Last month the currently under-construction North Fork United Methodist Church in Southold had a steeple installed on top of it as the church’s dedicated members watched.
According to Pastor Tom MacLeod, the steeple was created in North Carolina and weighs 175 pounds. Seifert Construction began working on the new church in April of this year. Construction is expected to be completed by the end of this year. The congregation aims to begin utilizing the building by Easter 2019.
“It’s such a lovely thing to have watched the steeple be placed on the new church. It is a beacon to the community that the church is here for everyone,” said Karen Troyer of Jamesport.
Pastor MacLeod said the new structure will be the same size as the previous Cutchogue United Methodist Church where its members currently worship. The new building is located at Hortons Lane and Route 48. However, the new church will not have elevators, ramps, or stairs, rendering it accessible for church-goers with disabilities.
According to Pastor MacLeod, he is in his 16th year of ministry in the United Methodist Church, in what he calls an “encore career.” Prior to this position, he worked as a veterinarian technician for seven years, followed by 25 years in the construction field. His first appointment was in the Sag Harbor United Methodist Church. He joined the North Fork church to oversee the merging of the Southold, Greenport, Orient, and Cutchogue Methodist churches.
“The goal was to merge the four churches to be centrally located to everyone. When the churches were first planted on the North Fork over 150 years ago, the mode of transportation was either by horse and buggy or by foot. To assure that the journey would not be too much of an undertaking, many churches were placed approximately five miles apart from each other,” MacLeod said.
According to a blog on the church’s website, church leaders decided to merge the Cutchogue and Southold congregations in May 2014. In May 2015, the newly formed congregation and the Greenport congregation merged. Then, in May 2016, Orient UMC merged with the NFUMC to form today’s church.
“Our goal is to build a newer and more centrally located facility to meet the needs of today. Originally four separate churches, the joining of the congregations has strengthened the Methodist community within the North Fork,” MacLeod said.
Three of the four original buildings have already been sold. The Orient building was sold to John Wesley Village LLC of Riverhead and will serve as a chapel. The Southold church building was converted into the Southold Opera in November 2016, and the Greenport church property was sold to a developer and subdivided into residential lots. The consolidated North Fork Methodist Church was founded in 2014 and its Hortons Lane property was purchased in May 2015.
“As a result of the merger, we have experienced an overall increase in all of the areas of church participation. This has led us to become more efficient at meeting the needs of the congregation, the community that we live in, as well as the world that surrounds us,” said MacLeod.