It’s that time of the year again. On Sunday, December 2nd. the Elaine Clifford Memorial Giving Tree will be decorate in the Massapequa sanctuary with your gifts for the needy.
The items that are especially needed are: men’s thermal underwear (tops and bottoms, size large, no XL), gift cards from Target, Walmart, or Costco. (Gift cards are used to purchase work shoes.) We also need gloves, especially men’s hats, scarves, men’s sweatshirts (M&L,) and socks. For the children, we need new toys, board games, dolls, basket balls, and Soccer balls. Thank you for thinking of others during the Christmas Season. Our advocate for the homeless, Jillian will distribute your gifts to the needy.
Where We Worship
Remember! Starting this Sunday, October 7, we will be worshiping every Sunday at 10 a.m. in the sanctuary at our Massapequa campus until the end of the year. We will be able to watch as our amazing gingko tree located in front of the church becomes a golden torch of autumn splendor!
Meditations to Enhance Your Christian Life
You don’t want to miss the Gathering, starting Sunday, October 14th. with a book study led by Janice Kincaid. The book is Heart and Soul by Douglas Hood, the pastor of the Presbyterian Church in Del Ray Beach, Florida.
Our Journey to Being United Presbyterian Church
I am grateful to all those of you who were able to attend our joint congregational meeting on Sunday, September 30. It appears now that we will shortly have our paperwork in hand to send to the New York State authorities who must approve our plan to become one new congregation, United Presbyterian Church. Barring unforeseen difficulties, we should receive the green light from the state within a few months. Maria Studer has been managing the application process, and she still needs help entering our data from the inventory of the belongings of both congregations. Volunteers are welcome! If this can be done in the next couple of weeks, the full application can be submitted this month.
Church Revitalization Workshop
This past Saturday, September 29, I attended a Church Revitalization seminar offered by our Lutheran brothers and sisters in Deer Park. I plan to share some ideas and insights from that day with the elders and any other members who are interested. For example, testimonials from church members about how God is at work in their lives are inspiring and motivating for other members and friends. It would be great to hear from some of you as part of our service in coming weeks and months.
A Day with Brian McLaren
Thanks to Presbytery, we have a wonderful opportunity to be in conversation with Brian McLaren on Saturday, October 13 9:30 to 3:30 in Bethpage. The cost is minimal, $10 in advance or $20 at the door. McLaren has written compellingly about the future of the Christian faith in this secular age. His reflections will be very helpful to us as we plan our church of the future right here on Long Island. You can call 631 486 4350 to let Presbytery know you are coming.
Join our United Congregations for Worship at the Presbyterian Community Church of Massapequa starting October 7th.
Sunday Worship Service 10a.m.
Sunday School children will be dismissed from Worship to attend Sunday School.
Coffee Hour will immediately follow worship in the Fellowship Hall.
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.
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.
As I look back on the past two and a half years, I am pleased with what we have been able to accomplish together. I was speaking with one long-term member this past week, and she reminded me that we have in many ways already become one congregation. We are accustomed to worshipping together, we share in our social events, and our sessions and deacons’ boards and many committees are now meeting jointly. This has been possible because the experience of getting to know each other has been largely a positive one. Of course, we notice our differences, the small variations in worship tradition, the differences in building use and so forth, but these variations do not divide us. We share in the joy of our faith and in our commitment to maintain a witness to the Gospel of Christ in the Presbyterian tradition in this part of Long Island.
We expect that, with the guidance of our Merger Commission and the approval of Presbytery, we will complete a legal and financial merger of the congregations this year. I am hoping that this process will proceed smoothly and will not preoccupy us. However, we hope to have “all hands on deck” for the decisions that lie ahead about our worship arrangements. We have been alternating worship locations each week for over two years. This has always been regarded as a temporary arrangement because being reliably present in one place is important for newcomers and visitors. We can’t grow if people have trouble finding us!
I understand that the decision about where to worship is complicated and sensitive. For that reason, we want everyone to be a part of the decision-making process. Later this month, you will receive a survey that I hope you will respond to quickly and thoughtfully. Basically, you will be asked your opinion about where we should worship at 10 a.m. on Sundays, the reasons that lie behind your preference, and your thoughts about the future of the building that you do not choose. For example, should there be worship at other times of the week or month in the other building? Should we continue to use it for other purposes? Should we sell it? We also want to hear any ideas you have about long-range solutions, such as selling both buildings and finding or building a new place to center our church.
Your opinions will be incorporated into our decision-making process. The final choices about worship location and building uses will be made by the sessions meeting jointly or as a merged, new session for the new United Presbyterian Church. Any property sale will need the approval of Presbytery.
I am praying that we do not become so involved in these matters of property that we lose sight of our basic mission to declare the Good News to all and to provide worship services that inspire us and give us the opportunity to praise God and to invoke God’s blessing on us and our community. I know that change can be painful and disruptive, but let us keep in mind the example of Abraham and Sarah who were summoned by God to leave their settled life and to go out into the unknown, and Elijah who found shelter where he could in the wilderness and was fed by ravens, and our Lord himself who, during his ministry, had no place he could call his own.
Thanks be to God who in His mercy has given us the gift of His presence in our midst and the equally valuable gift of our fellowship with each other. May the Lord be a pillar of fire by night and of cloud by day going before us into the future.