Long Island parishioners rally to save nearly 100-year-old church from closing – NBC New York

Parishioners are trying to save a Nassau County church from permanent closure this Sunday.

St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, Carle Place, is a Tudor-style structure built in 1926 on Rushmore Avenue. The church is one of three parishes designated for closure by the Episcopalian Diocese of Long Island.

The reason? Low turnout.

“I was baptized here, I made my first communion here,” said 81-year-old Marge Kogler. “Many of my children got married here, there are a lot of memories.”

“It’s been around for years,” Monica O’Connor said. “That shouldn’t happen.”

Parishioners say the church is the cornerstone of the community. It became a gathering place for veterans, a meeting hall for Alcoholics Anonymous, and a gathering place for scout troops.

“We were trying to be very integrated into the community,” said Christy Shaw, Kogler’s daughter and parishioner. “It’s sad that it’s closing.”

At the end of February, the diocese told church leaders that they would have to close at the end of March. But the church received a $1 million endowment to help keep the church financially healthy.

“We left an endowment that allowed us to continue,” Kogler said. “If we can support ourselves, why close ourselves?”

Bishop Provenzano said in a statement, “It is true that St. Mary’s had a substantial endowment. It is also true that, in accordance with New York State and Church law, the property and property of the parish revert to the diocese when a parish closes.”

He also adds that “the decision to close St. Mary’s was made due to the fact that the number of parishioners had fallen well below the threshold necessary to maintain a meaningful congregational life that serves the community and not simply keep the doors open. for a handful of people.

Yet those who have been coming to church for decades feel the pain of closing the church before Easter. The Sunday service promises to be the last at St. Mary’s, and church members have urged people everywhere to attend.

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