The Community Church of Syosset (An Open and Affirming United Church of Christ) introduced and officially installed its new Pastor, Reverend Forrest Todd Parkinson, at a ceremony with congregants and distinguished guests held Saturday, February 15, 2020 at 36 Church Street.
Rev. Parkinson enters the role of pastor in the greater Syosset and North Shore community having obtained full ministerial standing with the United Church of Christ. Parkinson is a certified Spiritual Director in the Ignatian tradition. He holds a master’s of Divinity degree from Immaculate Conception Seminary in Huntington. In another professional capacity Rev. Parkinson holds professional counselor certifications including an MSW from Stony Brook University and licensure as a psychoanalyst, with a certificate in psychoanalysis from Blanton-Peale Institute. Parkinson also completed his master’s in Special Education & Emotional Disabilities at Long Island University’s C.W. Post campus and two years postgraduate training in analytical psychology at the CG Jung Institute.
President of the Board of Stewards of Community Church of Syosset Mr. Robert Owen, spoke first in the Service of Installation, addressing the Metropolitan Association New York Conference UCC representatives:
“The Community Church of Syosset, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, has called Rev. Forrest Todd Parkinson as its Senior Pastor and Teacher and respectfully requests that the Metropolitan Association install him in this ministry among us, according to the faith and order of the United Church of Christ,” Owen said.
Garden City resident Margaret “Peg” Mainusch is moderator for the Board of Directors of the Metropolitan Association New York Conference UCC. She was joined by several members of the UCC Garden City Community Church at 245 Stewart Avenue, many of whom sang for the Installation Ceremony as guest members in the choir (choristers).
“The Metropolitan Association has reviewed the request of the Community Church of Syosset. We have prayerfully examined Rev. Forrest Todd Parkinson and we are pleased to install him as your Pastor and Teacher….Rev. Parkinson, servant of God, we invite you to come forward as a sign of your acceptance of the call to this office,” Mainusch said.
Rev. Parkinson was welcomed with the Prayer of Installation by Rev. Eugene Palmore, representative of the Metropolitan Association New York Conference of the United Church of Christ. The reading of the organization’s covenant by Ms. Louise Manigault, executive administrator for the Metropolitan Association
Rev. Forrest Todd Parkinson’s wife is Pastor Moira Ahearne of First Presbyterian Church of Freeport and Community Presbyterian Church of Merrick. He spoke of her contributions and support from several others involved in Nassau County Churches for the special occasion.
“My beautiful wife and fellow pastor is so supportive and encouraging, and she encouraged and helped bring over all of our guest singers in the choir from the Merrick and Freeport Presbyterian Churches — thank you!” he said.
Community, Business and Government Officials Support Church
Distinguished attendees of the Installation Ceremony included Pastor Rebecca Sheridan of Faith Lutheran Church of Syosset at 231 Jackson Avenue and Syosset Woodbury Chamber of Commerce President Maureen Nickel, a longtime Woodbury resident and president of BrightStar Home Health Care.
Organizers of the event included Syosset residents and congregants of Community Church William Jr. (Bill) and Lauren Chabina. Bill is the Syosset Woodbury Chamber Treasurer and a Executive Board member for 2020, on top of his longtime community business leadership as principal in William J. Chabina Company, Inc. an independent Insurance Agency, begun by his father in 1959.
Representing the Town of Oyster Bay administration, the Town Board and Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino at the Community Church of Syosset’s Installation event was Angel Cepeda. He welcomed Pastor Rev. Forrest Todd Parkinson and offered insights into the
“Please receive the warmest wishes today from Supervisor Saladino and the entire Town Council. It is a particular blessing to be part of this Installation ceremony and to be part of the joy in this transition of leadership. This is because, as a pastor’s kid (a PK) I grew up in faith and saw my parents, I was involved in the faith and ministry and it’s been such a blessing. Knowing the impact that faith has on a community is moving and inspiring,” Cepeda said. He then offered his admiration for leadership among Syosset/Woodbury and greater Nassau County’s circles of faith and a spirit of collaboration in service.
“The Community Church of Syosset UCC has been here 160 years and it’s amazing to see how it continues to be vibrant and have impacts on the community. As you all begin this new chapter in your church’s life and legacy, I think back to the Israelites as they were about to move into the Promised Land. From Scripture, Joshua was given the charge ‘to be Strong and Courageous’ and ‘Do Not Be Afraid, for the Lord Your God is with you Always.’ I say this to you Pastor Parkinson and to the entire brethren of this Church family, as there is so much more to do. You Pastor and this congregation will be in my prayers and we will look forward to opportunities for working together, and to doing the things that God will allow us to do in our communities, throughout the Town of Oyster Bay and all throughout our country. May God bless this Church and may God bless us all.”
Reverend Erik Rasmussen of Woodbury United Methodist Church, board chair of the Long Island Council of Churches, participated on February 15 (the coordinating body for the ecumenical work of churches throughout Nassau and Suffolk Counties. Another colleague of the new Pastor Rev. Forrest Todd Parkinson in attendance for the Installation was Molly Blancke, executive director of Mineola-based Lutheran Counseling Center where Parkinson works.
In his welcoming remarks Rev. Parkinson gave thanks to Rev. Tom Goodhue, the retired executive director of the Long Island Council of Churches, LICC). As board vice chair and denomination representative with the LICC, Parkinson worked and volunteered under Rev. Goodhue. He called Goodhue a person of encouragement as well as a great mentor.
“Rev. Tom Goodhue called me to preach at a sunrise service on Jones Beach, the children’s sermon. It was a lot of fun and I fondly remember all the encouragement he gave me as I began working at the Wantagh Memorial Congregation Church, which introduced me to the United Church of Christ. Tom you have been a mentor, pastor, and friend to me and I am forever thankful to you,” Pastor Rev. Parkinson said.