Categorized | A Conversation With

Pastor Mark Philips and Linda Keller

Posted on 06 July 2012

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Pastor Mark Philips and Linda Keller from Old Whalers’ Church shed some light on Whaler Bucks, a special raffle to benefit The Community House and Sag Harbor Food Pantry.


How did you come up with the idea to organize this raffle?

LK: We started talking about doing a 50/50 but on a grander scale with a limit on tickets sold up to 1200. The Bridgehampton Fire Department and their success with Bridgehampton Bucks inspired us. We could’ve done a Chinese auction but this allows everyone to get involved. The tickets will be sold at $50 dollars each and include a light cocktail reception. First place will be $10,000, second place will be $5,000, and 5 winners will win $1,000. Prizes will be contingent on the number of tickets sold. We hope to make this annual. If we don’t reach our goal this year with ticket sales, we hope to make it eventually in following years. We can use all the help we can get and it all goes to a phenomenal cause.


How will the money raised from the raffle be used?

LK: The church is 168 years old so as you can imagine quite a bit of money is required to help keep the structure secure and going. All the proceeds go back to maintain the church that provides a home for The Sag Harbor Community Food Pantry, a number of Alcoholics Anonymous groups, The Sag Harbor Youth Center, The Conservative Synagogue of the Hamptons, Comunidad Christiana Internacional, Weight Watchers and other groups. It all goes right back to the community. Someday we’d love to be able to paint the inside and restore it.


How many people does the food pantry help serve?

MP: The average is 90 per week, about 120-140 people in the winter.


What are some of the distinct features of Old Whalers’?

MP: The sanctuary seats 800. We have the largest seating capacity of any public place in Sag Harbor.

LK: The architecture is Egyptian and Greek revival. The organ is original from when the church was first built (in 1844.) It is the oldest pipe organ on Long Island. We finally have an organist.

MP: We get 30 to 35 tour groups pass through each year. We also have the oldest youth center that meets for three hours Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Concerts have also been held at the church with performers like Judy Carmichael. We have about 60 volunteers.


How have you personally been affected by the church?

LK: I have been a member of the church for 35 years ever since I have been a little girl in Sunday school. I have been confirmed in this church. I grew up in this church. It’s important because I love history and the building is an extension of my youth and my home.


Who is The Community House available to?

LK: It’s a beautiful church to have a wedding, anniversary or birthday event. We’re available to any organization or anyone looking for a historic building to use. Come talk to us. Help us keep history alive and help us serve the community.


The drawing will be held September 29, 2012. If you would like to purchase a ticket please call the church office at 725-0894 or contact Linda Keller (linreif@hamptoms.com or call 725-2326) or Kelly McMahon (orion4ever@aol.com or call 725-5076)

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