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Setauket Presbyterian Church

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One of the new signs on a local lawn. Photo from Setauket Presbyterian Church Facebook

Despite the turbulence the country has been enduring for the past few months, Three Village residents and those in surrounding areas are showing support for all human beings.

Signs featuring the colors of the rainbow with additional black, brown, pink and blue stripes, and bearing the messages, “Our faith community celebrates pride” on one side and “Our faith community celebrates diversity” on the other, have popped up on random lawns the last couple of weeks. The signs are the result of a committee made up of local clergy members and lay people from various faith communities, according to the Rev. Ashley McFaul-Erwin, community outreach pastor at Setauket Presbyterian Church.

The pastor said the group was in the early stages of planning the first Three Village pride walk for June but then the pandemic happened. The members threw around the idea of a car parade but weren’t sure how they could do that safely and decided the signs would enable them to display the message in front of their homes and religious buildings.

McFaul-Erwin said it was an important message to share with many Christian churches having discriminated against the LGBTQ community in the past. The blue and pink stripes were added to represent transgender people and black and brown stripes are to show unity with people of color.

The Rev. Linda Anderson, community minister in affiliation with the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship at Stony Brook, said she thought it was a brilliant idea.

“The signs will last longer than a parade,” she said. “They can be spread out more widely. It’ll just keep saying the message of peace, love of humanity, justice and fairness.”

Elaine Learnard, a Quaker and member of Conscience Bay Friends Meeting, agreed.

“I think it’s a great way to do it and very creative during this time where everything is so crazy,” she said.

Barbara Ransome, director of operations of the Greater Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce, was part of the committee as a member of Conscience Bay Friends Meeting. She said she has one on her lawn and also placed one in front of the chamber office.

“With all the stress going on — George Floyd’s death, rallies, COVID-19, etc. — this is a symbol of unity,” Ransome said.

McFaul-Erwin said the Setauket Presbyterian Church also placed a pink triangle on the Village Green with 51 flags. She said the flags are “in memory of all who have been harmed by churches throughout the years. We want to repent for harm done as well as celebrate.”

Palms left by the door of All Souls Episcopal Church in Stony Brook. Photo from All Souls Episcopal

Since the middle of March, houses of worship have had to find other ways to stay connected with their congregations during the COVID-19 pandemic. We asked local clergy members how alternative methods have been working and what is on the minds of their congregants.

Setauket United Methodist Church

The Rev. Steven Kim, of Setauket United Methodist Church, is just one pastor who is using modern technology. He said COVID-19 can make connectivity or interaction difficult.

“A church is not an exception,” he said. “Since the pandemic broke out, our ministry has been focused on helping the parishioners feel connected with their church family. Technology is a key player in pursuing this goal. It has enabled us to continue worshiping, keep meetings, continue our bible study and have prayer gatherings all online.”

Kim said the church is also trying to serve the community through prayer and other supportive ways. Church members have sent encouragement cards to medical crews, first responders and police officers in the community and delivered pizza to the medical crew at the intensive care unit at Stony Brook University Hospital. 

“The current crisis challenges us to deepen our understanding of a faith community which is rooted in our society,” Kim said.

Setauket Presbyterian Church

The Rev. Kate Jones Calone, interim pastor at Setauket Church, said the congregation at Setauket Presbyterian Church reflected on the theme of “wilderness” during the season of Lent.

“After the impact of the coronavirus became more real for us locally, our wrestling as a faith community with what it means to be in the “wilderness” obviously took on new meaning,” Jones Calone said. “We’ve been contemplating questions like: how do the various stories involving wilderness in scripture guide and challenge and sustain us during this time? Where are God and grace present in the wilderness? What does our church/community/world look like on the other side of a wilderness experience?”

Jones Calone said the experience reminds them that “the church is not a building but a community of people who share deep connection through their faith in a God of love.” Church members love one another and their neighbors by staying home, worshipping and meeting virtually, and comforting those who are sick, hurting, grieving and serving. The congregation also created an Emergency Assistance Fund to help those in need.

“This crisis has further exposed deep societal inequities around economic disparity, poverty, race and health care, and makes systemic transformation even more urgent,” she said.

All Souls Episcopal Church, Stony Brook

Daniel Kerr, a senior warden with All Souls Episcopal Church in Stony Brook, has been leading Sunday morning virtual prayers at 8 and 9:30 a.m. on the church’s website. He said All Souls also held virtual Good Friday, Easter Vigils and Easter morning services. The live, interactive, virtual services have featured the few who can participate taking turns reading from the scripture and leading the prayers.

“Believe it or not, we have had more folks attending the virtual services than we normally get on Sundays in ‘normal times,’” Kerr said.

He added that many who usually attend the church’s concerts, poetry readings and Shamanic Drumming events have also been tuning in to the virtual services, as well as people from New Hampshire, Florida and the Carolinas.

On Palm Sunday, he said the palms normally distributed at the Mass were left on the church’s porch with a sign encouraging people to take them. Kerr said all of the palms were taken by the following Tuesday morning.

Kerr added that at the end of the services, participants are asked to share their reflections on how they are doing during this time.

“Quite often they say these services have helped them feel connected to the extended All Souls community and less isolated and alone in their homes during social distancing,” Kerr said.

Unitarian Universalist Fellowship at Stony Brook

Linda Anderson, a minister affiliated with the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship at Stony Brook, who also works with the South Nassau Unitarian Universalist congregation, said during this time she has needed to find new ways to serve congregants. In addition to calling, texting and sending emails to members, worship services as well as other meetings have been made available online.

Anderson said many have lost people in their lives, or fear they will, and have thought about their own deaths. 

“I hear the sadness that death brings,” she said. “The stress of grief affects our bodies in that we might feel more tired, have chest pains, upset stomachs, headaches. The stress of grief can make it hard for us to focus or make decisions. Our emotions can be all over the place, ranging from numbness to anger, from sorrow to relief.”

For those who fear their own deaths, she said it’s important to talk about their lives such as what they are proud of, what regrets they may have, what they think their legacy is and more. 

“It is a relief for folks to talk about these things out loud because they sure are thinking about them,” she said.

She said while the past holiday season had its challenges, the biblical story she found to be most relevant to congregants was that of the Israelites wandering in the desert.

“It feels like we too wander in the desert of COVID-19, uncertain of what will come next but holding onto a faith that we will indeed emerge from this,” Anderson said.

Trinity Lutheran Church, Rocky Point

The Rev. Peter Boehringer of Trinity Lutheran Church said the house of worship has used various online platforms for Sunday school, confirmation classes, First Communion, committee meetings and more. The church’s worship services are recorded and broadcasted on Facebook and YouTube.

He said the congregants see “the virus as something that falls within the realm of our interaction with nature.”

“Where we see God working is in the incredible compassion, empathy and commitment of people who have responded to the great challenges of this contagion with love,” he said. “If one takes the Easter message seriously, the idea that God is somehow punishing us, or the world, is negated. Our Lord does not promise that we will never be ill, or escape all disaster, etc., what is promised is the presence of the Holy Spirit in these things, that we may endure them and be a blessing to those around us.”

Village Chabad, East Setauket

Rabbit Motti Grossbaum said celebrating Passover this week was different than in the past.

“The question we ask at our Seder tables, ‘Why is this night different than all other nights?’ is ringing especially true at the present time,” he said. “We are doing our best to help the local community observe the holiday to the best degree possible as there is no reason we should Passover, Passover. Unfortunately as a Jewish people, we have been through challenges in our history, and the dedication that our ancestors had to our traditions and our heritage serves an inspiration to us during these challenging times to observe our faith despite the challenges. And when we do, we see that our connection to God and our faith gives us the hope we need to carry us through.”

Like other houses of worship, Village Chabad is using technology for services, education and counseling to members of all ages. Due to the pandemic, the rabbis have had to use technology to visit the sick and help families grieve virtually.

The rabbi had some words of hope. 

“While we cannot attempt to explain the reasoning for suffering and for COVID-19, we could attempt to find glimmers of hope and lessons of inspiration from our current world,” he said. “One obvious one is this. The world at large is currently united with one single focus. Crossing geographic divides, languages, cultures, races and even political differences, the world is currently united with one singular concern, goal and prayer. We are seeing how we are all responsible for each other and only together, will we bring an end to this. This is reminding us to set aside our differences and find the common humanity in every single human being on our planet. Every one of us are intrinsically good and together we will also reveal the intrinsic goodness of our world.”

The 25th annual Spirits Cemetery Tour: The Unforgotten will be long remembered as a great success for Three Village Historical Society and a night of spooky merriment for both volunteers and visitors. The event, co-chaired by Frank Turano and Janet McCauley, was sold out days in advance and attracted around 340 visitors.

The actors, dressed in period garb provided by Antique Costumes and Prop Rental by Nan Guzzetta, mingled among tombstones and tourgoers at the Setauket Presbyterian Church cemetery and Caroline Church of Brookhaven cemetery. Twelve “spirits” recounted stories of lives that spanned the centuries and crossed the continents, but all connected to Setauket.  

Before embarking on the walk, groups gathered in the Presbyterian Church community room. There they enjoyed complimentary donuts and cider, time period appropriate harpsichord music from Kyle Collins of Three Village Chamber Players, an exhibit curated by archivist Karen Martin of photos and other primary source materials about the people who were depicted on the tour and an interactive photo station. The tour ended at the Caroline Church carriage shed, where guests sampled cookies and apple cider. Food and beverages were provided by Ann Marie’s Farm Stand, Stop & Shop East Setauket and Starbucks East Setauket. 

Preparations are already underway for Spirits Cemetery Tour October 2020, which will feature the Spirits of Chicken Hill! If you are interested in volunteering as an actor or in some other capacity for the next tour, please call 631-751-3730 or visit www.tvhs.org.

Photos by Anthony White and Beverly C. Tyler

 

Stephanie Carsten portrays Maria Smith Williamson at last year’s event. Photo courtesy of TVHS

By Melissa Arnold

Ah, October. The perfect time of year to grab a light jacket, sip a hot drink, and go for a casual walk through a cemetery.

For a quarter of a century, the Three Village Historical Society has invited visitors from far and wide to explore the lives of some of our area’s greatest contributors, both famous and little known at its annual Spirits Tour.

The interesting twist is that the event brings guests on a walking tour through two of Setauket’s historic cemeteries — Caroline Church of Brookhaven Cemetery and the Setauket Presbyterian Church Cemetery — to meet each deceased community member and hear his or her story firsthand.

It’s a unique, fascinating and engaging way to learn more about the area’s rich history, and none of it is scary or Halloween-themed. They promise.

The long-running event, held this year on Oct. 19, is primarily the work of historical society board member Frank Turano who creates detailed scripts for each character and has written more than 400 pages over the past 25 years.

The historical society works hard to ensure that the tour is different each year, with some familiar faces as well as new people to meet. This year’s theme, The Unforgotten, focuses on names you might not know from history class but who still made a significant impact on the area.

“There were a number of people I knew about that never got any sort of notoriety,” said Turano. “So I decided to go about the process of finding interesting but obscure characters. It took several months to write the scripts.”

Volunteers from around the community, many of whom are involved with local theater productions, suit up for the evening in period attire from Nan’s Antique Costume & Props Rental in Port Jefferson for a true-to-life experience.

The cast

Greeter

(Tim Adams)

Richard Floyd 

(Michael Freed)

Anna Kopriva 

(Karen Overin)

Myra Lyons 

(Stephanie Carsten)

Edward Pheiffer 

(Tommy Ranieri)

Justice Carl Rhuland

(Steve Healy)

John Scott 

(Mort Rosen)

Gen. Francis Spinola

(George Overin)

Caroline Strong 

(Karin Lynch)

Hilma Wilson 

(Tara Ebrahimian)

Sarah Young 

(Theresa Travers)

Henrietta Shipman

(Cathleen Shannon)

Marjorie Cutler Bishop

(Stephanie Sakson)

“I live in the area, and it feels great to be connected to the place where I live,” said Janet McCauley, a board member of the historical society who’s also served as co-chair for the tour for more than 10 years. “It’s so much fun watching the actors portray these different figures in our history, and to see people from the community come back year after year.”

The 90-minute guided tour will include a dozen historical figures, among them Brookhaven town founder Richard Floyd, World War I nurse Caroline Strong, and Sarah Young, a woman with a curious story and shocking devotion to the man she loved. For the first time ever, this year’s tour features more women than men, a difficult feat considering the majority of historical records were written about and by men, Turano said. 

Even Three Village Historical Society President Steve Healy is getting in on the action with a portrayal of Justice Carl Rhuland, a local businessman and justice of the peace.

“The Spirits Tour is one of the longest-running events of its kind and it’s close to my heart,” Healy said. “You can go on this tour every year and learn something new. Everyone is so passionate about bringing these stories to life, from the costumes to casting to script writing and the fine details. Frank has incredible attention to detail and this time of year provides the perfect atmosphere for the tour.”

McCauley urges all tour goers to arrive early, dress for extended time outdoors and to wear comfortable walking shoes. And of course, help yourself to apple cider and donuts donated from local supermarkets and Ann Marie’s Farmstand in Setauket. An exhibit with additional information will be on display at Setauket Presbyterian Church throughout the night.

The 25th Annual Spirits Tour will be held on Saturday, Oct. 19 (rain date Oct. 26). Tours, which are approximately 90 minutes long, leave from the Setauket Presbyterian Church, 5 Caroline Ave., Setauket every 15 minutes starting at 5 p.m. Each tour lasts approximately 1½ to 2 hours. The last tour departs at 7:45 p.m. 

Tickets in advance at www.tvhs.org are $25 adults, $15 members; $10 children under 12, $8 members. Tickets on the night of the event, if available, are $30 adults, $20 members; $12 children under 12, $10 members. For more information, call 631-751-3730. 

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Ashely McFaul-Erwin is the new community outreach pastor for the Setauket Presbyterian Church. Photo provided by Ashley McFaul-Erwin

In its quest to connect more closely with the community, the Setauket Presbyterian Church has created a new position: community outreach pastor. 

Taking on the new role is Ashley McFaul-Erwin, a native of Northern Ireland who recently pastored in Nashville. Arriving this summer with her wife Erica, McFaul-Erwin has been busy working and getting to know the Three Village area.

Interim Pastor Kate Jones-Calone said creating the new position was part of the congregation’s mission planning study conducted a couple of years ago. What came out of that study was the goal to create a deeper connection with the community as well as serve it.

Part of McFaul-Erwin’s responsibility will be heading up the Open Door Exchange, the church’s outreach program in Port Jefferson created to collect gently used furniture to distribute to those in need. She also has been organizing programming to encourage conversations about gun violence in America and what to do about it.

McFaul-Erwin, a a native of Northern Ireland, has joined the Setauket church as community outreach pastor. Photo provided by Ashley McFaul-Erwin.

Jones-Calone said a search committee was formed to find candidates, and when they found McFaul-Erwin, they were thrilled. The interim pastor describes her new co-worker as a warm, open and authentic person.

“We knew pretty quickly that she was someone who brings not only significant experience working with community-based organizations but also this wonderful ability to connect with people which will be so important with her work within the congregation and for the ways she helps the congregation connect with the community around us,” Jones-Calone said.

McFaul-Erwin has an array of experience including work with the Presbyterian Church in Ireland in a low-income area of Belfast. In 2011, she traveled to Nashville, where she was ordained seven years later. In addition to pastoring services, she has worked with former gang members and women battling addiction in various outreach programs. 

The community outreach pastor said when learning about the congregation she was impressed with the community connection they have already established, especially with Open Door Exchange, which celebrates its fifth anniversary next year.

“I’m really impressed,” she said. “It feels like a church that isn’t just content to stay within four walls. They’re already out there doing some of the work.”

The pastor said the congregation is looking to see how they can serve those who have fallen through the cracks when it comes to receiving help, and she is currently trying to identify those needs.

“I feel like I’m doing a lot of listening right now with the people in the church and the community to find out what are some of the needs that folks need to have met,” McFaul-Erwin said.

“This role kind of felt like it was bringing my two worlds together in one position,” McFaul-Erwin said. 

Recently, residents were welcomed to the church to watch a documentary on gun violence and an upcoming event will feature a speaker discussing the importance of writing letters to elected officials about the issue. Pointing to recent mass shootings motivated by hate, the pastor said the issue is not just about access to guns but also how people care and think about each other, and she’s passionate about those with different views coming together and having conversations.

The pastor said when she first moved to the States, she was surprised how it was easier to access guns here than in her birth country, especially in Tennessee where many openly carry firearms. When it comes to the gun debate, the outreach pastor said she can sympathize due to past turmoil in Northern Ireland. She said being born in 1987, she only remembers the tail end of the Troubles, a violent ethno-nationalist conflict in her country, but she saw how long it took for both sides to heal.

“We all have to do the work of gun control but also the work of healing different communities and bringing folks together,” she said. “Nothing changed in Northern Ireland until people on different sides started to talk to each other.”

McFaul-Erwin is ready for her new role, and she said her strengths include bringing people together and listening to them.

“I kind of just see people for who they are and don’t let whatever labels around them be a barrier in that relationship,” she said.

 

Barbara, 86, and Bruce, 85, were married for 64 years, they were residents of Setauket from 1960 to 2005. Photo from the McNaughton Family

By Donald McNaughton

Barbara and Bruce McNaughton, formerly of Setauket, died in Fort Myers, Florida, July 2 and July 24, respectively.

Barbara was 86 and Bruce was 85. Married for 64 years, they were residents of Setauket from 1960 to 2005, raising their three sons Cameron, Donald and Andrew there and contributing to the community they so loved. They will be laid to rest at the Setauket Presbyterian Church under a headstone simply marked “Home.”

Bruce Angus McNaughton

Bruce, an only child, was born in Brooklyn Jan. 14, 1934. His father was a broadcasting executive who specialized in turning around failing radio stations. This took Bruce at a young age to Ohio, West Virginia and Wisconsin, before he graduated from Ossining High School in Ossining, New York. He then attended the University of Illinois.

He met Barbara when they each had their first jobs after college at the McCann-Erickson advertising agency in New York City. After a stint writing for The New York Times, Bruce found his calling in the magazine business, selling advertising space. Following stops at Business Week, Look and McCall’s, he was hired by Time Incorporated in the mid-’60s to work for Life Magazine during its last years as a weekly publication. When Life ceased as a weekly in 1972, he moved to Time Inc.’s Fortune magazine, where he spent twenty years. At Fortune, he oversaw a new category, imported car advertising, growing it to be a source of significant revenue for the magazine. All in all, before retiring in 1994, Bruce spent more than 30 years at Time Inc. during its heyday as the leading magazine publisher in the United States, relishing the work, his colleagues, New York City and his place in the publishing world.

Bruce was nothing if not passionate about his many community involvements and his various pastimes. He helped to restore the sanctuary and steeple of the Setauket Presbyterian Church and worked on the committee to place the church on the National Register of Historic Places. He put his publishing experience to work to help establish a weekly newspaper in the Three Villages, The Village Times, now known as The Village Times Herald. He served on the board of the Stony Brook Community Fund, now the Ward Melville Heritage Organization. And he was a longtime board member of the Frank Melville Memorial Park, serving as its president and overseeing major renovations to the park’s buildings and grounds.

Bruce was an ardent lacrosse fan, voracious reader, Civil War history buff and lover of English cars, Winston Churchill, trains and all things Scotland. He was never more alive than when in the ocean surf or playing golf at St. George’s Country Club, where he and Barbara were members for 25 years.

Barbara Ann Hill McNaughton

Barbara, the eldest of four, was born in Queens March 4, 1933. Her father worked for New York State, helping to resettle returning World War II veterans.  This took the Hill family to Washington, D.C., during part of her childhood, but she mostly grew up in the New York area. She attended William Smith College in Geneva, New York, and graduated from the University of Vermont.

After meeting and marrying Bruce in New York City, Barbara gave birth to Cameron, the first of their three boys, in 1955. With the arrival in 1959 of their second, Donald, the young family moved east from New York City to Setauket, where Barbara’s parents kept a summer cottage on West Meadow Beach. The couple added a third child, Andrew, in 1963.

During these childrearing years, Barbara received her master’s degree from Stony Brook University and later worked in the library there for many years. She served as president of the  Play Groups School in Old Field and was an elder and longtime choir member of the Setauket Presbyterian Church.

Barbara was a boundless reader, enjoyed The New York Times crossword puzzle and loved sitting at the Brookhaven Beach Club with her friends. She was a fan of many sports, played tennis and golf and enjoyed watching baseball, Derek Jeter and Tiger Woods in her later years. She drove a stick well, and loved to watch her sons play lacrosse. Above all else, she was a devoted mother.

Upon leaving Setauket in 2005, Barbara and Bruce moved to Shell Point, a retirement community outside of Fort Myers where they quite happily spent their remaining years. 

In addition to their three sons, Barbara and Bruce leave behind two daughters-in-law, Karen Walsh McNaughton and Alison Pyne McNaughton, and five grandchildren: William Walsh McNaughton, Robert Cameron McNaughton, Alexander Gilchrist McNaughton, Holloway Elise McNaughton and Katherine Ann McNaughton. They were thrilled to live to see the birth of twin great- grandchildren, Charlotte Reilly McNaughton and Cameron Walsh McNaughton. Barbara is also survived by a sister, Jane Hill Burr, and a brother, David C. Hill.

A private family interment will be held this fall. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Shell Point for the benefit of the Waterside Health Center.

 

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On June 1, under partially sunny skies, residents of Setauket and beyond enjoyed raffles, games, a bounce house, music, a dunk tank, pony rides and more on the Village Green.

The annual Setauket Church Fair was organized by the Setauket Presbyterian Church and Caroline Church of Brookhaven.  The Presbyterian church also offered a tag sale, and the Caroline Church set up a barn sale, where attendees could find items of all kinds including jewelry, dishware and toys.

The 2019 fair benefits To Write Love on Her Arms (a nonprofit dedicated to providing hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide) and also KO Cares (a nonprofit that addresses the needs of disadvantaged communities on Long Island).

 

 

HIGH TEA AND HIGH HATS

The Anna Smith Strong Chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution hosted its annual Afternoon Tea benefit at the Setauket Presbyterian Church’s Fellowship Hall on April 27. The sold-out event, which attracted over 100 guests, featured a high tea service, a ladies’ hat parade and raffle baskets. 

Photos by Leah S. Dunaief

Mary Speers says goodbye to a congregant of Setauket Presbyterian Church. Photo from Facebook

As the congregants of Setauket Presbyterian Church look to the future, one pastor has her mind on retirement.

The Rev. Mary Speers, 65, who pastored at the church for nearly six years, said her last sermon in Setauket Nov. 30. Temporarily taking over the role as interim pastor is Kate Jones Calone who is known for her work with the Open Door Exchange, an outreach program of the church created to collect furniture to distribute to those in need.

After members of Setauket Presbyterian conducted its most recent mission study and put together a five-year plan, Speers started asking herself if she wanted to work another five years, considering she was thinking of retiring in May when she turns 66.

The Rev. Mary Speers, left holding dog, at a past Christmas Eve Manger Service at Setauket Presbyterian Church. Photo from Mary Speers

The reverend said she was already researching houses in Baltimore. Speers said she wished to move there due to a lot of social justice work needing to be done in the city, along with her love for small-city life. The pastor said if she bought a home before she retired, she could rent it out.

When she decided it would be best for Setauket Presbyterian church members to find someone who would be there for the long haul, she called the Presbytery office in Maryland to see if there were any churches looking for an interim pastor. She said soon after her request, she received a call that congregants of a church in the city were looking for someone. Around the same time, her real estate agent found a home for her.

She said the church members of Setauket Presbyterian understood her need to move as soon as possible and for the small Maryland church’s need for a pastor after theirs left in July 2018.

“They said, ‘You know what, why don’t you let them have a pastor for Advent,’” she said. “‘We’ll be fine.’ That was really sweet of them.”

Speers said she’ll miss pastoring at Setauket Presbyterian Church, where she described the congregants as “putting feet on faith.”

“The congregation is absolutely wonderful,” she said. “They are so involved in the running of the place.”

The pastor said after working and living in Setauket since February of 2013, in addition to the church members, she will miss her time in the Three Village area where she kayaked and picked beach plums at West Meadow Beach, with which she made jam.

Debra Dwyer, an elder with the church, said she switched churches three years ago and credits Speers with her becoming a member of Setauket Presbyterian. She described the pastor as strong and passionate.

Dwyer said she and one of her daughters Emily visited the church on one Youth Mission Sunday during which young church members reported about their recent mission trip to Washington, D.C., to work with the homeless. Based on that visit, Dwyer and her daughter came back one day when Speers was preaching.

“She preached on social issues,” the church elder said. “She applied the bible and scripture in a way that I was so impressed. What she was able to do was get a message out that was truly Christian and that was truly socially just in a way that was not controversial so that everyone could hear it.”

While Dwyer will miss Speers, she said she admires Jones Calone for her peace and justice missions and looks forward to her pastoring.

“For us, this is just a family member getting promoted,” she said.

Speers said she knows Jones Calone will do great in her role as interim pastor because she knows the church’s dynamics.

“She has a great head on her shoulder,” she said. “She’s very pastoral, but she also has excellent boundaries.”

The members of Setauket Presyterian Church welcomed interim pastor Kate Jones Calone with a cake. Photo by Sandy Bond

Jones Calone, 44, who is a wife and mother of three children ranging in age from 7 to 13, has been involved in the church since 2011 when she started as an assistant pastor. She was in the role for nearly five years, and during that time, launched and became the director of Open Door Exchange.

“I’m incredibly so grateful and excited to be serving Setauket Presbyterian Church in this point in the life of the congregation,” she said.

During this transitional time, she said she is excited to help the congregants, whom she described as loving and dedicated, with their plans, which include figuring out how to help people connect with their faith in new ways. She said the church will continue its mission to learn how they can be good stewards of the funds they receive.

In addition to running the Open Door Exchange, every Wednesday the church members volunteer at Welcome Friends Soup Kitchen in Port Jefferson, which serves hot, homemade meals with volunteers from several area churches.

Jones Calone, who officially became interim pastor Jan. 9, said Speers will be missed, and she always appreciated her support when Open Door Exchange was initiated.

“Mary brought a real creativity in her leadership in a lot of different ways, including worship, and I always appreciated that,” Jones Calone said. “I also think about how I really appreciated when we came to her and said, ‘We have this idea for starting this new outreach program.’ She never hesitated and said, ‘Let’s do it. Let’s figure out a way to make this happen, what kind of support do you need.’”

By Rita J. Egan

William Shakespeare once compared a good deed to a candle’s beam, writing it shined in a weary world.

The power of a good dead is something members of Temple Isaiah’s Social Action Committee have known for decades. For the last 20 years, they have organized a cleanup at West Meadow Beach in Setauket, according to Iris Schiff, the committee’s chairwoman.

Once calling the volunteer opportunity “Mitzvah Day,” the group has now dubbed it “Good Deeds Day” occurred April 15. But the Stony Brook temple usually celebrates it later in the month when days are a bit warmer. Schiff said this year the Stony Brook temple invited congregants of Setauket Presbyterian Church to join them. On April 29, after a communal brunch at the synagogue, a handful of volunteers headed to the beach.

“We are hoping that other faiths will join with us in the future.”

— Barbara Curtis

Barbara Curtis, a member of Setauket Presbyterian who organized church volunteers, was on hand with bag in hand.

“A good deeds day brings our faith communities together in the very best way,” Curtis said. “We are hoping that other faiths will join with us in the future.”

Rev. Mary Barrett Speers, pastor of Setauket Presbyterian Church, said in an email the beach was the perfect spot for the joint community project.

“I personally love the idea because all God’s children share God’s earth,” Barrett Speers said. “We all love West Meadow Beach, and right after Earth Day, what better way is there to celebrate our beach than by caring for it?”

Schiff said the beach was in excellent condition, and after a couple of hours of cleaning up, they only had about a half a dozen bags filled with bottle tops, balloons, cans and random pieces of plastic.

She said the cleanup wasn’t the only good deed of the day. In the morning, children from the temple painted and decorated wood crates and donated them to Setauket Presbyterian Church’s Open Door Exchange, an outreach program which redistributes furniture to those in need. A few families also volunteered with Great Strides Long Island, Inc.at Saddle Rock Ranch in Middle Island, a nonprofit organization that helps developmentally disabled children ride horses.

After the beach cleanup, Schiff said she felt good about the day.

“Everybody was just right on the same page and feeling the same way,” she said. “I’m really hoping that next year we’re able to expand this and bring in some of the other faith communities.”