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  December 2003

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bullet character Father Michael bullet character Memorial Flowers and Greens
bullet character Around the Parish bullet character Sunday School News
bullet character Women of Christ Church bullet character Parish Registry
bullet character Vestry Notes    

God's Advent Lights

Over the past four months, a great deal has happened to draw us together as a parish family. While Father Michael was away on a much-needed sabbatical, we were host to several supply priests and gave each of them our traditional Christ Church welcome.

Over the summer months, many of us took the time to participate in the Long Range Planning Sessions following the Sunday services. Your responses to this survey are an important part of the next phase of the survey process and will play an important part in the decision-making that lies ahead for the future growth of our parish – in terms of membership, finances and improvements to our facilities. We thank everyone who participated in this process.

In October, many parishioners and friends of the parish met for a wonderful evening of fellowship – and fund raising – at the annual Christ Church May Ham Dinner, sponsored by Serendipity. And the following day, Jeans Sunday, we all worked together to get things cleaned-up, organized and prepared for the year ahead. Unfortunately we did not have as many parishioners helping this year, as in previous years, but the ones who were there were able to accomplish something. Again we would like to thank all of the parishioners and friends who helped on that day. The Fellowship “brunch” on October 26 provided an opportunity for parishioners who attend services at different times on Sunday morning to get to know each other better.

The most important part of the year lies ahead and will begin on Sunday, November 2, when Father Michael returns to us. In addition to his much-anticipated return, this is also the day that has been set aside as Commitment Sunday, the day we place our 2004 pledge cards in the baptismal font to be blessed by Father Michael. In addition, we will be dedicating the new pulpit hangings and other liturgical items that have been dedicated in memory of Mother Annette Hazen and Virginia Varnum, two beloved members of our parish family.

Both Nick Lettiere and I would like to thank you all for your hard work and support over the past four months. We are both looking forward to a successful stewardship campaign, the joyous holidays that lie ahead and a productive new year. paragraph ending graphic

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Around the Parish

It's been a very busy time for many of our Christ Church parishioners and friends. It's become pretty apparent lately with the increasing size of this column every month.

Get well wishes to Rick Boody who underwent triple bypass surgery in November. Rick has been showing improvement every day - so much so that he managed to find the energy to receive the Annual Volunteer Award from the Staten Island Historical Society. Keep up the good work Rick - we're looking forward to you and Sue leading the first dance as Honorary Chairpersons of this year's Holly Ball!

They say that variety is the spice of life, and these days our Sunday morning Family Services have been offering quite a variety of musical talents. Not only can we count on Thomas Liu , the very talented young man who plays for the service each Sunday, but lately it's not an usual sight to find his sister, Catherine or his mom, Joyce Chung , seated at the keyboard. In fact Joyce, an accomplished pianist, will be performing with our own Valerie Quinlan in a recital at the Donnell Library in January. And speaking of musical accomplishments, congratulations to 'Li Black , son of Buster and Connie Black and the other members of the Tottenville High School Marching Band (Farrell Division 308.)'Li, who plays the bass drum and his band mates won the State championship and came in second (by just two-tenths of a point!) in the country-wide competition. However the band was awarded special recognition for best in music and overall show.

Condolences to the families of May Johnson and Kirsten Hansen . May, a long-time parishioner of Christ Church passed away in early November, and Kirsten, sister of Larry Hansen our youth activities coordinator, passed away during the latter part of November.

Kudos to Daniel Lettiere , son of Nick and Nancy Lettiere , on his recent induction into the National Honor Society. Daniel currently attends Xaverian High School in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn ; and congratulations also to Olisha James who was named to the Honor Roll at IS61 here on Staten Island .

Our very first Chinese Auction was an overwhelming success! Thanks to the efforts of our chairpersons Ally Mitchell and Richard Zayzay this November fund raiser brought in over $3600. Congratulations to both of you, and to the many volunteers who helped out that evening, on a job well done.

When it comes to hard work and determination Susan Fowler and Victor Stanwick just don't know when to stop! While Father Michael was away on a four-month sabbatical, Victor remained faithful in his promise to officiate Morning Prayer each and every day at Christ Church . This, in addition to the many other tasks that he graciously takes on during his spare time including the maintenance of the Christ Church web site. Each month it keeps getting better and better, and this month is no exception. If you get a chance check out the Christ Church organ section where you'll find photos and a very informative article written by our organist and choirmaster, Tom Sarff . And a special mention to Susan Fowler for coordinating the Long Range Planning sessions this summer. Susan spent many long hours signing up parishioners for the sessions, acting as facilitator for many of them on Sunday mornings, and for summarizing the parishioner responses into a comprehensive list that was presented to our parishioners during the coffee hour this summer. As if this weren't enough, this dynamic duo just authored a 600-page volume entitled "Web Application Design Handbook: Best Practices for Web-Based Software." Their audience is software development teams who develop applications for the web. Morgan Kaufmann Publishers in San Francisco has contracted for the book and hope to release it at the Association for Computing Machinery conference in Vienna in April 2004. O.K. guys, now it's time to take a rest!

Some encouraging news from New Mexico about Martha Bendix . After a rather extensive recovery period in a medical facility, Martha is now a resident at the Sombrillo Nursing Home in Los Alamos and rumor has it that she's quickly becoming accustomed to the accommodations: shrimp, crackers and ice cream were her choice for her first meal in her new home. Martha would love to hear from her friends here at Christ Church . Her new address is: Martha Bendix, Sombrillo Nursing and Rehabilitation Center , 1011 Sombrillo Court , Los Alamos , NM 87544 .

And speaking of new accommodations, we received a lovely note from Mark and Carlene Wynter telling us all about their new home in Orange Park , Florida , a lovely "island" community that is completely surrounded by trees and dotted with lakes. They send their love and best wishes and an open invitation to come for a visit. Their new address is: Mark, Carlene, Andrew and Adrienne Wynter and Michael Pignotti, 2443 Watermill Drive , Orange Park. FL 32073.

Janet Schneider just returned from a lovely visit with her mom, Virginia Peel , who's now situated in her new retirement village villa in San Antonio . In addition to spending some quality time with Ginnie sightseeing, taking boat rides and dining at many of the lovely restaurants in town, Janet also had the opportunity to sing in the choir with her mom as part of her church's Thanksgiving concert. Ginnie will be with us again for the Christmas holidays and joining the Christ Church choir for Christmas Eve. Janet was also the lucky winner of the Spring Fair auction for a Dinner for Two prepared by our own Nick Lettiere and recently "cashed in" on her prize. To quote Janet, it was "an amazing treat" consisting of a four-course dinner of two broccoli quiches, a huge pork roast with ALL the trimmings - three veggies, sauerkraut, applesauce and gravy - a garden salad and pumpkin pie and rugelach for dessert. If this item is offered for auction at next year's Spring Fair it's truly a great deal worth bidding on - and Janet will there as well, bidding against you!

That's it for now, folks. Please keep the news and updates coming. And best wishes for a blessed Christmas and a happy and healthy new year! paragraph ending graphic

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Women of Christ Church

The Women of Christ Church had a very social month in November - we were hosts to the Staten Island Church Women United at the World Fellowship program. All around the world women were spiritually joining hands in a "Circle of Love." Father Allen's meditation made it clear how such a love will result in justice and reconciliation.

Five days later we were guests of the ladies of Our Savior Lutheran Church. Fr. Michael assisted Pastor Bogholtz in a service of Holy Communion. A picture-perfect buffet luncheon was served for the ladies of St. Mary's Castleton, St. Paul's, St. Luke's Lutheran and Christ Church . Favors at each plate indicated a package labeled "I will make you fishers of men" each containing goldfish crackers! The salads were so varied and delicious that several of us suggested that a book of recipes be published.

When the Women of Christ Church convene on Thursday, December11 it will be another party - our Silver Tea. After the service of Communion and Healing at 11:00 a.m. in the Chapel we will enjoy a "pitch-in" luncheon. Our gifts of clothing and toys will go to Project Oasis. Our offering for that day will be given to a worthy cause to be determined at our meeting that day.

We welcome all women to join our Christmas celebration on December 11. paragraph ending graphic
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Vestry Report

On Monday, November 10 th the members of the Vestry of Christ Church met for their regular monthly meeting. Many issues were discussed at that time and important decisions were made. The following is a brief recap of that meeting.

Based on the figures in our current financial report it appears that we will end the year with deficit unless we realize a significant profit from the St. Nick's Holiday Fair and the Holly Ball this month. However, it was noted that this year we will have sponsored five fund raising events - the Spring Fair, the May Ham Dinner, the Chinese Auction, the St. Nick's Holiday Fair and the Holly Ball thanks to the hard work of so many Christ Church parishioners and friends of the parish. Special mention was given for the outstanding job done by Ally Mitchell and Richard Zayzay as co-chairs of our very first Chinese Auction which raised over $3600

As of the November meeting 45 pledges had been submitted for 2004 totaling $70,640.00 The current figure is well below the amount that has been projected for next year and it is anticipated that additional pledges will be coming in.

Nick Lettiere reported on the current plans for the December 6 St. Nick's Fair. In addition to a wide assortment of vendors present that day, the Sunday School will be hosting the lunch room, Margaret Harris will be chairing the baked goods table, Shirley Elfers and Connie Ricciardi will be selling the "sweeps table" tickets, Richard Sigman will be selling honey and the members of Serendipity will be selling home made "take away" foods. The success of this event - and the Holly Ball - depends upon the support of all of the parishioners of Christ Church.

Parishioner responses to the Long Range Planning sessions held this summer have been summarized and will be mailed out to all parishioners this month, along with a Parish history which was formulated during the June Vestry retreat. The next step in the process will be to have parishioners rank the responses in order of importance and to then act on the selected responses.

The Vestry has voted to allocate $200 in outreach funding to each of the following organizations: 1) On Your Mark, 2)The Episcopal Feeding Ministry, 3)Meals on Wheels, 4)The Alzheimer Foundation, 5)Global Medical Relief, and 6)The Goodhue Center.

The Nominating Committee has been meeting to determine a list of candidates to fill the positions of Vestry members whose terms expire this year. A slate of candidates will be presented some time this month and the final vote will take place during the Parish Annual Meeting in January. paragraph ending graphic
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Memorial Flowers and 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 14. paragraph ending graphic
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Sunday School News

The members of our Sunday School - both the students and their teachers - have been hard at work as they prepare for the holiday season.

Once again, the Sunday School will be hosting the lunch room at this year's St. Nick's Holiday Fair on Saturday, December 6 and we'll be preparing and serving sandwiches, drinks and dessert. It's hard work, but it gives us all a chance to share in this wonderful holiday celebration; and, we also get to spend some time with many of the parishioners who attend the 8 a.m. and 10:30 am services on Sunday.

We've also been busily rehearsing for our Advent Play, which will be presented on Sunday, December 21 during the Combined Service at 10:30 a.m. that morning. There will be a reception, once again hosted by the Sunday School, immediately following the service and any donations of food - cakes, cookies, sandwiches - would be most welcome.

We are also participating in the General Mills box top program - you know, those little General Mills logos that can be found on the top of the boxes of their cereals, cake mixes and other products. These box tops can be redeemed for a number of different items, a list of which can be found on Sunday School bulletin board in the Parish House.

So on behalf of our staff - Christine Szczepanik. Assistant Director, Melodi Coleman (teacher) and Connie Black - (substitute teacher/assistant) and the students I'd like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. paragraph ending graphic
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Parish Register

Parish Register for November

Burial: May Johnson

Baptism: Duncan Sean Connor

December Birthdays

1-Sue Boody, 3-Liam David Aleman, 4-Philip Aleman IV, 5- Victor Stanwick , Ann Lauderback, 12-Linda McAndrew, 17-Lester Blair, 18-Tovin Epherim Hewitt, Willie F. Black Jr.

December Anniversaries

9-Larraine and David Holt, 13-Karen and Paul Smith,

27-Shirley and Willie Black, Jr., Linda and Robert McAndrew, Laura & Albert Patrick.

January Birthdays

1-Isabel Thompson, James Angone, 4-Elizabeth Kennedy, 7-Jeanne Mann, Benoria Zayzay, 10 - Betsy Liozzi, 14-Willie Black III, 15-Laura Kennedy, 16-Peter Mazzucco, 23-Bill Beveridge, 24-Alexander Seeley, 26-Nellie Johnson, Mary Ann McDonnell, 28-Ronald Mazzucco, 29-Helen Okocha, 30-Janet Schneider, Alexander Okocha

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

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