Welcome to the Pastor’s Corner, and welcome to the website of the First Presbyterian Church of Greenlawn! We hope that you will find here helpful resources for your spiritual journey.
That early Christians were called the “people of the way” is a reminder to us that we have not yet reached our destination, but continue to make our way along the path of discipleship. What is true of our lives as Christians is also true of this page and site. It, like us, is “a work in progress.”

And “may the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all”
(2 Cor. 3:14)


A Message from Pastor
Ann Van Cleef
, January 2021

My Beloved Church Family,

     Yes, after all that we have been through in 2020, we’re family!

     That was some year, wasn’t it!  And although the beginning of 2021 promises to be much the same, I am encouraged by news of several different kinds of vaccines that promise to bring an end to COVID-19

     This is not the first time that our planet has experienced a pandemic. Out of curiosity, I looked up the history of pandemics.  I was shocked at how many there have been over the years, and how many lives were lost.  Some of the worst ones: 

  • 165 AD: Antonine Plague, spread throughout the Roman Empire.  This plague lasted for 15 years, killing 5 million people.
  • 541 AD: The Plague of Justinian killed over 25 million people.
  • 1350: The Bubonic Plague was responsible for the death of 50 million people - one third of the world’s population. 
  • 1817: First Cholera Pandemic (first of seven over the next 150 years): Due to lack of sanitation, Cholera spread throughout the British Empire, killing 25 million people.
  • 1855: The Third Plague (Cholera) Pandemic took 15 million lives.
  • 1918:  The Spanish Flu resulted in more than 50 million deaths world-wide.
  • 1957:  The Asian Flu killed 1.1 million people globally.
  • 1981: HIV AIDS: 32 million people have died from this disease. 

     “How can God allow this to happen?”  I can’t tell you how many times I have been asked that question over the course of my ministry.  “How can God have let my child die?”  “Why does God allow violence and murder to occur?” 

     I can assure you that many clergy persons lay awake at night pondering these questions and praying for answers.  Personally, I have found much comfort from the book When Bad Things Happen to Good People, by Rabbi Harold S. Kushner. (Schocken Books, 1981)  If you do not have this book in your personal library, I urge you to purchase a copy.  Used copies are available on Amazon for less than $5.  There is also a Kindle edition for $12.99.

     In my own copy of the book, I have marked several passages.  One, on pages 29 and 30, says: The psalmist writes, “I lift mine eyes to the hills: from where does my help come?  My help comes from the Lord, maker of Heaven and Earth.”  He does not say, “My pain comes from the Lord,” or “My tragedy comes from the Lord.”  He says my help comes from the Lord.

     Another passage which I have found comforting is found on pages 138 and 139, where Rabbi Kushner asks What about God’s role?  If God does not cause the bad things that happen to good people, and if He cannot prevent them, what good is He at all? 

     The answer that Kushner gives is:  First of all, God created a world in which many more good things than bad things happen.  We find life’s disasters upsetting not only because they are painful, but because they are exceptional.  Most people wake up on most days feeling good.  Most illnesses are curable.  Most airplanes take off and land safely.  Most of the time, when we send our children out to play, they come home safely.  The accident, the robbery, the inoperable tumor are life-shattering exceptions, but they are very rare exceptions.  When you have been hurt by life, it may be hard to keep that in mind. 

     Hopefully, we are coming to the end of this pandemic – sooner rather than later. Both Bob and I plan on getting the vaccine when our turn comes.  Meanwhile, we will all continue to take precautions.  And, if that means closing our Sanctuary for a few Sundays and having the whole congregation worship via Zoom, well, we will do whatever it takes. 

     Stay safe and healthy, and I pray that all of us will have the best 2021 possible.

With love and blessings,
Pastor Ann

Welcome Rev. Dr. Ann VanCleef!


Sunday Worship –
Questions and Answers

By Pastor Ann

Zoom Worship

How are we going to worship on Sundays?    
     We will be continuing our Sunday worship using a video conferencing system called Zoom.  You may log on as early as 10:00 a.m. for coffee and conversation.  Worship begins promptly at 10:30, followed by a virtual coffee hour until noon.  The easiest way to do Zoom is to download the Zoom App from the App Store.  Zoom will work on a computer, a laptop, an I-Pad, or a Smartphone.  

What are the Meeting IDs?
     Please check your weekly email for ID's and Passcodes for each service.

Will I get a reminder about logging on to these services?
     If you are on the church e-mail list, you will get a weekly e-mail with the Zoom link.

I don’t have a camera on my computer, but I do have a Smartphone.
Zoom will work on your Smartphone. 

I don’t have a computer or a Smartphone.  What can I do?
     You may telephone the following number: 
     You will be asked for a meeting ID.  The meeting IDs are outlined in paragraph 2.
     You won’t be able to see us, but you can still hear what’s going on.

Please note:
     Out here on the North Fork, where I live, the Internet has been a bit “iffy” lately.  There is a chance that I will suddenly “disappear” from your screen.  If that happens, just hang in there.  I will log back on with my iPhone.


Sunday Bulletins - Date

Bulletin 1.5.20 Bulletin 1.12.20
Bulletin 1.19.20 Bulletin 1.26.20
Bulletin 2.2.20 Bulletin 2.9.20
Bulletin 2.16.20 Bulletin 2.23.20
Bulletin 3.1.20 Bulletin 3.8.20
Bulletin 3.15.20 Bulletin 3.29.20
Bulletin 4.5.20 Bulletin Maunday Thursday 4.9.20
Bulletin Good Friday 4.10.20 Bulletin Easter Sunday 4.12.20
Bulletin 4.19.20 Bulletin 4.26.20
Bulletin 5.3.20 Bulletin 5.10.20
Bulletin 5.17.20 Bulletin 5.24.20
Bulletin 5.31.20_Pentecost Bulletin 6.7.20
Bulletin 6.14.20 Bulletin 6.21.20
Bulletin 6.28.20 Bulletin 7.5.20
Bulletin 7.12.20 Bulletin 7.19.20
Bulletin 7.26.20 Bulletin 8.2.20
Bulletin 8.9.20 Bulletin 8.16.20
Bulletin 8.23.20 Bulletin 8.30.20
Bulletin 9.6.20 Bulletin 9.13.20
Bulletin 9.20.20 Bulletin 9.27.20
Bulletin 10.4.20 Bulletin 10.11.20
Bulletin 10.18.20 Bulletin 10.25.20
Bulletin 11.1.20 Bulletin 11.8.20
Bulletin 11.15.20 Bulletin 11.22.20
Bulletin 11.29.20 Bulletin 12.6.20
Bulletin 12.13.20 Bulletin 12.20.20
Christmas Eve Bulletin 12.24.20 Bulletin 12.27.20
Epiphany_Bulletin 1.3.21 Baptism of Jesus_
Bulletin 1.10.21
Bulletin 1.17.21