The First Presbyterian Church is a family church where all are welcome. We take the Word of God seriously (leaving us free to not take ourselves too seriously…) and believe we are called to be a people of grace.
As Presbyterians, we like a little order to worship, but - never so much that it gets in the way of what God might accomplish in and through us. You will find a relaxed atmosphere where folks are comfortable with one another, but always with an understanding that we have gathered to worship, serve, and grow as God’s children.
Children find a special welcome here, following in the example of Jesus who corrected his disciples when they sought to isolate him, and gave children his undivided attention. We seek the balance between becoming like little children in how we give our trust to God, while growing into mature disciples who give their hearts to God.
Jeffrey D. Prey - Pastor
Jeff was born in Pittsburgh, PA and later moved to Greenwich, CT (via a brief stint in Arenzano, Italy). He grew up as an active participant in the Presbyterian Church, accepting Christ into his life while a High School student through the ministries of his church youth group and Young Life, an outreach ministry to young people. In 1976, during his freshman year at Cornell University, Jeff received God’s call to ministry and in 1977, transferred to Gordon College where he earned a B.A. degree in history, graduating magna cum laude in 1980.
In 1984, Jeff graduated from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, having earned his Masters of Divinity degree with cum laude honors. He then went to work for two years in marketing and new business development for a firm in New York City.
On January 11, 1986, Jeff married Barbara Ernst, who had grown up in Manhasset, New York. The Preys then moved to Taiwan, R.O.C. where Barbara had a placement as a Henry Luce Scholar and Jeff taught as a Visiting Lecturer at Tainan Theological College and Seminary.
Returning home in 1987, Jeff became a Youth Minister at the Presbyterian Church of Old Greenwich, CT and an instructional aide at Greenwich High School.
In 1988, Jeff was ordained as a Minister of Word and Sacrament in the Presbyterian Church and served eight years at the Bethel Presbyterian Church in Prosperity, PA, just south of Pittsburgh. The Preys’ two children were born in Pittsburgh, and in 1996, Jeff earned a Doctor of Ministry degree from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. In the fall of that year, Jeff came to be the pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Oyster Bay.
Jessica Chen – Director of Music Ministries
Cristina Harrison – Church Administrator
Cristina was born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina. As a young child she remembers walking with her family to La Iglesia San Andres de Quilmes, a Presbyterian Church in her home town. In 1977, she and most of her family came to live in New York, where she graduated from Syosset High School. She gained her working experience in various companies such as Hartford Insurance, Citicorp, MSC Industrial Supply. When her children were school aged she returned to work part time in retail for several years until she was blessed with the opportunity to work for the First Presbyterian Church of Oyster Bay in 2014. She has been an active member of this church since 1977, and has served as an elder in the Christian Education committee, as the Deacon's Moderator, and is currently the Sunday School Superintendent and Church Administrator.
Manuel Denegri – Custodian
First Presbyterian Church’s ministry began in Oyster Bay, New York, in 1842. In its early days the congregation had no permanent church building. A traveling pastor from Hempstead, the Rev. Mr. Woodbridge, preached at the Oyster Bay Academy or at the Baptist Church on West Main Street.
The first church building was located on East Main Street at the rear half of the present Nobman’s Hardware. In the 1850s the congregation faced financial difficulties and was unable to function. Growth and reorganization occurred in the 1860s, so that by 1872, led by Pastor Benjamin L. Swan, it began building this church on the hill.
First Presbyterian Church, built in 1873 ,is an historic Carpenter Gothic-style Presbyterian church building located at 60 East Main Street in Oyster Bay, New York. Its architect was J. Cleveland Cady, who was just beginning his career, and would go on to design the original Metropolitan Opera House, the American Museum of Natural History, buildings at Yale University, Williams College, and 23 other churches. Dramatic arched entryways inside the church are inscribed with Biblical verses. A Hillborn Roosevelt pipe organ was placed at the front of church. William Swan, from a prominent New York shipping family, donated and played the organ for next 52 years.
The congregation is noted for its association with Theodore Roosevelt, Sr., his wife, Martha Bulloch Roosevelt, and their children (including their son, Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., the future president of the United States). The funeral of Theodore Roosevelt, Sr., was held in this building in 1878. Theodore Roosevelt attended his father’s funeral service and later wrote in his diary how he saw his father sitting beside him in the pew, “as distinctly as if he were alive.”
On December 12, 1976, the church building was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
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A PLACE TO CONNECT
If you're browsing through our site, we hope it's because you're looking to make a connection - the kind of connection that can change your life. Please click on the brief "Welcome Video" to find out more, and to discover your place at "the 1st."
However - since it may be a while before you can visit us (and - until we can get together and produce the video), we hope you enjoy these episodes of "Cast Away" - a Corona logbook...*
*these will not change your life (see above), but we hope they might lead you to pay us a visit - in person or online (call for Zoom details).