The church’s modern building sits on an attractive site with some open space around it. The Rev. Jeremy Sanderson, a graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary and a man in his early thirties, gave an inspirational sermon based on the life of David. I attended the 11 a.m. traditional service, which is preceded by the 9:30 “contemporary” service. Although labeled traditional, the service I attended featured liberal use of visual aids—a computer-based use of projected images during the service included lyrics for all hymns sung as well as pictures and outlines to supplement the words of the pastor and to advertise congregational activities. The worship space uses a lot of natural light and movable chairs that allowed for a variety of seating arrangements. I was not able to attend the contemporary service at 9:30, but judging from a large drum set that is a permanent feature in the sanctuary, I would guess it uses modern, youth-oriented music.
Should anyone be interested, I have a copy of Oak Hills’ 2015 annual report. I could not help but imagine how a church such as this one might serve as a model for what our two churches might be able to build—in terms of modern facilities–if we are successful in our merger efforts and can begin to re-build our ministry as one congregation.
On Easter Sunday, our combined congregations engaged in a renewal of our covenant with God. We modeled this event on the great gathering of the people of God at Shechem under the leadership of Joshua, as it is described in the 24th chapter of the book of Joshua. The first part of our covenant renewal process was a recitation of the many blessings we have received from God, both as individuals as churches. The second part was a statement of what we are promising to God as we proceed into the future. I have re-printed this second part below, so that we can all re-read it and consider what we are promising. I will welcome any thoughts or reflections you may have.
Our Pledge to God:
We will follow You into the future as one people, keeping Christ always at the center of our common life.
We will reach out to get to know the members of both congregations that we do not know now, we will work to blend our cultures and our ways of doing things, so that a new and dynamic ministry will emerge.
We will treat each other as beloved sisters and brothers in Christ, seeking always a common understanding and a unity of purpose.
We will not be afraid to share the Good News with others but will speak with joy and welcome to all.
We will give generously of our material resources and will share our time with the community as family and work commitments allow.
We will not horde our earthly and spiritual treasures, but will share with all, so that like the loaves and fishes of the little boy, like the jar of oil and the bin of flour of the Sidonian widow, like the manna in the wilderness, they will never be used up but will be an ever-flowing stream giving life to all.
This we solemnly promise, knowing that we are weak and prone to wander from Your way. Pour out Your mercy and forgiveness upon us, we pray, that we may endure and gain the prize and at last enter into Your Kingdom of peace and plenty.
In the name of the risen Christ, we say, Amen.
Joint Worship Service Schedule for Levittown & Massapequa
Sundays at 10:00am
December Worship Schedule
December 6th. at The Presbyterian Church of Levittown- Congregational Meeting
December 13th. at The Presbyterian Community Church of Massapequa—Christmas Cantata
December 20th. at The Presbyterian Church of Levittown
December 24th. Christmas Eve Candlelight Worship Services
December 24th.—7:30pm at The Presbyterian Church of Levittown—A joyful coffee hour, hosted by the Deacons, will follow worship.
December 24th.—11:00pm at The Presbyterian Community Church of Massapequa
December 27th. at The Presbyterian Community Church of Massapequa
January Worship Schedule
January 3rd. at The Presbyterian Community Church of Massapequa-Communion
January 10th. at The Presbyterian Church of Levittown
January 17th. at The Presbyterian Community Church of Massapequa
January 24th. at The Presbyterian Church of Levittown
January 31st. at The Presbyterian Community Church of Massapequa – Congregational Meeting
February Worship Schedule
February 7th. at The Presbyterian Church of Levittown – Communion
February 14th. at The Presbyterian Community Church of Massapequa
February 21st. at The Presbyterian Church of Levittown
February 28th. at The Presbyterian Church of Massapequa
Well, here we go again with this “war on Christmas” thing. How dare Starbucks change the design of its holiday cups!! What were those shopping mall managers thinking when they took the Christmas trees out of the backdrop for Santa! It is easy to make fun of such silly criticisms, but behind these rather extreme points of view about the danger of Christmas slipping away, you can sense an authentic anxiety about growing secularism in the culture. It’s not so much that we are losing Christmas but that we are losing touch with the sacred. People are looking for meaning and fulfillment in all the wrong places, while houses of worship gather dust.
There’s that old cliché phrase we use sometimes: “Is nothing sacred?” We could ask that again today, in light of the overwhelming commercialization and secularization of holidays in general, Christmas being exhibit numero uno. Have we abandoned all sense of purpose beyond our own material enrichment? Is it finally true that he or she who dies with the most toys is the winner?
I’d like us to take a step back this year and re-discover Christmas by studying the sacred texts in which all of our yuletide traditions are rooted. How did lowly shepherds find their way into the story, along with high born kings, or sages from the East? What do the Christmas stories tell us about Jesus Christ himself? What does it mean to “believe” and to “have faith in” these stories today? And, perhaps most important, what would be an appropriate and meaningful way to observe Christmas that would help us restore its place in our spiritual lives? Please join me for three evenings of discussion: Wednesdays, December 2, 9 and 16 at 7:30 p.m. in the Board Room of the Massapequa Church.
A Congregational Meeting of The First Presbyterian Church of Levittown has been called for Sunday, December 6, 2015 after the worship service for the purpose of electing a Nominating Committee and approving the sale of the Manse.
Dear Members & Friends,
The First Presbyterian Church of Levittown has made arrangements with a local nursery to order Christmas poinsettias. Each plant will be $12.00 2 for a 6 1/2”. Please write flower fund in the memo section of your check. Orders should be placed by December 13th. Please give your orders to Joyce Senior or place in Joyce’s inbox in the Church office.