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God's Love Song in
Those of you who
have been in the rectory know that I collect arks. In fact, I have
an entire room that my kids lovingly call the “Ark Room”
because of its varied and numerous items that pertain to Noah and
his ark. When Colin Reed interviewed me over five years ago in this
room, he made mention of it in his Tower Chimes article. Many parishioners
have added to the collection since then through thoughtful and meaningful
“ark” gifts – so much so that I am seriously considering
because of “ark” overflow, setting up another room in
the rectory called “Ark Room II”.
The story of the ark has always been one of my favorite ones since
I attended Bible School. I collect arks, not because they are part
of a special “folk art” genre, which because of its
popularity is considered a good investment, but rather because they
represent for me God’s determination to never give up on us.
The Great Flood may not have effected any dramatic change in humankind,
but it did effect an “earth-flooding” change in God.
From this moment on God would forever more approach humanity with
an unlimited patience. From this moment on God would approach humanity
with unconditional and unlimited love. From this moment on God promised
never to give up on us no matter what we might do.
God did not set the rainbow in the cloud so that Noah would see
it, but that God himself would see it. It was a sign to God. That
is why each time when I see a rainbow, I thank God from the bottom
of my heart that the Good News depends not on what we see, on our
senses, on our feelings, on subjective emotions that change with
the seasons, but on firm, unshakable and unmovable realities: God
in Christ has reconciled the world to God self.
Better than a silver lining over our cloud is a beautiful rainbow
– God’s Love Song in the Sky – the knowledge that
whatever darkness covers our sky, God is able to deliver us and
to keep us within the embrace of God’s saving embrace. Finally,
this beautiful love song woos us with the eternal truth that no
matter how we might have blown it and have totally messed up, in
God’s eyes we are always redeemable and worth saving.
Around the Parish
I thought for this
edition of the Tower Chimes, it would be a change to interview Christ
Church members in a local watering place where they are known to
gather at the end of the workweek. So shorthand book came out of
my pocket as Judy Davis was lingering around. Her first grandson,
Dylan, is five years old and losing his teeth. (I know the feeling,
although I didn’t get a lollipop to compensate—wartime).
And he’s getting new ones—lucky guy. Colin, who was
in the area, told me that his dentist projects that his (Colin’s)
teeth are not long on this earth.
Judy’s niece Sam(antha) is coming for a holiday with her
sister Traci and her nieces and “Granny” will be having
a whole family of 11 for lunch to celebrate daughter Pat’s
Dick and Susan Maren, we hear, left this past weekend for a holiday
in Spain. They probably felt it was too cold in their usual holiday
home in Norway. (It’s jolly cold here too.)
Paul Smith and his brother Ian will be together for a short while—this
time in the U.S. and we look forward to hearing him speak at the
pulpit on Sunday (past.) Ian is The Team Leader of the Church Mission
Society in England. That makes him a missionary.
Our dear friend Fr. Walsted has had some minor surgery, very minor
Martha told me. He has a stiff upper lip she says, and is having
a restful respite.
Colin’s nephew was planning a trip to the U.S. in April
on the QE2, having his mobile home shipped separately by freighter.
These Brits!! But the flow of tourist activity is preventing him
from clearing permits and visas. It’s on hold at the moment.
Colin also shared this—his brother from England sent him some
new underpants and was awarded the Cross of St. George. Was the
award for the underpants? Now why in the world would we need to
know this!? These Brits have some funny relatives—even Colin
thought it was weird.
I received four Valentines this week!!!! Things are looking up—but
I have to say I was extremely surprised.
Annie Reed took the plunge again. She has two babies. One is thirteen
months and a newborn—they’re just about a year apart.
Colin and Esther are very proud.
People who have church events planned for this year and the coming
year should be aware that a Calendar Committee will be innovated
soon. Beth McLean, (tall and mean they call her at school when she’s
not looking,) and Trevor Mills are in charge of the next Holly Ball.
Please give them your input so they can make their arrangements.
Victor Stanwick has made wooden dividers to separate the Serendipity
sale of cards from the coffee hour. This has escalated and recent
sales have amounted to over $1,000!!! Victor’s carpentry made
a huge difference to the way the display looked. Victor is also
on the cusp of going from being an aspirant to a postulant. He has
had many interviews and is on the way!
I was wondering where Martha Keucher had been for the last few
weeks and I learned that she has recently returned from Singapore,
Thailand and Vietnam. The River Chaophyra Hotel is right on the
river there and Martha says that it was very picturesque. She and
her daughter-in-law Jan Keucher had to row across the river to shop
on the other side. Martha says that it was a fantastic trip--she
should write a book!!
Speaking of wonderful trips, Gytha Bellaby and her mom, Joan Rock
are in Paris. When they return they are both planning to go to Florida
for several weeks. Send us some cards; we miss you already.
The new Vestry of
Christ Church New Brighton met for the first time this year on Monday,
February 9, 2003. Preliminary plans were made for several upcoming
events and many important decisions were made at that time. Here
are some important highlights:
Nancy Reiersen-Scromo was elected as Clerk of the Vestry for the
2003 Vestry term
Richard Sigman will remain in the position of Treasurer “pro
tem” and continue to write checks and submit financial reports
to the Vestry each month.
“Heat Fund” contributions of $275.00 from members
of our parish helped to offset some of the fuel expenses in January
Three new pay phones will be purchased for use in the Parish House
- one will replace the current model in the hallway, one will be
installed on the second floor, and the other will be installed in
the gymnasium area.
A grant application for funding for our Youth Program has been
submitted to Episcopal Charities. In addition paperwork is being
considered for grant funding from Childcare, Inc.
The Christ Church basketball teams have been entered into the
Episcopal league tournament on April 26, and they have been invited
to participate in a tournament sponsored by the Jewish Community
Center. Parishioners and fans are encouraged to attend these games
and cheer our teams on to victory.
Dates have been selected for several important events at Christ
Church, which will take place during the year. (Please see the special
article in this issue of The Tower Chimes.)
The Vestry will meet again on Monday, March 10th at 7:30 p.m.
In the interim, approved minutes from the meeting of January 13,
2003 have been posted on the Parish House bulletin board for those
wishing to review them.
The Right Stuff
Every once in a
while, not nearly often enough, the New York Times and other news
media give the Episcopal Church some publicity. Tuesday, February
4, 2003, was a red-letter day in this respect, for on that day the
Times ran, on the front page of the “Metro” section,
an article about the Episcopal Diocese of New York and Bishop Sisk’s
project to raise and contribute monies toward the rebuilding of
a mosque in Afghanistan, a mosque that is believed to have been
damaged by American military action.
Quite frankly, I was overjoyed to read this article—and
even happier to learn later that the vestry of Christ Church had
voted to contribute to this fund. Afghanistan has “dropped
off the radar screen,” insofar as mainstream news media coverage
is concerned. It has often been said that the three Semitic religions—Judaism,
Christianity, and Islam—are not tolerant religions. We can
certainly point to many examples of intolerance throughout Christian
history. But many Episcopalians, myself included, believe that intolerance
is a serious fault. This fault seems especially to critique Judaism,
Christianity and Islam, for all three great world religions claim
Abraham as their father and share in the entire rich and lengthy
heritage of the Old Testament. The relationship between Judaism
and Christianity, of course, is unique. It is said that Jews could
object to nothing in the Lord’s Prayer, for example.
The Elizabethan Settlement of 1559, which determined the character
of Anglicanism from that day to this, set an example of tolerance
that was unusual for its time and that still rings true across the
centuries. Queen Elizabeth I, “Good Queen Bess,” was
determined not to “make windows into men’s souls”
and to include as many of her subjects as possible in the “church
by law established.” Even today, Episcopalians enjoy a freedom
of religious opinion that is scarcely known in many other religious
bodies. Intellectual liberty is highly prized by our best church
leaders and the Episcopal Church in America today has welcomed many
adherents from other traditions that are not as tolerant.
My experience of the Episcopal Diocese of New York dates back
to 1968. Over the years I have found much to admire in it and have
made many friends here. We are strong enough and mature enough to
embrace unpopular causes and to take right actions. Bishop Sisk
is part of a great tradition, a tradition that all can claim as
our own as we face the future with courage.
Virginia Clark Peel
Until she moved
to Texas almost 28 years ago, Ginny Peel was a lifelong member of
Christ Church. Her father, Joe Clark, sang in the choir, served
on the Vestry and went bowling in the old gym in the basement. Her
mother, Grace Clark, was a member of Women of Christ Church and
very involved in activities here. Her sister, Doris Tucher, who
now lives in New Jersey, also sang in the choir. An alto, Ginny
loved singing under the direction of Maestro Jack Bainbridge, along
with her longtime choir buddies Shirley Palmer Elfers, Mae Seeley,
Valerie Quinlan, Pam Miller, Beth Beveridge McClean, Jay Spadaro,
Bill Brown, Bill Beveridge and Dave Seeley, as well as her daughter,
In Texas, Ginny has been attending St. Francis Episcopal Church,
two blocks from her home in San Antonio, and singing in the choir.
When she and John first moved there, she taught school and owned
a gift shop, while volunteering as a docent at the McNay Art Museum,
which specializes in art from the Impressionist era up to the present.
She was later hired to work there in the library, as a cataloguing
specialist, and retired from that job only recently, while still
serving as head of weekend docents and also volunteering as a mentor
in a local public school.
When John had a stroke in 1983, Ginny left work to care for him
until his death in 1992. His ashes rest in the columbarium in the
chapel here in Christ Church.
Ginny has now moved to 448 Pecan Way Drive, San Antonio, Texas,
78240, which is in a retirement community just a few miles from
her former home. Her phone number remains 210-690-9482. When she
returns to Staten Island to visit her family, which includes Janet,
Paul and grandchildren Kate, Andrew and Ted Schneider, she loves
to renew friendships with old friends here at Christ Church, as
well as to make new friends with all who have come here since she
left. And if anyone from here plans a trip to San Antonio, Ginny
would love to hear from you, can guide you about places to see in
town, and will give you a private tour of the museum!
Women of Christ Church
The Women of Christ
Church will meet on Thursday, March 13; beginning with Holy Eucharist
in the Chapel at 11 a.m. Connie Ricciardi and Helen Martin are the
hostesses for the day. Bring a sandwich and join the hospitality.
Sunday School News
at Christ Church are busier than ever these days. Our Sunday School
is back and in full swing under the watchful eyes of our new Director,
Sheila Hewitt, and our new Assistant Director, Christine Szczepanik.
Our Sunday School teaching staff includes Deirdre Aleman (grades
K-1); Melodi Coleman (grades 3, 4, 5), and a group of “team
teachers” - Barnett Shepherd, Leslie Sullivan, Richard Zayzay
and Fr. Michael - who work with our Junior High group.
Sheila is thrilled to be working with the children and has had
a lot of experience in this area. She was responsible for coordinating
several programs at the Todt Hill Community Center for young people
and seniors, in addition to serving as Director of the North Shore
YMCA from 1979 to 1983 where she coordinated the basketball and
baseball leagues, in addition to the Summer Camp Program.
The current curriculum centers on Bible stories; however, there
are other “special” activities that our young people
are involved in. Right now they are working on a special presentation
for Maundy Thursday and will also be participating in the “Watch
Night” later that evening. There will be a Family Service
on Easter Sunday, followed by the traditional piñata and
Easter Egg Hunt.
And speaking of the Family Service, we hope you’ve had the
opportunity to hear our new accompanist, Thomas Liu. Thomas is a
sophomore at Curtis High School and studies piano with his mother,
Joyce Chung. She is an accomplished concert pianist and has performed
at Alice Tully Hall and Carnegie Hall. Thomas’ ten-year-old
sister, Kathleen, is a pianist and also studies violin with Valerie
Quinlan. We are so pleased to have Thomas with us - as well as the
members of his family - his parents Joyce and Paul, his sister Kathleen
and his brother Philip.
Wanted: Assistant Treasurer
As many of you are
aware, the Treasurer’s position has been vacant for over a
year. In the interim, our Senior Warden, Richard Sigman, has graciously
taken on many of the recording and reporting functions of this job
until a full-time volunteer steps forward to fill this very important
At this time it has become apparent that we need to create an
additional position – that of Assistant Treasurer –
to help ease the burden of the Treasurer’s responsibilities
at this time, and to provide a solid background that will enable
this person to move into the Treasurer’s position - upon approval
of the Vestry - before the year has ended.
The Assistant Treasurer’s position requires approximately
eight hours of volunteer work once a month. The candidate will be
trained to use Excel and Quick Books (accounting-based computer
programs) and will also learn how to do financial reporting. The
Assistant Treasurer will also learn how to write checks, do bank
reconciliations and also prepare written reports for the Vestry.
A knowledge of accounting or bookkeeping practices would be helpful,
or in the least, computer literacy and skill with numbers.
The Vestry was so much in favor of having an Assistant Treasurer
that they voted to make this a permanent position. This person will
continue to work side by side with the Treasurer in this very important
role in our Church leadership. If you are interested in taking on
the challenge and want to learn more about the operations of our
church, please see Richard Sigman or Father Michael. They will be
happy to answer any questions that you may have.
Save the Dates!
The Christ Church
activity calendar is bursting at the seams – there are so
many exciting events that are scheduled to take place in 2003 that
we wanted to share the dates with you NOW so that you can plan to
be a part of each and every one. Grab your calendar and a sharp
pencil and get to work!
Spring Fair – Saturday, June 14
(Chairpersons: Gytha Bellaby and Leslie Shannon)
Jeans’ Sunday – October 5
Stewardship “Events Sunday” – October
Stewardship “Commitment Sunday” –
St. Nick’s Fair – Saturday, December 6
(Chairpersons: Nick Lettiere and Richard Sigman
Holly Ball – Saturday, December 13
(Chairpersons: Trevor Mills and Beth McLean)?
Deadline for the April Tower Chimes is Sunday, March
In the name of Jesus
Christ, who was never in a hurry, we pray, O God that you will slow
us down, for we know that we live too fast. With all of eternity
before us, make us take time to live—time to get acquainted
with You, time to enjoy Your blessings, and time to know each other.
Keck III, Eileen Murray, Kevin McAndrew, Kenneth A. McLean
18—Theresa Lettiere, Beverly Pavelec
23—Nancy Lettiere, Heather George
30—Daniel N. Lettiere, Mark E. Hewitt, Sr., Tom Sarff.
If your special day is not in our records, call the
Parish Office at 727-6100 so it can be added.