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Shelter Island Reporter Letters to the Editor

REPORTER FILE PHOTO | A writer takes issue with Pastor Stephen Fearing's public position on guns.

REPORTER FILE PHOTO | A writer takes issue with Pastor Stephen Fearing’s public position on guns.

A church divided?
To the Editor:
In the aftermath of a tragedy people come to church to find solace. They pray, they seek answers and many will shake their fist.

Being a man of God in any faith during a time of war is no doubt a difficult vocation. These leaders must often be tempted to use the pulpit to espouse personal political leanings. But these are the laws of men, not God, and not at all what a congregation comes to hear. Those debates are easily accessible in all forms of media.

When we come to church we come with tough questions, like, “Why did God allow this to happen?” and “How do we manage fear?”

We already know how and where to give money.

Over the past two Sundays, the congregation of the Shelter Island Presbyterian Church has been subjected to political rhetoric on gun control. Our zealous young minister, citing scripture, has imposed his personal position in sermons and in the form of a letter that has been signed, “The Shelter Island Presbyterian Church,” a position which is far from unanimous.

He began his sermon, “After all, Shelter Island is such a quaint, serene, beautiful island, secluded — or so it sometimes thinks — from the problems of the rest of the world.” That is not at all the character of the Island population we all know. By using inflammatory rhetoric like “our nation’s idolatrous obsession with guns …” and calling “upon all Shelter Islanders to vote for politicians who advocate …,” he has strayed far from the role he was selected for not all that long ago.

Perhaps this is a crisis of vocation.

The Shelter Island Presbyterian Church finds itself, politically, a church divided, much like the rest of the country. And we are looking for a spiritual leader who can nurture a belief in a divine order in the wake of senseless violence.
HAP BOWDITCH
Shelter Island

Remembering Patricia
To the Editor:
The Shillingburg Family thanks the following who were important to the success of the memorial celebration for Patricia Shillingburg on June 18.

• St. Mary’s Episcopal Church women: Jane Babinski, Marian Brownlie, Barbara Phillips-Cole, Dorothy Ross, Dorothy Bloom, Jeannie Brechter, Debbie Endemann, Marion Klupka, Bettianne Morritt, Judy Brandenstein and Georgia Griffis’s two grandchildren.

• We especially thank Debbie Speeches and Jane Babinski who chaired the reception. They are the greatest.

• Shelter Island Historical Society: Elizabeth Pedersen, Janet D’Amato and Nanette Breiner Lawrenson.

• The Garden Club of Shelter Island: Christina Cunningham, Sandy Baxter, Stephanie Lebowitz and Carolyn Stromberg.

• The speakers at the Service: Supervisor Jim Dougherty,
Janet D’Amato, Christina Cunningham Sam Lebowitz and family members.

• St. Mary’s Episcopal Church: Reverend Charles McCarron, Reverend Ron Wickey and Rhonda Burns.

• Shelter Island Reporter for inclusion in its community calendar.

We also thank all who attended and those who could not but were present in spirit.
J. EDWARD SHILLINGBURG
Shelter Island

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