Tag Archive | faith

Pastor Katie’s Weekly Letter

UNITED PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH

Levittown Campus Massapequa Campus 474 Wantagh Avenue, Levittown 150 Pittsburgh Avenue, Massapequa

March 26, 2020

Weekly Pastor’s Letter…

Dear Church, I hope this letter finds you safe and healthy and sheltered in your homes. As we go through this time together, please reach out if you have any needs. We know that many people in our church have underlying medical conditions, and we are urging our “older” folks to use caution about even going out to the stores for supplies. Please reach out to your deacons or elders, call the church office, or call me at (805) 448-9641 if there’s any way we can be of assistance.

I am sad to share that Eleanor Novotny passed away on March 23. Eleanor was a long time member of the United Presbyterian Church, Levittown Campus and lived to be 101 years old. Please say a prayer for Eleanor and her family.  Eleanor requested that there not be a service. When we gather in person again we will honor her during our regular Sunday worship service. If you have stories or memories of Eleanor, please take a few minutes to email them to the church office and we will make sure Janice Newsome and the family receives them.

I’m happy to share that Wendy is home from her surgery and is recuperating. She is grateful for all of your prayers and hopes to join us for the Zoom calls again soon.

I’m also happy to share that Wayne is doing well. He joined our worship call on Sunday last, and I look forward to working with him in April to add more music into the worship services!

We continue to meet daily by Zoom conference calls (M/W/F at 12noon and Su/Tu/Th at 7pm), and we will be worshiping on Sundays at 10am, also by Zoom conference call. Thanks especially to Feiona, Ella, Stella, Robin, Joan, Sharon, Paul and others who made worship possible last week and this week! If you are interested in reading scripture, singing, or participating in other ways with worship, please contact Sharon or myself.

To join the zoom calls from any phone, cell phone, tablet or computer:

Call in by phone: (646) 558 8656 when prompted, enter the meeting number: 832 316 0543
-or-
Using the Zoom app join with the meeting number: 832 316 0543
-or-
Using a computer, click on this link:
https://zoom.us/j/8323160543

Sunday’s sermon will be on the valley of the dry bones depicted by the prophet Ezekiel. I hope you’ll join us for worship as we figure out how to do this without our buildings…

We expect that we will not be gathering in person for Holy Week. However our Worship Committee will be meeting next week to talk about some ways to celebrate that time through our conference call gatherings. We know that not everyone has the technology to see video, so we are committed to creating worship services that are accessible by a regular phone. We will also be working to create some video content to compliment the audio. If you are interested in being part of that conversation, please contact Sharon or myself and we’ll add you to the call.

Many thanks to our Deacons and Elders who have made it possible for UPC to pivot on a dime and keep our community connected, even as we cannot gather physically. I couldn’t have asked for a better group of people to work with in the first month of my ministry as we navigate a global disaster together!

Finally, in this time of enforced isolation (even as some of us are isolated in larger groups!), I offer you this reflection by Mecca Jamilah Sullivan:

“I am not a quiet person. But I can use quiet. To let myself choose quiet is to value my voice, my time, my energy, my words. It is to know that if the words are not there, they will come. To let myself choose quiet is to know that, sometimes, the most important thing is not to change or teach unwilling others, but to take care of myself. Sometimes the loudest thing we can do—the most generative, most disruptive, most rambunctious, most radical, most revolutionary thing we can do—is give ourselves what we need. Time. Space. Rest. Energy. Love. Quiet.”

No matter where you are right now, no matter who you are with, take some time to be quiet as the world is shutting down temporarily. There will be plenty of time to be productive, make noise, celebrate, be LOUD. But for right now, rest and refresh. Regain lost energy. Allow yourself to know who you are when everything slows down.

And for those of you who are still working, essential personnel who are keeping the world alive right now, you have our deepest gratitude for that work. If we can be helpful to you, please let us know. If we can treat you with dinner or supplies or a friendly ear, please let us know.

Blessings to all and I hope to see you soon…

Rev. Katie Mulligan

Pastor, United Presbyterian Church (805) 448-9641 katiesmulligan@gmail.com

Lenten Bible Study

Starting Thursday, March 5th. We will meet every Thursday evening through April 2nd for a Lenten Bible Study. Join us at 6:00 pm at the Massapequa Campus in the boardroom.

We will have a Soup and Salad Supper & Lenten Studies.  Prayer, meditation, art , music are ways of centering ourselves and honoring God.  Hope to see you there!

Pastor Katie

Sunday Supper at Six – February 24th.

fellowship dinner

Sunday Supper at Six – February 24th. 6-8pm

Join us for Sunday Supper at Six, February 24, 2019 from 6 to 8 pm at the Presbyterian Community Church of Massapequa. Attendees will enjoy dinner by candlelight and music in the Fellowship Hall. Please bring your favorite DVD and dish of your choice. Set up, dessert and beverages will be provided.

 

Pastor’s Post – February 2019

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A few days ago, members of Session and I attended a lunch with representatives of a new program of the Presbyterian Foundation called “Project Regeneration.”  Along with people from several other Long Island congregations, we listened to a presentation that provided information about congregations around the country much like ours:  that is, established churches that once had hundreds of members and now are much smaller and struggling to maintain their ministry.  This lunch was designed to be the first of four gatherings to be held over the next year on Long Island to explore ways churches are responding to their situation, especially financial strategies.

Although it was not said in so many words, the theme of this first lunch seemed to be: “You are not alone in your experience of decline.”  Here are just a few of the facts that were shared with us:

The national Presbyterian Church in the USA (PCUSA) has lost over a third of its membership in the last fifteen years and has 13% fewer congregations.

A “typical” Presbyterian is 63 years old.  The average American is 38 years old.

The median Presbyterian congregation has 81 members.

85% of mainline Protestant churches (Presbyterian, Methodist, Episcopalian etc) have plateaued in membership or are declining.

If the sanctuary is less than 40% full for worship, visitors are much less likely to return.

Congregational mergers are rare.  (Nice to know that we here are special!)

In the face of these sobering facts, churches around the country have found ways to re-define their mission and to maintain their financial viability.  I am hoping that over the course of the next three lunches, we will learn about creative and inspiring examples that will help us to think “outside the box” in terms of continuing ministry in these difficult times.  Our guests from the Foundation provided this helpful thought:  “The situation you and your church find yourself in is not your fault, but it is your problem.”   I would only add: “It is our problem but also our opportunity.”  Although our situation may not always feel hopeful, I believe we have the resources to fashion a new way of being a Christian church here and now.  God is challenging us to use our creativity and to gather our courage.

Please let me know if you would like to be included in the next lunch, which will take place on Tuesday, March 26 also at Sweet Hollow.

Pastor Lou

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New Member Class starting January 27th. following worship.

Membership Class

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.

 

new members

 

Pastor’s Post January, 2019

Now that Christmas, 2018 is behind us, it’s time to close the books on our poet friend, W. H. Auden and his long Christmas poem, “For the Time Being.”  Here are some of his final words as he brings the story to an end:

Well, so that is that.  Now we must dismantle the tree,

Putting the decorations back into their cardboard boxes—

Some have got broken—and carrying them up to the attic.

The holly and the mistletoe must be taken down and burnt,

And the children got ready for school.  There are enough

Left-overs to do, warmed-up, for the rest of the week—

Not that we have much appetite, having drunk such a lot,

Stayed up so late, attempted—quite unsuccessfully—

To love all of our relatives, and in general

Grossly overestimated our powers. Once again

As in previous years we have seen the actual Vision and failed

To do more than entertain it as an agreeable

Possibility, once again we have sent Him away,

Begging though to remain His disobedient servant,

The promising child who cannot keep His word for long.

Sort of captures the mood of the days just after Christmas, doesn’t it?  Those feelings of joy, love and warmth wear off, and we are back in the rut of everyday existence before we know it.  As Auden says, “we have failed to do more than entertain it (the spirit of Christmas) as an agreeable possibility.”  Auden says we are like children who can’t keep a promise for very long.

Does Christmas simply offer a momentary respite from the ordinary?  Or, can we learn to live the whole year in the spirit of that special day?  You may read this after January 1, but there is still time for a resolution or two.  I would suggest more regular attendance at church—try to be present at least three out of four Sundays.  Don’t get upset if we are worshipping in “the other” church building.  All the buildings, all the meeting rooms are now “ours.”  Nothing is “theirs” any more.  The more time we spend together in worship and prayer, the easier will be our transformation into a united congregation.

Here are some special dates that I would like you to put in your appointment calendar:

Sunday, February 24.  We are planning to hold the final annual meeting of the two historic congregations and also the first congregational meeting of the new United Presbyterian Church. The session of the new congregation will be elected that day, along with its board of deacons.  This will take place immediately after the worship service.

Wednesday, March 6.  Ash Wednesday.  Please plan to attend the traditional evening service.  This is the beginning of Lent, and this will be an important season of prayer and re-commitment for all of us as we begin the adventure of being a revitalized, unified congregation.

Thursday evenings in Lent, March 7, 14, 21 and 28 and April 4 and 11.  These evenings will be dedicated to the study of our church’s mission in community—our relationship as a congregation of Christ’s followers to the social issues that affect us and those around us.  We will also spend some time at each meeting in group prayer.  Time and location to be announced

Sunday, April 21.  Easter.  We will have our third annual “sunrise” service on the lawn at Levittown and our 10 a.m. service at the Massapequa campus.

I hope you will be present for these events.  Please be a part of this new enterprise of the spirit as we begin life as a new church!  As poet Auden said in the closing lines of his Christmas poem:

“He is the Way.

Follow Him through the Land of Unlikeness;

You will see rare beasts, and have unique adventures.”

 

-Pastor Lou

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas Eve Candlelight Worship Services

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We will host two Christmas Eve Candlelight Worship Services.

Please join our United Congregations on Christmas Eve, Monday, December 24, 2018.

Join us at 7:30p.m. for a Candlelight Worship Service hosted at the First Presbyterian Church of Levittown

Join us at 11:00 p.m. for a Candlelight Worship Service hosted at the Presbyterian Community Church of Massapequa