On Sept. 13, almost two-dozen people gathered for Edge City church’s first in-person launch service in Lynbrook. The church had originally been set to open for the first time for Palm Sunday on April 5, however, with the coronavirus pandemic in full effect at the time, large group gatherings were banned.
Instead, the church held its first service virtually and continued that way for six months.
“Our first introduction to the community was virtual, which prevented us from attracting a lot of people,” said the Rev. Stephen Leung, the lead pastor of the church, who also noted that it had about 30 members attending virtually over the past six months. “It was exciting that after all this time, we could finally meet in person and the turnout was better than what we expected.”
Many of the congregants who attended the first in-person service said that they found that Leung’s sermon message helped reaffirm their faith, while encouraging them to rely on their faith during difficult times.
“The sermon was very personal and it really hit me and I think his preaching went smoothly,” said New Hyde Park resident Christine Kumar.
During his sermon, Leung addressed all the uncertainty the pandemic brought with it.
Kumar said that for many years she was confused about her faith, but she became more spiritual after reading the Bible. She added that Leung’s sermon encouraged her ideas of faith.
“As I grow closer to God, by attending church and reading my Bible, I begin to understand more, and it always takes me to a peaceful place,” she said.
For Valley Stream resident Elizabeth Reyes, it was a pleasant experience to once again attend Mass in person.
“It was exciting to finally meet indoors and it was great to see the warmth in so many familiar faces because we are like a family,” she said.
Reyes said that Leung’s sermon inspired her to not turn away from her faith during hardships, including Covid-19.
For other church members who attended Edge City Church’s launch service, they said that they would keep coming to future in-person services because they not only felt welcomed and encouraged by the sermon, but they also said they were pleased that the church has chosen to run their services in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines and protocols.
“I found the sermon message to be very spiritually uplifting and I felt safe in the building and I felt at peace among everyone,” Lynbrook resident John Scalzo said. “I feel it’s important for the community to get together and a message of peace is something people needed to hear.”