08/07/15 12:00pm
08/07/2015 12:00 PM

Southold-Methodist-Church

Longtime opera singer Anne-Julia Audray searched far and wide for the perfect location for a performance hall. She found a home in the former Southold United Methodist Church, a building she recently described as beautiful.

Ms. Audray, the executive director of the Long Island Opera Company, and her husband, Oliver Chazareix, are transforming the historic church into a classical music concert and performance hall, which they hope to open by spring.

After being on the market for almost a year, the building sold for $1,025,000 and the sale closed July 30, said Bill Moore, an attorney and church trustee.

“We’re really looking forward to the next chapter,” the Rev. Tom McLeod said. “The people of the church, with anticipation of good things to come, hope that the new owner will thrive in their location and be a benefit and blessing to the town.”

Anne-Julia-197x300Ms. Audray, who lives in Manhattan with Mr. Chazareix, said she looked online at every church for sale in New York before ultimately deciding on the one in Southold.

“It was the perfect size for two individuals, like my husband and I, to make this big place small enough … It’s perfect for [us] to do a festival in the summer with opera,” she said. “And during the year we will have different performances, like concerts.”

Ms. Audray described the building’s location as “a very peaceful environment,” with countrysides and fields reminiscent to her native France.

A 28-year opera singer who performed around the world before working for the Long Island Opera Company, Ms. Audray said she’s passionate about sharing the art of singing with everyone, and hopes to do so on the North Fork.

Since she and her husband live in New York City, they’ve been taking weekend trips to the island and have already begun bringing sheet music and instruments to the future music hall. They also plan to meet with Southold Town officials to determine when work on the building can officially begin.

“My baby grand [piano] arrived at the church on Saturday and I started to play in the church and that was magical,” Ms. Audray said.

The sale of the church is just one step of a three-part consolidation plan for the United Methodist churches in the Town of Southold.

In June 2014, Southold United Methodist Church closed and combined with Cutchogue United Methodist Church. The congregation was renamed North Fork United Methodist Church. Later, Greenport United Methodist Church closed and joined North Fork United Methodist Church.

According to Kristy Naddell, the Douglas Elliman real estate agent who worked on the sale of the Southold church, Greenport United Methodist Church was listed for sale late last month. The Cutchogue church has been on the market since last year.

The Rev. McLeod said the next step for the North Fork United Methodist Church is to purchase a new location for the congregation to build on. He said church officials are interested in a 2.5-acre property on Route 48 in Southold but no contracts have been signed yet.

“It’s pretty cool to see the plan come together in a way that it will benefit everyone, including not only the members of the church, but the town,” he said. “We’ll be able to provide services that a stronger, more centralized church is able to provide.”

Ms. Audray said she and Mr. Chazareix are also excited to give back to the community through music.

She hopes to unite people with different interests — singing, instrumentals, set design, costumes and more — when the hall is complete and ready for productions.

“Opera is one of the most natural and beautiful arts we have inside us,” she said. “So I’m thrilled to be able to bring that to the people in Southold and in the areas around it.”

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Photo Captions:

(1) The Cutchogue United Methodist Church recently sold for more than $1 million. (Credit: file)

(2) Anne-Julia Audray, executive director of the Long Island Opera Company. (Credit, courtesy, Long Island Opera Company)

12/20/14 2:00pm
12/20/2014 2:00 PM
Our Lady of Good Counsel R.C. Church in Mattituck. (Credit: Katharine Schroeder)

Our Lady of Good Counsel R.C. Church in Mattituck. (Credit: Katharine Schroeder)

The following is The Suffolk Times’ annual listing of Christmas services and special events hosted by local churches.

Oysterponds

Orient united methodist Church
Sunday, Dec. 21: Service of Lessons and Carols with focus on children, 10 a.m.

Wednesday, Dec. 24: Candlelight Christmas Eve service, 11 p.m.

Sunday, Jan. 4: Epiphany service, 10 a.m.

Orient Congregational Church
Sunday, Dec. 21: Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols in style of King’s Chapel of Cambridge, England, 10:30 a.m.

Wednesday, Dec. 24: Christmas pageant and candlelight service, 4 p.m.

Sunday, Dec. 28: Carol-sing service, 10:30 a.m.

Greenport

First Baptist Church of Greenport
Wednesday, Dec. 24: Candlelight service with East Marion Community Church, 7 p.m.

Holy Trinity Episcopal Church
Sunday, Dec. 21: Candlelight Service of Lessons and Carols, 4 p.m.

Wednesday, Dec. 24: Candlelight Eucharist of Christmas, 5 p.m.

Sunday, Dec. 28: Holy Eucharist services, 8 and 10 a.m.

ST. Agnes R.C. Church
Monday, Dec. 22: Advent penance service, with Sacrament of Reconciliation and individual confession and absolution, 7 p.m.

Wednesday, Dec. 24: Christmas Eve Masses, 4, 6, 7:30 (Spanish) p.m. and midnight.

Thursday, Dec. 25: Christmas Day Masses, 8 and 10 a.m.

St. Peter’s Lutheran Church
Wednesday, Dec. 24: Christmas Eve services, 4 and 8 p.m.

Thursday, Dec. 25: Christmas Day service, 10 a.m.

Southold

First Presbyterian Church
Wednesday, Dec. 24: Christmas Eve family service, 4 p.m.; candlelight service, 8 p.m.

Thursday, Dec. 25: Christmas dinner, 4 p.m. All welcome; RSVP before Dec. 23: 765-2597.

First Universalist Church
Wednesday, Dec. 24: Candlelight concert service with pianist Charlotte Day, 5 p.m.

Sunday, Dec. 28: Welcome 2015 service around the fireplace, 10:30 a.m.

St. Patrick R.C. Church
Saturday, Dec. 20: Mass and Christmas pageant, 4 p.m.

Wednesday, Dec. 24: Christmas Eve Family Mass, 4 p.m.; Mass, 9 p.m.

Thursday, Dec. 25: Christmas Day Masses, 8, 10 and 11:30 a.m.

Wednesday, Dec. 31: New Year’s Eve Mass, 4 p.m.

Thursday, Jan. 1: New Year’s Day Masses, 8, 10 and 11:30 a.m.

Sunday, Jan. 4: Epiphany Masses, 8 and 10:30 a.m.

Cutchogue

Cutchogue Presbyterian Church
Wednesday, Dec. 24: Christmas Eve candlelight service of lessons and carols, 5 p.m.

First Baptist Church
Tuesday, Dec. 31: Watch Night service, 10 p.m.

North Fork United Methodist Church
Sunday, Dec. 21: ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’ service for all ages, 10 a.m.

Wednesday, Dec. 24: Christmas Eve family service, 5 p.m.

Our Lady of Ostrabrama R.C. Church
Tuesday, Dec. 23: Concert, “A Candlelit Christmas,” featuring organist William Roslak and friends.

Wednesday, Dec. 24: Christmas pageant, 3:30 p.m.; Christmas Vigil Masses, 4 and 5:30 p.m.; Midnight Mass (Polish/English).

Thursday, Dec. 25: Christmas Masses, 8, 9:30 (Polish) and 11 a.m.

Wednesday, Dec. 31: New Year’s Eve Vigil Mass (Polish/English), 7 p.m.

Thursday, Jan. 1: New Year’s Day Masses, 8, 9:30 (Polish) and 11 a.m.

True Light Church
Thursday, Dec. 25: Christmas Day service, 10:30 a.m.

Mattituck

Advent Lutheran Church
Wednesday, Dec. 24: Christmas Eve candlelight-communion service, 7:30 p.m.

Thursday, Dec. 25: Christmas Day Festival Eucharist, 10 a.m.

Church of the Redeemer
Wednesday, Dec. 24: Christmas Eve services, 4 and 6 p.m.

Mattituck Presbyterian Church
Sunday, Dec. 21: Christmas pageant and potluck dinner, 4 p.m.

Wednesday, Dec. 24: Christmas Eve worship, 4, 7 and 10 p.m.

Our Lady of Good Counsel R.C. Church
Wednesday, Dec. 24: Christmas Eve Masses, 4, 6 and 8 p.m.

Thursday, Dec. 25: Christmas Day Masses, 8 and 10 a.m.

03/23/14 8:31am
03/23/2014 8:31 AM
The large convent that housed nuns across the street from Sacred Heart R.C. Church will be the first of the parish's Cutchogue buildings to be sold. With dwindling congregation numbers across Southold, town officials are concerned that more and more church buildings will be coming on the market, and are taking steps to prevent less-than-desirables uses. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

The large convent that housed nuns across the street from Sacred Heart R.C. Church will be the first of the parish’s Cutchogue buildings to be sold. With dwindling congregation numbers across Southold, town officials are taking steps to prevent less-than-desirables uses in former church buildings. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

There was a time, not too long ago, when most families in Southold Town had similar Sunday routines. Each week at about the same time, they would take to the streets with one thought in mind: church. It was a day for people to dress nicely and reflect on their lives and how to improve them. They would gather in church sanctuaries to pray, sing and give thanks to God.

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04/12/13 8:00am
04/12/2013 8:00 AM

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | With parishoners Mary Ann Musumeci of Middle Island (left) and Rita Allen of Jamesport, Pastor Dianne Rodriguez lights altar candles during First Parish Chruch’s first service at Grange Hall.

First Parish Church in Northville is getting a new lease on life thanks to a new tenant dedicated to preserving the building’s rich history.

On Sunday, April 7, Community Baptist Church began holding services at the 109-year-old church. The congregation finalized a lease agreement last week with United Church of Christ, which owns and maintains First Parish Church, located at the corner of Church Lane and Sound Avenue.

Dwindling membership and finances almost caused First Parish to shut its doors for good.

The lease agreement gives the small UCC parish the freedom to hold services without the financial burden. The UCC congregation now meets at Grange Hall, another historic First Parish-owned building, directly across Sound Avenue.

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | The outside of First Parish Church in Northville.

Community Baptist Church Pastor Joshua Fryman called the lease agreement a blessing. He described the two-year-old congregation as an independent group unaffiliated with any religious organization. Before renting First Parish Church, Community Baptist didn’t have a house of worship to call its own. Instead, members gathered for services in the basement of Polish Hall in Riverhead and later moved their Sunday services to Grace Episcopal Church in Riverhead.

“I told our folks we really needed to pray for a building because I don’t want to be the nomadic Baptist church.” Pastor Fryman said. “I want to find a place to put our roots down. Most of our folks come from the North Fork, so it’s been a blessing.”

One of the features that drew Pastor Fryman to the church is the building’s dynamic history. First Parish Church dates back to 1829, when the parishioners of Old Steeple Church in Aquebogue split from that congregation after deciding it did not follow the Bible’s teachings closely enough. From that, the Strict Congregational Church was born. It held services at Grange Hall until 1831, when the first church building was constructed.

The church was rebuilt twice due to fire. In 1877, a disgruntled former minister burned the building to the ground, according to Riverhead historian Richard Wines. It was destroyed by fire again in 1901, when the church steeple was struck by lightning.

With the support of wealthy local farmers and other parishioners, the current church was completed in 1904. The building was modeled after the Cleveland design plan, which was popular in the 1900s and emphasized asymmetry, Mr. Wines said. Decorated with richly colored stained glass and oak pews, the church boasts one of the oldest working organs on Long Island. The Hook & Hook organ is one of two in working condition on the North Fork, Mr. Wines said. The other is at Orient United Methodist Church.

Up until 1957, the church was known as Sound Avenue Congregational Church. At that time Protestants seeking spiritual and political freedom divided branches of Christ’s church, resulting in the formation of United Church of Christ.

While the UCC started strong in Northville with more than 50 members, parishioners have slowly trailed off, according to First Parish Pastor Dianne Rodriguez. The farmers who once helped finance the church have dispersed, Mr. Wines said, leaving the church without its core following. Pastor Rodriguez says the UCC in Northville has about 15 parishioners.

But the congregation will still have a presence in the iconic church, the pastor said. Community Baptist Church has agreed to allow First Parish to hold special events there, such as weddings.

Community Baptist Church will hold a community day Sunday, May 5, at 11 a.m. to introduce the church and building to the public.

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