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People of Mattituck: Caren Heacock

Caren Heacock, of Southold, has worked at the

Caren Heacock, of Southold, has worked at the Mattituck Presbyterian Church for 18 years. | Blog post

Credit: Erin Geismar

All this week Erin Geismar will be profiling people she meets in Mattituck, from community leaders to residents she bumps into around town.

Caren Heacock
Age: 58
Occupation: Pastoral Care Assistant, Mattituck Presbyterian Church

How long have you lived in the area?
It’s going on 30 years.

What made you join the Mattituck Presbyterian Church?
My husband and I had tried out several churches. We decided on this one because Pastor George made a visit to our home and he asked, ‘May I pray with you?’ He was the only pastor to do that. That was an important thing to me.

What are a few ways the church is involved in the community?
We have a team leaving for Haiti on a mission trip. . . . We have building projects there, we built a clinic. . . . We’ve been going down there for over 25 years. In fact, one of our church members was one of the first to go down there three days after the earthquake.
There’s also John’s Place. Every week we provide shelter for the homeless.
We also have an active youth group.

What is your role?
As the pastoral care assistant, I visit the homebound, visit nursing homes, hospitals. I’m about to officiate my first wedding -- that’s a big thing. I’m a shepherd for the church. I kind of do it all. I clean the bathrooms sometimes. I preach sometimes. I got my master’s in divinity from the Luther Rice Seminary based out of Atlanta.

What made you go for your master’s?
After I had joined the church, I became the shepherd coordinator and the youth director. Then I started counseling, and when I started that, I thought I should go back for my master’s. You don’t have to be ordained in the Presbyterian Church for all these roles, so that’s why I’m able to do them.

And what did you do before that?
Secretarial work, just to pay the bills.

What is your favorite thing about Mattituck?
The wonderful people. I love to walk the beaches. Sunrise on the bay -- there’s nothing like it in the world. It’s close enough to things that you don’t feel like you’re in the boonies, but it’s small enough that it’s not a big city feel. You don’t feel like you’re missing out on anything, all you have to do is walk down Love Lane.

Is it the kind of place where you know all of your neighbors?
Yeah, pretty much. More so in Mattituck, I think, than in other towns out here. That’s the nature of Love Lane, it’s more intimate. You’re bound to run into someone you know when you go to the post office, where in Southold, the post office is separate from the main shopping area. So here you have more of a chance of pausing to say hello.

Define Mattituck.
It’s a very caring community. A lot of people really care about each other. If there’s a crisis, people come together. They take care of each other, even if you’re not from here.

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