(Long Island, NY) On July 11 and 12, the First Presbyterian Church of Southold, New York will celebrate its 375th year anniversary, as well as the founding of the town of Southold. Both events occurred in 1640, when the Rev. John Young and his congregation arrived from New Haven, Ct, to found the first settlement and congregation on Long Island. The celebration will feature an art and artisan fair. (Information found here: http://www.fpcsouthold.org/.)
The event will also present the premiere performance of a poem commissioned by the Church, written and performed by spoken word poet, Susan Dingle, the founder of Poetry Street and co-author of The Poetry of Well-Being. Dingle is also a descendent of one of the original Southold settlers.
“It is an honor to be asked to represent the Church’s vision of its calling today from the perspective of its history,” says Dingle, a member and Deacon of FPS. In researching the history of the church, she found that, except for the minutes of the Ladies Sewing Society in 1866, women didn’t have a voice. It seems poetic and fitting that part of the church’s celebration will include the sewing of a communion table cloth for family Sunday.
The poem combines images of the church’s history, such as the iron triangle first used to call settlers to worship, with images and experience of the church’s contemporary calling. The old triangle will ring once again to open the event at 11a.m. and there will be a tour of the old burying ground cemetery.
Susan Dingle has performed her poetry at the National Museum of the Marines in Quantico, Va., at Calverton National Cemetery, Brick Presbyterian Church of NYC and First Baptist Church of Riverhead, as well as at the Nyorican Poets Café, and elsewhere on Long Island. A graduate of the Program for Writers at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Susan was published in the American Poetry Review, Partisan Review, Ohio Review, Feminist Studies, and audit/poetry. She is also a therapist in private practice, bringing creative writing to survivors of trauma and substance abuse, and performing her one-woman show about her recovery for audiences in the treatment community and beyond. She is available for interview.