When people need help in their lives they may turn to their place of worship and seek the guidance of its staff members. But if a place of worship is in need where can those staff members turn to for help?
The Christ Episcopal Church in Lynbrook was on the verge of collapse a few months ago due to financial woes. The parish located on Blake Avenue, between Peninsula Blvd. and Merrick Road, has approximately 15 current members. Things were looking grim for Christ Church, but then a prayer was answered.
Trinity-St. John’s Episcopal Church in Hewlett was looking to branch out into other communities to aid parishes in need. Bishop Larry Provenzano has resided over the Diocese of Long Island for two years and it is his belief that all parishes should come together as one. This belief led Trinity-St. John’s to reach out to Christ Church and sent the Rev. Walter V. Hillebrand to Lynbrook. Hillebrand transferred to the Lynbrook parish in the middle of December after working the past two years at Trinity-St. Johns.
“It’s a great [opportunity] for both churches to work together and redefine how churches should (operate) in the 21st century,” Hillebrand said of the recent collaboration. He is fond of Christ Church’s diverse community and close proximity to trains and buses.
The parish’s rectory had been vacant for 15 years prior to Hillebrand’s arrival, he said. Trinity-St. John’s invested money into the Lynbrook parish and completely renovated and rebuilt the rectory in November. Currently, Hillebrand and his wife, Aissa call the rectory their home.
Hillebrand said that Trinity-St. John’s stepped in to help Christ Church at the perfect time. “If we wouldn’t have listened to God’s calling to actually join this church, it would’ve been closed,” he said. “Probably within a couple of months.”
When Hillebrand came to Lynbrook he wanted to hold more events for parishioners and residents to attend during the week. In recent weeks, Hillebrand has started a Wednesday morning Healing Service and Thursday Agape meal with meditation and prayer on Thursday nights. Before his arrival, meetings of this nature were not offered.