Instead of sitting in pews, people are seated in folding chairs under a disco light in front of a stage where mass is performed. The TV mounted in the corner lights up lyrics of the gospels like a karaoke machine while the band and audience sings along, “Lord, I give you my heart. I give you my soul. I live for You alone. Every breath I take, every moment I’m awake, Lord have your way in me.”
89 North, a bar in Patchogue, is typically a music venue built for a fun night out. But on Tuesday evenings and Sunday mornings, its dance floor and black wooden stage transform into the unlikely location of mass, held by a Christian-based group called The Harbor Church.
Allie Trevisan, the community pastor at The Harbor, was on track to become a doctor when a friend introduced her to the church.
“I was working full time in cardiology and I thought that was what I was going to with my life,” Trevisan said. “Then God opened another door for me, and I accepted Christ as my savior. I ended up interning here and God led me in the direction to become a pastor.”
The non-denominational Christian church started 30 years ago as Lamb’s Chapel, but was taken over 15 years ago by Pastor Mike Jankowski and was later renamed The Harbor Church. The church started off with just one location in Center Moriches, but in 2016 another location opened at 89 North in Patchogue.
Scott Jankowski, campus pastor at The Harbor and son of Pastor Mike Jankowski, was one of the people who came up with the idea for the branch in Patchogue.
“89 North was actually our first choice for the new venue,” Pastor Scott Jankowski said. “We wanted a place that was unique and where all people would feel welcome. In a traditional mass setting, people tend to feel judged, so we wanted an environment where everyone would feel comfortable.”
The setting of the masses held by The Harbor is non-traditional, but it allows people to give praise to God in a more interactive way and attracts people of all ages. There are moms cradling their children, young teens hanging out with their friends and elderly couples attending the mass. The church has reached so many people in the community just because of its location.
Carolyn Carrera, a Stony Brook University alumna, attends the mass regularly.
“You don’t need a fancy building or even a pastor or priest,” Carrera said. “When we come together in the name of Jesus. He is right there with us.”
The Harbor Church has several groups — Impact Children’s Ministry, a high school and middle school group called The Exchange, a community group that meets around coffee shops and dinner tables, bible study groups, a focus group for people who want to delve more into specific topics, a men’s ministry and a women’s ministry.
The men’s ministry has a subgroup called Outdoorsmen that meets on the first and third Thursday of each month to discuss and put into practice outdoor hobbies such as fishing, camping and hunting. On top of the bible study groups on Wednesdays and Thursdays, the women’s ministry hosts a women’s weekend retreat once a year to build relationships and talk about God.
The church also has a food pantry that provides up to 2,200 meals weekly, and sends people into New York City to help out at Hope for the Future Ministries, a Christian ministry that helps feed people in need and provides them with living supplies.
“There have been many instances where people left their wallet or ID at the bar the night before and have come in to find it and stayed for mass,” Trevisan said. “We have saved so many people by welcoming them with open arms and helping them get to know Jesus Christ our Savior.”