The front of Oyster Bay's True Life Christian Worship Center.
Photo by: True Life Christian Worship Center
True Life Christian Worship Center, located in Oyster Bay, NY, is a place that values community and spreads a message of hope to bring hope, and they’re inviting one and all to attend Easter services with their congregation this April 4.
Formerly known as the North Shore Assembly of God for many years, the church is headed up by the dedicated husband and wife duo Ray and Diane Melograne, who serve as Co-Pastors.
North Shore Assembly of God Church recently rebranded itself as True Life Christian Worship Center as to reflect the goal of bringing a hope filled message to the community of Oyster Bay and the surrounding towns, Diane said.
“We changed our name to reflect what you experience when you come to our church,” she said. “We want to have people experience Jesus through a personal relationship, and we want them to encounter God's word through intense Bible studies. We're finding that many, many people, even of the Christian faith, don't have a firm foundation in the word of God. So that's what we give them here.”
A greeter welcomes parishioners at the church doors. Photo Credit: True Life Christian Worship Center
Steeped in history, the church in various forms has been located in Oyster Bay for over 300 years, and has changed denominations several times over the years. It initially started out as Baptist and changed to Independent Pentecostal in 1939, and then in the late 1980s became The Assembly of God, since that organization was running a Bible school on the grounds at the time.
As the years went by, the grounds of what would one day become the North Shore Assembly of God Church grew and evolved; the main sanctuary was originally constructed in 1908, with a Bible school and other buildings added later on. Currently, the congregation is made up of approximately 70-80 close-knit people.
One of the greatest holy days on almost any calendar is Easter, and to celebrate the resurrection of Christ, Pastors Ray and Diane feel it is vital to extend a heartfelt invitation to anyone and everyone who would like to visit True Life Christian Worship Center this Easter Sunday, April 4th, and worship with them.
Photo Credit: True Life Christian Worship Center
There will be two services held on Easter Sunday; the first at 9:30 a.m., and the second at 11:30 a.m. To register to attend one of these services, visit their website at https://truelifecwc.org/easter for you and your loved ones. One and all are invited to attend services on this wonderful day.
For those interested in attending Easter service but are concerned about the current COVID-19 pandemic, Ray and Diane are quick to point out that their church strictly adheres to all social distancing and mask guidelines, and they regularly clean and sanitize - in addition to taking the temperatures of everyone entering - to ensure the health and wellbeing of all.
True Life Christian Worship Center also values providing support for their local community during the hard times that the pandemic has brought on. Ray points out that they hold an outdoor food pantry every Tuesday; the reason it is outdoors is to minimize the chance for COVID-19 spread while still making their vital services available to those in need.
“We're feeding about 50 families at the moment in partnership with Island Harvest and Long Island Cares,” he said. “We keep the pantry outdoors most of the time, and on the occasions that we have to have it indoors we take the same social distancing precautions that we do for our services. It remains a real blessing to our community that way.”
The church's food pantry, open every Tuesday, feeds about 50 families. Photo Credit: True Life Christian Worship Center
North Massapequa residents, Ray and Diane have been pastors at North Shore Assembly of God going on 16 years now. Ray is a retired electrical engineer and Diane a retired schoolteacher, and while both of them were always religious, their faith was solidified to an untold degree after experiencing a genuine miracle with their daughter many years ago.
“Back in the early 1980s, our daughter had a miracle healing and that really strengthened our faith," Ray said. “We started attending Bible courses towards this calling, and that's how the ministry side of our lives developed.”
After initially helping local area churches by setting up and running parenting groups and even helping new, smaller churches in getting off the ground, one day their senior pastor, Steven Milazzo at Bethlehem Assembly of God asked the two to come to Oyster Bay, a church that was having difficulty keeping long-term pastors. It was thought that Ray and Diane’s strong faith, compassion, and dedication would bring an element of stability and community to the church.
16 years later and counting, and it’s more than obvious that Ray and Diane have fit in perfectly with True Life Christian Worship Center church; Ray said that the experience of co-pastoring with his beloved wife in Oyster Bay all this time has been wonderful for a variety of reasons.
“The congregation is a warm, solid, and supporting group of people to us,” he said. “We've been able to accomplish some really extraordinary things with just a small group of people who really know how to serve God.”
“In the past we’ve run substance abuse programs, and have been involved with the local OBEN triathlon beginning of the event with prayer,” Diane added. “We also have a children's ministry - for such a small congregation we have about 25 children - headed up by Pastor Michael Elliott, our children's pastor.”
Pastor Michael Elliott, the church's children's pastor. Photo Credit: True Life Christian Worship Center
For anyone living in the Oyster Bay community or its surrounding areas that is looking for a diverse and inclusive place to worship, Ray and Diane invite anyone who is interested to come down and experience what True Life Christian Worship Center is all about.
“Oyster Bay is a very ethnically diverse community...we have people from Africa, Honduras, El Salvador, Jamaica, as well as local Long Islanders, in our congregation, as well as believers of various ages, young to old,” Diane said. “We want anyone, regardless of their background, to come and experience our Worship Service, our Bible study, our various ministries, and all of the services and outreach events that we hold every year.”
“With all the things people have been going through the past year with this pandemic, we know there are a lot of people out there who have lost jobs and who are financially stressed,” Ray added. “We try to offer some hope to them. The key word that we like to get across is hope. People can come here and find camaraderie, sensitivity, and moral support, and even networking opportunities if they're looking for a job. We can point them to our source of hope, Jesus Christ.”