Tag Archive | pastor lou

Pastor’s Post – June 2018

From-the-Pastor-2

Pastor’s Post

The lectionary reading for June 3 includes a passage from Paul’s second letter to the Christians in the city of Corinth. In the 4th chapter, verse 7, Paul writes that we carry the treasure of the Gospel in “clay jars,” or, in the more colorful language of older translations, in “earthen vessels.” Paul is referring to himself and his fellow preachers in these terms to express the frailty of human nature, and how little we deserve to be so closely associated with the glorious message of Christ’s love and mercy.

It has occurred to me that we have another type of “earthen vessel” to deal with, and that is the earthly organizational structure of the church. As spiritually restorative as our worship and fellowship may be, it must be carried on in real time in real property and in the form of a non-profit organization with all the red tape and legal rigmarole that is implied in that status. In coming months, we will encounter a lot of rigmarole as we move toward full union of the two congregations. I ask for your patience and your participation as we proceed. The next milestone for our congregation(s) will be a meeting following worship on Sunday, June 24. We will vote to approve by-laws for the new congregation, and each of the two congregations, meeting together but voting separately, will vote on motions to bring us together that our lawyers have drafted using language that will meet the requirements of the government agencies that will be involved in approving the bringing together of the congregations.
After the votes of June 24, we will take our proposal to become United Presbyterian Church to Presbytery, going through the Presbytery Trustees.
Please try to be present for the June 24 meeting. It will be held immediately following worship on Sunday, June 24 at Levittown. It is important not only to have a quorum of members of both churches present, but we should show to Presbytery and government agencies that our process has benefited from the active involvement of as many members as possible.

 

Pastor Lou

Pastor Post for May

Pastor’s Post

At its April meeting, our joint session decided on the following worship plan for the remainder of 2018.

1. We will continue to alternate on the present schedule between
Massapequa and Levittown through Confirmation Sunday,
June 10.

2. Beginning Sunday, June 17 and continuing through September, we
will worship in Miles Hall at Levittown. For those of you who may
be unfamiliar with the Levittown building, Miles Hall is what we
sometimes call “the Social Hall” where we have coffee after
worship. It is an air conditioned space that will work well for the
hot summer months.

3. Beginning with Sunday, October 7, we will worship at 10 a.m.
Sunday in our Massapequa sanctuary and will be there every
Sunday through December.

4. Decisions about our worship location beyond this year will be made in the fall.

Personally, I have thought about the idea of holding an additional worship service, maybe twice a month, on Sunday afternoons in the Levittown sanctuary during the cold months. It could be held around 4:30 in the afternoon, or possibly even a little earlier, so that worshipers could get home before dark. In such a setting we could try different things—longer periods of prayer, alternative music, poetry, dialogue sermons, audiovisual presentations, guest preachers/speakers etc. We would have communion at the afternoon service on the same Sundays it was being celebrated at 10 a.m. Once again, this is just an idea of mine, it has not been discussed or voted on by the session. I would be interested in hearing from anyone who thinks they might want to be involved in such a service, either as a supplement to Sunday morning or as a substitute on those Sundays it took place.

-Pastor Lou

Pastor’s Post for February 2018

From the Pastor:

Sermons in Lent
Easter is early this year, which means that Ash Wednesday is just around the corner (February 14, 7 p.m. Massapequa). We are planning a confirmation class for this year, which will begin to meet during Lent. I am planning a series of Lenten sermons around the Apostles’ Creed, and I am asking the confirmands to attend church services during Lent, to hear and think about these sermons. At the same time, I want these sermons to be an opportunity for all church members, not just the confirmands, to return to the roots of their faith, to be reminded of the core beliefs that give us our identity as followers of Christ. In each case, we will also talk about how the Presbyterian Church looks at the elements of the Creed, and how our point of view is the same as or different from that of other denominations. This is a good time to re-examine the faith that brings us together, as we are in the process of re-organizing our life together to fashion one congregation out of two, so that Presbyterian-style Christianity can continue to witness in this area.

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Congregational Merger Process

If you have not already done so, please fill out and return the worship location survey, which is printed on pink paper. You can mail it in or put it in the basket in the narthex, or hand it to me. You can also provide an e-mail response.

On Sunday, February18 following the service at Levittown there will be an open discussion session on the state of repair of our two church campuses. A number of people have asked for more information on this subject, and those of us most knowledgeable about the buildings are expected to be there to answer questions.

 

Pastor’s Post – May 2017

From-the-Pastor-2

Dear Members and Friends: 

 Thank you to everyone who made Holy Week a special time of inspiration and communion with each other.  It is clear to me that we have a talented congregation that has much to offer to enrich our worship experience.  And this is not to mention the joyful Easter vigil hosted by Sweet Hollow Presbyterian Church on Saturday evening.  For the past two years we have benefited from the musical and liturgical gifts of our friends and neighbors in many Long Island congregations who come together for this special event.  It is a joyful experience to discover our fellowship in Christ extends to so many fine people all over the area. 

The life of faith is intimately related to the means of communication that are available to us. When Jesus lived, communication was so much slower than it is now, that it is hard for us to imagine how the Gospel spread from town to town.  Jesus did a lot of walking, and speaking to crowds, and preaching in synagogues.  After his death and resurrection and ascension to heaven, his disciples followed in his footsteps, walking out of Jerusalem and Galilee, travelling the roads to neighboring countries, boarding sailing vessels to reach all corners of the known world.  When they reached a new town or city, they would begin preaching in the town square and in the synagogues, if such existed there.  The missionaries, most notably Paul, then began to write letters to churches they had organized.  These letters probably traveled in the luggage of trusted members of the Christian community.  One can imagine that it would take at least several weeks for a letter to travel from Jerusalem to Ephesus or Rome.  Given these realities of communications, it took about four centuries for Christianity to become the dominant religion of the Empire.   

 Fast forward to the Protestant Reformation, almost exactly 500 years ago, and 1,500 years after the life of Christ.  The news of the Reformed faith was transmitted much more quickly than would have been possible in the ancient world through a new system of information sharing based on the printing press. It took less than one century for Luther and Calvin’s form of Christianity to take root in every corner of western civilization.  Of course, it did not become the dominant faith in many areas which remained in the grip of Catholicism, but the genie was out of the bottle in terms of the spread of information throughout the populace.  More and more people learned to read, and out of the rich soil of literate Protestant populations sprang the modern realities of representative democracy and an informed and self-determining laity and citizenry.   

 Today, we can look back on the last 100 years in which communications technology has increased the speed and the reach of information sharing at a breathtaking pace.  And now, it seems as though every year brings a new form of communication into our hands.  We have broken loose from centralized systems such as radio and TV networks.  Everybody has a chance to be a media phenomenon. Reputations can be made or destroyed overnight.  National leaders can put their messages directly into our in-boxes without the media filter we are used to.  In turn, in a matter of seconds, we the people can flood them with thousands or millions of individual messages on any given topic.   

 So far as communicating the Gospel is concerned, media technology is neutral.  The Good News can travel by word of mouth, by the printed word on paper, by preaching to an assembled audience, but it can also travel by e-mail, Facebook, You Tube, and Twitter.  Our worship is currently conducted using the printed word on paper, the spoken word using electronic microphones and speakers, and music using electronic instruments and our assembled voices.  We also use our bodies a little bit by shaking hands or embracing when we “pass the peace.”   

 As we build our new congregation, we have an important opportunity to experiment with all the new forms of communication that are available.  Money is, of course, an important limiting factor for us.  Yet, we will be doing the best we can with what we have.  As we proceed with these efforts, that started some time ago with the creation of web sites for the two congregations and Facebook pages, along with limited use of visual aids in worship, I hope you will find your experience of the Christian life being expanded in a positive direction.  Be sure to let me and the session know what you think about various innovations.   

 Three things that will be unfolding in coming months: 

1) Elder Scott Newsam is guiding us into the world of “Google for nonprofits” which promises to be a great platform for communication and work sharing within our fellowship.                                                   2) It seems likely that we will be purchasing the digital version of the new PCUSA hymnal, Glory to God.  Using projectors and screens, we will be able to enhance our music in worship with hundreds of new hymns and songs, many of which have been written in the past two decades.                                               3) We will be using projected images in worship on a regular basis.  Getting the set up to work well may take some time and effort. 

    Pastor Lou

 

 

 

 

Pastor’s Post – February 2017

From-the-Pastor-2From the Pastor:

I am pleased to announce that our two congregations will be presenting our Plumbline Report to the Presbytery Committee on Ministry on Tuesday, February 7 at 2 p.m. in the Presbytery headquarters in Commack.  Assuming that our report is approved, we will be placed on the docket of the Presbytery meeting that will be held on Tuesday, March 21.  Presbytery will move to appoint a  “commission,” which will be a small group drawn from both churches and from the Presbytery at large.  The commission will do a lot of the detail work involved in arranging the merger, such as the legal processes that will be necessary to dissolve two congregations and bring a new one into existence which will “inherit” the buildings and assets of the two older congregations.

While the commission is working on the details, the rest of us will be preparing for life together in the new congregation.  I am planning a series of small, week-day evening communion services during Lent, at which we will share the Lord’s Supper with people from both churches.  I will invite each of you to a specific service either in a home or at one of our church buildings.  Before partaking of communion, we will spend some time getting to know each other better and to talk about our hopes and fears for the future of our new congregation.  We will pray for the success of our new enterprise.

Please get out your copy of our Plumbline Report.  We mailed it to all members right around January 1, and I hope you still have yours.  If not, please give me a call, and I will get another one to you.  The third section, “What is God Calling us to Do?”  includes several commitments we are making to prepare ourselves for a dynamic new way of being church.  You will see in those paragraphs several important goals:

1) Deepening our worship experience through the use of silence, audiovisual aids and other innovations;

2) Training ourselves in conflict management;

3) Working to make our congregation truly open and welcoming to all inquirers;

4) Training ourselves to do effective outreach to people in our community including learning how to utilize modern forms of communication to stay connected with each other and to share our invitations with a wide audience;

5) Exploring the best ways to continue our commitment to the welfare of children in our communities, possibly moving toward comprehensive child care service;

6) Taking seriously the needs of our aging neighbors, many of whom are isolated and struggling with depression as well as physical infirmities.

With the cooperation of the sessions, I will be organizing events and opportunities to pursue these goals in coming months.  This will be an exciting and challenging year, and I urge you to think of it as an adventure in the life of faith, something that will carry Christ’s community far into the future.  Yes, we are blessed to be here, in this place at this time!  Thanks be to God.

-Pastor Lou

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A special note on current events:

It is difficult to talk about politics in the context of the church.  We all understand that we do not want political differences to get in the way of our fellowship in Christ, yet many of us feel strongly one way or the other about recent events.  I think it is important to recognize that our national political life has entered a time of unprecedented confusion and conflict.  If you find the news these days to be even more upsetting than usual, I want you to feel free to talk to me about it.  It is always good to be able to share our concerns about public affairs with a friend and to pray together.   Discussing things in a non-judgmental atmosphere helps to lower our anxiety level, and we can be reminded of the enduring value of Christ’s teachings and the spiritual and emotional comfort we gain from the presence of the Holy Spirit.

Shrove Tuesday, Pancake Supper – February 28, 2017 – 5:30- 7:30 p.m.

Boy Scout Sunday - Pancakes

SHROVE TUESDAY—PANCAKE SUPPER

February 28, 2017   5:30-7:30 p.m.

Hosted at the Presbyterian Community Church of Massapequa, 150 Pittsburgh Avenue.

Adults $7.00—Children 4-10 $3.00—Children under 3 are free

Family Max $20.00

 

Rally Day – Sunday School Registration, Sunday, September 11 following Worship.

sunday-school-rally-day

Rally Day—Sunday School Registration

Sunday, September 11th following worship at the Presbyterian Community Church of Massapequa

Hot Dogs, Chips & Soda will be served in the Fellowship Hall.

Welcome Back, Welcome Back!