Who We Are

What We Believe, Our Wider Church, What We Do, our Elected Leaders, and our Staff:

What We Believe

We recognize Jesus Christ as the head of the church.
We believe that to follow in Jesus’ footsteps is to embrace his vision as he declared in Luke 4:18;

 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free…”

We are a progressive Christian faith community. We do not base our criteria for membership on any tests of faith.  We accept and honor each individual’s authentic testimonies of faith as sufficient.

We are an inclusive faith community believing that all of God’s people have a place in the congregation, including

  • Conventional Christians and questioning skeptics
  • Those of all sexual orientations
  • Those of all classes and abilities

We take the Bible seriously, but not literally.

We believe that the way we behave towards one another is the fullest expression of what we believe.

We strive for peace and justice among all people.

Rev. Anton and conference staff member Rev. Dr. Marjorie Purnine and the congregation.

Our Wider Church

As a congregational church and part of the national United Church of Christ (UCC), we follow a “covenantal” tradition—there is no centralized authority or hierarchy that imposes any doctrine or form of worship on its members. We seek a balance between freedom of conscience and accountability to our tradition. The UCC receives the creeds and confessions of our ancestors as testimonies, but not tests of the faith.

What We Do

Our goal is share God’s kindness and generosity with all whom we encounter. We feel it is an essential part of who we wish to be. We reach out so serve
the larger community and beyond. Here are some of our ministries.

  • Maureen’s Haven (feeding the homeless)
  • CWS (Blankets and hygiene kit collections)
  • Disaster assistance (UCC)
  • Habitat for Humanity
  • Prayer Shawl Ministry
  • Yearly Scholarship Programs (for local High School graduates)
  • Blind and Sighted (program for the blind)
  • AA
  • NA
  • Crop walk
  • Fair Trade Market
  • Blessing of the animals
  • Support for Veteran’s of the Cross

Maureen’s Haven

​         Maureen’s Haven began in 2002, and was begun about 15 years ago here in the Riverhead area.  At first, there were only 4 churches participating.  Now, several more have come on board.  The goal of Maureen’s Haven is to provide safe and warm temporary shelter to the homeless. They utilize volunteer houses of worship and congregation volunteers. Much more is provided than a meal and a place to sleep … they provide support through embracing the values of human dignity, respect, service, compassion, teamwork, and love. The Maureen’s Haven ‘season’ begins in November and goes through March.  There have been instances when the weather has been cold in April and an extension of the program was done.  In the same fashion, when the weather is mild in November, the start time is delayed.  The start time will be decided on the Saturday before November 6, the date that Old Steeple Community Church will begin the program.  ANYONE is able to help/volunteer. Contact Old Steeple if you’d like to be a volunteer.

Community Center for Blind and Sighted

         An Aquebogue resident named Marion Dillingham used to drive several persons to western Long Island to the Industrial Center for the Blind.  When that closed, the Community Center for the Blind and Sighted was begun 43 years ago in eastern towns. The first meeting place for a gathering of the blind on the East End was in the United Methodist Church on Main Street in Riverhead. More than 20 years ago the Center moved to Old Steeple Community Church. The focus is upon gathering together socially and sharing hints and information on how the blind could increase their mobility and other educational tips. The blind and sight impaired share what works for them and the sighted volunteers are on hand to serve coffee and treats and assist the blind when they express a desire to explore something new. The volunteers set up parties for various holidays, arrange outings to Gossman’s in Montauk, trips to visit the Seeing Eye Dog training center, etc.  It is basically a social time once a week for persons to share their thoughts on a common disability. The group always has a President and Vice-President selected from the blind in the group and the secretary and Treasurer are sighted.  At one time there were between 35-40 + in the group with many coming from areas well to the west. The western group broke off after some years due to the long distance to arrive here in Riverhead. The core group now stands at about 20-25. The group would be best described as a social gathering. It is a time for both blind and sighted to share time together. It is a time for some fun as we have game days (bingo, family feud and other word games), celebrate holidays and birthdays, and once a month share a pot luck meal together. We have an Annual picnic at the Mattituck park, an annual anniversary luncheon; and the Riverhead Lion’s Club invites us to a Thanksgiving meal at Digger’s Restaurant every year. All are invited to come.  The spouse or caregiver of the blind person is also welcomed. If you are interested in helping or joining, contact Old Steeple Church at 631-722-3070.

Elected Leaders

Nine-Person Council 

Keith Young – Moderator
Tom Behr – Worship
Lisa Drozd – Caring Ministries
Donna Doroszka – Buildings & Grounds
Andrea Hanulec – Outreach
(TBD) – Welcoming Ministries
Janet Wright – Spiritual Formation
Edgar Goodale (Treasurer) – Finance Ministries
Amy Cosgrove (Financial Secretary) – Finance Ministries

Auditor – Keith Young

Cemetery Association – Leigh Young

Staff – Who We Are

The Reverend Dr. Anton DeWet

Old Steeple Minister

The Rev. Dr. Anton DeWet grew up in Zimbabwe, where his parents had a beef-cattle farm. Although he loved life on the ranch there was no high school with daily commute and Anton chose to attend boarding school in South Africa. This is where Anton met Henza and the rest is history.

They both studied in Pretoria, South Africa where Anton attended seminary at the University of Pretoria. Their sons, Christiaan and Walter were born in Pretoria and in 1993 the family decided to take on the adventure of immigrating to the US.

Anton served churches in Orlando and Clearwater, FL before accepting a call, first to Portland OR and later to Danville CA. 2015 was a year he served as interim minister at Fort Myers Congregational, United Church of Christ. In January, 2017, Anton and Henza joined the Old Steeple Church family.

They both enjoy the rural nature of our community here in Aquebogue and they love visiting the farms in the area. They are keen gardeners planting whatever shrubs and bulbs they can find.

Anton’s interest in the effect of war lead to him doing a doctorate on the potential role a congregation might play in the lives of those who return from places of conflict.

Gail Evans

Office Administrator

​Gail has lived near the Old Steeple Church all her life … born in Riverhead, went to school here, and still here! Her family has been on the north fork of Long Island for about 400 years, and she has been working on her genealogy for decades.

Gail is also very interested in photography, designing documents, hiking, birding, kayaking, computer assistance, nature, animals, and more.

For samples of her photography and graphics, go to gailstales.com.

Guy Fein

Organist / Choir Director / Composer

Guy has been an Organist/Choir Director/Composer in Residence at Old Steeple since 2007. He has brought more than 50 years experience in these capacities, focusing on using music to enhance worship services and to praise the Lord. As a composer, he has provided original incidental organ service music, as well as hymns and anthems. Choir offerings have varied from traditional to the occasionally unconventional, such as Broadway musicals, jazz, country and rock styling. He is a member of UCC Musicians Association, the Hymn Society of the United States and Canada, ASCAP, the Center for Creative Retirement at LIU-Riverhead, the East End Steering committee of the Long Island Council of Churches and the Performers Club of Eastern Long Island, of which he is a past president.  He is also a Deacon at Old Steeple and a member of the Christian Action Committee.He enjoys traveling, watching baseball and hockey, reading mystery novels and spending time with his wife, children and grandchildren.

Here is our tri-fold Welcome brochure – you are welcome to print it out. It is packed with our information!