Commack United Methodist Church 486 Townline Road Commack, NY 11725-2026 - 631.499.7310

Web Site: Emails: [email protected] [email protected]

CELEBRATING 225 YEARS OF CHRISTIAN SERVICE IN COMMACK 1783-2008 Rev. Lynda Bates-Stepe, Pastor 631.499.4770 Carolyn Gehlbach, Editor December 2008

Open Hearts

Open Minds

A Word from the Pastor Here it comes: Christmas. It is a wonderful time of joy and celebration as we use worship, family gatherings, festive parties, and gift exchanges to remember the birth of Love in the world. It is also a time that can be overwhelming, excessive, disappointing, and downright exhausting. Even people who love the holiday often get to the point of saying, “I can’t wait until Christmas is over and we get back to the routine.” When asked for advice on coping with the holidays I have a long list of possible interventions to suggest. But if I had to recommend just one thing to help make the season more enjoyable and meaningful it is this: breathe. That may sound trite but it is actually very significant. Physiologically, when we are rushed, worried, stressed or panicked our breathing changes. It becomes more rapid and shallow. We are not necessarily aware of it but if affects our body, our emotions, and our attitude. If we consciously take deeper, slower breaths, even for just a moment or two, we can change our physical response to what is going on around us. Taking a minute to take deep breaths before facing a potentially stressful activity can help you get through. When in line at the mall,

Open Doors

close your eyes and breathe deeply for several breaths. When you arrive at a house for a visit that may include a relative who knows just how to push your buttons, sit in the car and breathe. When a church service drags on and you’re losing interest (that never happens, does it?) close your eyes and breathe. Every one around you will think you’re being very spiritual by praying! There is also a significant spiritual reason to consciously breathe. The word breath in both Greek and Hebrew can also be translated spirit. God gave life to the first human being by breathing into Adam. When we breathe, we take in the breath or Spirit of God. That can focus and energize us to more fully appreciate what is happening around us. Here is a suggestion: daily take a couple of minutes to sit quietly and breathe. I try to do this in the morning but you can do it anytime. Breathe in deeply, to the count of four and then out to the count of six. When you get a rhythm, as you breathe in think, “I’m taking in the breath of God.” As you breathe out think, “I’m giving the breath of God to the world.” By simply breathing in and out in a conscious and thoughtful way, we can make a connection with God and with the world that God loves, while strengthening and centering ourselves. Who would have thought that breathing could be so powerful? So as the days get busy and the nights get long, give yourself and everyone else an early Christmas gift: breathe.

Peace, Pastor Lynda


CHRISTMAS EVE COMMUNION SERVICES OF WORSHIP December 24th Childrens Service 5:00PM in the Sanctuary Candelight Service 7:00 PM in the 1789 Chapel Candelight Service 11:00 PM in the Sanctuary _________________________________________


COOKIE SALE: Our annual Home Made Christmas Cookie Bake Sale will be held Sunday, December 7 in the Fellowship Hall following our worship service. If anyone wishes to donate, please deliver the cookies to the Fellowship Hall on Saturday December 6 between 9-10 am. We commence packing the plates at 10 am and hope to have the full variety available to us by that time. A plate of two dozen cookies will be available at $5.00 , cakes as priced individually. Please keep in mind that all proceeds go toward our mission projects.

CHRISTMAS CAROLING JOIN US DECEMBER 13TH FOR (early evening - time to be announced)! **** Meeting at church, a caravan of cars sets off to visit ill or shut- in members and friends of the church who would welcome discovering the singers outside their doors, filling the night with the sound of beloved Christmas carols and greetings. and later.... back at church, hot chocolate warms the match our hearts!

UMW CHRISTMAS WORSHIP AND FELLOWSHIP: All members of our congregation and friends are invited to attend UMW's Christmas Worship and Fellowship on Thursday, December 11 at 7:30 pm in the Sanctuary. Ginny Eichenauer, our worship leader will present the program " LOVE'S PURE LIGHT." We will then retire to a holiday decorated parlor for refreshments and fellowship. If transportation is needed , please contact our president Nancy Gamby 499-3303 and she will make arrangements.

The Happening Committee Please give suggested names to Mike Mallgraf LYDIA CIRCLE held their last get together until March. Everyone brought a plate of goodies and we all enjoyed a great lunch. Pastor Lynda, Juhye and Carolyn joined us with a number of other guests. Christoper Titolo was our guest of honor (with his Mum). We wish our Church Members a great Thanksgiving and a blessed Christmas. _________________________________

OUR ADOPTED APPALACHIAN FAMILY: We are pleased to announce that three boxes of gifts were mailed to Judy Matheny, Deaconess in WVa. for delivery to our adopted family of five. All gifts were new clothing items needed by the family as requested by Ms Matheny. I am sure many of you included a small surprise as well! Thank you to all who participated by purchasing and wrapping these gifts and to the individual members of Lydia Circle and UMW for donating the postage.

DECEMBER BIRTHDAY WISHES Shawn Devine Phyllis Faber Maureen Kessler Mike Mallgraff Barbara Mondelli John Muller Evangeline Manjares James Sullivan Tom Mazzola Dave Rysdyk Lisa Rysdyk Paula Titolo Margie Zoltowsky Last but not least: Jesus of Nazareth

School of Missions: July 23-25, 2009 @ W. Conn. University

May you all enjoy a happy and blessed birthday!


ADVENT DECORATIONS Sunday, November 30 is the first day in Advent which lasts until Epiphany on January 4, 2009. You are invited to add your vintage or favorite Nativity to our display in the locked Memorial Cabinet to be returned to you after Epiphany. Please give them to me or leave boxed and labeled in the Church office. Also displayed on the rear table will be "The Putz.",Moravian German term for decoration...the decorations are not confined by time or geography. It tells the story of Jesus' birth with a manger scene as the focal point: it is the Gospel in miniature from Isaiah's prophecy to the visit of the wisemen and the Holy Family's flight into Egypt...we have added " the rest of the story" and extended the display to Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection. The essence of the putz tradition is found in the way our putz is built to tell the story. The joy comes in collecting and creating; we have used vintage figurines and their duplicates, stones, houses and animals, collected and added over the many years by our congregants, including a model of our Chapel and Dome of the Rock. If you wish, you may add any meaningful item to our putz. Our children are invited to play with the scene, acting out the story by moving the wise men, animals etc, so PLEASE...allow your children to handle and play with it before worship each Sunday. I'll see you in Church! Kathy Muller ****************************************** THANK YOU Thank you, dear friends, for the sympathy cards and memorials given in memory of my brother George H. Harker who passed away November 2. The happiness we had together as children cannot be replaced, nor can brothers, little or big! As much as he was a part of me, I was a part of him. Kathy Muller ****************************************** ***************************************** A simple thank you is not enough to Patti and Gery Spory for the planning and preparing of the delicious roast beef dinner that we recently you...thank you...thank you...thank you!

HARVEST DINNER - - TIME LINE OCTOBER – First Things first. Mel Walker printed the dinner tickets, and then Dolly numbered them. NEXT -- John Muller and Carolyn Gehlbach started selling tickets and the “Sign Up” sheet was displayed in the hall. November 7th, Friday Night Troop 125 Set up the tables and chairs in the Fellowship Hall. November 8, 2008 SATURDAY-“D” day – Dinner Day 8:15 AM The building was opened and work began. 8:30 AM The “peelers” arrived with knives & peelers to peel the turnips & potatoes. Norma and Jack Adam, Barbara Knippenberg, Sobana Prasad, Margie Zoltowsky, Tracy Donovan, and Jackie Mallgraf. Next The cabbage was sliced for Mel Walkers Cole Slaw recipe. At the same time Robyn Bagno, Marge Wright, and Ginny Eichenauer began to set the tables. 4:30 Marge and Harriet returned to cut cakes and Marge to collect tickets. At 4:45 What sweet treats these bakers brought for our enjoyment. Norma Adam, Ann Aupperle, Matilda Gollatz, Kitty Gona, Maggie Hervey, Martha Lockhart, Karen Mallgraf, Kathy Muller, Sobana Prasad, Anne Tammaro, Marge Wright, Margie Zoltowsky. 5:00 Harriet Neuberth & Joan Nehlsen mashed the potatoes and turnips. 5:30 The food servers were at their positions.. Joan Kopping, Joan and Tricia Nehlsen, Harriet Neuberth and Ben Fick BSA Troop 125 were in their uniforms and ready to serve the tables. A scout father aided Gery in lifting the heavy pots off the stove. 7:00 PM and the most tremendous clean-up task begins. Huge, heavy pots to be scrubbed & the slicer cleaned. Deb Hervey began washing pots and Chris Litrel finished this strenuous chore. Ben Fick ran the dishwasher while Joan & Tricia, & Harriet, Chris & Julia Litrel dried and put dishes away. Harriet and Joan Nehlsen packaged food for take out, and Julia made “TV” dinners. 8:15 the cook Gery Spory goes home. 8:30 The final floor mopping was completed by Alex Litrel and his friend. John Muller returned at 9:00 to lock-up the Fellowship Hall and put the garbage bags in the dumpster. 8:45 Joan and Patti turn out the lights and walk upstairs to a warm, moist, beautiful night. THANKS To ALL Patti & Gery Spory


to conduct self-examination, think about serious issues, make value judgments, and apply biblical principles to real-world situations.

Surfin’ Through the Scriptures on Rally Sunday

This year Sunday School as three classes: Pre-K/Early Primary (Pre-K – 1st grade)

As the weather turns cooler, we’d like to share the memories of a warm Rally Sunday in early September. Pir congregation heard the message of Beach Be-Attitudes as the children and youth led the worship sharing lessons on what it means to Be Obedient, Be Kind, Be Bold, Be Forgiving and most importantly Believe! The congregation learned what it means to be Livin’ In Community as they were invited to sing and share some of the songs learned during VBS. Please see the insert elsewhere in this newsletter with photo highlights of this year’s VBS.

Elementary/Intermediate (2



– 5 grade) th


Middle School/High School (6 – 12 ) Our Sunday School teachers are Sobana Prasad, Tricia Nehlsen, Paula Titolo and Kim Colavito, assisted by Rose Manchio, Jackie Mallgraf and Deb Hervey.

ROCK SOLID Building a Heart of Faith

Like the wise builder whose house stood on a foundation of rock, our Sunday School teachers for Pre-School and Elementary classes are using Cokesbury’s new curriculum to instill an unyielding faith foundation in our children. With Rock Solid, each Sunday children will be invited to have a personal faith experience with God. Children will come to know Jesus as the Son of God and take the message to heart, following where their faith leads them.

Sunday School Children to present Christmas Around the World Pageant Come join the Sunday School children, youth and their families at the 5PM service on Christmas Eve to learn how Jesus’ birthday is celebrated around the globe. Youth participate in SleepOut America on November 14th

The Middle and High School classes are learning how to apply their faith to everyday situations using a curriculum especially designed for their ages – Bible Lessons for Youth (BL4Y). This curriculum is designed to apply the Bible to real-life issues that teens face in the secular world. Lesson material is presented with modern cutting-edge graphics that capture teen attention. It is filled with interesting class activities that stimulate teens

Lodging for an evening

Despite the dreary drizzly weather that met our youth as they came to church on Friday the 4


14 , 7 brave souls participated in Sleep Out America. This event helps youth experience a glimpse of what it means to be homeless and learn more about homelessness both locally and nationally in a fun way. They took advantage of the break in the rain and drizzle to host a campfire where they had something most homeless do not – s’mores! On Saturday morning, they learned what it was like not to have food readily at hand, and hiked to Dunkin Donuts to get food for the group.

Youth Group Meets Weekly When not away on planned activities, the Youth Group can be found at their regular meeting in the classroom on the right at the far end of the hall in the RE building. The Youth Group meets regularly from 10:30 (10:45 on the first Sunday of the month) – 11:45. Upcoming meeting activities include packing the Thanksgiving Food boxes, testing and preparing toys for sale in the Thrift Shop, st participating in PB&J gang the 1 Saturday in December, shopping for angel tree gifts and participating in the all-church Christmas Caroling evening.

The group learned about the myths and realities of homelessness and shared those with the congregation during morning worship, November 15th. The largest increase in homelessness is families with children. We also learned that many homeless adults have jobs – they just can’t make enough to cover rent and utilities.

Youth Group to participate in International Bible Treasure Hunt – Adult Treasure Seekers Needed!

Most participants took advantage of the shelter setting in the RE building to actually sleep that night. Congratulations to Maggie Hervey who did spend the entire night outside, sleeping in her box, and to Deb Hervey, who chaperoned in the tent in the heavy downpours throughout the night. Other participants were Robyn and Chris Bagno, Kimberly Clendenning and her friend Samantha, Alec Litrel and Sarah Mackay. Jenn Mallgraf and Tim Sampson chaperoned the indoor sleepers.

The youth group will be among 16 youth groups from 7 countries and 9 states participating in a virtual treasure hunt through the Bible. The event will take place Sunday, January 11th from 10:30AM – 1PM. The specifics of what is being sought will not be available until the day of the event, but the initial guidelines have been provided. The group needs to have 10 adults who will make themselves available for interviews during the treasure hunt. More details will be available in early January. If you are interested in helping the youth group find the treasure, please contact Deb Hervey, 543-5522.

Special thanks to Ginnie Eichenauer, Nancy Gamby, Dagmar Mackay and Jenn’s friend Dave for sharing our campfire and providing moral support. To help youth who have recently sought shelter at Covenant House in NYC, the youth group will be purchasing dress shirts and blouses. The gift of a nice shirt to wear to an interview is priceless for someone who is trying to get a job after living on the streets for a long period of time.

ANNIVRSARY BOOKLETS For Sale in the Church Office. Our timeless 225th Anniversary Booklets are still available @$5.00 each. Included are Photos of the Chapel, Stained glass Church windows, and Church History.

The youth will be sharing ways the congregation to help the homeless at future times throughout the upcoming year.


THRIFT SHOP NEWS... Do you have Extra unwanted Jewelry??? One of our best selling items is Jewelry. So, if you have jewelry that you do not wear anymore---consider donating it to us. We also need the plastic zipper bags that are clear and strong that quilts and sheets are sold in. If you have other large bags without zippers please think about donating them. Visit us for your Thanksgiving needs – extra dishes, flatware, highchair, booster chairs and table linens.

Grandparents Linda and Paul Ciani Announce the birth of their New grandson Greyson James Ciani Born: September 26, 2008 At Saint Catherine’s 7 lbs 4 oz, 19“ Long

THRIFT SHOPPE The Thrift Shoppe will be open every Tuesday & Friday from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM. The first and third Saturday monthly from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM.

CONGRATULATIONS and Best Wishes to new parents Robert and Kate Ciani ____________________

Gigantic Toy Sale –SATURDAY December 3 Thanks Anne Tammaro and Patti Spory __________________________________ CHRISTMAS POINTSETTIAS for the Altar in Memory of a loved one, may be ORDERED from THE CHURCH OFFICE THRU DECEMBER 14. The price will be $12.00

MICAH – The Mobilized Interfaith Coalition Against Hunger, In partnership with the YIMBY (Yes In My Backyard) Campaign, will have a series of 5 Island-wide town meetings, to discuss the MICAH goals, and explain how congregations can address the root causes of hunger and poverty on Long Island. We invite clergy and congregation lay leaders from all communities of faith, to attend a lunch meeting to learn what we hope to do: get more food to our neighbors who are hungry, create more housing options that people can afford, and increase access to health care. There is no charge for the lunch but please RSVP at your earliest to Neelofer Chaudry, Director of MICAH. At [email protected] so that a lunch order may be confirmed. Let us know if you need a special menu. The date for Suffolk County is Friday, December 5, Noon to 1:30 PM at the First Presbyterian Church of Smithtown, 175 E. Main St. at Route 111. Nassau County is December 3rd, noon to 1:30 PM. Central Synagogue in Rockville Center, 440 De Mott Avenue.

COLLECTION FOR TROOPS IN IRAQ Kenneth Voigt, Assistant Scoutmaster’s two sons are serving in Iraq and in desperate need of supplies:[coffee, toothpaste, soap, shaving cream, any non -parishables]. Please leave any donations on the stage in the Fellowship Hall. The Battalion is not expecting supplies for 6-8 months, and are relying on donations. Questions:Tracy Donovan or Penny White Church Office: Messenger Deadline December 15... Please email or write exactly what you would like printed in the bulletin and/or The Messenger and forward via email or write the text and dates you want the announcement to appear. Be sure to include your name, phone number or email address. Please contact the church office a week before the appropriate deadline for the information you are submitting or for any copying you need. Thanks. Carolyn 6



Nancy and Ginnie come to visit

Can't tell it, but that's Alec!

and enjoy s’mores that Tim is helping prepare

Maggie Tucking in for the Night

Hanging out in our box town

It's cozy in here! Our fearless leaders - Jenn and Deb UNITED METHODIST CHURCH YOUTH GROUP “SLEEPOUT AMERICA”




Nancy and Ginnie come to visit and enjoy s’mores that Tim is helping prepare

Can't tell it, but that's Alec!

Maggie Tucking in for the Night Hanging out in our box town

It's cozy in here!


Our fearless leaders - Jenn and Deb


Open Hearts Open Minds Open Doors - Commack United Methodist ...

Web Site: ..... and drizzle to host a campfire where they had something most homeless ... One of our best selling items is Jewelry.

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