advent candles
  December 2002

Click one of the headings below to read the article:

flame bullet character Father Michael flame bullet character Memorial Flowers and Christmas Greens
flame bullet character Around the Parish flame bullet character Ecumenical Evensong
flame bullet character Women of Christ Church flame bullet character Altar Guild
flame bullet character Vestry Notes flame bullet character Food for Thought
flame bullet character Serendipity    

A Well-Seasoned Invitation

During the upcoming season we are not going to be primarily celebrating a birthday, but the beginning of a decisive new phase in the tempestuous history of God’s eternal hungering for human companionship. The social concerns of the season are footed deeply in Jesus’ proclamation of God’s reign: our renunciation of patterns that oppress others, like holding, climbing and commanding, and the formation of a new human community that voluntarily embraces those renunciations. It will be an adult Christ that we will encounter during the Advent and Christmas cycles of Sundays and feasts: a Risen Lord who invites sinful people to become church. St. Luke reminds us in his Nativity narratives that Christmas does not ask us to pretend we were back in Bethlehem, kneeling before a crib: rather he invites us to recognize that the wood of the crib became the wood of the cross, the swaddling cloths became the burial garment and the fullness of the inn became the emptiness of the tomb. This truly is the season in which we open ourselves to God’s invitation for our pregnant expectation to become a newborn destiny. paragraph ending graphic

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Around the Parish

We have some very good news from the Beveridge family-Nancy and Bill’s daughter-in-law Robin has been accepted in the Deacons’ program. A candidate must first complete the discernment process conducted by a committee in one’s own church. After that, hopefully they will write a letter of recommendation to the Deacon Program at the Cathedral or diocese). The candidate must then complete a detailed, rigorous process including an extensive written document, searching one’s total life experiences and why one wants to be a deacon. The candidate is interviewed by a psychiatrist and then by several bishops culminating with an interview with Bishop Sisk. Once accepted into the program the candidate’s training includes once a month lectures, plus once a week classes for three years. Robin is Director of the Sunday School at St. Andrews Church in New Paltz, NY where her husband Bill is the Junior Warden. Several years ago they were choir members at Christ Church and Robin attended Father Walsted’s confirmation classes and was confirmed at Christ Church.

We were sorry to learn that Colin Reed’s Corner is no longer being published in the Tower Chimes. (ed. Note: Colin’s choice) (Web Master's Note: Colin's Corner will still be available every month on the Christ Church web site.). Colin doesn’t butter up his comments or thoughts-he’s true blue all the way, and his articles are designed to make people think. By the way, when he was a teacher in Manhattan, the students always knew when he was coming in the room—his favourite cologne is Paco Rabanne!

Maestro Tom Sarff gave the choir a newsworthy piece of information-the Volvo commercial has one of our favourite composers, John Rutter, playing the background music. Our choir will be singing two Rutter anthems in the near future.

Recently I had quite a surprise. I was working on the computer and I got a message from Raheim Marcus. He was a teenager at Christ Church for several years and a neighbour of Andre Black. Raheim is living in Florida now, and tells us he’s doing very well.

Dorothy Rapp and Dorothy Rivera have been very forthcoming in helping out in the office recently. There is a load of printing to do in this very busy season and “Linda in the Office’ is grateful when they can lend a hand.

Our sexton, Jim Angone, is sprucing up the many sections of the church, “spit and polishing” the woodwork, carpets, kitchens and rooms, and Valerie Quinlan frequently gets on her knees to plant seeds and bulbs by the cloister wall to enrich the little garden in the corner.

“Buster” Black and Lou Ranieri are coaching our two CYO basketball teams. Word has it that they have a secret strategy-this means being “street-savvy”!

Rosalyn Charles has completed her State Boards to be an RN (Registered Nurse.) Congratulations to Rosie, we are proud do you.

Jack and Laddie Kruiten came up from Florida for Thanksgiving and the christening of their grandson, Erik, son of Irene and Tom Eppinger, at Christ Church on Nov. 30th.

Valerie Quinlan gave a very successful violin concert at the Donnell Library recently. Many Christ Church members and other Staten Islanders who appreciate music were able to attend. We’re proud of you Valerie. Her grandson Philip (son of Dierdre Aleman) is attending St. John’s Lutheran School and is doing very well.

Trevor Mills has retired from his teaching position and is enjoying his new career as a real estate agent along with Karen Smith and Ellen Mazzucco at Sunshine Realty.

Lee Black is still in band competitions beating a huge drum. If you missed seeing the Black family, Buster, Connie and Eva on Sunday the 17th they were watching Lee in the Tottenville High School competition. This instrument must be tough to carry around!

We’ve noticed Martha Keucher with her arm in a sling—she took a fall in the kitchen. She’s recovering well, and says that she still can navigate the nooks and crannies of Pendleton Place!

A large contingent of Christ Church members attended the Kristallnacht remembrance service, which was held at Temple Emanu-El in Port Richmond. It was very moving and many of us read passages in English after they had been spoken in Hebrew. One lady was a Holocaust survivor, which touched the hearts of everyone there.

Later we went into their “Guild Room” which was laden with cookies and breads, together with coffee. Father Michael and the Rabbi interpreted for us the closeness of Christian and Jewish beliefs.

Linda Reiersen, Nancy Scromo and Lois Lamb went down to Houston for Kristin’s debut at the Houston Grand Opera. She sang the role of Musetta in La Boheme-and Linda says she knocked them dead! The three women had a great time together and laughed for 3 days (except when Mimi died). Kristin and her roommate Angela will be singing the soprano and mezzo soli for the Richmond Choral Society’s concert on Dec. 15 at Zion Lutheran at 4 p.m. Look for more info on the bulletin board.

Beth Beveridge McLean has been inducted into the Bowling Hall of Fame. She has spent 25 years of coaching and her team won the State Championship three times. Way to go, Beth!

On a sad note we send our condolences to Anne Devlin whose sister, Barbara Steinglein Anderson died recently. Anne gave a beautiful eulogy, as did several others, and Barbara will be missed by many good friends and family. Our prayers are with you all. paragraph ending graphic

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The Women of Christ Church

The Women of Christ Church met on Nov. 14, the usual second Thursday of the month. In the absence of President Martha Keucher, Shirley Elfers presided. A Healing Service and Eucharist at 11 a.m. in the Chapel were followed by a business session in the Parish house. Shirley Elfers was tea hostess for the day.

Donations during Oct. included: Christ Church-$500; Episcopal Social Service-$250; Seamen’s Society for Children and Familes-$100; Church Periodical Club-$25; Covenant House-$50; NY Altar Guild-$25; The St. Francis Academy-$50; Thanksgiving Food Gifts-$150.

The annual United Thank Offering, handled by Connie Ricciardi for Christ Church on behalf of Episcopal Church Women of the Diocese, amounted to $723 and was presented at the Cathedral on Nov. 6.

Open invitation is extended to women of the parish for the annual Silver Luncheon-Tea on Dec. 12. At that meeting Christmas wrapped new clothing items for women and children of Safe Horizon (battered wives) will be gathered. The traditional “Silver bowl” offering will go to Eden II Institute (autism). paragraph ending graphic

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Vestry Notes

Members of the Vestry of Christ Church New Brighton met on Monday, November 11. The following is a summary of some of the important items that were discussed at that time.

  • The Treasurer’s post still remains vacant; no candidates have stepped forward. In the interim, Richard Sigman continues to prepare the financial report which is presented to the Vestry each month, in addition to numerous other functions that should be handled by the Treasurer. The search continues. Interested parties should speak to Richard Sigman, Father Michael or any member of the Vestry.
  • As of November 11, pledges for the year 2003 total $70,000.00
  • The “draft” Conditions Survey indicates that there is a potentially serious problem in the attic roof of the Parish House. Several gaps were discovered between the joists. The Vestry voted to bring in a structural engineer who will assess the problem and provide us with the answers to remedy this situation as quickly as possible.
  • A Nominating Committee has been formed to select candidates to serve on the Vestry for the next two to three years. Once the final selections have been made and approved by the Vestry at the December meeting the names of those candidates will be posted in the Sunday Bulletin. Elections will be held during the parish meeting, which is scheduled to take place on the third Sunday in January 2003. .

Approved minutes of the October 2002 Vestry meeting have been posted on the bulletin board of the Parish House for anyone wishing to review them. paragraph ending graphic

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Serendipity Notes

It’s hard to believe that I am writing a column for the December issue of the Tower Chimes! It seems like only yesterday when I was telling you about the “Fat Tuesday” Pancake Supper, the May Ham Dinner, the Serendipity table at the Spring Fair, the Oktoberfest Dinner and most recently, our November Quiche Brunch and Sunday card sales.

On behalf of all of the members of Serendipity, I’d like to thank you for your continued support of all our projects and events. Our purpose is to host events that are fun and reasonably priced; and most important, to continue in the tradition of fellowship and family that Christ Church is known for. We do work hard, but we also have lots of fun. It’s so satisfying to see our parishioners, friends and family having a good time and enjoying each other’s company – that’s the greatest reward of all!

However, Serendipity is still a small group – way TOO small for the types of events that we host. We’re looking to increase our membership in 2003 and hoping that you’ll consider becoming a member. There are no dues and no rules. We meet on the third Tuesday of each month at a different member’s home. The meetings are productive and fun. Our events help to raise money, a large portion of which is given back to Christ Church to help offset operating expenses.

Our final meeting of the year will take place on Tuesday, December 17th at 7:30 p.m. We’d love to have you there; but if you can’t make it then, we hope you’ll consider becoming a member in January.

Christmas blessings – and best wishes for a happy, healthy and peaceful New Year! paragraph ending graphic

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Memorial Flowers and Christmas Greens

Those who would like to contribute to the Altar Memorial flowers and greens for Christmas should list names of those to be remembered and place envelopes containing donations in the offering plate on a Sunday. Flower fund envelopes will be found in the pews. Checks should be drawn to “Women of Christ Church.”
Names and donations may also be mailed directly to Mrs. Richard Elfers, 61 North Randall Ave., Staten Island, NY 10301. To be listed in the Christmas bulletin, all names must be received no later than Sunday, December 15. paragraph ending graphic

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Ecumenical Evensong

On Sunday evening, November 24, over 100 people enjoyed listening to a combined choir from the parishes of St. Paul’s RC Church, St. Peter’s RC Church and Christ Church, in a Solemn Evensong which took place at 4 p.m. Special guests were Msgr. James Dorney of St. Peter’s who officiated at the service, and The Rev. Vincent Bartley, who gave an inspirational homily.

This is the first time that these three parishes have worshiped together. Msgr. Dorney remarked that this Ecumenical event was one that he had long imagined would happen, and how fortunate he was to have it occur in his lifetime. Father Allen expressed his joy in having Christ Church as the host parish, and celebrating it with two of his closest colleagues on Staten Island.

Christ Church Organist and Choir Director, Tom Sarff, put together a wonderful musical program to mark this event. Though the chants and hymns were simple and familiar, the combined voices made them seem even lovelier that evening.

The members of Serendipity enhanced the enjoyment of the evening with a reception featuring home made sandwiches and baked goods, and of course, a small glass of sherry. paragraph ending graphic

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Altar Guild

A Staten Island workshop for Altar Guilds/Sacristans was held on Saturday, Nov. 9, 2002 at The Church of The Ascension from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The day began with Holy Eucharist and included a lunch period.

Shirley Elfers, Connie Ricciardi, Shirley Black, Martha Keucher, and Dorothy Rapp attended from Christ Church. Altar Guild members from Ascension, St. Alban’s and St. Simon’s also participated as well as a group from the Bronx. Approximately 40 attended.

Elizabeth Morgan of the Diocese of Albany instructed on the Care of Altar Linens and Church Hardware. Patricia Mayfield of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine demonstrated the Use of Flowers and Plants in Anglican Worship.

Bishop Taylor presented a brief history and gave an overview of what is involved in the work of the Altar Guild. Father Allen spoke on the spirituality of Altar Guild service.

Next year’s Diocesan Altar Guild/Sacristan Workshop will take place on Saturday, October 18, 2003 at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. paragraph ending graphic

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Food for Thought

On Thursday, October 24th, about 35 volunteers and organizers of the Second Saturday Feeding Ministry gathered at Christ Church for a pot-luck supper — unique in the sense that those who gathered were given the opportunity to "experience" Second Saturday dishes by the different Saturday volunteers. What a treat it was to share a meal of salad, macaroni and cheese, pasta salad and "beaner wieners" with so many friends.

Members of the Feeding Ministry Steerinig Committee where on hand to answer questions and provide an "overview" of what the program is about. Representatives from other local food ministries were there, Mary Haas & Brian Reardon from Trinity Lutheran's Soup Kitchen; Beverly Neuhaus from the Richmond Senior Services Center; Harold Wise from the New Brighton Local Development Corp. (he's the wonderful gentleman who distributes food from the Christ Church Food Pantry); and (by letter) Joan Cupo from the All Saint's Episcopal Feeding Ministry.

The Second Saturday Feeding Minstry is a worthwhile and rewarding program — and it's easy to be a participant. All you need to do is to prepare an "assigned" food item in a quantity enough to feed forty people once or twice a year, and drop it off at Trinity Lutheran Church on your assigned Saturday. If you're unable to deliver your food to Trinity, Susan or Victor will work with you to make sure your food gets to its intended location.

Susan and Victor have worked tirelessly on this program, coordinating volunteers from Christ Church and formulating the schedule for meal assignments. As long as there are hungry and homeless people in Staten Island there will always be a need for volunteeers — and more volunteers are ALWAYS welcome.

As the evening drew to a close Victor summarized the program by asking us to imagine that we are preparing these meals for our own families. "After all," he said, "these people ARE our family." paragraph ending graphic

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