Flower Patch, Flea Market, Brick Pathway

2014 has been a busy year so far.  We welcomed spring with our annual flower patch, which is always a wonderful sight on East Main Street.  Followed by the Flea Market, which we held the following weekend and finally our big project being the Dedication of the Pathway.


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‘Pumpkin Church’ Opens Patch to Community in Mount Kisco

Written by Michael Nocello for the Mt. Kisco Daily Voice on October 10, 2013:
MOUNT KISCO, N.Y. – If you’re looking for the finest pumpkins New Mexico has to offer, look no further than Mount Kisco.

United Methodist Church, located at 300 East Main Street, imported hundreds of pumpkins from the Navajo Indian Reservation in New Mexico this week, unloading them Tuesday night, Oct. 8, with help from the Fox Lane JV football team and local scouts.

Pastor Karen Burger said the tradition goes back more than 10 years.

“We are actually known as the pumpkin church now,” she said. “It’s a really neat tradition. The kids and families love it. It’s also a great way to benefit the folks who actually grow the pumpkins.”

A wide variety of pumpkins – those from the size of a baseball to ones as big as a medicine ball – will be displayed, available for purchase, in front of United Methodist throughout October. Burger said the pumpkins are so popular amongst the community that another truckload from New Mexico will bring a second shipment sometime soon.

“We usually get rid of most, if not all, of them,” she said.

Burger said this year’s delivery was impacted by Monday’s tornado watch in the area, as the truck driver had to stay overnight until driving back to New Mexico. She was flattered by the support of local volunteers who joined football players and scouts in the unloading Tuesday night.

“Our pumpkins always bring new faces to our church, which I love,” she said. “It’s great for us to get out of these walls [the church] and get involved with local residents outside.”

United Methodist’s pumpkin patch will host its annual “Great Pumpkin Festival” on Saturday, Oct. 19 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Food, games, a bouncy castle and story time will be available to all those who stop by.


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Mt. Kisco Church Hosts Newtown Candlelight Memorial

The following was posted by Tom Auchterlonie (Editor) in the Chappaqua-Mt. Kisco Patch, 
On Friday, six months to the day since the shooting at Sandy Hook School in nearby Newtown, CT, Mount Kisco’s United Methodist Church hosted a candlelight memorial service in memory of the 26 victims.People gathered for seats on the church’s front lawn while songs and prayers were given by the night’s speakers. Several items were visible that noted the victims, including a snowflakes board with names, a collage of photographs and luminaries.

Karen Burger, the church’s pastor, called for learning about what the cause of such attacks. She also noted to the crowd that some may play roles in related issues, such as guns and mental health.“We also need to remember how can we help to prevent such tragedies. What you choose to do is personal but it will have a ripple effect in the greater community.”

Mount Kisco Mayor Michael Cindrich, reflecting on the time of year, wondered what might have been for the victims had they lived, saying that “20 little children should be playing with their brohers and sisters, with their friends, with their parents watching them, and they are not. Six teachers should be looking forward to the end of the school year and they are not, and what we are doing here tonight is just demonstrating that we are a community much like sandy hook, that we care and that’s something that I’m very, very proud of.”

Prayers were offered by Burger, Katonah Methodist church Pastor Melissa Boyer and Rev. Ivan Rodriguez of Iglesia Cristiana Fe y Esperanza. Rodriguez’s congregation meets in the Methodist church, and it played a major role in the event.

Several songs were performed, including ones written in reaction to the tragedy, by Susan Wright (“A Mother’s Kiss”) and Diana Feaver (“Everyone, Everywhere”).

The gathering was also part of a dialogue between people in Mount Kisco and Newtown. At one point, a letter from Newtown Pastor Mel Kawakami was read, while a plaque displayed at the event will be given to the Newtown school district.

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December 2012 Newsletter

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Pastor To Bless Pets Sunday At Mt. Kisco Church

by Liz Button

MOUNT KISCO, N.Y. — Humans and their pets are invited to gather in front of the United Methodist Church Sunday morning for its annual Blessing of the Animals ceremony.

Accompanied by choral music led by church music director Darron McNutt, the service will take place at 10:15 a.m. in the pumpkin patch and feature an inspirational message by Rev. Karen Burger and prayers by Saint Francis.

The highlight of Sunday’s service at the Main Street church will be the blessing of the animals. In addition to all varieties of pets, children are allowed to bring their favorite stuffed animals to be blessed, and those in the community who have a deceased pet may bring a photo and light a memorial candle.

“This is my first time blessing animals here in Mount Kisco. I have enjoyed doing so in other communities,” said Burger, who joined the church in July.

The blessing of the animals service will take place indoors in the case of inclement weather. The church reminds owners to make sure dogs are leashed at all times.

Mount Kisco Daily Voice
October 12, 2012

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September-October Newsletter

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Mandarin Chinese Program Opening in Mt. Kisco

by Tom Auchterlonie

Starting next week, parents who want their kids to learn Mandarin Chinese will have a new, local option.

The Chinese Language Program (CLP), a 3-year-old educational group founded by two Scarsdale moms, will expand by opening a northern Westchester branch. It will be located in Mount Kisco, at the Methodist Church, with classes on Sundays and Tuesdays.

The desire to open a branch in Mount Kisco, which will serve northern Westchester residents, came as a result of demand from families who made the trips to Scarsdale.

Joanne Teoh, co-founder of the program, noted the village’s geographic proximity for area.

“So this was the center, Mount Kisco, she said. In addition, one of the teachers lives in Chappaqua and will be managing the Mount Kisco program when they can’t be there.

Teoh, along with co-founder Wanna Zhong, each have Chinese ancestry, she is by way of Malaysia and Taiwan, and her partner is but knew the Cantonese dialect as her first language.

The desire to start a Mandarin language program came when Teoh and Zhong felt that their existing options were not enough.

“We’re moms, we have young children and we wanted to have this for our children because there was nothing available,” she said.

She added, “The only thing that was available was Saturday mornings and they were teaching in a very traditional manner, which is pretty much how I was raised.”

Teoh said they put their children through a traditional Saturday program, which she felt does not excite kids enough.

“They were fine when they were really little but as they started to get older, [they asked] ‘Why do I have to do this? Why can’t I go play baseball and why can’t I be’ – you know, they didn’t want to do it, either. So we said, how can we resolve this?”

The solution was to create a weekday program that is after school and with an engaging curriculum, including learning poetry, drama and role playing. Structured support, such as homework, is also included; the CLP recommends learning Mandarin twice a week.

Zhong noted that an advantage of the program is that they are both moms, which helps parents understand what their learning kids are going through. Teoh said they offer support to families who are learning the language, including resoruces that can be used outside of class.

The interest in learning Mandarin has come amid headlines in recent years of a economically growing China. Teoh noted that learning Mandarin can help people in their careers.

“If they had the language, they would find a,” she said, and also noted that people of different cultural backgrounds have shown an interest in it.

The CLP will start offering classes next week, for ages that range from infants in a Mommy and Me program to 13 year olds. To learn more about the program, you can go to www.clpchildren.com

Chappaqua-Mt. Kisco Patch

September 4, 2012

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Summer Newsletter – July-August 2012

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New United Methodist Pastor Brings Her Talents to Mt. Kisco

By Martin Wilbur

When Rev Karen Burger became a Methodist pastor that didn’t mean she abandoned her hobbies and interests. She still loves playing the alto saxophone, which helped launch a music group at her previous congregation, Drew United Methodist Church in Carmel. The group included members from community groups that rented space at the church. While it may appear out of character to hear a pastor belt out a Janis Joplin tune or play the sax solo from “Baker Street,” Burger eschews any stereotypical view of what a clergy member should be like.

“I think that more people see that pastors have a variety of interests–yes, they know theology the Bible, pastoral care—but we’re people with a variety of hobbies and interests, so we can connect with people around some of those other interests,” Burger said. “It can form a bridge.”

On July 1, Burger took her talents and interests to the United Methodist Church in Mount Kisco, transferred by the leaders at the Methodist church’s New York Conference after 13 years in Carmel. She replaces Rev. Matthew Curry who had been pastor at the United Methodist Church of Mt. Kisco for the past decade and is now serving a congregation in Valley Stream, L.I.

Burger, who moved with her husband, Ron, into United Methodist’s 141-year-old pastor house on the church’s grounds, hopes to apply some of what proved successful in Carmel in her new hometown by bridging the gap between church and community.

“That’s something I’m very interested in,” said Burger. “I want us to be very present in the community and meet needs in the community. It’s easy for churches just to become insular, a little community unto themselves, and it is nice to have a close fellowship, but its very important to always be an open community where members feel welcome and are integrated into it and bring their gifts and talents.”

This summer Burger will familiarize herself with her parishioners, even though there have already been a couple of welcome functions. She also plans to get a better grasp for how United Methodist can help the village and its residents. That could mean launching bereavement or caregivers groups or exploring whether there’s a need for 12-step programs or to reach out with more services to the large immigrant community.

Last Friday she and congregation members were out on Main Street during the annual fireman’s parade handing out cold drinks to spectators on a warm summer’s evening.

“People might not be churchgoers or religious, yet if they form a relationship with a pastor as someone in the community they can talk to, it still means when they’re going through a difficult time they might come knock at the door at the office and say I need to talk to you about something?” Burger said.

While Burger and her parents were regular churchgoers at Memorial United Methodist Church in White Plains while she was growing up, her entry into the ministry took her family a bit by surprise. She credited an associate pastor at Memorial United, Linda Thomas, for sparking her interest in the church, particularly her calls for justice in South Africa at the time.

After earning an English degree with a minor in education from Middlebury College, she returned home to White Plains and immersed herself in her home church while enrolling in the three-year program at Drew Theological School.

“After college, I was getting involved (at Memorial United) teaching Sunday School, helping to lead a singles group and also in some of the music ministries and I began to feel like that was home,” Burger said. “I felt very at home working with people in the church, creating fellowship and felt a call to enter the ministry myself.”

In 1988 she became a deacon and then an elder three years later before being ordained. Prior to Carmel, Burger served congregations in Poughkeepsie, Richmond Hill, Queens and Monroe, Conn. So far, she likes what she sees at Mt. Kisco, not only for the warm welcome she has received but the work that it already does.

“I really like that this church does have some really good interfaith ministries—the interfaith food pantry the sheltering of the homeless,” Burger said. “They do that with the other churches in town, they take turns with the other churches in town during the winter months. That to me is very significant.”

The Examiner
July 17, 2012

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A Letter to the Mt. Kisco Community

Dear Friends in Mt. Kisco,

I am delighted to be here at United Methodist Church of Mt. Kisco serving as Pastor! I don’t mind being the “new kid on the block,” as getting to know all of you is part of the spiritual adventure called ministry. This is a vibrant, ever changing community, and we are all a part of its past, present and future. There is so much promise ahead. I believe that the church exists to make a difference in the local community as well as around the world. I will be interested in learning about the needs of the people here in our area and seeing how we can partner together to bless others through works of kindness and outreach and through educational and healing ministries of various sorts.

Do stop in, give a call or drop me a line at pastorkaren@mountkiscochurch.org

I am looking forward to meeting you and to a fruitful relationship that makes a difference in the world by God’s grace.

In faith and hope,

The Rev. Karen A. Burger, Pastor

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