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Our mantra might be “If it is difficult and demanding, then maybe it is of the Spirit.”

Another mantra might be “When the promise is clear and the cost vague, watch out, the evil one may be wooing you. But when the cost is clear and the promise is vague–yet there is something alluring, something that draws you further–watch out.  You may be hearing the voice of God.” (observed by an elder of a congregation)

–from Called to be Church: The Book of Acts for a New Day written by Anthony B. Robinson and Robert W. Wall

Two Mantras

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Posted by on July 25, 2013 in Inspirational Quotes


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Pastor’s Letter – February 2013 – Beloved Community

Jumpng for JoyDear brothers and sisters in Christ,

The church was closed Sunday, February 10 due to a record-breaking snowstorm that hit Suffolk County and the area around Farmingville hard. As Newsday reported, according to the National Weather Service in
Upton, “The blizzard unleashed up to 33 inches of snow as recorded in Medford, and wind gusts to 75 mph.  The storm total of 30.9 was the highest in Upton since records have been kept beginning in 1949, breaking the December 2009 record of 26.3 inches, officials said.” The storm left many of our roads and highways closed for several days.

The decision to close became much clearer when I read that the Long Island Expressway was going to be closed on Sunday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., from Exit 57 to Exit 73 for snow removal. Later, I would hear stories from members who were not able to leave their homes for some four days after the storm ended.

It bothered me to close the church on Sunday, even though it is best to ask people to stay home while the streets are cleared of snow. Governor Cuomo urged Long Islanders to “stay home unless you have urgent business to be on the roads.” For me, I consider it “urgent business” to feed our souls on a regular basis.

That morning, I sat in my house realizing how much I missed the community, the gathered children of God for the praise and worship of our Lord and Savior. I thirst for it like a deer thirsts for water. I need it, you need it, we all need it!

I know a person who understood the need to be in community. Donald Millikin came to Farmingville in May 2011 after the passing of his wife that February. He had been church shopping; we were one of a few that he checked out and it was this church that he chose as his House of Worship.

In Peter Block’s book, Community: The Structure of Belonging, he writes, “Community as used here is about the experience of belonging. We are in community each time we find a place where we belong. The word belong has two meanings. First, to belong is to be related to and a part of something. It is membership, the experience of being at home in the broadest sense of the phrase. It is the opposite of thinking that wherever I am, I would be better off somewhere else, or that I am still forever wandering, looking for that place where I belong… to feel isolated and always (all ways) on the margin, an outsider, to belong is to know, even in the middle of the night, that I am among friends.”

This describes the type of community that Donald found in your midst.

Block continues, “The second meaning of the word belong has to do with being an owner. To belong to a community is to act as a creator and co-owner of the community. The work, then, is to seek in our communities a wider and deeper sense of emotional ownership; it means fostering among all of a community’s citizens a sense of ownership and accountability.”  .

The first thing that drew Donald to this church was because he noticed the well-maintained grounds andDonald Millikin buildings. This is a sign of ownership for those who care for the buildings and grounds.

The second thing that drew Donald and others who have come into the church during my tenure, was the strong sense of community not just for those who have been here for a long time; it is available to all who enter your doors. Is there room for improvement?

Regardless of the community that you are a part of, I ask these questions. Do you not only notice the stranger but also attempt to get to know them? Do you invite new people through the middle door of the church? I might have to explain that one. It is one thing to welcome a new person on Sunday mornings. It is another thing to invite them to join the Choir, Prayer Group, Women’s Fellowship, clean-up crew, fellowship events or to invite them out for a cup of coffee.

After you have pondered these questions, you might want to covenant with God to find a way to help the other “Donald’s” that you encounter to find a place of belonging and community. This is the work of everyone.  To God be the glory forever and ever. Amen!

I thank God for you,
Pastor Kathy Nealand

Interim Pastor

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Posted by on March 7, 2013 in Pastor's Letters


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Pastor’s Letter- January 2013 – The Inaugural

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,shutterstock_125929850

Inauguration Day felt like a day that God has wanted for all of its creation and creatures. It felt like a day that Jesus prayed for when he helped a Samaritan woman, healed a cripple, touched the eyes of the blind and allowed officials to nail him to the cross. It felt like a day that the apostle Paul worked towards, when Jew or Greek, rich or poor, free or slave, women and men could stand together in peace. It was a day that Martin Luther King, Jr. dreamed of when he fought for equal rights for all people of the world. It was a day as Alex Haley said, “A day to recognize good and praise it.”

On Inaugural Day our children were safe at home. I have prayed that no one harms another, whether by their fist or with words or with a weapon. Inaugural Day was a day to hold each other in solidarity. Within each one of us, we have the power to make this day a reality, not just every four years but each day we wake from sleep and before we lay down at night. God needs all of us to be our best and to do our best in every situation that we find ourselves by using the gifts that God has given to us.

It may seem that we are out of the season of gifting; in actuality, we never are. We are always a gift to our families, workplace and community. The key to a joyful life is to discover your personal gifts and put them to good use in the service of the Lord.

Recently I heard an interview with Bette White, who turned 91 in January. Whenever you see her, she is so happy. Nothing seems to get her down except when she thinks of her husband, who has been gone a long time. She says that what she does is not work because she loves what she does.

“And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers; then deeds of power, then gifts of healing, forms of assistance, forms of leadership, various kinds of tongues. Are all apostles?
Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret?” (1 Corinthians 12:28-31, NRSV)

Not many of us will be in a position to be president but in each of our own ways, we can make a difference. The apostle Paul reminds us that we are all part of a body and within that body, there are many parts/ all have value, all have particular gifts. The key is to discover our gifts so that we can use them in the most powerful way.

Each person’s particular gift enhances the whole. The goal is to put people in the places where they can best express their gifts in a positive way. The key to living in community is to understand that no one person can or should do it all. Every organization works best when each person understands that we are part of a team. In my mind, we could never have too many people who are organizers, musicians, cooks, repair persons, computer experts, financial experts, writers, artists, scientists, singers, philanthropists, introverts, extroverts, thinkers, doers, nurturers, caregivers, teachers, bookkeepers, directors, actors, evangelists, prophets, apostles and healers. We are not just ordinary; we are extraordinary in God’s eyes! Our Inauguration Day could be the day when we make a new commitment to serve the Lord with all that God has given to us so that we could work together in peace, love and faith. May our work together in 2013 be a blessing to us and be a glory of God!

I thank God for you,
Pastor Kathy Nealand
Interim Pastor


Discover Who You Are for use with teenagers and Jane A.G. Kise, David Stark and Sandra Krebs Hirsh

Equipped for Every Good Word; Building a Gifts-Based Church by Dan R. Dick and Barbara Miller

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Posted by on March 4, 2013 in Pastor's Letters


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New Faith Presbyterian Chruch Greenwood, SC

I just saw this video on-line streaming from the PCUSA 220th General Assembly.  It is a great example of Radical Hospitality and Passionate Worship!

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Posted by on July 5, 2012 in Videos of Interest


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Faiths on Long Island Part One and Part Two

This opening section gives a brief description of Native American Spirituality, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Baha’i and Unitarian Universalism.  Several Individuals produced this 30 minute video about eleven religions in collaboration with the Long Island Multi-Faith Forum in order to promote a better understanding of the religious diversity on Long Island.

Sent to me by the Long Island Council of Churches.

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Posted by on May 31, 2012 in Videos of Interest


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The Event: A Day of Reflection – Our Past

The event is held during the worship time.  The event as designed here should take about 75 minutes.

Materials needed:

  • Newsprint and/or Eraser Board
  • Magic markers
  • Bibles and Hymnals
  • Healthy Congregations survey
  • Ground Rules for Mutual Communication 
  • Paper and pens for small group leaders
  • Folding chairs
  • A bell or xylophone (used to get their attention)
  • Timer or Clock
  • Outline of the event in the form of a worship bulletin

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Posted by on May 10, 2012 in Tools for Ministry


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A Day of Reflection and Discernment on the Past of a Particular Church


Mirror Reflection

One of the events scheduled during the Interim period is something I refer to as  “A Day of Reflection”  The idea for these events came out of “Bible Studies for the Journey” found in the book Temporary Shepherds: A Congregational Handbook for Interim Ministry by Roger S. Nicholson.  This is simply my account of how I have put his ideas in to action in various ministry settings.

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Posted by on May 10, 2012 in Tools for Ministry


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