Wednesday, July 29, 2020

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Tuesday, July 21, 2020

This Week at Old South Haven Church

Dear Members and Friends of Old South Haven Church,

As many of you know, we always have a virtual coffee hour after our Zoom Church Service on Sundays. This past Sunday, the Committee to Reopen the Church asked participants to stay after the service to let them know how each person felt about opening the church. If you were not able to be with us last Sunday and would like to let us know how you feel, please email Ken at

Pastor Ralph will be with us until the end of August. We are thankful for his time with us and for his wonderful letters to the congregation. Please see below for the exceptional one this week. And, please see below for the details for joining the Zoom church service this coming Sunday.



Topic: Sunday Church Zoom Service
Time: Jul 26, 2020 09:45 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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Passcode: 092003
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A Message from Rev. Ralph Wright

` July 23, 2020
Dear Members and Friends of Old South Haven Church,

Having been a youth pastor, a summer youth camp counsellor and a parent of four children, I remember well the celebrations we had in July that highlighted Christmas. Yes, Christmas. We would celebrate July 25th as "Christmas in July". On the one hand, it provided the kids with the chance to enjoy a holiday in the middle of summer, they didn't have to worry about the cold and the snow forcing them inside, and we as Church leaders could use the time to express the truths of the Christmas story without the interference of Santa Claus, Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer, or the many Christmas parties they would attend.
So, Welcome to Christmas in July for the kids and adults of Old South Haven Church. This coming Sunday we will sing some Christmas Carols and we will share some Christmas stories. One story is a bit too long to discuss in the sermon without it having been read in advance by the congregation. Please find below the fiction story written by the Rev. Marvin L Mobley. It's a small town story that was written some years when human relations were simpler. For some the story may be too fictitious, but for others it may open up the message of Christmas in today's auto driven world.
Let me know your reactions! And, join us this Sunday on Zoom. And if you can't, just give me a call.

Peace and stay safe,
Pastor Ralph
631-475-3322 – office; 631-289-5761 – home – Other folks may answer the phone but they will put you through.

CHRISTMAS at the Gas Station By Reverend Marvin L Mobley

The old man sat in his gas station on a cold Christmas Eve. He hadn't been anywhere in years since his wife had passed away. It was just another day to him. He didn't hate Christmas, just couldn't find a reason to celebrate. He was sitting there looking at the snow that had been falling for the last hour and wondering what it was all about when the door opened and a homeless man stepped through.
Instead of throwing the man out, Old George as he was known by his customers, told the man to come and sit by the heater and warm up. "Thank you, but I don't mean to intrude," said the stranger. "I see you're busy, I'll just go." "Not without something hot in your belly." George said. He turned and opened a wide mouth Thermos and handed it to the stranger. "It ain't much, but it's hot and tasty. Stew ... Made it myself. When you're done, there's coffee and it's fresh."
Just at that moment he heard the "ding" of the driveway bell. "Excuse me, be right back," George said. There in the driveway was an old '53 Chevy. Steam was rolling out of the front. The driver was panicked. "Mister can you help me!" said the driver, with a deep Spanish accent. "My wife is with child and my car is broken." George opened the hood. It was bad. The block looked cracked from the cold, the car was dead. "You ain't going in this thing," George said as he turned away.
"But Mister, please help ..." The door of the office closed behind George as he went inside. He went to the office wall and got the keys to his old truck, and went back outside. He walked around the building, opened the garage, started the truck and drove it around to where the couple was waiting. "Here, take my truck," he said. "She ain't the best thing you ever looked at, but she runs real good." George helped put the woman in the truck and watched as it sped off into the night. He turned and walked back inside the office. "Glad I gave 'em the truck, their tires were shot too. That 'ol truck has brand new ….." George thought he was talking to the stranger, but the man had gone. The Thermos was on the desk, empty, with a used coffee cup beside it. "Well, at least he got something in his belly," George thought.

George went back outside to see if the old Chevy would start. It cranked slowly, but it started. He pulled it into the garage where the truck had been. He thought he would tinker with it for something to do. Christmas Eve meant no customers. He discovered the block hadn't cracked, it was just the bottom hose on the radiator. "Well, shoot, I can fix this," he said to himself. So he put a new one on. "Those tires ain't gonna get 'em through the winter either." He took the snow treads off of his wife's old Lincoln. They were like new and he wasn't going to drive the car anyway.

As he was working, he heard shots being fired. He ran outside and beside a police car an officer lay on the cold ground. Bleeding from the left shoulder, the officer moaned, "Please help me." George helped the officer inside as he remembered the training he had received in the Army as a medic. He knew the wound needed attention. "Pressure to stop the bleeding," he thought. The uniform company had been there that morning and had left clean shop towels. He used those and duct tape to bind the wound. "Hey, they say duct tape can fix anythin'," he said, trying to make the policeman feel at ease.

"Something for pain," George thought. All he had was the pills he used for his back. "These ought to work." He put some water in a cup and gave the policeman the pills. "You hang in there, I'm going to get you an ambulance." The phone was dead. "Maybe I can get one of your buddies on that there talk box out in your car." He went out only to find that a bullet had gone into the dashboard destroying the two way radio.

He went back in to find the policeman sitting up. "Thanks," said the officer. "You could have left me there. The guy that shot me is still in the area."

George sat down beside him, "I would never leave an injured man in the Army and I ain't gonna leave you." George pulled back the bandage to check for bleeding. "Looks worse than what it is. Bullet passed right through 'ya. Good thing it missed the important stuff though. I think with time your gonna be right as rain." George got up and poured a cup of coffee. "How do you take it?" he asked. "None for me," said the officer.. "Oh, yer gonna drink this. Best in the city. Too bad I ain't got no donuts." The officer laughed and winced at the same time.

The front door of the office flew open. In burst a young man with a gun. "Give me all your cash! Do it now!" the young man yelled. His hand was shaking and George could tell that he had never done anything like this before. "That's the guy that shot me!" exclaimed the officer. "Son, why are you doing this?" asked George, "You need to put the cannon away. Somebody else might get hurt." The young man was confused. "Shut up old man, or I'll shoot you, too. Now give me the cash!" The cop was reaching for his gun. "Put that thing away," George said to the cop, "we got one too many in here now."
He turned his attention to the young man. "Son, it's Christmas Eve. If you need money, well then, here. It ain't much but it's all I got. Now put that pea shooter away." George pulled $150 out of his pocket and handed it to the young man, reaching for the barrel of the gun at the same time. The young man released his grip on the gun, fell to his knees and began to cry. "I'm not very good at this am I? All I wanted was to buy something for my wife and son," he went on. "I've lost my job, my rent is due, my car got repossessed last week."
George handed the gun to the cop. "Son, we all get in a bit of squeeze now and then. The road gets hard sometimes, but we make it through the best we can."
He got the young man to his feet, and sat him down on a chair across from the cop. "Sometimes we do stupid things." George handed the young man a cup of coffee. "Bein' stupid is one of the things that makes us human. Comin' in here with a gun ain't the answer. Now sit there and get warm and we'll sort this thing out." The young man had stopped crying. He looked over to the cop. "Sorry I shot you. It just went off. I'm sorry officer." "Shut up and drink your coffee " the cop said.
George could hear the sounds of sirens outside. A police car and an ambulance skidded to a halt. Two cops came through the door, guns drawn. "Chuck! You ok?" one of the cops asked the wounded officer. "Not bad for a guy who took a bullet. How did you find me?" "GPS locator in the car. Best thing since sliced bread. Who did this?" the other cop asked as he approached the young man. Chuck answered him, "I don't know. The guy ran off into the dark. Just dropped his gun and ran." George and the young man both looked puzzled at each other.
"That guy work here?" the wounded cop continued. "Yep," George said, "just hired him this morning. Boy lost his job."
The paramedics came in and loaded Chuck onto the stretcher. The young man leaned over the wounded cop and whispered, "Why?" Chuck just said, "Merry Christmas boy ... and you too, George, and thanks for everything."
"Well, looks like you got one doozy of a break there. That ought to solve some of your problems." George went into the back room and came out with a box. He pulled out a ring box. "Here you go, something for the little woman. I don't think Martha would mind. She said it would come in handy some day." The young man looked inside to see the biggest diamond ring he ever saw. "I can't take this," said the young man. "It means something to you." "And now it means something to you," replied George. "I got my memories. That's all I need."

George reached into the box again. An airplane, a car and a truck appeared next. They were toys that the oil company had left for him to sell. "Here's something for that little man of yours." The young man began to cry again as he handed back the $150 that the old man had handed him earlier. "And what are you supposed to buy Christmas dinner with? You keep that too," George said. "Now git home to your family."

The young man turned with tears streaming down his face. "I'll be here in the morning for work, if that job offer is still good."
"Nope. I'm closed Christmas day," George said. "See ya the day after."

George turned around to find that the stranger had returned. "Where'd you come from? I thought you left?" "I have been here. I have always been here," said the stranger. "You say you don't celebrate Christmas. Why?"

"Well, after my wife passed away, I just couldn't see what all the bother was. Puttin' up a tree and all seemed a waste of a good pine tree. Bakin' cookies like I used to with Martha just wasn't the same by myself and besides I was gettin' a little chubby." The stranger put his hand on George's shoulder. "But you do celebrate the holiday, George. You gave me food and drink and warmed me when I was cold and hungry. The woman with child will bear a son and he will become a great doctor.

The policeman you helped will go on to save 19 people from being killed by terrorists. The young man who tried to rob you will make you a rich man and not take any for himself. "That is the spirit of the season and you keep it as good as any man." George was taken aback by all this stranger had said. "And how do you know all this?" asked the old man.
"Trust me, George. I have the inside track on this sort of thing. And when your days are done you will be with Martha again." The stranger moved toward the door. "If you will excuse me, George, I have to go now. I have to go home where there is a big celebration planned."
George watched as the old leather jacket and the torn pants that the stranger was wearing turned into a white robe. A golden light began to fill the room. "You see, George ... it's My birthday. Merry Christmas."
George fell to his knees and replied, "Happy Birthday, Lord Jesus."

This story is better than any greeting card.

Now clear the lump from your throat, blow your nose, and send this along to a friend of yours or someone who may need a reminder as to why we celebrate Christmas.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Again, this Saturday, July 18, will be joining with the community's 7th "Let's Come Together - BLM/Justice ride" through Bellport & East Patchogue, leaving from Boys & Girls Club at 4 pm.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

This Week at Old South Haven Church

Dear Members and Friends of Old South Haven Church,

We are delighted that we still have Pastor Ralph in the pulpit this week and I invite you to join us on our Zoom Sunday Service.

The details for joining our church service this coming Sunday are below.  Please make sure you use these links and telephone numbers.
There was a problem last week with the information.

The Property and Finance Committee will be meeting this coming Saturday and then the Sub-Committee to Reopen the Church.  Session will meet on July 20th.    If you have any concerns and questions, please get in touch with us.

God Bless!


Linda Majowka is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Zoom Church Service
Time: Jul 19, 2020 09:45 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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Password: 092003
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                                                                                                                                                 July 15, 2020
Dear Members and Friends of Old South Haven Church,

We are entering a new phase in the history of our community.  It has been called a new normal.  Most of us are not sure what that means.  However, we are aware it will be some time, if ever, before we can go back to the way we lived six months ago, no less five or ten years ago. 

This is not only true for us as individuals, it is also true for the church.  Yes, we are still members of the body of Christ, but as one writer stated we are entering a "New Kind of Christianity".  For those of us who were raised on the idea that "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever" this may sound quite radical.  But from an historical point of view, the church of Jesus Christ has changed with the times.  From being basically a house church in the times of the New Testament, to being a church of large sanctuaries and cathedrals, while at the same time becoming a world-wide movement of various cultures, nationalities and ethnic groups, Christianity has evolved with the times.

At the same time we have, or have struggled to, live lives that follow the teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ.  To live a life that is consistent to the Gospel of love, the Gospel of compassion, the Gospel of mission, the Gospel of reaching out to help all those around us.  It has never been easy, but in recent times there has been a tendency for the church to become more inward looking, more culturally and ethnically centered, particularly in an immigrant nation such as the United States.  Long treatises and studies regarding this phenomenon line the bookshelves of our seminaries and denominational headquarters.  With that said let us look at what can be done here on the south shore of Long Island, more particularly here in the hamlet of Brookhaven.

Allow me to raise only one such area, namely how we relate to the children and youth of our neighborhood.  It is true that with the greying of our churches, we often do not have a ministry to children and youth.  Here is a list of activities that we can find in Presbyterian churches across America.  Pre-school child care, day camps, summer camps, tutoring centers with computers, after school programs, family counselling, trips to museums and beaches and city centers and cultural events, the list goes on and on.

Yet, I have found here on Long Island, many churches that are right across the street from schools, have no interfacing with the schools, its students, its faculty, its leadership.  The phrase, "separation of church and state" has been used in our secular age to justify our lack of involvement with the children who will be the future leaders of our community.

The above may be a bit too much for any church to successfully address.  Yes, it will take time, it will take money, it will take good planning, but it is one way to reach out to our neighbors with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  The above is a pastor's way of sharing some food for thought.

Once again, I invite you to join us this Sunday on Zoom for a time of worship, a time of friendly sharing, and a time to ponder "when can we return to our beloved church sanctuary?"

Peace and stay safe,
Pastor Ralph
You can reach me at 631-475-3322 – office;  631-289-5761 – home – Other folks may answer the phone but they will put you through.

Saturday, July 11, 2020

This Week at Old South Haven Church

Dear Members and Friends of Old South Haven Church,

We are again having a Zoom Church Service this coming Sunday and the Bulletin for it is attached.  Pastor Ralph's letter to the congregation is attached and pasted below.  Also, details for joining the Church Service are below.

Session members have been active in calling a pastor and it looks like we may have a new pastor starting in September--barring any unforeseen circumstances.  Session members look forward to introducing a new pastor but it still has to go to the Committee on Ministry at the Presbytery.  As I said in last week's letter, we are grateful and blessed to have Pastor Ralph for this time and let's enjoy the rest of his time with us.

Also, the Committee on Reopening the Church, consisting of Richard, Ken, and myself, will be meeting shortly.   Please let us know how you feel about opening the church at this time.

God Bless,


Linda Majowka is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Sunday Church Zoom Service
Time: Jul 12, 2020 09:45 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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Meeting ID: 813 1902 8722
Password: 949116
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Dear Members and Friends of Old South Haven Church,

Fear and depression are two emotions that we all have at one time or another.  God offers us the peace and understanding that should overcome fear and depression, but given the right (or wrong) circumstance even the strongest of the faithful wind up struggling with the events of the day.  When I was in seminary, our pastoral counselling professor would often state that for many mothers and families the month of January is the most depressing. 

Why?  Because the previous month, though fraught with all the pressures of Christmas, getting the tree up, finding the right gifts for grandma, making sure the kids knew their lines for the Christmas pageant, writing all those Christmas cards and mailing them in time, was a part of every Christmas and it was exciting.  Then, comes January.  The kids go back to school, the Christmas tree comes down, and all of a sudden Mom has time on her hands.  The house feels empty, the streets are now covered with snow and it's impossible to get out without shoveling up a storm.  Boom, depression sets in, or we become afraid of strangers in the neighborhood.

That's why in the many parishes I have had the privilege of serving, January was a time for fellowship, a time for church dinners, a time for Bible studies, a time for mutual support.  The words of Jesus, "Lo I am with you always, even to the end of the world" (Matthew 8:20) give us support.  Or the words of the Hebrew Testament, Book of Isaiah, chapter 41  verse 10, "Have no fear, for I am with you; do not be looking about in trouble, for I am your God; I will give you strength, yes, I will be your helper; yes, my true right hand will be your support."

Pastor, you ask, "Why are you telling me this now, we are in the month of July?"  Because, just as the Corona Virus Pandemic knows no borders, it also cannot be contained by an arbitrary time line.  Many of us are depressed as if we were in January.  Folks in New York are tired of being cooped up for four plus months in their homes and apartments, no school, no jobs, no social mingling, and yes no church services in the church sanctuary.  

Here on Long Island we are gradually opening up our communities but there is still the "wear a face mask" and "remember to social distance by six feet." On the other side of our nation the pandemic is reaching new heights and cities and towns are closing down and worried they don't have enough hospital beds and staff for all those in need. We are all concerned.
Once again, allow me to turn to the Scriptures.  Not directly, but think about this. How many times do we find the words "Fear Not" in the Scriptures?  I haven't counted for myself, but I've heard it said, "Fear not" is in the Bible 365 times. That's enough for one "Fear not" per day of the year.  I admit this is not a deep theological statement.  However, I believe given our present situations, a light hearted way of saying "the Lord is with us", no matter what our fears or depression, is a good lesson from the Bible.  Praise the Lord!  And join us this Sunday on Zoom with a smile on your face. And if you can't smile, consider giving me a call.
Peace and stay safe,
Pastor Ralph
631-475-3322 – office;  631-289-5761 – home – Other folks may answer the phone but they will put you through.

BLM/Justice Auto Ride Today

Today, Saturday, July 11, will be the community's 6th BLM/Justice ride through Bellport & East Patchogue, leaving from Boys & Girls Club at 4 pm.

Friday, July 3, 2020

This Independence Day BLM/Justice Auto Ride & OSHC History on July 4th, 1776

We will be commemorating Independence Day with our 5th BLM/Justice ride through Bellport & East Patchogue on Saturday, the 4th of July, at  4 pm, leaving from Boys & Girls Club.
And below, celebrate Independence Day with Richard Thomas' brief HISTORY of the South Haven parish and our community on July 4, 1776.    

Commemorate Independence Day!  "A Song of Peace," a patriotic song, with "My Country 'Tis of Thee."  The words of "A Song of Peace/This Is My Song," are from a poem by Lloyd Stone, a poet laureate of Hawaii. He authored the poem about 1934 or slightly earlier.  The music is from the hymn-like portion of Finlandia composed by Jean Sibelius in 1899-1900. The singers are Harmonious Combustion, consisting of Nan Geary, Linda Girton, and Mary Walker.

The Parish of South Haven and the Revolutionary War, the Situation on 04 July 1776

    In 1776, General Nathaniel Woodhull , William Floyd, and William Smith were members of the South Haven congregation.
    Contrary to your expectations, perhaps, William Floyd was not signing the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.  The six-member New York delegation in Philadelphia hadn't even voted in favor of the Declaration.  They had abstained. Their New York Provincial Congress had not yet declared for independence. (The New York delegation didn't receive permission to sign the Declaration until July 15.)
     Despite the lofty principles contained in the Declaration, General Nathaniel Woodhull, William Floyd, and William Smith – who were pillars of the Parish of South Haven, all had slaves.  (On Long Island, the working class generally did not have slaves, it was mostly only the relatively wealthy and very wealthy—the top 1%.)
     In the census of that year, The Number of Inhabitants in the Several Towns of Suffolk County, New-York, July, 1776, the "Negroes" in each family are classified only as "Above 16 years" and "Under 16 years" and are not separately numbered as "males" or females."
     The census shows that in 1776 the William Floyd household included ten "Negroes" over 16 years and two under (total 12).  In the household of his older first  cousin, Richard Floyd IV, (who was a Loyalist), there were five "Negroes" over 16 years and seven under (total 12).
     There were fifteen "Negroes" in the Nathaniel Woodhull family, but only four over the age of 16.
     William Smith's household included eight "Negroes," six over 16 and two under.
     Nathaniel Woodhull had fought in the French and Indian War. He was a major in a New York battalion in 1758 and promoted to the rank of Colonel in March 1760. He led New York's 3rd Regiment on an expedition to Canada during that war.
     It is unlikely that there were any Loyalists who were also members of the congregation.  In the Town of Brookhaven, the Loyalists generally preferred to attend the Anglican church in Setauket as the pastors of the dissenting churches (Presbyterian) had long been hostile to the royal government. (And the royal governors had been equally hostile to the dissenters, especially Lord Cornbury who had attempted to quash the assessment of taxes for the support of non-Anglicans and their pastors.  Lord Cornbury had even, through deception, managed to take the parsonage of the Presbyterian pastor in Jamaica, by claiming he and his family needed a place to stay outside Manhattan because of a yellow fever epidemic.  After he had ousted their pastor, he took their meeting house as well and gave both to the Anglicans.)

     Here's what was happening in the Parish of South Haven in July 1776.
     A civil war was already in progress. The people of eastern Long Island were in a high state of anxiety and preparing for armed conflict.
     Although most of populace supported the rebellion, it was a civil war, and neighbors sometimes found themselves on opposite sides.
     Richard Floyd IV of Mastic was an unwavering Loyalist.  He had been appointed Lt. Colonel of the Suffolk County militia in 1773. (Richard Floyd I was a founding settler of the Town of Brookhaven.  In 1683, Richard Floyd I had purchased Floyd's Neck in Mastic after the Town had taken it from its Native American owners for nonpayment of a fine!  Richard II had rejected his "Presbyterian" upbringing and converted to Anglicanism, and his son,  Richard III, helped establish the Caroline Church in Setauket.)
     William Floyd lived on a large estate directly east of Richard Floyd IV and was Richard's first cousin.
     In December 1775, those who opposed the royal government had formed a company of minute men, but the community had no way of supplying them with an adequate number of guns or with the powder that would be needed should an actual conflict break out.
     General Washington had driven Howe out of Boston in March 1776. General Howe and his troops had sailed to Nova Scotia, but the looming question was "Where would the British troops go next?"
     On June 27, 1776, William "Tangier" Smith of the Manor of St. George and General Nathaniel Woodhull of Mastic had been elected to the 4th New York Provincial Congress, which was scheduled to meet on July 9 in White Plains.  The colonists of New York had formed their own Provincial Congress in 1775, as they no longer felt the New York Assembly represented their interests, as its acts were subject to approval by the royal governor.
     Nathaniel Woodhull had been elected President of the 2nd Provincial Congress on Dec. 6, 1775, and he was re-elected to preside at the third congress held on May 18, 1776, and would again be elected President of the 4th Congress when it met at White Plains on July 9.
    The war had been a long time coming. The British had expended considerable sums (and incurred a heavy debt) protecting their American colonies in the fighting of the French and Indian War, and after winning that war in 1763, Parliament felt it was time for the colonists to repay some of the costs.  The colonists, many of whom had fought in the battles and who had sacrificed their lives and their fortunes, had a different view.  Silas Wood, in his history of Long Island writes:
December 28th, 1768, the assembly of New York adopted a number of spirited resolutions; and among other things, they in substance, resolved unanimously—that the people the colonies enjoyed the same rights as the people of England in not being liable to be taxed but by their own representatives; that the rights and privileges of the legislatures could not be abridged, superseded, abrogated, or annulled; and that they had a right to consult with the other colonies, in matters wherein their liberties might be affected.
     The royal governor of the Colony of New York, Sir Henry Moore, had a simple response to these resolutions.  He dissolved the assembly.  When a new assembly was allowed to be formed in 1769, Col. Nathaniel Woodhull was elected to represent Suffolk County, which he continued to do until the colonial assembly was permanently dissolved in 1775.
     After the Boston Tea Party on 16 Dec 1773, (to protest the tax on tea), Parliament had passed an act to block up the port of Boston, and the act said the port would remain blocked up until the people of Boston agreed to pay for all the damage they had caused. 
     The inhabitants of the Parish of South Haven protested. 
     The frame of our present building is partially made up of beams and joists from the meeting house that preceded it, so, on Sunday, we may be meeting within parts of the same structure in which the people of the parish met in 1774.

     Everything had gotten much worse since that meeting in June 1774. 
     Four thousand British regulars had been sent to Boston, and on the night of 18 Apr 1775; seven hundred of them were sent to seize guns and stores of gunpowder and ammunition at Concord.  And, as Ralph Waldo Emerson would later write ("Concord Hymn," 1837), a shot was fired that was heard round the world. "Concord Hymn" by Ralph Waldo Emerson, sung by the Choir of First Parish Church, Concord, Massachusetts
     By July 1775, the Continental Congress had sent George Washington to Boston to take charge of the effort to seize the city.
     In December 1775, the Manor of St. George enlisted 70 of the men of the area as minute men.  William Smith and Capt. Josiah "Bull" Smith (of the Patentship of Moriches) wrote the Provincial Congress, "The minute men want powder, ball, guns, drum, colors, &c., which are not to be had here; and if to be bought, a great part of the company not able to purchase."
     In January 1776, William Smith informed the New York Congress that the militia of Suffolk County now numbered but a little more than 2000, and he hoped "because of the great exposedness of the east end," that a number of Continental troops might be available to protect the county.  He went on to say:
"We have a number of poor men who are good soldiers and friends to the cause, and would be glad to enlist as minute men, but have no guns.  We should be glad to know if some could be procured at the public expense."
     At Boston, in early March 1776, the Americans were able to bring heavy cannon—the cannon had been captured by the forces of Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold at Fort Ticonderoga--to the hills overlooking the city (Dorchester Heights). Then Washington's Continental Army was able to expel the British.
     After being forced out of Boston, the British sailed to Nova Scotia--where would General Howe go next? 
     New York, but where would he come ashore?
     Thinking that surely Howe's forces would soon arrive, it was decided it would be prudent to put people on watch for the British fleet, and the leaders did so beginning in March, 1776.
     The British ships are seen at Staten island on June 30, 1776.
     General Washington began assembling his troops in Manhattan and on Long Island.
     Soon over 400 British ships and boats, with more than 34,000 troops, filled New York Harbor. 
     Nathaniel Woodhull and William Smith attended the 4th Congress at White Plains on July 9, where Woodhull was again selected to preside.
     On July 23, 1776, the Declaration of the General Congress of the "freedom and independence of the Thirteen United Colonies" was read in Huntington, with beat of drum, which was "approved and applauded with animated shouts of the people."  The people then made an effigy of George III, lined with gunpowder and wrapped in a Union jack, which was hung on a gallows, exploded, and burnt to ashes. 
     In the evening, they drank 13 patriotic toasts.
     On Aug. 24, 1776, the New York Congress directed half of the western regiments of Suffolk County to go to the west part of Queens. Some would join the lines of the Continental Army.  General Nathaniel Woodhull was directed to round up all the cattle and send them onto the Hempstead Plain so they would not fall into the hands of the British.
     On Aug. 27, 1776, the Battle of Brooklyn was fought (and decisively won by the British). "The Battle of Brooklyn: The Revolutionary War in Four Minutes"
     Nathaniel Woodhull was captured on Aug. 28, 1776.  Purportedly, a British officer had raised his sword and commanded him to say "God save the King." Woodhull instead replied, "God save us all." Down came the sword, injuring his arm and head. [The story about what was said in the confrontation of Woodhull and the officer did not appear until 1821 and is not generally believed to be true.]
     Regardless of what may or may not have been said, Woodhull was injured and taken to a prison ship in Graveshead Bay, but because of his wounds, he was soon transferred to a house in Brooklyn where his arm was amputated. 
    He survived long enough for his wife (Ruth Floyd, sister of William) to reach his bedside. Nathaniel Woodhull died on 20 Sep 1776.
    British troops poured onto Long Island; some moving eastward to take full control of the island and its resources.
    The wharves of Sag Harbor were soon crowded with Long Island families desperately hoping to find space on a ship so that they might flee to Connecticut.

Did the first meeting house burn to ground during the Revolutionary War?
                It is true that there is a legend that the first meeting house was burned by the colonists (the rebels) during the Revolutionary War, but I have been unable to find any support for this supposition dating earlier than 1915.
                It is certainly true that by the twentieth century, the legend had become as firmly established as the one about Daniel Webster and his "mammoth trout."
                Oddly, the historians of Long Island writing in the early nineteenth century wrote nothing about the burning of the 1740 meeting house.
                Benjamin F. Thompson in 1839 wrote
                                "The Presbyterian church at Fire-place was erected in 1740, and rebuilt in 1828."
                I think that is the most reliable information we have.
                Of course, the church's web site and other places quote Rev. Borthwick's book, but then Borthwick fell for the big fish story too.  The burning of the first meeting house is even a part of the historical plays we have sometimes done at Old South Haven. (Of course, those are also based on Borthwick's book.)
                I'm skeptical of interesting or entertaining "historical" events about which not a single word was written until many, many decades after they supposedly occurred.

Rev. David Rose, the Parish's Minister, in Connecticut
                A photo of the gravestone of Hannah (Mulford) Rose can be seen here: . 
                The gravestone says:
            In Memory of
          Mrs HANNAH ROSE
   the amiable Consort of the
            Revd DAVID ROSE,
Pastor of the Church of Christ
  in South Haven Long Island.
   She died in Branford Febry 24th
          A.D.: 1781 in the 45th
              Year of her Age.
                "David Rose, a vocal Patriot, and family were forced to leave his parish in South Haven, NY, during British Revolutionary War occupation of Long Island." 
                The family took refuge in David Rose's native town of Branford, Connecticut.
                After a long illness, Hannah died a refugee in Connecticut, age 44 (that is, in her 45th year). On the lower portion of her stone is the inscription:
From british Tyrany she fled
and made a safe retreat
She now is free among the dead
her Soul Immortal great.
Unfortunately, that part of the grave stone is deteriorating, and if not already unreadable, soon will be.
                David Rose's second wife was Berusha.  She is buried near her husband in Old South Haven's ancient burying ground in South Haven.
                I don't know Berusha's surname.
                Her stone had fallen over and was buried for a long time.  It is hard to read.  I think it says:
    In Memory of
Mrs: BERUSHA, wife
  of the Revd David
Rose who departed
   this Life May 14th
        A.D.   1 7 8 4
    in the 36th Year
         of her Age.
                The "36" is uncertain as viewed in the photos.  The "6" is very clear, but the digit that precedes it could be "3," "5", or even "7," though based on Rev. Rose's age, "3" seems likely.
                Rev. Rose and his second wife had no known children.
                His third wife was Sarah Strong, the widow of Selah Havens and  the daughter of Selah and Hannah (Woodhull) Strong.

Richard Thomas

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Old South Haven Church 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dear Members and Friends of Old South Haven Church,

It looks like the Session is on their way to hiring a new minister.  Please be patient.  More information will be forthcoming.

Meanwhile, please join us this coming Sunday for our Zoom Church Service.  Details for logging on are below.

And, please enjoy Pastor Ralph leading our services.  We are very thankful that he has been with us and will continue to do so for another month.

God Bless,


You are invited to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic:  Sunday Church Zoom Service
Time: Jul 5, 2020 09:45 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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Meeting ID: 871 7411 3476
Password: 049598
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July 1, 2020

Dear Members and Friends of Old South Haven Church
Happy Fourth of July!  Celebrate and Enjoy America's Independence Day!   That's the message of this week.  Below are three photos which will inspire me this week-end. 
I look forward to being with you for our Zoom church service this Independence Day Sunday at 10:00 a.m.
Peace and stay safe,

Pastor Ralph

                            We salute our flag that stands for liberty and justice for all.

We remember the teachings of  love that our Lord taught us  as he died on the cross for our sins.

We resolve to live and express balanced views in a world that has forsaken its humanity.