When the Rev. Dan Quagliata, of The Bridge Church in Malverne, arrived in 2012, the church had seen many changes in its leadership. Quagliata recalled his first meeting with then Mayor Patti Ann McDonald at Village Hall, when McDonald asked if he truly believed he would carry out his mission of bringing the community together through faith.
“I said to her, ‘That’s my intention,’ to be able to serve this community,” said Quagliata, 45.
After eight years as The Bridge’s lead pastor, Quagliata stepped down last Sunday. He and his wife, Jill, and their two sons, Nicholas and Nathan, were set to move to Michigan on Tuesday, where Quagliata will continue his pastoral career at Thornapple Valley Church in Hastings.
“Malverne has been our home,” he said, “and it has been just an absolute joy and a pleasure to be a part this community.”
Quagliata was pivotal in promoting the growth of the church’s educational programs and committees. In addition, he was among those who pushed for a restoration of its children’s wing in 2015. Mayor Keith Corbett recognized Quagliata for his “dedication, compassion and dignity” at the village’s Nov. 4 board meeting.
“Pastor Dan’s been a vital part of this community for many years,” Corbett said. “It really is bittersweet to see him go. From the minute he came to The Bridge Church, he’s really been a critical component to the entire community. He selflessly gave his time and talent for the betterment of all residents in the village. His generosity and spirit has inspired others to make a difference.”
Quagliata has opened the church to several community events over the years. In 2018 he hosted a ceremony for the renaming of a portion of the Southern State Parkway — from the Cross Island Parkway to the exit for the Meadowbrook State Parkway — the Detective Steven McDonald Memorial Highway. He has also found ways to bring the village together during tough times. Malvernite Tom Grech recalled Quagliata’s leadership after an 8-year-old local boy, Alex Huertas, died in an ATV accident in 2013.
“Pastor Dan brought the whole community together then,” Grech said, “and that will be something that nobody will ever forget.”
A New Jersey native who began his pastoral career as an associate pastor at Shalom Lutheran Church in Pinckney, Mich., in 2005, Quagliata said that he would always cherish the friends he made in Malverne. “This village will always hold a special place in our hearts,” he said. “This is an outstanding community to be a part of.”