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Kick-Starting The Holiday Season

First Presbyterian Church is a hub of activity in November as it holds its annual Victorian Fair and holiday luncheon, on Nov. 22 and 23, traditionally the start of the holidays in Oyster Bay.


On Tuesday, Nov. 19, as the hall was being set up for the Victorian Fair, we asked if the rummage sale would be in the basement again. Isa Gutierrez said, “Oh, no. It’s our Granny’s Attic sale, we don’t call it a Rummage Sale.” 


True, the Episcopalians, across the street at Christ Church, call it a Rummage Sale, following their English tradition. The Presbyterians have Scottish roots, which was evident on the first Sunday of Advent, Dec. 1. “It is our St. Andrew’s Day Worship, it is close to the actual day, and in keeping with the church’s Scottish roots, people will wear tartan plaids. It’s done in many Presbyterian churches,” said the Rev. Jeffrey Prey.  


And speaking of Christ Church, he said, “Theodore Roosevelt followed his wife Edith across the street to her family’s denomination, Episcopalian, and left the Presbyterian Church that members of his family had helped found. It was TR’s boyhood church. His father was a trustee and he and TR’s sisters funded the manse that my wife and I live in today.” 


It is in back of the church on Pearl Street. 


Elizabeth Roosevelt has remained with her family roots and is a Presbyterian and was selling her photographs at the fair over the weekend. She also donated a photograph for the silent auction.


A regular feature of the Victorian Fair is the arrival of shoppers from Queens, an annual influx. Pastor Prey said, “I was surprised on Friday by the lines waiting to get in. They come looking for a deal in our Shabby Chic and Jewelry Boutique. We have to watch out ourselves. Recently we recognized a Tiffany glass notebook holder and we sold it on eBay and got $275. In the sale, it would have sold for $10. We try to find those items, but there are still good deals for the shoppers.”


Part of the two-day event is a luncheon in the Mary Martha Room, and Sunday afternoon, the furniture for the room was being carried back. The entire event is carefully orchestrated because Sunday night is the start of the CSAC Holiday Sharing Program and the church has to be cleaned out of the fair items and ready for the next happening.


As the vendors were packing up, the church members were helping pack a large van with left over rummage sale material that they were donating to the Lupus Foundation. Every year, after the sale, the church sends on the donated materials to another group where customers can be found and the goods can find a new home and raise money for another group.


As the old saying, what comes around, goes around, and finds a new identity and use. 


With all that activity behind them, the next big event is their Christmas Concert on Dec. 8 at 4 p.m. 


“Jessica Chen is very excited and the choir is excited. It will finish with a sing-a-long. It is free and a suggested donation is welcome for those who want to support our music ministry,” said Pastor Prey. “Jessica grew up here in Oyster Bay, graduated from OBHS, and went on to Yale and the New England Conservatory of Music and came back here. She has been fantastic bringing her professionalism to the programs. She has a wonderful spirit.” He added on a personal note, that Jessica is getting married in July. 


“These are busy times at First Pres, it seems. We are all directly connected with the community and we are the consolidation place in this wonderful Oyster Bay,” he said.