Christ is risen indeed. Alleluia!
  April 2003

Click one of the headings below to read the article:

flame bullet character Father Michael flame bullet character An Easter Story
flame bullet character Around the Parish flame bullet character Easter Memorial Flowers
flame bullet character Vestry Notes flame bullet character We Pray to You, Lord God
flame bullet character Serendipity Notes flame bullet character Holy Week & Easter Schedule
flame bullet character Baroque Recital flame bullet character April Birthdays, Anniversaries,
& Parish Registry
flame bullet character Women of Christ Church flame bullet character Barbara We Hardly Knew You

The Post-Easter Galilee

Many people today occupy themselves with discovering the authentic teachings of Jesus by distinguishing his words from the words of the evangelists and comparing these to the teachings of the founders of the other world religions, for example, the Buddha.

In this they obscure the great work of Christ Jesus: not his teaching but his deed, the deed of death and resurrection. This deed is real and effective whether or not we understand it. It makes possible the continuance of the existence of earth, and further unfolding of earth and human evolution. This deed is the eternal fount of life for the world that the Father, God, so loved that He gave it to the Son.

This deed is real whether or not we understand it, and yet we ourselves are somehow less real if we do not try to draw nearer to it.

We cannot approach the mystery of Easter except on paths of love. Only in the open heart and the open, unprejudiced mind can its secrets be unveiled. With the wonder and awe of the first disciples we must enter the empty tomb.

Try to imagine this moment, standing – just as the sun was rising – in the dark and empty cave into which the body of Jesus, their beloved leader, had been placed. Try to imagine the emptiness in the hearts of the disciples as they stood in that empty tomb. Maybe you can recall a moment in your own destiny when everything that gave meaning and joy to your life seemed suddenly to have vanished: a moment of total bereavement.

Remain for a moment in that imagination. Let it expand slowly, to embrace the whole earth, the whole of humanity. Imagine the earth itself as that empty tomb and all of inner emptiness, bereft of all hope. Imagine the sorrow, the profound pain of that moment.

On the first day of the week, each of the evangelists tells us, on the day of the dawn ...very early...just as the Sun was rising, they tell us: try to imagine this rising, the first glimmer of renewed hope, the first impulse of renewed life.

“He is not here! He is risen! He goes before you!” the angel announces.

He is the firstborn of that humanity that has passed through the dark, dry hardness, the despair and disillusionment, of the empty tomb. He is the firstborn of that humanity that has penetrated and passed through the illusion of material existence to its divine spiritual source. He goes before us into Galilee. And what is Galilee? It is the sphere of the risen One, the flowering garden of a new earth, permeated by the healing, life-renewing light of the spiritual Sun, the only Son of the Father who so loved the world – the fallen world of God’s creation, now re-created through the Son.

We follow him into Galilee when we too love the world – seeking not to possess it but to lift it through our faith and deeds of love, into transubstantiated beauty, into the ever-rising light and warmth of the Easter Sun, into the eternal promise of divine hope. paragraph ending graphic

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Around the Parish

The past month has certainly been a busy one for the members of Christ Church. There’s so much to tell, it’s hard to find a place to begin.

Our Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper was an overwhelming success. There was a steady stream of Christ Church parishioners, as well as neighbors and friends, who came out to sample the pancakes and sausage. Thanks to all of the members of Serendipity - and to all of you who came out to support this worthy cause.

Congratulations to Pat DiMarco, one of our very active and creative Youth Directors here at Christ Church. On Saturday, March 8 the United Federation of Teachers honored her as one of the outstanding Paraprofessionals on Staten Island. Way to go, Pat!

Colin Reed reports that Christ Church recently delivered dozens of cartons of extra large eggs, many cases of broccoli, green squash and red and white onions to the New Directions Food Pantry on Post Avenue. All of this was made possible through a special budget line, which enables us to provide food for the needy.

On Sunday, March 2, Bishop Taylor paid a visit to Christ Church to administer the rite of Confirmation upon six very special young members of our Parish. Congratulations to Matthew Ambroggi, Sydney George, Mark Hewitt, II, Olisha James, Adrienne Wynter and Andrew Wynter. Speaking of special days, Edith Armstrong celebrated her 96th birthday last month! Edith, and her fellow parishioner, May Johnson, hold the distinction of being the oldest members of the Christ Church family.

Several members of Christ Church are planning a “British Invasion” at the Sung Harbor Harmony Street Fair on Saturday, June 8, under the able leadership of our own Colin Reed. A tasty and interesting array of home made British foods - afternoon tea, sandwiches, cakes and trifle to name just a few - will be available for purchase. All profits will be given to the Christ Church fund for camp and college-bound students. Check the upcoming issues of the Tower Chimes for more info. Colin will be more than happy to receive your donations of new and used children’s books to be sold that day.

During the season of Lent our services, and our church, have taken on a more somber tone. In fact, you may have noticed the two simple wooden altar crosses - one in the chapel and one on the main altar - which were designed and constructed by Victor Stanwick.

On the road again, now you see him, now you don’t! The elusive John Watson is off on another adventure - this time to the Panama Canal! John took to the open seas from Fort Lauderdale late last month on board the Dawn Princess, en route to sunny California. He’ll venture through the Panama Canal on his way to San Diego and San Pedro. He’ll have plenty to share when he returns, in addition to a wonderful collection of beautiful photographs. And speaking of travel, our own Pamela Miller can’t seem to sit still very long. Pam just returned from a vacation in Costa Rica, and rumor has it that she’ll soon be off again - this time to the Emerald Isle.

Talk about church growth! Congratulations to Tony and Tina Colucci on the birth of their daughter, Evangelina. Their joy has increased sevenfold since the birth of their “miracle baby” on January 14 – truly an entirely new meaning to the term “blessed event.” And best wishes to Ann Krsul and Leslie Sullivan on the birth of their son, Harris Oliver (“Harry”) who weighed in at 8 pounds 12 ounces on March 3 - that’s O3-03-03 for those of you who believe in lucky numbers! And last - but surely not least - our parish membership was increased sevenfold on just one Sunday with the joyful, and long overdue arrival of the family of parishioner Richard Zayzay. Richard’s wife and nine children have been living in Liberia, and he has been working day and night to bring them to Staten Island so they could all be together again. It certainly was a wonderful moment when Richard stood up and introduced his family to the members of his new Christ Church family.

We’re glad to report that Martha Bendix is on the mend. Last month Martha took a nasty fall, which resulted in a concussion and two broken vertebrae in her neck. She came through the surgery with flying colors and is faring well during what looks to be a lengthy recuperation period. Please keep her in your daily prayers.

Our Senior Warden, Richard Sigman, is up and running after arthroscopic knee surgery. He’s living proof that you can’t keep a good man down, especially when there’s work to be done at the church!

By now, many of you may have noticed that there is something “diffferent” about this month’s Around the Parish column. It appears to be missing the warmth and intimate style that you’ve become so accustomed to over the past few years. It is with mixed feelings to tell you that our ace reporter, Pamela Miller, has decided to put away her pencil and notepad and concentrate more on the “hands-on” activities at Christ Church: visiting parishioners at home and in the hospital, driving them to doctor’s appointments and volunteering once a week in the Parish Office. Words can’t begin to express our gratitude for her willingness to take on the task of editing this column when Martha Bendix moved to New Mexico, and for the many years that she kept us informed about parish life at Christ Church with her warm. cheery writing.

And now the search begins throughout the parish for the one who will fill her shoes (kind of like the story of Cinderella and her Prince Charming.) The job is really lots of fun – you get to talk to people at the Sunday coffee hour and find out what they’ve been up to. (Father Michael and the Wardens are also a good source of information as well!). Then it’s just a matter of reporting it each month. You don’t need to have any editorial experience and there’s no need to worry about punctuation, grammar and spelling – that’s the editor’s job. As Joe Friday would say, “Just the facts, ma’am; just the facts.”

In the meantime, please continue to keep us updated (Linda and me) on any newsworthy items about yourselves, families – and yes, other parishioners with whom we’ve lost touch. paragraph ending graphic

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Vestry Notes

Members of the Vestry met on Monday, March 10 for their regular monthly meeting. The following is a brief overview of important issues that were discussed at that time: Pledge income is lower than that budgeted for this period, and also in comparison with this period last year. Heat expenses are higher than last year and above what was budgeted for this period. Continued donations in the Heat Envelopes on Sunday mornings have provided a bit of an offset to the current deficit.

There are no ongoing weeknight Lenten programs at Christ Church this year, due to low attendance in prior years. Father Michael is encouraging parishioners to attend the various Lenten programs here on Staten Island: the Tuesday evening IPC program, the Wednesday evening program sponsored by the Staten Island Council of Churches, and the Thursday evening Bible Study at Christ Church.

Mark Wynter will be coordinating Christ Church’s participation in the S.I. “Community Days” program, which is scheduled to take place during the first week of April. If you are interested in participating in this worthwhile cause please contact him for further information.

The search for a Treasurer, and Assistant Treasurer continues. Several parishioners have expressed their interest in possibly taking on these important leadership roles in our church.

Father Michael has notified the Vestry of his intention to take a Sabbatical, in conjunction with some long overdue vacation time, during the months of July, August, September and October. Mother Rhoda Treherne and Father Lewis Marshall will be alternating their time here on Sunday mornings while he is away.

A contractor has been selected to make the necessary repairs to the Parish House roof. This project should be underway in the near future.

Jim Angone is hard at work, constructing two much needed storage facilities in the church basement.

Victor Stanwick is looking for volunteers to form a crew from Christ Church to work on projects for Habitat for Humanity. Details to follow on this very worthwhile endeavor.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Vestry will take place on Monday, April 14 at 7:30 p.m. In the interim, approved minutes from the meeting of February 10 have been posted on the Parish House bulletin board for those wishing to review them. paragraph ending graphic

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Serendipity Notes

At its meeting on 18 March in the home of Marlene Elia, members of Serendipity made plans for their Old Fashioned Fish Fry, which is being planned for 4 April under the leadership of Shirley Black; the Ice Cream Social which will be held on Sunday, 3 August, and the famous May Ham Dinner being held on Saturday, 4 October(no, that’s not an error!) We also agreed to buy Christ Church a new refrigerator to replace the decrepit upstairs model.

Members also heard about plans to have the British represented at the Harmony Street Fair at Snug Harbor on 8 June, to raise money for the fund set up at Christ Church by Gytha Bellaby to assist camp or college-bound young people. There’ll be a Ploughman’s Lunch, an afternoon tea with sandwiches, cakes and trifle, the sale of children’s books written in English, and tables selling British groceries and baked goods and jams and marmalade made by the people who are British, or of British descent. There will also be showings of a classic British movie made in 1946, Great Expectations showing Alec Guinness when he was about 12, and three episodes of Fawlty Towers. We will be urging all Christ Church people to visit the Harmony Fair, which is one of the great events in the life of Staten Island. There are ethnic foods by the ton from all over the world.

Serendipity meets next month on 14 April at the home of Dorothy Rapp. We’re always looking for fresh ideas and new faces and we’d love to have you join us. paragraph ending graphic

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Baroque Recital

Please plan to set aside the afternoon of Sunday, April 13 for an enjoyable recital in the Serenade series at Christ Church, at 3:00 p.m.

Our featured artists will be the Oleskewicz-Schulenberg Duo. Mary Oleskewicz and David Schulenberg, husband and wife, presents a program for baroque flute and harpsichord, performing the music of Buxtehude, J.S. Bach, Handel and Quantzi. The program, free to the public, will be followed by a Meet the Artists reception.

David Schulenberg is an internationally respected performer on the harpsichord and other early keyboard instruments. He is one of America’s foremost authorities on the music of the Bach family, and is presently chairman of the Wagner College music department.

Mary Oleskiewicz is a highly regarded teacher and performer of the baroque flue, and one of the leading scholars of her generation on the music of J.S. Bach and his contemporaries.

Both artists have appeared at the Library of Congress, the Boston Early Music Festival and the Great Performers at Lincoln Center series.

The S. I. Bank and Trust Foundation has given major funding for these recitals, which have been made possible (in part) by an Encore grant from the Council on the Arts and Humanities for Staten Island (COAHSI), with public funding from the N. Y. State Council on the Arts. Additional support has been provided by the Richmond County Savings Foundation. paragraph ending graphic

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Women of Christ Church

The Women of Christ Church did not meet in January and February because of the likelihood of bad weather. Ten of us met on our regular second Thursday in March, ignoring the prediction of rain and snow. To our great relief, the day stayed cloudy, but dry.

The Chapel was nearly filled as we gathered for the Eucharist and Healing Service celebrated by Father Michael. Dorothy Rivera, devotional chairperson, helped us to continue our spiritual journey with a suggestion for resolving each morning to do a golden deed that day. This was a fitting opening to our business meeting.

Following up on the Christmas gifts, Connie Ricciardi and Shirley Elfers reported that Oasis had been very grateful for the toys and warm clothing that we had brought in December. Our Silver Offering was given to Eden II, who sent an appreciative acknowledgment.

There was some discussion about arrangements for the Spring Meeting of the Episcopal Women of Staten Island, which is to be here at Christ Church. Final plans will be made when we meet again in April.

Helen Martin and Connie Ricciardi had decorated the luncheon tables with lots of green for St. Patrick’s Day. We ate our sandwiches quickly so we could enjoy the delicious and appropriately green desserts that they set before us.

Sue Boody and Margaret Harris will be the hostesses for our April gathering. All women of the church are invited to be with us on Thursday, April 10 for any part of the day: Eucharist and Healing at 11:00 a.m., business meting at 12 Noon and lunch at 1:00 p.m. paragraph ending graphic

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An Easter Story

Little Philip, born with Down’s syndrome, attended a third-grade Sunday school class with several 8-year old boys and girls.

Typical of that age, the children did not readily accept Philip with his differences, according to an article in Leadership magazine. But because of a creative teacher, they began to care about Philip and accept him as part of the group, though not fully.

The Sunday after Easter, the teacher brought L'Eggs pantyhose containers, the kind that look like large eggs. After each child received one they were then told to go outside on that lovely spring day, find some symbol for new life and put it in the egg-like container. Back in the classroom, they would share their new-life symbols, opening the containers one by one in a surprise fashion.

After running about the church property in wild confusion, the students returned to the classroom and placed the containers on the table. Surrounded by the children, the teacher began to open them one by one. After each one, whether flower, butterfly or leaf, the class would “ooh” and “aah.” Then one was opened, revealing nothing inside.

The children exclaimed, “That’s stupid. That’s not fair. Somebody didn’t do their assignment.”

Philip spoke up, “That’s mine.”

“Philip, you don’t ever do things right,” one student retorted. “There’s nothing there!”

“I did so do it,” Philip insisted. “I did do it. It’s empty. The tomb was empty!”

Silence followed. From then on Philip became a full member of the class. He died not long afterward from an infection that most other children would have shrugged off. At the funeral, this class of 8-year-olds marched up to the altar not with flowers, but with their Sunday school teacher, each to lay on it an empty pantyhose egg. --- Source unknown paragraph ending graphic

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Easter Memorial Flowers

Those who would like to contribute to the memorial flowers for Easter should list the 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 Avenue, Staten Island, NY 10301. To be listed in the Easter bulletin all names must be received no later than Palm Sunday. paragraph ending graphic

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We Pray to You, Lord God

Let us all take a moment to offer our prayers to God for peace in our time, and a swift end to ALL war and civil unrest.

A Prayer for Peace
Eternal God, in whose perfect kingdom no sword is drawn but the sword of righteousness, and no strength known but the strength of love: so widely spread abroad your spirit that all peoples may be gathered under the banner of your Peace, Shalom, and Salaam, as children of one Father; to whom be dominion and glory now and forever. Amen.

A Prayer For Those in the Armed Forces
Almighty God, we commend to your gracious care and keeping all the men and women of our Armed Forces at home and abroad. Defend them day by day with your heavenly grace; strengthen them in their trials and temptations; give them courage to face the perils which beset them; and grant them a sense of your abiding presence wherever they may be; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

A Prayer For Our Enemies
O God, the Father of all whose Son commanded us to love our enemies: Lead them and us from prejudice to truth; deliver them and us from hatred, cruelty and revenge; and in your good times enable us all to stand reconciled before you; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. paragraph ending graphic

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Holy Week & Easter Schedule

7:30 am. Matins
8:00 am. Said Eucharist
10:30 am. Procession of the Palms
& Choral Eucharist
3:00 pm. Serenade Recital
8:30 am. Matins
9:00 am. Eucharist w/Meditation
5:30 pm. Evening Prayer
8:30 am. Matins
9:00 am. Eucharist w/Meditation
5:30 pm. Evening Prayer
8:30 am. Matins
9:00 am. Eucharist w/Meditation
5:30 pm. Evening Prayer
7:30 pm. Tenebrae
8:30 am. Matins
9:00 am. Eucharist w/Meditation
5:30 pm. Evening Prayer
7:30 pm. Maundy Thursday Service
9:30 pm. Watch Night Service
8:30 am. Matins
10:30 am. Good Friday Service
4:00 pm. Family Good Friday Service
5:30 pm. Evening Prayer
7:30 pm. Good Friday Service
8:30 am. Matins
11:00 am. Holy Saturday Service
11:30 am. Easter Rehearsal
5:30 pm. Evening Prayer
7:00 pm. Easter Vigil
7:30 am. Matins
8:00 am. Said Eucharist
9:00 am. Family Eucharist
9:45 am. Family Fiesta & Egg Hunt
10:30 am. Solemn Choral Eucharist paragraph ending graphic

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Birthdays, Anniversaries, & Parish Register

April Birthdays
1—Ian Robert Adams, Bryan Jamal Adams, Matthew Ambroggi; 6—Harry Bernardez; 10—Michael Devlin; 24—David Wood; 26—Mary Boody; 30—Nancy Sherman

April Anniversaries
6—Linda & Harald Reiersen; 12—Carol & John Brown; 15—Eva & William Sherman; 17—Sue & Rick Boody; 25—Laura & Henry Kennedy, Helen & Alex Okocha.

If your special day is not in our records, call the Parish Office at 1-718-727-6100 so it can be added.

Parish Register for March
Confirmations: Matthew Ambroggi, Sydney George, Mark Hewitt, Olisha James, Adrienne Wynter, Andrew Wynter

Transfers In: Alleida M. Mitchell; Phyllis Bath. paragraph ending graphic

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Barbara We Hardly Knew You

I made my first acquaintance with Mother Barbara Lacerre during the Thanksgiving Eve service at Christ Church. She had recently moved to a small apartment on Webster Avenue and had come to worship that evening with Victor Stanwick and Susan Fowler. I can still remember Victor’s introduction: “This is Barbara and she’s great!”

After the service I had an opportunity to talk with her. She was quite excited about living here on Staten Island and was looking forward to spending more time worshiping at Christ Church. It was her dream to one day open a small book store on Staten Island, and she was in the process of scouting out vacant locations to make this dream a reality.

Mother Barbara never had the chance to lead her own parish, but she did serve in several parishes in Connecticut and New Jersey. She had no specific assignment when she moved to Staten Island, but became affiliated with Christ Church as an Associate Priest in January of this year. This was not a paid position, but instead, provided her with a place where she could receive messages and be reached by other members of the clergy. She was thrilled to have found a new parish home and was excited about meeting each and every member of our family.

Worship at Christ Church was an important part of Mother Barbara’s life and she looked forward to serving at the altar – whether it was chanting the Gospel on Christmas Eve, preparing the altar for the Eucharist or administering the chalice during Sunday services. Her finest hour came in February when Father Michael asked her to deliver a sermon on Sunday morning. In fact, there were tears in her eyes when she stepped down from the pulpit that day.

Not everyone at Christ Church had the opportunity to get to know Mother Barbara Lacerre; in fact, many parishioners never got to meet her at all. She was diagnosed with a very serious condition in the early part of February and passed away in the intensive care unit of a Manhattan hospital about two weeks later. She may not have had a profound effect on most of our lives – but the brief period of her life that she spent as a member of our parish family meant all the world to her. paragraph ending graphic

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