From The Trenches: Three Village Church

Here’s a note recently received from Matt Woodley, lead pastor at Three Village Church on Long Island.  What do you think of what he talks about?

This issue [of race and class divisions] has been very heavy on my heart lately. We have a little AME church around the corner from us that we have almost no connection with.  I met with the pastor and tried to set up some mutual events, but he didn’t seem interested.  So I talked with a friend of mine over there and he said, “Well, why should he want to do stuff with your big white church?  We always invite your church to our events – MLK, Jr. celebrations, our annual harvest dinner, our annual fish fry, etc. – but you never come.  So why should we start coming to your events?  Just show up and start getting to know us.”  Wow, that was good advice!  So that’s what I’ve been doing, and I like it.

5 Responses to “From The Trenches: Three Village Church”

  1. Nick Says:

    I am excited to hear of this new direction for your church. I hope that it will bring to know each other better.

  2. Kelsi Says:

    I think this is a reality that I and the church often overlook: All it takes is stepping across the street, extending a hand and asking a question. I often think that it must be this big, orchestrated event to “bridge the gap” or “reach out”, or somehow “lure them over to my side”– and I realize how off that is. All it takes is taking the time to care and enter into into their story. I’m encouraged by how this is happening in tangible ways in your ministry.

  3. Bryan Dormaier Says:

    The idea that we start to relate through small events, visiting things that the church is already doing, etc. is the perfect kind of small event that helps us to build the type of real relationships that it will take to be in more diverse Christian community.

    I think there are similarities in when we go on trips to help other churches, or people who are less fortunate that we want to go straight to “what can we do to fix things” instead of realizing that learning to relate to those people is so vitally important to ever seeing things “fixed.”

  4. Paul Louis Metzger Says:

    Hello, Matt. Thank you for sharing with us about how God is leading you and your church to develop friendships and partnerships with your brothers and sisters at the AME Church in your town. Your wake-up call reminds me of what Richard Twiss said in his endorsement for “Consuming Jesus.” Those of us from the dominant culture need to move beyond treating people from diverse ethnic backgrounds as our ministry targets and objects. Ministry should flow out of community where we experience give-and-take, reciprocity, equality, and shared need. Thank you for your honesty, humility, and intentionality. Please stay connected with us.


  5. Karyn Hanson Says:

    Hello Matt,

    I have a little history that you may be interested in. I am from Stony Brook. I used to live at #1 Sand Street on the corner of Sand Street and Christian Avenue. I am in Oregon now. That was 1965 – 1972. My mom has repeatedly told me a story about a church she attended in Stony Brook. I think it was on the end of Christian Avenue away from down town. She said that in the late 60’s her church decided to try to form a relationship with a nearby Black church but ran into difficulty when they tried to get the congregation to share in worship. She was very hurt by the whole event. I encourage you to continue building relationship even in small ways. There is so much to gain by losing our fear!
    Karyn Hanson

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