Long Island Memories
St. Thomas Began In 1875
St. Thomas* Episcopal Church, in the heart of the Village
of Farmingdale, has been part of the Community since its
founding in 1875. Beginning then as a Mission Church of the
recently created Diocese of Long Island, the Parish has
grown in numbers so that it is now one of the larger parishes
of the Diocese. At one time in its history the outlook for the
struggling mission was regarded as bleak by diocesan authorities,
but that was not taking into account the tenacity of
the small number which made up its membership in the early
1890' s. Despite the loss of their church, destroyed by fire
about the same time, the congregation set about rebuilding it.
An addition to the church was completed in 1958; the architectural
work and design donated by a member of the congregation,
Robert D. Nostrand.
oriented program. The Church School
under the direction of Mrs. Dorothea
Drobny holds two complete sessions
every Sunday together with a Nursery,
and Kindergarten service. Three Choirs
lead the congregational singing at the
9: 00 and 10: 45 Eucharists each Sunday
and at special week day services. Members
of the Altar Guild diligently and
faithfully maintain the Sanctuary and its
appointments. Yoong men and boys serve
at the Altar as members of the Acolytes'
Guild. Another informal group in the
Parish seeks to further racial understanding,
the St„ Thomas' Interracial
Group, whose members meet in one
another's homes holding discussions,
sometimes with a speaker.
Overall direction of the Parish is the
responsibility of the present Hector,
the Rev. Albert H. Palmer, and the
Wardens and Vestry all of whom are
conscious of the trust which they have
inherited from those of past generations
who have served St. Thomas' and the
Community of Farmingdale so well and
so faithfully. It is their fervent wish to
continue in the same spirit and with the
Father Albert Palmer
The Parish is proud that two of the
priests who have served it later became
Bishops of the Church; namely,
the Rev. Vedder VanDyke who came to
St. Thomas' in 1915 and later became
Bishop of Vermont. The second is the
present Bishop of Long Island, the Rt.
Rev. Jonathan G. Sherman, who served
as priest- in- charge of the parish from
1935 until 1938. Another great figure
of the Episcopal Church who ministered
to the people of St. Thomas' in 1885 was
the saintly Father Huntington who later
founded the Order of the Holy Cross, a
Monastic Religious Order for men in
the Episcopal Church and which remains
today the strongest men's Order in the
American Episcopal Church.
Under the leadership of the Rev. Sydney
R. Peters, now Canon Peters, St.
Thomas' assumed full parish status soon
after he came to Farmingdale in 1940,
Father Peters became the first rector
of St. Thomas' in 1942. On the Feast of
St. Thomas, December 21,1941 the mortgages
on the Church property were
burned at a great service attended by the
then Bishop of Long Island, Bishop Stires.
The effects of the consecrated ministry
of Canon Peters is felt even today.
In 1944 the Rev. W. Robert Hampshire
became rector of the Parish serving it
for the longest pastorate of any of the
priests to date, twenty years. During
Father Hampshire's rectorship the New
Room, below the Parish Hall, together
with its magnificent kitchen were built
and the addition in 1958 completed.
Father Hampshire's ministry extended
far beyond the immediate confines of
B S S 3 l i S § & ^ ^
the Parish membership, however. He is
remembered and loved by many in the
Community for his genuine concern for
them. Active in Community affairs,
Father Hampshire was also outspoken
and active in the area of Civil Rights.
Today the Parish continues to show its
interest in community activities by making
available its facilities to numerous
community groups for their meetings.
Included among these are two groups of
Alcoholics Anonymous; two Girl Scout
Troops; a Boy Scout Troop and a Cub
Pack; the P'armingdale Republican Club;
the Farmingdale Rotary Club; the Association
for the Help of Retarded Children,
and other groups from time to
time. During elections St. Thomas, Parish
Hall is the polling place for three
In the Parish itself, the St. Thomas
and St. Martha's Guild is the Women's
Guild. The members of this group, open
to all women in the Parish, work, study,
and pray to spread the Mission of the
Church. Men in the Parish may join the
Brotherhood of St. Andrew Chapter.
Some of these have since been licensed
as Lay Readers by the Bishop and assist
the Rector in the services of the Church.
Men of the Brotherhood conduct weekly
Evening Prayer, Wednesdays at 7: 30
p. m. The Teens group is very active in
the Parish with a well rounded program
under excellent leadership. One of their
projects has been support of a Vietnamese
refugee child. The Girls Friendly
Society of the Episcopal Church also
has a strong chapter at St. Thomas providing
a character building and church
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Jewish Center Began
35 Years Ago
On May 12, 1932, 38 persons attended a meeting in the home
of Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Smiles on Main Street, Farmingdale,
to organize the Hebrew Association of Farmingdale. From this
small group the organization known today as the Farmingdale
Jewish Center has evolved.
Religious instruction in November 1932 was conducted in
a room behind the kitchen of one of the congregants. Although
this was a temporary situation, it was the' beginning of the
future educational program for Jewish children in this community.
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As the years passed, several different
facilities were used for religious
services. Many different plans forbuild-ing
a sanctuary and school were considered
and in November 1948, the
building that now stands at Prospect
Street and Cobb Place was dedicated.
It should also be noted that in May
1944 the congregation voted to change
the name of the Association to the Farmingdale
Jewish Center. By 1952 additional
classrooms wer added to the
original building. Today the congregation
consists of 290 families. The Jewish
Center has become the focal point for
religious activities of the congregation
As a conservative congregation, the
Center is affiliated with the United
Synagogue of America.
Among the programs offered to congregants
are the following: a Hebrew
School for children ages 9 through 13;
a Hebrew High School for those between
the ages of 13 and 15; Sunday School
for youngsters 6 through 8; a Cub Scout
Pack; a nursery program; junior and
senior youth activities. An interesting
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program of adult education for intellectual
and cultural fulfillment is
offered. Through social contact in the
Men's Club, Sisterhood and Couples Clue,
there is a means for additional participation
in congregational activities.
The Center serves as a house of
worship, study and assembly. A full
schedule of religious services are offered.
Services are held on Friday
evenings, Saturday morning and afternoon,
Sunday morning and every weekday
evening. Rabbi Paul Teicher, a
graduate of Teacher's Institute of
Yeshiva University and ordained by the
Jewish Tehological Seminary, is the
spiritual leader. Cantor Herbert Harris
leads both the junior and adult choir.
Mr. Jack Tenen is President of the
Center; Mr. Fredy Fox President of the
Men's Club; Mrs. Herman Baron, President
of Sisterhood and Mr. Murray
Steckman, President of the Couples Club.
The Hebrew School which serves 280
children is supervised by its principal.
Mr. Barry Bank with Dr. Murray Neu-stadter.
Chairman of the Education Com -
( Continued on page 16S)
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; . j , « L Je " um » nt Thursday, March 16, 1967 7S
farmingdale Observer Supplement ' •
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