Tag Archive | "Community Bible Church"

Noyac Couple Count Its Easter Blessings

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Pastor Doug Kinney and his wife, Meg, in front of the Community Bible Church in Noyac. Photo by Stephen J. Kotz. 

By Mara Certic

Sometimes bad things happen to good people. But Pastor Doug Kinney never lost faith, even when both he and his wife were diagnosed with cancer within four months of each other.

Mr. Kinney, the pastor of the Community Bible Church in Noyac, his wife Meg and their six children have had a particularly tough winter, with cancer diagnoses, chemotherapy and operations dominating much of the past few months. This Easter Sunday, April 5, the Kinney family is feeling blessed by the Sag Harbor community and will more than ever celebrate the hope of eternal life.

“And we are so, so blessed,” Mrs. Kinney said, talking about the endless amount of support they have received from the Sag Harbor and church communities.

Since both parents were diagnosed, community members have reached out to help in some way: A group in the church set up a fund to help the Kinneys pay for medical bills that were not covered by insurance; a group of teachers have set up a collection for the family and friends have stepped in to take care of the Kinneys’ six children when they had to go to the city for treatment.

Their son Zebulun’s ninth grade class at Pierson High School got together this week to prepare meals for the family, and on Saturday, April 18, the Sag Harbor Fire Department and its Ladies Auxiliary are co-hosting a spaghetti and meatball dinner at the firehouse to raise money for the Kinneys.

“We’re so blessed by the community,” Mr. Kinney said.

For Pastor Kinney, cancer began with an intermittent toothache in one of his canines that started bothering him in June. Then it switched to the other one. And then it went away.

His dentist couldn’t find anything wrong, dismissed it as just one of those things and suggested that he take a Tylenol.

“Then all four of my teeth went numb,” Mr. Kinney said, and then that too went away. But a lingering feeling remained, a lingering feeling that something was not right.

In September, an oral surgeon diagnosed him with stage 4 lymphoma, which doctors at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center confirmed.

Mrs. Kinney travelled with her husband to Manhattan for treatment, where they’d stay for five days at a time, exploring the city between visits to Sloan Kettering.

“I was able to walk around with the bag of chemo,” Mr. Kinney said, adding that the side effects wouldn’t start to kick in until after the full five days of treatment, when he got back home to Noyac. Sixteen days after one series treatments, just as he would begin to feel normal again, it was back to the city for another round.

Three months into his chemotherapy, Mrs. Kinney went to the doctor for an overdue mammogram. While examining her neck, her doctor discovered a lump. Eleven needle biopsies later, she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer.

Mr. and Mrs. Kinney met in 1997 when he was a pastor’s assistant at the Community Bible Church, and she was a congregant.  They would only see each other when Mrs. Kinney would come back home for “the big holidays.” It was around Easter in 1997 when they fell in love, and two years later they were married.

In an odd twist of fate, Mrs. Kinney’s grandparents, Bill and Harriet Steck, were the founders of the church where she now plays the part of the “silent person” behind the scenes. In addition to their work with the church and raising their six children together, they also own and operate a 24-hour Christian radio station.

When Mrs. Kinney was diagnosed they kept asking themselves why. Why both of them? Mr. Kinney asked this so much that he convinced himself that their water could have been contaminated with something carcinogenic until he had it tested. But still, he didn’t lose faith.

“This is a time for your faith to kick in,” Mr. Kinney said. “This is a test for us.”

“We really believe part of the Christian faith promises that Christ will be with you at every trial,” he said.

“Life is full of potholes,” his wife added. “You just have to know how to deal with them.”

On March 6, after four months of chemotherapy, Mr. Kinney got the good news that he was in total remission and was entirely lymphoma-free. He will still go in for screenings and tests for the next two years as a precaution.

Almost two weeks later, Mrs. Kinney had her thyroid removed, along with five lymph nodes. She will learn more about what they discovered during surgery at a doctor’s appointment this week. She said the doctors have been positive about her prognosis but may recommend radioiodine treatment.

“The kids have been really great,” Mrs. Kinney said. It was hard enough for them when their father was diagnosed, but when both parents had cancer, “it was really difficult,” she added.

While parents always want to shield their children from pain, the Kinneys knew from the beginning they had to tell their kids about their diseases.

“We knew we were going to tell our congregation because we believe in prayer,” Mr. Kinney said. “There was no way to hide it from them.”

“But kids are just so resilient,” Mrs. Kinney said, as her 5-year-old daughter Campbelle climbed onto her lap.

“This Easter, we celebrate the hope of eternal life, but our biggest concerns are for the ones we’d leave behind,” he said.

On Easter Sunday, Pastor Kinney plans to speak about the Apostle Thomas, the disciple who did not believe Jesus had been crucified and risen from the dead until he could see and feel his wounds.

“Jesus answers those doubts,” Pastor Kinney said. “It’s not like he said, ‘Thomas, you’re fired.’ He showed him. And I think that’s what God does.”




Community Bible Church Goes Live on the Airwaves

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By Claire Walla

Back in the early 1990s, Pastor Doug Kinney of the Community Bible Church (CBC) in Noyac wasn’t a pastor. He wasn’t even Christian.

“I was Rastafarian,” he said. “I had the dreadlocks and all.”

Though Kinney said he read the Bible because, as a Rastafarian, he knew Bob Marley read the Bible, the scriptures didn’t quite click for him.

That changed in 1993. Around that time, Kinney, a musician who lived in Westhampton but often performed in New York City, said he spent a lot of time in his car — listening to the radio.

“One day I tuned into a Christian radio station and, through that influence, I started questioning the Rastafarian religion,” said Kinney, who’s been a Christian ever since.

Kinney first became a youth pastor at CBC in 1997 before taking over as pastor in 2002. As soon as he moved to the East End, he said, “I always thought, I’d like to hear some Christian radio out here.”

For Kinney, expanding his church’s reach via radio waves has always been a dream. And as of October 6 of this year, three years since the church received its radio construction permit from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), CBC has been broadcasting Christian programming on 90.7 and 93.3 WEGB from a newly built studio in the basement offices of the church, right on Noyac Road.

The non-commercial radio station — which Kinney said will survive on listener donations — currently plays a mix of nationally syndicated shows from well-known Christian radio personalities like Scottish pastor Alistair Begg and Pastor Chuck Smith, who actually founded Calvary Chapel (of which CBC is a part), to a children’s program broadcast every evening at 7:30 p.m. called “Adventures in Odyssey.” These brief talk-radio programs — lasting anywhere from five to 30 minutes — are intermixed with Christian music, making WEGB the only Christian radio station broadcasting out of the East End.

While the new radio station is certainly exciting for CBC member Barbara Souza, who recently graduated from Suffolk Community College with a degree in broadcast journalism, even more exciting is the fact that the station will be transmitting a weekly broadcast in Portuguese.

“Everyone in the church is really excited, because this is our project: to reach people who don’t know about Christ and the Bible and bring them to our service,” she said.

Souza, who is Brazilian, will be responsible for the Saturday morning Portuguese broadcast, which will air its first show on Saturday, December 24. The show will last 35 minutes at first, during which Souza will play Brazilian music (with a Christian flair), as well as a message from the church’s Brazilian minister, Pastor Eliel Asis. But she said she hopes that, over time, her on-air slot will increase and perhaps expand into weekday programming.

“We know we have a lot of Brazilian people out here [on the East End],” Souza said, explaining that there are already 50 who attend services at CBC. “And we want to reach more of them through radio.”

This radio service would have been helpful for Souza when she first moved to the East End, she said. After moving to Sagaponack from Brazil to work as an au pair five years ago, Souza said she initially attended the Presbyterian Church in Bridgehampton because that’s where her host family went.

“I didn’t see myself there,” she politely commented.

Souza eventually found CBC while browsing the Internet with her host family, and she decided to attend a service because she noticed the church had a Brazilian ministry.

“I said, ‘I can’t believe it! This is a dream for me,’” she said.

While Souza added she hopes the radio station will help promote the church because, she admitted, “we don’t do a lot of marketing,” she also hopes the Portuguese radio service will effectively reach out to the community of people who need it most; particularly young people who, like Souza, have come to the East End from Brazil.

“We come without family,” Souza said. “For me, the church can fill the spot of family. The people are so warm and, after services, we go down and have dinner together — we’re so excited to get more people.”

According to Kinney, the church has “a bunch of ideas” for original programming down the line. If all goes according to plan, the pastor himself will have a teaching program, and he’d like to set up a radio hour for the church’s youth, during which time they can play the modern Christian music they like to listen to.

But for now he’s just happy to be on-air.

Noyac Has a New Place to Vote

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Noyac voters will find themselves casting their ballot in a new location next month. After decades of voting in the Old Noyac School House on the south side of Noyac Road, residents in election districts 2 and 36 will cross the street and move a bit further east to cast their votes in the Community Bible Church.

The Suffolk County Board of Elections mailed notices of the change last week, noting the change will be permanent and applies to all future elections.

“We were going to make the change next year anyway,” said Tom Noble, who is assistant to board of elections commissioner Wayne Rogers. “The Old Noyac Schoolhouse is really a substandard structure for our needs.”

“When it rains, the building leaks,” said Noble, “and there really are limited facilities there.”

Perhaps the tipping point came last month when voting for the primary elections was held at the schoolhouse. The board of elections this year ushered in new voting machines and a new process, which takes up considerably more room. After the primaries, election workers complained that the room was too cramped.

“We thought, why wait, and we decided to go ahead with the change this year,” said Noble. In addition, he said, the schoolhouse offers little in the way of lavatory facilities or a place for election workers to eat meals.

Pastor Doug Kinney of the Community Bible Church, which is located at 2837 Noyac Rd., said they welcomed the idea.

“I passed it by the board and we said, sure, why not,” said Pastor Kinney. Stackable chairs will be removed from the church’s sanctuary to make room for voters, who can either enter through the front door or, for those handicapped, through a side door.

Local Doctors Rally To Aid Zambian Girl

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Nine year-old Merris has the kind of smile that lights up a room, a smile that gives no indication that she has been living with a life-altering injury in her rural village on the distant outskirts of Kitwe, Zambia.

Next week, a group of doctors with the support of a local ministry group will attempt to perform surgery on her disfigured arm, effectively saving her hand, and changing Merris’s life for the better.

Merris’s injury is a severely contracted hand — the result of a snakebite — that without surgery would end with the loss of her left hand. A local ministry group had hoped to bring Merris to the United States on Tuesday, October 14, with the goal of having pre-surgical testing completed by Wednesday, and the surgery, performed by Dr. James Brady at Southampton Hospital, on Thursday. Unfortunately, a delay in the Zambia passport office early this week will likely push the surgery back.

Regardless of the delay, the mission to save Merris’s arm will move forward next week, and is not the first, and certainly not the last, time a band of local doctors and the RaphaEl Ministries will attempt to better the lives of others — the heart of their operation.

RaphaEl Ministries is overseen by the Community Bible Church in Noyac and was founded by Dr. Scott Silverberg, the chief of anesthesia at Southampton Hospital. Silverberg moved to the East End 12 years ago, finding a home with the Community Bible Church after being drawn to the congregation not just by their dedication to God, but also their coffee house, where Silverberg, a musician, could be found playing his drums.

“But really what we are about is we just want to glorify God in everything we do,” he said.

In May, RaphaEl Ministries took its inaugural medical mission to Kitwe, Zambia with 17 local doctors and nurses making the trip on their own vacation time to provide medical care and supplies to an area where even the most basic supplies can be scarce. Southampton Hospital donated numerous supplies, which the mission brought over — obstetric equipment including a sonogram machine and incubator that the hospital was no longer in need of after upgrading their facilities.

What brought RaphaEl Ministries to Kitwe Hospital, and ultimately to Merris, was Zambian reverend Lubuto Nsofu, who Dr. Silverberg met at the Church of the Sound while he was in his residency in Stony Brook. Reverend Nsofu was training at Christ for The Nations College, which used to be at Stony Brook, when the two connected, forging a bond that continues to this day — a bond that made Dr. Silverberg decide Zambia should be the site of RaphaEl Ministries’ first medical ministry.

“I had moved out here and had him come to some of our churches,” recalled Dr. Silverberg. “That was when we connected. And I said to my friend, James Brady, let’s go on a medical mission together.”

For Dr. Silverberg, using his training in mission work is a part of a life long desire – a desire only temporarily put on hold while he paid off his school debts.

“Being a Christian, the desire has always been in my heart,” he said. “I think God put it in me, to help those less fortunate. These things, God arranges them, and it developed over time where I was finally able to go.”

During the trip Dr. Silverberg, along with Dr. Brady, Southampton Hospital attending obstetrician Florence Rolston, and a number of others provided both free surgeries and medical care at Kitwe Hospital, as well as service to clinics in the African bush.

The surgical team completed approximately 40 procedures and the medical team cared for between 300 and 500 patients over the course of three days, in what Dr. Silverberg described as a morning to night schedule. Conditions in Zambia were far from what one would expect to find in a hospital stateside, with exposed wiring in some operating rooms, and no screens lending to surgical areas compromised by flies and mosquitoes.

And it was at Kitwe that Dr. Silverberg met Merris.

Immediately, he said, they knew caring for Merris in Zambia was not possible due to the extent of her injury. It was Dr. Brady who Dr. Silverberg said made the decision that Merris’s care could not happen in Kitwe. 

“She needs extensive surgery,” said Dr. Silverberg, adding almost immediately the group began to strategize on how, and when, they could bring Merris to the United States for her operation.

In addition to extensive surgery, Merris will need a full week of recovery at Southampton Hospital, followed by two months of rehabilitation on the East End.

“So we said to ourselves, there is a way, and we started developing our plan, discussing it with the hospital, which has been very supportive of our ministry,” said Dr. Silverberg.

Merris, once issues have been settled with the Zambian passport agency, will travel to the United States with her mother, as well as a Zambian nurse who speaks English and will be given western medical training at Southampton Hospital during their stay.

RaphaEl Ministries has already expended some $7,000 just flying Merris, her mother and the nurse to the United States, and will also be responsible for helping provide clothing, supplies and transportation for the family during their stay.

All the doctors involved in the case have agreed to donate their time, said Dr. Silverberg, adding the hospital itself has been a great help.

In order to support RaphaEl Ministries work — Merris’s surgery, as well as the planned surgery of a 20-year old man from Zambia who suffered severe burns to his head, neck and upper body in February, and a second medical mission to Kitwe Hospital in April — the organization will begin fundraising in the community shortly, according to Paula Krzyzewski, a member of the Community Bible Church and RaphaEl Ministries.

Before the last venture to Africa, Dr. Rolston and another nurse affiliated with St. Johns Episcopal Church in Southampton, along with Cindy Willis spearheaded a fundraising movement for the mission.

“I can do medicine, I can’t do fundraising,” acknowledged Dr. Silverberg.

Overall $50,000 was raised, enough to cover team expenses on the last mission and send over a container of donated equipment from the hospital, as well as baby blankets, children’s books and clothing to Kitwe, which will be distributed by Victory Ministries and Victory Bible Church. According to Krzyzewski, the container should be arriving in the next two weeks.

 “It’s completely outside my realm to sit around this table of doctors and nurses,” said Krzyzewski. “What they are doing is so inspiring and so selfless.”