In March worship will be hosted at the First Presbyterian Church of Levittown.
In April, May and June worship will be hosted at the Presbyterian Community Church of Massapequa in the Fellowship Hall.
(Please note the first three Sunday’s in April the 7th, 14th & 21st will be held in the Massapequa Sanctuary)
In July, August and September worship will be hosted at the First Presbyterian Church of Levittown. Worship will be held in Miles Hall.
In October, November and December worship will be hosted at the Presbyterian Community Church of Massapequa in in the Sanctuary.
Equipment for the hearing impaired is available for the worship service. Please contact an usher to obtain it. If a large print bulletin is needed, it must be requested on the Monday prior to the worship service by calling the church office.
Dear Members of United Presbyterian Church:
What a joy it is to address you in this new way! We have traveled a long way over the past three years, we have gotten to know each other well, and we have learned to worship and work as one body of Christ’s followers. Now, our shared experience is being validated in official unification of the two historic churches.
I am thankful that the ecclesiastic and legal processes of unification have synchronized, so that we can move in coming weeks to consolidate our legal and financial management even as our new, unified session will begin to make decisions. We need to work on creating a new system of committees, being clear about the tasks each committee is assigned, and appointing chairs.
Most important, I believe, is that during the next several months, we need to systematically think about the nature of our life together and our mission in this new era. In 2016, almost three years ago, a joint committee wrote a “Plumbline Report” to assess the community we serve and the direction we wished to take in congregational life and mission. The Report was accepted by both sessions. Now, we need to re-visit that report, and see if we can develop a more specific set of goals as we consider where we are now.
To assist with this new process of discernment and planning, I am organizing the Gathering sessions for the Lenten season Sundays of March 17, 24, and 31 and April 7. We will meet in Miles Hall (4/7 will be held in the Massapequa Social hall) following a brief coffee hour.
March 17 How we worship
March 24 How we govern ourselves
March 31 What is the future of our buildings? Issues and ideas.
April 7 What is our Mission both local and global? How do we achieve It?
These sessions will be planned and led by me with input from elders and other members.
I will create a summary of points made and ideas brought forward. This will become a background paper for a one-day member planning retreat I hope to organize sometime in May. (I should add that this plan of mine will be discussed at the first meeting of the unified session, so it is subject to change. Stay tuned.)
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.
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.