Search Completed, Our New Rector Is Reverend Ajung Sojwal
We have found a rector who is spiritually grounded, a strong preacher gifted in delivery of sermons while understanding the role music plays in our liturgy. Reverend Ajung Sojwal is a rector who will challenge us as we explore our own spirituality, and will serve as a guide to help us understand the power of our faith outside the walls of the church.
We have a vibrant congregation with tremendous resources and are surrounded by a sea of families. Stewardship is increasing at St. George’s and we know our new rector will work with us to continue our commitment to expanding our reach into the community.
Reverend Ajung Sojwal is a rector who will care for us and help us to care for one another, especially those among us who are aging. Reverend Ajung will embrace the cultural diversity of our church and the community. She is an outgoing person with a sense of humor and an ability to make caring connections with individual parishioners.
Our new rector is committed to playing an active role in civic organizations and seeking to improve relationships outside the church, becoming a vital partner with other faith communities. She is a strong administrator who is open to new directions and the opportunities that arise with change.
Reverend Ajung is committed to developing and strengthening Christian education (adult and youth), lay leadership, and our music programs. We have prayed for a rector who will embrace our strengths and help us become stronger in our faith and our relationship with each other. Our new rector recognizes the Holy Spirit’s presence among us and will lead us with vision and prayer to grow as followers of Christ.
At St. George’s, our mission is to receive the word of God and to be the hands of Christ to serve our neighbors here in the village of Hempstead. We work as one body to express Jesus’ truth and to love the world.
We look forward to deepening our relations with our fellow churches and the community at large. Hempstead’s demographics have been steadily changing and we have great strides to make in serving our new neighbors. We have a solid foundation in our Food Pantry and Scouting ministries, but we are determined to take our mission to the next level. We are strengthening our financial position for operating and capital projects.
We would like to get back to weekly Bible study and prayer meetings, and create new opportunities to encourage each other and build our faith. We solicit dialogue with our youth and try to implement some of their suggestions in order to retain them and attract others. New ministries can be built for all ages, binding us closer as a family and helping us to grow membership through what we do as disciples of Jesus Christ.
St. George’s looks forward to a bright future by developing our communication, technology, and other resources we have in shared leadership with our new rector.
People call St. George’s “the downtown church” because it graces Hempstead’s business district, which is dotted with elegant historic structures that are still in use. Our stately 1822 sanctuary is the village’s oldest church building; its grand rectory, one block south, dates to 1793. Across Front Street from St. George’s stands the Town of Hempstead’s 1918 Town Hall. Rising two blocks east is the spire of the 1855 United Methodist Church building; several other churches dating back 80 to 100 years are within walking distance.
Hempstead is the most populous village in New York State, and has the advantages of an urban setting, yet with a small-town atmosphere. Hempstead has many business buildings, historic and modern, but none exceeds seven stories, giving it open skies, yet ready access to shopping, services, a library, and other points of interest. A few blocks from St. George’s, the Nassau Inter-County Express bus terminal and the Long Island Railroad terminal offer transport in all directions, with Manhattan a 50-minute ride west by train. Just over a mile from St. George’s are the Cathedral of the Incarnation and the Mercer School of Theology, where our parishioners participate in many programs and ministries of the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island.
Just outside Hempstead, Roosevelt Field Mall in Garden City is ten minutes’ drive north, and other malls are twenty minutes’ away. At Hempstead’s eastern end, Hofstra University occupies 236 acres of artistically crafted buildings including the John Cranford Adams Theater, a library housing the Long Island Studies Institute, and the historic mansion where Hofstra’s first classes were held, all nested within an arboretum. Adelphi University is also nearby. In addition to a large public school system, there are many parochial/private schools within driving distance. Just past Hofstra are a number of museums as well as Nassau Community College and the recently rebuilt Nassau Veterans’ Memorial Coliseum, as well as Eisenhower Park, which has an Olympic-sized pool, year-round skating rink, open-air theater, playing fields, and playgrounds. Beaches on Long Island’s South Shore, and national points of interest such as Teddy Roosevelt’s home on the North Shore are all twenty minutes to an hour’s drive by highway.
Hempstead’s diverse population includes African American, Afro-Caribbean, South and Central American, Asian American, European American, and Native American residents. Through our weekly food pantry, our yearly street fair, and our regular special events, we reach out to our community. Our prayer is that Jesus’ love and truth will be felt by all who enter our doors.
Our food pantry was opened in 2007 when one of our church members saw need in our community. The Pantry serves the Hempstead Community at large, and all are welcome. Since its inception, over 1000 people have been recipients of food and other donations. Serving both individuals and families, we currently make distributions to about 230 people twice a month.
The pantry is managed by members of St. George’s Church with volunteers from the community. Food is obtained through a grant from Long Island Cares, other congregations within the diocese, and from parishioners. The Boys Scouts and Cub Scouts conduct an annual food drive, called “Scouting for Food,” and turn over donations to the Food Pantry. Occasionally, hygiene products such as toothpaste, shampoo, and children’s diapers are available. Additionally, gently used clothing is donated, and families are welcome to choose suitable items.
The Food Pantry is opened the first and third Wednesday of each month from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
What We Do
Founded in 1702, St. George’s Episcopal (Anglican) serves the parish and community through the devotion of dedicated Christian women and men. Using the BCP, we celebrate a said Eucharist at 8:00 a.m. and a Choral Mass at 10:15 a.m. A Healing Mass is held on Wednesdays at 10:00 a.m.
- The young men and women of our church, along with members of the community are learning to be good citizens of the world through our Girls’ and Boys’ Scouts Programs. They earn badges through community service here and on trips to the Caribbean. Troop 300 has advanced 16 young men to Eagle Scout rank, and 4 young women have advanced to Gold Award.
- The Sunday School program, serving nursery to high school engage our youth in learning about the Christian life through bible stories and art activities. Our talented students participate in worship services and social events that they prepare, such as Black History education in February. We also prepare students for confirmation in regular classes.
- The Altar Guild is a group of loyal parishioners caring for the Altar and its furnishings. In addition to preparing for services at the church, they also ensure Eucharistic Ministers are ready to take communion to the sick and shut in.
- Our Food Pantry supports the needy in Hempstead and surrounding areas with food donated by parishioners, other parishes, and a local food bank.
- The Guild of the Christ Child supports ministries for the newly baptized by ensuring their Christian development, as well as other programs serving the children of the parish and surrounding community.
- The Episcopal Church Women (ECW) assists in different ministries with their fund-raising and outreach activities, including a pre-Lent Caribbean Carnival.
- The Brotherhood of St. Andrew is dedicated to prayer, study and service, such as mentoring and prison ministry
Music is a valued part of our worship at St. George’s Church. It has been a source of inspiration and solace over many generations. It supports the various aspects of the service. Our music selection makes use of all areas of church music from Gregorian chant to some best examples of modern hymnody. The hymns reflect the church calendar and are drawn from the 1982 Hymnal, Lift Every Voice and Sing, Wonder Love and Praise, and occasionally other sources.
The organ in St George’s Church was rebuilt by the Peragallo Company in 1997. Along with expansions and modifications of the existing divisions, a Positif division, trumpet en chamade and a new three-manual console were added. The variety of registers in the organ allows considerable flexibility in providing accompaniment for singing, ranging from soloists and plain chant to congregational hymn singing and choir anthems. They also permit effective renditions from the traditional to the contemporary.
Music is important in the life of St. George’s Church. The choir sings at the Choral Eucharist every Sunday, on special feast days including Christmas Eve, Ash Wednesday, Holy Week and Easter. Along with our morning worship we present an evensong or two each year, and the whole congregation turns out to celebrate the coming of Christmas at our annual Festival of Lessons and Carols. Being part of the choir requires weekly rehearsals from 7:30 to 9:00pm on Thursdays and rehearsals at 9:30am on Sundays.
Our music ministry has instruments for a bell choir and a steel band, both of which have been active in the past. Time has brought changes to these activities; we are currently striving to engage more young people of our parish to participate once more in our music ministry, particularly the junior choir and steel band.
Nothing stirs the human soul like music. In it we hear the heart of love and the voice of God.