The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia!
  April 2004

Click one of the headings below to read the article:

paragraph ending graphic Father Michael paragraph ending graphic Serenade Concert Season
paragraph ending graphic Around the Parish paragraph ending graphic Bringing Gifts of Food
paragraph ending graphic Vestry Notes paragraph ending graphic My Country 'Tis of Thee
paragraph ending graphic Serendipity Notes paragraph ending graphic Food for Thought
paragraph ending graphic Women of Christ Church paragraph ending graphic Parish Register

Lenten Communion

This last Sunday at the altar while I was preparing the elements for Holy Communion and listening to the choir's anthem, a moving rendition of J. Stainer's For God So Loved the World, one of those moments hit me that I have talked to many of you about. It is a time when clarity hits me like a "ton of bricks" and I am enabled to view something anew that I have either taken for granted or even forgotten about over a long period of time. This particular moment was like a thunderbolt out of nowhere that jolted me into a spiritual awareness of how meaningful Holy Communion can be for us during this holy season.

Holy Communion, that is, Holy Eucharist, is thanksgiving. Ultimately our trust, our faith, our peace, our very lives, are all summed up in thanksgiving to God for the gift of God's Son to all creation. In the part of the Communion called the "Preface," we acknowledge that the realm of this thanksgiving is joined with the Heavenly courts where "we praise [God], joining our voices with Angels and Archangels and with all the company of heaven, who for ever sing this hymn to proclaim the glory of [God's] Name." Thus, I believe that angels are present at our thanksgiving and that we enter

into Christ's life in the presence of angels. This means that we are in those eternal moments in the wilderness and in Gethsemane , when in Christ's unimaginable humility, he leaned upon the comforting ministrations of these holy angels.

Furthermore, our own guardian angels (see Mt. 14:10), who are with us in temptation and with us in the Gethsemane of the world's agony today, are also with us in our thanksgiving during the Eucharistic prayers, fanning the flame of Christ's life in us with their spread wings, folding them over our hopes and fears, to comfort the Christ within our souls.

Finally, these same angels can roll back the stones that close the tombs of our hearts, so that every day Christ, in whom we all die, may rise from the dead in each of our lives empowering us to go back into the world to do God's redemptive work of love and service for all creation. paragraph ending graphic
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Around the Parish

As I sit here writing this column for the April issue of The Tower Chimes I find it hard to believe that we're preparing for Mother Nature's "last burst of winter" on the eve of an impending snowstorm. Doesn't she know that spring is right around the corner?

Victor Stanwick tells me that pictures of the Christ Church stained glass "sacrament windows" have been published in a 4th Grade Sunday School workbook, "Finding God," by Loyola Press. In case you're wondering, these windows are located in the Sacristy and Cloister areas of the Church.

Last month I reported on the Staten Island Council of Churches dinner and the special awards that were bestowed upon several Christ Church parishioners. What I failed to mention was the wonderful musical interlude presented by an exceptional baritone, Anthony Turner, and it just so happens that he'll be performing at Christ Church in June as part of the Serenade concert series. Valerie Quinlan has worked so hard to coordinate the performers for this wonderful musical program, in addition to securing the grant funding that makes it possible. By the way, don't miss the first performance of this series on Sunday, April 18 th at 3: p.m. It will feature an accomplished young pianist, Vincent Craig, the son of our own Ed and Laura Craig!

Things are really busy these days in the McLean household. In case you haven't heard, Chip McLean (Beth's husband) has thrown his hat into the political arena and is running for Assemblyman from the 61 st District. Don't forget to vote for him in the September primary!

Did you happen to catch the two terrific articles that appeared recently in the Staten Island Advance? The feature on John and Anne Stenglein, former Christ Church parishioners, and the parents of Anne Devlin, painted a beautiful picture of their lives on Staten Island. And a recent article in the " Living" section of the Advance featured a great story about a devoted group of knitters, "Close Knit," who meet at the John Noble Museum to make all sorts of lovely items to keep others warm during the winter months. Several of our own Christ Church parishioners are part of this group, including Judy Davis, Martha Keucher and Connie Ricciardi. The group meets on the first Thursday of each month and is always ready to welcome new members. If you're interested please contact Martha Keucher.

The Wednesday Night Lenten programs at Christ Church have been inspirational, conversational, and downright "delicious" thanks to the talents of our own Dorothy Rivera, who prepared a different tasty and interesting homemade soup for each of the three Wednesday Night sessions. Not many of us are aware that her father was a cook, which is probably where she got her first inspiration to work magic in the kitchen. (Did you also know that Dorothy is a grandmother of seven, and a great-grandmother of 16!)? Each wonderful meal was complemented by an assortment of breads and muffins prepared by Anne Devlin, who was also the creative force behind the themes and topics which were discussed each evening for this quite interesting - albeit, too short - three week series. Anne's Irish Soda Bread that we ate on St. Patrick's Day was a particular favorite of mine!

That's it for now, but I would like to take this opportunity to offer you my best wishes for a blessed Easter. By the way, if you're interested in contributing to the special fund that's been established to hire a brass quintet to play at our Easter service there's still time to do so by placing your contribution in a separate envelope marked "Easter Brass" or by mailing it to the parish office. paragraph ending graphic
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Vestry Notes

The regularly scheduled meeting of Christ Church 's Vestry took place on Monday, March 8, 2004 . Sheila Hewitt led The Office for a Meeting. The minutes of the previous meeting were approved as corrected. In giving the Treasurer's Report, Phyllis Bath noted that Pledge Income is over budget and ahead of last year. However, expenses for heat and utilities are up. The Treasurer's Report was approved as presented.

The Rector presented the Parochial Report for 2003, which was prepared to be submitted to the national church. It includes membership and attendance statistics, as well as stewardship and financial information. In a new regulation, each Vestry member must sign a roster as having seen it, before it can be submitted. This was accomplished and the report will be submitted.

Discussion of the possibility of Summer Day Camp and/or Vacation Bible School elicited the important information that Christ Church provides college and camp scholarships.

The "sleepover" program administered by Project Hospitality is under way. (Participants in this program were arriving at Christ Church just as the Vestry meeting was coming to an end.) There have been a few minor problems due to inexperienced supervision, but these are being attended to and will be solved. A few neighbors who didn't know about the program in advance have made negative comments to the Rector, but their complaints have been ameliorated by improved communication with them, one neighbor wishing us "good luck" after the Rector spoke with her.

Discussion of the Christ Church Mission Statement raised the issues of our spectacular buildings and their relationships with the neighborhood. Do they support our mission or are they in themselves our mission? Great concern was expressed over recent incidents of rock throwing at the Parish Office, apparently by teen-aged residents of adjacent Buchanan Street . Vandalism is viewed as an expression of anger. Ways of confronting anger and angry youth were discussed, like the power of a kind word and involving the neighbors in church activities. They need to believe that Christ Church belongs to them: "People protect their own." The church's fortress-like appearance may need to be softened. Improved signage and communication with the neighbors are indicated. Time devoted to the outside world and thinking about our place in it is time well spent. We want to know the neighborhood and be the neighborhood church, while welcoming many longtime members from outside the neighborhood.

The Plant and Equipment Report notes that the office computer needs replacement. Drawings of the Church, Cloister and Parish House will be undertaken with the goal of landmark designation. Improved lighting of the Guild Room is in process with the cost to be met by memorials and donations. Bids are being sought to repair outside woodwork on the Rectory. This work may help to lower high heating bills.

Gytha Bellaby will report on the "lapsed member canvass" at the next Vestry meeting. The meeting was adjourned at 9:15 p.m. paragraph ending graphic
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Serendipity Notes

Serendipity continues to make exciting plans for our church community. At its March meeting it made final plans for the famous fish fry on Saturday 2 April, once again prepared by Shirley Black, Hueldine Webb, and others. Last year over eighty people made reservations, so make yours early so that our cooks will know whether you want your fish and potatoes baked or fried.

The teachers who serve the Prison Ministry at the Arthur Kill facility report that the State Of N.Y. does not provide them with any office supplies. The State would apparently like to lock people up and throw away the key! Serendipity decided to help the teachers with needed paper supplies.

There are lots of rumors about THE BOOK, which Serendipity hopes to have ready for sale at the St. Nick's Fair on 20 November. You'll hear lots more about it in a mailing we are preparing, but the basic idea is to create an appointment book which will have plenty of space for each day for over one thousand days starting in December 2004 and ending in January 2008. Nick Dowen is writing a shortened History of Christ Church and Colin and Linda Reiersen are working on a section called Humor at Christ Church . If you have any funny Christ Church stories to share, from the present or the past, please call Colin at 981-3495 or better still write them out and let him have them. Susan Fowler and Shirley Black are collecting recipes from Diversity Sunday and the Second Saturday Lunch Program, and Victor Stanwick is drawing cartoons for the humor section.

The Book described above is part of the 100th birthday of our stone church and the 155th anniversary of the founding of Christ Church in New Brighton . We are planning a huge May-Ham Birthday party for Saturday, 14 May 2005 .

It's not just for women anymore. Three men attended the meeting and now we hope more men will feel encouraged to join the faithful females in the group. As Richard Zayzay said at the Annual Meeting, "Why do we keep hearing about what the women do for Christ Church and never about the men? Well, that's changing. We have a great time together and lots of laughs. At the end of each meeting we have a great party. We're not on the wagon. paragraph ending graphic
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Women of Christ Church

On a sunny day that promised that spring would soon be here, the first meeting of the Women of Christ Church after their two-month lapse took place. Following the usual plan, we attended the Eucharist and Healing Service and then returned to the Vestry Room for our meeting. Treasurer Shirley Elfers brought us up to date on the state of our finances. The response to our Annual Appeal is heartening and will enable us to continue to support the many organizations we list in our budget.

We reflected on the recent death of long time member Eileen Murray, who had courageously attended our meetings even while fighting her illnesses.,

Our April meeting date falls on Maundy Thursday and since we will be attending services at church on that day it was decided to cancel the meeting. On May 13, we will join with the New York Altar Guild at One Pendleton Place . We agreed to be ready to host the May Friendship Day meeting of Church Women United on May 7 if need be.

Helen Martin and Connie Ricciardi, hostesses, had prepared a table with a St. Patrick's Day theme, supplying Irish soda bread and other delicious desserts which were enjoyed by all.

The meeting was not well attended. It is hoped that more women of our Church will take note of future events and be with us. paragraph ending graphic
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Serenade Opening Concert

On Sunday, April 18th, pianist Vincent Craig, son of Mr. And Mrs. Edward Craig, parishioners of Christ Church , will perform works by Beethoven, Mussorgsky, Joplin and Gershwin. The concert will begin at 3 p.m. and is free to the public. A reception to meet the artist will follow the program.

Vincent Craig began his career at the age of eight when he performed in public at the Columbia Artists Management Hall in New York City . His career has been a series of successes on the concert stage, on television and in competitions. He won first prize in the 1989 Society of American Musicians' Young Artist Competition. He has attended the Aspen Festival and has studied with and accompanied many internationally famous artists.

Mr. Craig is Music Director of the Main Line Unitarian Church in Devon , PA , and is on the faculty of the School of Music , West Chester Union, PA. Since 1992 he has been the accompanist for the Maryland State Boy Choir and visiting artist of the Baltimore Symphony.

Major funding for these concerts has been given by the Staten Island Bank and Trust Foundation. These concerts are 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 New York State Council on the Arts. Additional support has been provided by the Richmond County Savings Foundation, Northfield Savings Bank and the Independence Community Foundation. paragraph ending graphic
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Bringing Gifts of Food

They should make them days of feasting and joy. and of sending portions one to another and gifts to the poor. Esther 9 vs. 22

Prior to the May-Ham Dinner last October, more than 100 enthusiastic sponsors, including members of our parish, friends of Christ Church and friends from the British Isles, gave us the money for everything from tea-bags to vichyssoise, hams and brownies. There were even those who paid good money to shock the parish into seeing Colin Reed dress up for Church in a suit and tie. We had some laughs while we made some money and many people helped Serendipity make a profit of about $4 500. We are using that money in a variety of ways to assist Christ Church , and a number of projects in our community that assist needy people. As soon as the temperatures made it safe to leave warm homes, we spent over $420, to help the Richmond Senior Center on Jewitt Avenue at which both Margaret Harris and John Watson volunteer two days each week. Gytha Bellaby and Colin Reed went to Costco early in March and purchased large quantities of soap, pet foods for both cats and dogs, scouring powder, dish washing liquid, denture adhesives, shaving soap, throat lozenges, furniture polish, and other household cleaners, which they delivered to the Richmond Senior Citizens pantry on Jewitt Avenue. The elderly poor cannot get these items with their food stamps and often experience desperate needs for items which most of us are able to take for granted, like shampoo or shaving cream. Gytha and Colin had the added fun of greeting Beverly Neuhaus, and our delightful new treasurer, Phyllis Bath, who was also visiting at the time,

Serendipity also decided to support the food pantry at the Stapleton United American Methodist Episcopal Church on Tompkins Avenue with a grant of food which included tuna fish, chicken, soups, stew, chili and cocoa totaling about $300. Our friend Mamie Daniels presides over this program and it was appropriate that our Tompkins Avenue friends receive a generous donation of food for their pantry. Not only was their church a great supporter of the 1996 auction, which we held here at Christ Church and which raised about $15,000 for five food pantries, but last year we were glad to have their enthusiastic support for our May Ham dinner.

Because we also had a generous grant from Father Michael's discretionary fund, which we added to the $250 dollars, which Serendipity allocated to help New Directions in early March, Wendy took Colin to Island Produce where she was delighted to order, at Christ Church Serendipity's expense, 100 dozen jumbo eggs, and large quantities of fresh garlic, tomatoes, carrots and beans.

Parishioners who remember to bring a weekly donation of food for the basket, which is taken up to our altar each week may wonder, what happens to their contributions. Wendy Neuhalfen's architect husband to New Direction's headquarters on Post Avenue periodically transfers them from the cabinet outside the office.

The Second Saturday Lunch program continues to flourish under the leadership of Victor Stanwick and Susan Fowler. More than 50 parishioners and some friends of our church participate in this program, donating the food, which they prepare in their home kitchens to feed a crowd of between 60 and 80 people every second Saturday at Trinity Lutheran church. Other Christians and groups of other faiths are also involved.

So, your thoughtfulness in bringing gifts of food to the church each Sunday and your support of the activities of Serendipity, the wizard of the Chinese Auction, Alleida Mitchell, and the Second Saturday Lunch Program helps tremendously in the maintenance of one of the most important missions of Christ Church . We know that you don't expect any reward for your giving but Serendipity has tried to express its gratitude to so many of you, with the gift of a Pancake Supper in February and a lavish Ice Cream Social which will be given on August 9. The verse of Esther quoted at the head of this article is singularly appropriate for us at Christ Church . We send portions to each other and to the poor! paragraph ending graphic
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My Country 'Tis of Thee

As I began to return the hymnal to its place on the back of our pew, at the end of the morning service one day recently, by chance the book flipped open to hymn 717, My Country 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty. I noticed that the words of that hymn were by Samuel Francis Smith, a Baptist preacher and poet who lived from 1808 to 1895. Because the tune for that is the same as the British National Anthem God Save our Gracious Queen, I wondered where it originated. The hymnal was not very informative, simply saying "Music: America from Thesaurus Musicus, 1745 and so I sent an email to our great organist, Tom Sarff and his reply below is enlightening.

"The exact origin of the tune is unknown, but has been sung in many countries for a variety of purposes, whether as hymn, patriotic song, or presidential inaugural anthem; at one point or another at least a half-dozen countries have adopted it as their national anthem.

The earliest known printed source is Thesaurus Musicus (1744) and the earliest known performance of "God Save the King" (both tune and text) took place at the Drury Lane Theater in London in 1745, making it the oldest of all national anthems. An adaptation was sung in the United States at Washington 's inauguration with the words, "Hail, Thou Auspicious Day!" Another United States version was "God Keep America."

The most familiar American words were written by Samuel F. Smith, who had been engaged by his friend, the Boston organist Lowell Mason, to either write or translate new text for several German school music books Mason had acquired. Smith was particularly impressed with one of the melodies, which turned out to be the same tune used by the British for "God Save the Queen." He wrote new words to be sung to that tune, and it was debuted by Mason in 1831 during a children's service at the Park Street Church in Boston ." The song ordinarily has six verses but below is the story of how a seventh verse was inserted around 1746 but later withdrawn." Mystery solved!

The invasion of England by the Scots in 1746, explains the following anti-Scottish words that were inserted into the song, but withdrawn when it was adopted at as the British National Anthem. Marshall Wade was an officer in the army sent to halt the advance of Jacobite troops into England.

Lord, grant that Marshall Wade,
May by thy mighty aid,
Victory bring.

May he sedition hush like a torrent rush,
Rebellious Scots to crush,
God save the King.

We hear that Paul Smith, Colin Reed, Joan Rock, David Holt and others of British descent, will be paying the choir a large sum to assemble under Judy Davis' bedroom window, to remind her, through their singing, that it's never too late to crush a rebellious Scot. paragraph ending graphic
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Food for Thought

All that we are and have - our lives, intelligence, imagination, sensibilities, abilities, potential for growth and inheritance - are gifts from God, given to us to be developed and used for the benefit of all God's children. Stewardship begins with the recognition that God is a generous giver and that we are called upon to be a grateful, responsive, and responsible people. In the words of St. Peter (1 Peter 4:10 -11), "Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received. Whoever serves must do so with the strength that God supplies, so that God may be glorified in all things through Jesus Christ. To him belong the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen." paragraph ending graphic

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Parish Register

April Birthdays

1-Ian Robert Adams, Bryan Jamal Adams, Matthew Ambroggi; 6-Harry Bernardez; 10-Michael Devlin; 17 - Siaber Zayzay, Celestine Zayzay; 24-David Wood, Daniel 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.

If your special day is not in our records, call the Parish Office. paragraph ending graphic

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