Tag Archive | Rev. Dr. Louis Knowles

Pastor’s Post – September 2017

From the Pastor:

I hope that each and every one of you had the opportunity to rest and recreate a bit during the summer months. I am writing this on Labor Day afternoon—a bright and beautiful end-of-summer experience. One can already feel fall creeping in around the edges of the sunshine, but then, the crisp, cool days we can expect during that season are a treasure to anticipate.
Something else to anticipate is the exciting progress we will be attempting this year toward a full and complete merger of our two congregations into one. There won’t be many dull moments! Although I know that we all have our fears and concerns about the process, we should also know that there will be a lot of inspirational conversation and creativity. For example, we shall soon be choosing a name for our new fellowship. I hope that all of you will be involved in this process.
We also will be selecting a new mission statement. Our “Plumbline Committee,” ably co-chaired by Marilyn Rodahan and Wendy Moran, convened again in August, and they are bringing to us a proposed Mission Statement. Here it is:
As an open and welcoming Community of Christian Faith, we accept and honor that responsibility as we partner with all faiths in bringing hope and love to our world. Using Christ as our example, we are committed to reaching out to one another, showing God’s love through service to our community, and seeking new and relevant ways to involve ourselves in meeting the needs of others. Through continual prayer, worship and study of scripture, we are an ever transforming church.
In addition, the committee is offering us a “branding statement” that could easily fit on letterhead, brochures and web sites:
Our Transforming Church:
Join us and develop a personal relationship with Christ through study, worship, and service.
Please read these statements over carefully and thoughtfully. Is this the way you think our church should represent itself to the world? Is anything missing? We will have an opportunity to vote on both statements in congregational meetings in coming months. Your thoughts about them at this moment are welcome.

Pastor’s Post – January 2017

presbyterain-symbol

A Friend on the Road Ahead:  Working with Presbytery 

 This year, 2017, our two congregations will continue on our road toward merger.  It is my hope and expectation that at Easter of 2018 (April 1) we will have a grand celebration of our new unified church.

Celebrating with us at that time, I trust, will be many representatives of other Presbyterian churches on Long Island.  These are our brothers and sisters in Christ, joined together with us as members of the Presbytery of Long Island.  As we move down our road this year, the Presbytery will become a more visible and important partner for us.  It is important that we have a clear understanding of the role of Presbytery in our congregational life.

The Presbyterian Church in the USA is a part of the worldwide fellowship of Reformed churches.  This means we are theological and ecclesiological descendants of the church that John Calvin founded in Geneva, Switzerland in the 16th century.  Our more immediate spiritual ancestors were the people of the Church of Scotland.  Reformed theology leads quite naturally to democratic governance.  Instead of relying on bishops and priests to make decisions for us, we govern ourselves.  All authority among Presbyterians is derived from church members who elect their ruling elders and their teaching elders (pastors).

In order to maintain a unity of purpose and practice and to organize missions and educational institutions, the Presbyterian Church maintains regional and national councils.  Thus, our two congregations are members of the Presbytery of Long Island, the Synod of the Northeast, and the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the USA.

The Presbytery of Long Island has 55 local congregations within it.  There are 67 lay commissioners who represent these congregations when Presbytery meets, which is about five times a year.  (There are a few large congregations who are allowed to send more than one person to Presbytery, and that is why there are more commissioners than congregations.)  There are also over 100 clergy serving or retired who are eligible to attend and vote at Presbytery meetings.  Some of these clergy are living outside the area or are not interested in being active, so the number actually present at any given meeting of Presbytery is much lower.

Presbytery maintains a number of committees.  Arguably, the most important of these are the Committee on Ministry which oversees business related to our clergy, and the Board of Trustees, which is responsible for matters involving finance and real estate.

Our two congregations are represented in the Presbytery of Long Island by our clergy (currently, that’s me) and lay persons (one for Levittown and one for Massapequa) who are elected by their respective sessions.  At the present time, Maria Studer represents Levittown Church with Marilyn Rodahan as alternate. Massapequa Church does not have a designated commissioner but seeks volunteers from meeting to meeting.

Our congregations contribute funds to help keep Presbytery and the Synod and General Assembly operating.  We most often get involved with Presbytery when we are choosing pastoral leadership.  This is because Presbytery is responsible for vetting and approving all clergy working in our congregations.  Presbytery also plays an important role when disputes arise between clergy and their congregants.

Presbytery is also involved in the stewardship of real property owned by congregations.  Any sale or long-term lease of a manse or a church building must be approved by Presbytery.  This is to insure that these large assets are not wasted or stolen and that the proceeds from sales or leases are used to sustain and/or grow Presbyterian congregations and mission.  If a congregation remains active, it will almost certainly keep the proceeds of the sale of its real estate for its own use, although Presbytery may impose certain restrictions on how the funds are used.

I have observed over the years that congregations frequently find themselves at odds with Presbytery or one of its committees. It is easy to get into the mentality that Presbytery is some kind of outside force that is invading our business and messing up our plans.  It certainly is true that at times the need for Presbytery approval of an action leads to annoying delays.  However, if we remember that Presbytery is a body made up of people who have been democratically selected both to be leaders of their congregations and voting reps at Presbytery, then maybe we can overcome our unhappiness.  We are all in the Presbyterian boat together, and we need to respect those who we have been chosen to lead us at all levels of governance and administration.   If you think democracy is distressing, just consider the alternatives!

If we get better acquainted with Presbytery and its officers, I am sure we will find it will be a supportive ally in our efforts to re-organize and to create a new church and a revitalized ministry.

 

-Pastor Lou

 

Pastor’s Post – December 2016

From the Pastor

Dear friends: 

 As 2016 draws to a close, we find ourselves once again starting up a new liturgical year with that old friend, Advent, as our spiritual guide and companion. This year, the December lectionary features several wonderful readings from the prophet Isaiah about the things God promises for the future of His people.  “They shall beat their swords into plowshares, their spears into pruning hooks.”  “The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, . . .and a little child shall lead them.”  “Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy.”  “They will not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain; for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” 

 As we read these beautiful words, full of hope and promise, we cannot help but wonder when this time of perfect fulfillment will happen.  As we gaze at the world, both here in our own community and around the globe, it is hard to see that we are making any progress toward the Kingdom of God.  Anger and disappointment seem to be in the ascendancy among Americans, rather than the feelings of excitement and joy that we associate with Advent and Christmas.  Yet, here in our own worshiping community we are beginning to see a new dawn on the horizon. We are shaping our future together, and we are glimpsing a bright future for God’s people on the south shore of Long Island.  We want to share this positive vision with each other and with our neighbors.   

In order to begin this process of sharing, which I trust will be inspirational and motivating for us, we can take as our starting point the “Plumbline” planning document that our Mission Planning Committee has written.  This is a three part plan.  Part One, in which we identify who we are, was printed in last month’s newsletter.  This December issue includes part II of the plan in which we look at our local communities and define our concerns about those communities, thus providing the context for our mission.  Within the next few days, part 3 of the study, in which we define our mission, that is, what we hope to be and to do as a newly unified congregation, will be available for review and discussion.   

The full report will be presented to a joint session meeting on Sunday, December 4.  Assuming that a final version is approved there, we expect to present the report to Presbytery’s Committee on Ministry in January or February, with final approval by Presbytery in March.  We will then be able to proceed to the “nuts and bolts” of our congregational merger.  I want all members of the Massapequa and Levittown churches to read our planning document, comment on it, and, I hope, become as excited as I am about the prospects for our new, unified congregation.   

 In the meantime, enjoy the season!  Take time out of your business to treat yourself and those near and dear to you.  Let us all thank God for this community of Christians that supports us and surrounds us with love.  

  

-Pastor Lou 

 

 

 

World Communion Sunday Worship Service, October 2 at 10am

World_Communion_Sunday 2014World Communion Sunday Worship Service , October 2 at 10am

Please join us for World Communion Sunday.  Our member Linda Downs will make a presentation during the worship service.  Linda will talk about her experiences donating her time and expertise as a surgical nurse for the charity organization “Dream Ministries” in the Dominican Republic. The Joint Mission Team thanks Linda for sharing her life saving experiences.

FPC is hosting a multi cultural  potluck meal following worship in Miles Hall.  Beverages and dessert will be provided. Sign up to bring a cultural themed dish!

 

Sundays 10:00a.m. Worship Schedule

Dear Members & Friends,

You are invited to  join The First Presbyterian Church of Levittown & the Presbyterian Church of Massapequa for  Joint Worship Services, Sundays at 10:00a.m.  The Levittown Church will hold worship on the first & third Sunday of the month.  The Massapequa Church will hold worship on the second & fourth Sunday of the month.  Months that have five weeks will alternate between the two churches.  Below please find the worship schedule from June through December 31, 2016.  All are Welcome to attend worship service with Pastor Louis Knowles and the congregations from Levittown & Massapequa as we continue on a journey of friendship, fellowship and worship.  We hope you come to Meet God & Friends Here.

Sunday Worship Schedule through December 25, 2016

 

Maundy Thursday Worship Service & Potluck, March 24th. – 6:30 p.m.

Please join us for Maundy Thursday Worship Service & Potluck, March 24th. at 6:30 p.m.  A Potluck Soup / Salad dinner will be served in Miles Hall.  Worship Service to follow the meal. Bring your Favorite Soup and or Salad.  The Sign Up Sheet is in the Church Narthex.

Pastor’s Post – February 2016

From the Pastor

Lent and Holy Week We will begin Lent with an Ash Wednesday service at 7 p.m. in the Levittown sanctuary on February 10.  This will be a welcome moment of reflection and a quiet time together to prepare for the special season of Lent and Holy Week.

During Lent, we will emphasize our relationship to the Old Testament, otherwise known as the Hebrew Scriptures.  These sacred texts make up for more than half the Bible, and our understanding of how we relate to them and use them is a very important part of our faith that we sometimes neglect.

We will kick off a series of Sunday evening sessions on the Old Testament with a guest appearance by Rabbi Marci Bellows from Temple B’nai Torah on February 21.  She will talk with us about how the Jewish community understands their Scriptures and uses them in worship and as a moral guide for life.  This will help us lay a foundation for a clear understanding of our Christian perspective on the Old Testament and how we can draw inspiration and guidance from it.

These Lenten study sessions will be held at Massapequa Church, beginning at 6:20 p.m., following the contemporary service, which runs from 5:30 to 6:15 p.m.   After Rabbi Bellows appearance on February 21, we will meet on the next three Sundays:  February 28 and March 6 and 13.  The specific topics for each discussion will be announced a week in advance.

Our holy week schedule will be as follows:

Palm Sunday, March 20, 10 a.m. service at Levittown Church

Maundy Thursday, March 24, 7 p.m. service at Levittown Church

Good Friday, March 25, 7 p.m. service at Massapequa Church

Lenten Vigil service, 6:30 p.m. Presbyterian Church of Sweet Hollow (more info later)

Easter Sunday,  March 27, 10 a.m. Massapequa Church

The contemporary service will be held on both Palm and Easter Sundays at its usual hour of 5:30 p.m.

-Pastor Lou