Tag Archive | "Sag Harbor Methodist Church"

Imagining No Malaria

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by Candace Sindelman

This Sunday, pastor Tom MacLeod will give his sermon at the Sag Harbor Methodist Church just like any other Sunday; however, this week’s sermon will be particularly unique. He will be speaking to his congregation about the project Imagine No Malaria, a multi-faith effort to eradicate the disease on the continent of Africa by 2015. The United Methodist Church in America is committed to fundraising $75 million and had partnered up with organizations such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the United Nations Foundation.

The organization has already made a huge impact in slowing down the number of deaths caused by the disease. According to imaginenomalaria.org, which cited statistics from the World Health Health Organization from its World Malaria Report 2011, malaria claims a life every 60 seconds. Just a few years ago that number was showing every 30 seconds a child died due to the disease. Through prevention, treatment, education and communication, and working with communities to have nets, embedded with a mosquito repellant in the fabric, that hangs from the ceiling and tucked under the bedding of children has helped reduced Malaria’s impact by half.

Though MacLeod notes there is still more work to be done through removing stagnant ponds of water and eliminating drains, providing early treatment is also key in eliminating any residual effects from the disease. MacCleod’s daughter was infected after working for a non-profit organization called Action Against Hunger four years ago when in the Congo,; however, she was fortunate enough to get treatment within 48 hours and does not have the disease any longer.

“It really hit close to home, especially knowing the disease is preventable. I am so blessed my daughter was able to find a hospital and was treated,” MacLeod said.

The Sag Harbor Methodist Church has pledged to raise $20,000 for the cause. MacLeod does the math.

“There are about 8,000 year round residents (in Sag Harbor). If each person contributed 50 cents a year for four years, two dollars approximately, we would meet our goal of $20,000.”MacLeod said. “The trustees have agreed for every two dollars raised they will match it with one dollar.”

MacLeod hopes in bringing the congregation up to speed with what the United Methodist Church is trying to accomplish that it will inspire others to work for the cause in their own homes.

“We are called to a mission of compassion and action and we can make a very visible impact in the world we live in,” said MacLeod who plans on showing a video clip during the service. “I don’t want this to be in the hands of one or two people.”

Instead MacLeod wishes the local effort to expand from the church, to Sag Harbor to all the way to the whole East End.

“It’s more than just taking care of our own needs and instead we are focusing our energies outside of the building,” MacLeod said. “100 percent goes right to the initiative, there is no administrative cost, and contributions from the public are going to be multiplied from the trustees.”

MacLeod admits he is an optimist and sees the challenge in a positive light.

“I don’t see it as an impossibility,” MacLeod said. “This is something we can definitely do; we can meet or exceed our goal. People will see the smallness of what we are asking and see the bigness of what they are doing. That a little bit can have a huge effect and that together we can make this happen and not have it be a burden on anyone.”

As one of the many initiatives to come, The Sag Harbor Methodist Church will be having its second carwash this Saturday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the church parking lot asking a suggested donation of $10.




Methodist Church Hopes to House Pre-K

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By Claire Walla

When The Sag Harbor United Methodist Church made plans to construct a new church on the Sag Harbor Turnpike, the congregation always intended to include space on its ground floor that could be used by another organization, like a pre-school.

Now, after a full year of Sunday services in its brand-new spot, the church is finally hoping to bring a pre-school on-site.

According to Amber Cariglio, a parent at Our Sons and Daughters pre-school in Bridgehampton, the 12-student school hopes to relocate to the United Methodist Church as early as next September. Currently housed at the Hayground School on Butter Lane, she said the school is looking to obtain a bigger space so it can have the room it will need to grow.

The Waldorf-based curriculum is run by teachers Maggie Touchette and Andi Pascaio, who offer programs for children ages 3 to 6. With a bigger space, Cariglio said the program will hopefully be able to expand to include a kindergarten program for 6- and 7-years-olds.

Last week, the Southampton Town Planning Board held a pre-submission hearing on the property to consider changing the churches zoning district from residential to commercial, in order to accommodate another business.

The only voice of dissent came from the church’s Caroll Street neighbor, Pam Wright, who objected to the noise and traffic that might incur from daytime operations.

However, the church’s pastor, Tom MacCleod, said when he knocked on neighbors’ doors to explain what the church was hoping to do, he didn’t seem to face any opposition. He further explained that the biggest impact would occur during pick-up and drop-off hours (8:30 a.m., noon and 2:30 p.m.). He also emphasized that, because of the way the church has been built, the pre-school is virtually shielded from view from Caroll Street.

The potential for noise and traffic “is not something we won’t be able to work around,” MacCleod continued. He added that he’s open to hearing any other concerns that might exist within the community.

“We want to be a good neighbor and we want to be able to provide assistance and have knowledge of anything that’s not right,” he added. “Because we know — we live in the neighborhood, too.”

MacCleod emphasized that the church is not physically expanding, or adding any structural additions onto the church building itself. It’s merely seeking to obtain a variance from the town that would allow it to rent out its 6,776 square-foot basement floor.

The idea of partnering with a pre-school program is not new for the Methodist church. When it was located in its old building on Madison Street in Sag Harbor, the church rented space to the Rainbow Preschool. The school relocated to the Unitarian Universalist Congregation’s meetinghouse on the Sag Harbor Turnpike when the old Methodist Church building was sold to a private owner.

According to MacCleod, the church is hoping to get the variance as soon as possible. The application is now open for a 30-day public comment period, after which Southampton Town Planner Claire Vail will draft a pre-submission report. Only then will the church be able to move forward with an actual site plan and, if all goes according to plan, obtain a variance.

Because roughly 80 percent of the building is currently unoccupied, MacCleod said this would make better use of the new facility. He also said that, in addition to covering the increase in utility costs, any income generated from the preschool program would go directly into the church’s outreach endeavors.

“It would go straight back into the community,” he said.

In the end, MacCleod explained that the church’s efforts to bring Our Sons and Daughters on-site has mostly to do with helping others.

“We know that one of the greatest issues in the Hamptons now is finding affordable space,” he said. “It’s becoming more and more apparent. It’s our reality. So, how do we impact our community?

“We see that this is a need,” he continued. “[Our Sons and Daughters] believes that there’s an opportunity for them to grow. And what we’re trying to do is be of help to the community.”

A More Public Space

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On Monday, textile artist and businesswoman Elizabeth Dow sealed the deal, and is now the official owner of the former Sag Harbor Methodist Church.

We are happy to be among the first to congratulate her and officially welcome her to the neighborhood.

Dow, a textile and wall covering designer whose work is in the White House, has big plans for the building, which will house her business, a studio, a retail space, internship program and an apartment.

Last December, the Sag Harbor Village Board of Trustees officially changed the zoning of the property from residential to village business district in order to allow for Dow’s conversion. The trustees were very careful in their language and in order to protect neighbors, put specific covenants in place to ensure the property will never become a more intensive commercial use should it change hands.

The closing this week represents yet another major step forward in Dow’s long journey to make her vision a reality. But some neighbors were less than thrilled by the idea of Dow taking over the space and would rather have seen it become a private residence.

But we disagree.

It’s not everyday that we advocate for the conversion of a historic church turn into the headquarters for a business, but in this case, we feel it is an appropriate and in fact, ideal use for the space for many reasons.

First of all, Dow is well suited to the task. On the outside, Dow plans to get rid of the vinyl siding — installed as a cost saving measure years ago — and replace it with wood, which the building was originally clad in. She is also considering placing a sign in the parking area detailing the structure’s history. With a background in 18th century restoration and an interest in history, as she looks to the future, she also plans to honor the church’s past inside by creating custom wallpaper for the lobby area using newspaper articles, records and photos of the building. Though we don’t yet know much about other plans for the interior, we suspect Dow’s sensitivity to the property’s history will continue to be a guiding force.

While as a home, any buyer that could have afforded it would surely have done a spectacular renovation on the building. But it would have also been a private endeavor. The community’s relationship with the structure would have ended with the view from the sidewalk, and, depending on the sensitivity of the owner, it’s possible the interior could have been so thoroughly altered that no resemblance to the building’s original use would remain.

The Methodist Church building is truly a beauty and we feel that given her passion for history, Dow’s vision will preserve the structure in a way that not only serves her professionally, but also reflects the building’s hallowed past. And because it will be a business — not a private home — community members will still be able to have access to and a relationship with the beloved old building and its occupants, rather than just be resigned to ogling it from behind the picket fence.

Library Board Nixes Study for Church

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At this month’s meeting of the John Jermain Memorial Library board of trustees, library director Catherine Creedon announced the resignation of trustee Kate Evarts. Evarts, an architect whose work has kept her in Seattle, wrote to Creedon by email on August 20 to say that her project would keep her on the west coast for the foreseeable future. With great regret, admitting she would no longer be able to sufficiently perform her duties as trustee, she resigned her seat.

Evarts’s resignation will have no effect on the upcoming library trustee elections on September 16, in which there are three seats up for grabs. The three current board members, Theresa Ameres, Susan Merrell and board president Christiane Neuville will all be running, as will Sag Harbor resident Craig Rhodes. Rhodes is an architect who recently moved to Sag Harbor from Manhattan with his wife and daughter, but who grew up in the village.

With the now-vacant trustee spot, the board has three options. The announcement came too late for the vacancy to be factored into the election, despite the fact that four residents submitted petitions to run.

The board can choose to not act and instead wait until elections are held in September of next year. They can also hold a special election at a minimum 60 days after the scheduled election, or appoint a new trustee to fulfill the rest of Evarts’s term, which ends December 31, 2009. Evarts was in fact finishing the term of former trustee Deborah Wilson.

The board of trustees meeting continued with further discussions of the library’s renovation and expansion plans. These plans have dominated the board’s conversation since the submission of the Community Library Committee (CLC) Report in June of 2006.

Board member Susan Merrell reported that she was unable to find private donors willing to put money towards the exploration of an expansion into the Sag Harbor United Methodist Church building on Madison Street. At the previous meeting Merrell had pledged to put feelers out herself to find those who might help to underwrite an investigation of the church building. Her goal was to secure $15,000 to $17,000 up front.

“The opinions have turned,” said Merrell. “Those who were financially enthusiastic thought it over, and are no longer.”

Trustee Carol Williams added, “I don’t know how anyone could give $15,000 after such a negative appraisal.”

Williams referred to Creedon’s presentation at the last meeting, when she reported on a meeting held at the church between herself, Neuville, trustee Carl Peterson and Herbert Newman and Michael Scott of Newman Architects (formerly Herbert S. Newman & Partners.) Scott reportedly admitted that it would be “very difficult to convert the church.”

The dialogue with Newman Architects continued in an ad hoc meeting on August 6 with Scott and Richard Munday. Director Creedon and trustees Neuville, Peterson, Diane Gaites, Christopher Leonard and Nancy Hallock were in attendance.

According to Creedon, who read the notes from the meeting, the architects reminded the board members that the firm would create something beautiful in the church were the board to move in that direction.

They also reminded them, however, of the additional expenses to taxpayers that would be incurred, as well as the undesirable timber frame. This frame would be against code for a new library, and would require more sprinklers in case of fire. Libraries are typically built with as few sprinklers as possible, so not to ruin the books stored within.

The architects went on to discuss the procedures for beginning renovations on the original library building at 201 Main. The board and library director have stressed the necessity of immediate repairs to the envelope of the building, like fixing the exterior brickwork and a leaky roof.

The architects had apparently assured the trustees at the ad hoc meeting that if a two wave approach was needed, one for repairs and another for “sustainable additions,” it would come at no additional cost to the library. This left some at the board meeting scratching their heads.

“I just don’t see how that is possible,” said Williams. Architect Craig Rhodes, who is running for trustee, was present in the John Jermain upstairs rotunda. He spoke during the period for public input, asserting that it must be “more economical to do it all at once.”

In the meantime the architects have suggested that they could at the same time study the envelope of the building while engaging in the planning, designing and community based activities leading up to a vote for a library expansion. The “expansion” could refer to a second building, or even a 4,500 square foot extension to the original building (this would be 1,500 square feet each for three floors, but this figure is “not set in stone.”)

Newman Architects presented the library board with three “proposals for service,” which are essentially contractual agreements. The library as of now has not officially hired Newman Architects, and thus fees have still not been discussed. The board reviewed these contracts in executive session, then came back into public session to vote.

The first was a feasibility study for the Methodist Church building, a facility assessment and analysis of what would be needed to accommodate a library in the space. The board did not accept this particular proposal.

“It was a great deal of money that we didn’t want to spend recklessly,” said board president Neuville,

Also presented was the 201 Main Street conservation study, a package to assess the condition and subsequent restoration of the current library building. Lastly was a proposal for pre-referendum services for renovation and expansion, the scope of which is research and design services to support the work on the John Jermain Library within the community. The trustees exercised their right to not vote on these proposals yet, wishing to explore further whether there would be any duplication of services.