Happy Cyril & Methodius Day!
  February 2004

Click one of the headings below to read the article:

bullet character Father Michael bullet character Sunday School Notes
bullet character Around the Parish bullet character Leave Cats Here
bullet character Vestry Notes bullet character Parish Registry
bullet character Serendipity    

Do We Recognize Him?

On January 18th, we had a national holiday celebrating the birth of a national hero, the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr. More importantly, however, we celebrated our whole nation, including black, white, indigenous American, Asian, from its ongoing enslavement to injustice, prejudice and hate. We are all "free and last," more in hope than in reality, but the annual observance we have recently completed helps us to keep that hope alive.

Accepting the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo about a year after the peaceful march on Washington , Dr. King said:

I believe that even amid today's mortar bursts and whining bullets [it was December 1964, Vietnam War time in the Johnson era] there is still hope for a brighter tomorrow. I believe that wounded justice, lying prostrate on the blood-flowing streets of our nations, can be lifted from this dust of shame to reign supreme among the children of men.

Justice reigning supreme? Do we really hope in that? Today we still live with many inequities in our American society. Babies of color are still dying earlier because of infant mortality. People of color are still less able to get primary or secondary education. People of color are still stereotyped by the media as less intelligent than they are; less hard working than they work. Young people of color are still trapped in second-class schools and first-class jails. The crisis is still wealth going up while jobs leave this country in droves.

We who believe in Jesus Christ call him the "light of the world," as we follow him to achieve justice and insure peace. But do we really mean that? Or do we spend more time deploring black crime while avoiding substandard schools and housing and job opportunities, while we hope to get the economy "back on track," in part by selling arms to any buyer?

In this land we love so much, where the Christian religion is a virtual growth industry and the name of Jesus is on so many lips, the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King still asks us, "We profess the name of Jesus, but do we recognize him?" paragraph ending graphic
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Around the Parish

Happy 2004! Here we are, surrounded by frozen tundra of ice and snow with sub-zero temperatures and blustery winds. If we all get together and pray for warmer weather perhaps it will get here a bit sooner than the weatherman is predicting.

Some of us have managed to find an alternate route to warmer climates - John Watson, for instance. He'll be taking off on February 16 for a six-week tour of Buenos Aires, Miami, around Cape Horn (the long way) and up the West Coast. This time he'll be traveling through the Panama Canal from the Pacific to the Atlantic - all on the Norwegian Crown. And when he's not actually shipboard, John now has a birds eye view of the harbor from his new apartment on Richmond Terrace. Jealous, anyone?

Glenda Mitchell and Gail Bernardez also found a way to beat the winter doldrums by taking a trip together to South Africa. I promise to have all the details in next month's "Around the Parish" column.

Since the December edition of The Tower Chimes was published well in advance of the Christmas holiday there was really no opportunity to say "thank you" to so many people for their hard work in December and since there's no time like the present, here goes! After months of planning, our December 6 St. Nick's Fair went into the "deep freeze" and had to be canceled because of a wicked snowfall. Not one to be left out in the cold, chairperson Nick Lettiere, along with Janet Schneider and Margaret Harris sold Christmas wreaths, baked goods and NFL clothing items during the Sunday morning coffee hours. Although we didn't bring in quite as much as usual, Nick and his "elves" did manage to salvage a good deal of the Christmas spirit!

Thanks to the hard work of our Sunday School staff - Sheila Hewitt, Christine Szczepanik, Connie Black and Melodi Coleman - and of course, our students, this year's Advent Play was especially moving.

The 2003 Holly Ball was one of the best we've seen in years thanks to the efforts of chairpersons Beth McLean and Trevor Mills and the other members of the committee. The beautiful Rose Window invitation was the brain child of the creative team of Susan Fowler and Victor Stanwick ; and thanks to the many innovative and creative decorating ideas of Pat DiMarco, the Guild Room, Vestry Room and auditorium were reminiscent of a Victorian Christmas card. And special thanks to everyone who came out that evening to show their support to make this event so much fun and such a success!

The church was resplendent on Christmas Eve thanks to the hard work of so many people: David and Dan Wood for the exquisite floral decorations; Shirley Elfers and the members of the Altar Guild, and Tom Sarff and the members of the choir. Special thanks to Jim Angone and his assistant, Aaron Heighton, for installing the new lighting that illuminated and enhanced our sacred space.

Congratulations to Father Michael as he takes on the important role of president of the Staten Island Council of Churches. The "official" passing of the baton from the outgoing president, The Reverend Lee McCallum, took place on Wednesday, February 4. And kudos to Valerie Quinlan and Joyce Chung, whose collaborative efforts in a January recital at the Donnell Library brought the house down! Joyce is the mother of Thomas Liu, the talented young gentleman who is the accompanist for the Sunday morning Family Services.

Martha Keucher has really had a busy couple of months. This past Thanksgiving she had the opportunity to attend the Macy's parade in Manhattan. What made it even more special was the pride she felt when her grandson, Mike, and members of the Bloomington ( Indiana ) North High School Band marched by her in full regalia. Two weeks later, Martha and the members of her knitting club, who work out of the Noble Museum at Snug Harbor, were featured in a special article in the Sunday edition of The New York Times.

"Get well soon" wishes go out to Mae Seeley and Jay Spadaro ; and our thoughts and prayers are with Channing Lefebvre, the son of Judy and the late Rev. Fred Lefebvre, as he takes on the mantle of responsibility in his current military assignment in Iraq.

Our thoughts are with Ginny Peel in the wake of a rather unfortunate mishap that occurred last month. Her car caught fire in the garage and burned up completely, as did her entire garage, subsequently causing smoke damage in her apartment. Thankfully, Ginny is O.K. and slowly but surely working to get things back in shape.

In November we lost one of oldest members with the passing of Edith Armstrong at the remarkable age of 96. Edith was housebound and never had the opportunity to attend services at Christ Church, but she was a faithful patron of Christ Church and a lovely lady. Many of you may remember her husband, Leonard, who was a leader in our parish and was deeply involved with the work of the Buildings and Grounds committee; in fact, a memorial plaque stands by the entrance to the church in his honor. And this month we lost another friend of Christ Church, Jean Pratt, who faithfully attended the Wednesday evening programs and other special events with her good friend, Margaret Harris. Jean shared generously of her time and talents while she was with us, and often volunteered to work at our fundraisers and fairs. Those of us who had the pleasure of knowing her will miss her quiet and lovely presence.

We've got some wonderful fund raising events scheduled for February and March - please join us on Tuesday, February 24 (Shrove Tuesday) for the Pancake Supper, and on Friday, March 19 for the Serendipity Pasta Supper. And don't forget to mark your calendars for Diversity Sunday on February 22.

That's it for now. If you've got some news to share please let us know so we can share it with our readers. paragraph ending graphic
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Vestry Notes

On Sunday, January 18, 2004 , members of Christ Church gathered in the auditorium for the Annual Parish Meeting. At that time, the following parishioners were elected to the Vestry: Warden for a two-year term: Nancy Reiersen -Scromo; Vestry persons for a three-year term: Anne Devlin, Mark Gherzo, Johanna Gilbert and Sheila Hewitt; and Vestry person for a two-year term (to serve out the remaining term of Leslie Sullivan) Dorothy Thompson.

Father Michael welcomed the new Vestry persons and also commended the excellent work of those members whose term expired in January of 2004: Warden Richard Sigman and Vestry persons Susan Fowler , Ron Mazzucco and Barnett Shepherd. Mr. Sigman has been working especially hard for the past few years in the absence of a full time Treasurer. However, it was quite a pleasure when he introduced Phyllis Bath, who has graciously volunteered to take on this important job in February of this year (pending Vestry approval.)

In his Rector's Address, Fr. Michael spoke of the many challenges that faced us in 2003 and spoke of the important work that needs to be done in the year ahead in the areas of Evangelism and church growth and Stewardship. He also discussed the ongoing efforts of the Long Range Planning Committee and the importance of parishioner responses to the Long Range Planning questionnaires last summer.

One of the highlights of the meeting was when Fr. Michael awarded the Rector's Cross to three deserving members of the Christ Church family. Congratulations and thanks go to Susan Fowler , Nicholas Lettiere and Victor Stanwick for their dedication and hard work.

The Vestry will meet on Monday, February 9 for their regular monthly meeting. Approved minutes of the December 8, 2003 meeting have been posted on the Parish House bulletin board for those wishing to read them. paragraph ending graphic
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Serendipity Notes

January's Serendipity meeting at the home of gracious hostess Beth McClean was a very productive one. The officers for the year were chosen for a two year term: President, Gytha Bellaby, Treasurer, Martha Keucher, Secretary, Colin Reed. And a discussion of the 2004 events sponsored by the group followed.

Our first event is the Pancake Supper on February 24, for Shrove Tuesday, from 6-8 p.m. Adults $5 and families $10. This event is always lots of fun and begins our Lenten Season.

This year we will repeat the very popular Fish Fry on April 2. Mark your calendars! We will be having baked or fried potatoes and fish; and beer will be for sale. The charge is $15 for adults and $7 for children over 12. Reservations will be taken during coffee hours.

An interesting discussion of the 100th birthday of the present building and the 150th birthday of the founding of our church ensued. Our Mayham dinner 2005 will be organized to help celebrate these events. More about this Christ Church history will appear in the Tower Chimes at a later date.

Our next meeting is at the home of Nancy Reiersen-Scromo.If you need directions or if you are unable to attend please call her at 718-727-4533. All are welcome!! paragraph ending graphic
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the Sunday School

A healthy and happy new year to everyone! I would like to thank the Sunday School staff, which includes not only the assistant director and teachers, but the parents of the children who attend the Sunday School. A special thanks to the Secret Snack provider! The Sunday School is looking forward to having more children attending on Sunday. This year some of the special events we will be doing are:

--the children are planning to help supply food to the food pantry

--we will be doing the Father's Day fellowship

--we will have a picnic for the last day of Sunday School

--for Christmas 2004 the Sunday School will be sponsoring a glove tree

We are still collecting the box tops for education. If you need to know what products have these tops please see and take the notice from the Sunday School bulletin board.

Congratulations to all the children who participated in the Advent Play this year. All of the students were poised and enthusiastic in their roles. It made the Christmas season even more special for us all. paragraph ending graphic
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Leave Cats Here

At the company Christmas party, Victor and I were sitting next to Donna, the second most important person in the office (after Carmine, the owner). We'd started talking about animals, since Donna breeds and sells very expensive mastiffs from her New Jersey home.

"The Monday before Thanksgiving," I said, "Our next-door-neighbor Eve and I were both on the street collecting our garbage pails. Eve was walking up to this vegetable box in front of her house, and I was, too, because I'd put that box in my recycling bin, so what was it doing in front of her house?

"'What's this box ?' she said. 'I didn't put this box out!'

"'That's my box,' I told her. Then we both stopped talking: In a corner of the box, huddled together, shivering, were a black and white cat and a tabby cat. No lid.

"'Uh.' I said.

"'Who left cats here?' Eve said.

"I ran back to my house. 'I know who to call!' I said. 'I'll be right back!'

"Eve said, 'I'll watch them.'

"I came out with the phone. Eve was definitely keeping an eye on them, her head down. No one picked up at SICAW, the local animal welfare group, so I left a message: 'Someone dropped two cats in front of my house. No, actually, my neighbor's.' Eve said, in the background, 'It was a mistake. They meant your house.' This is true-Eve does dogs, birds, and refugees from Sierra Leone . Victor and I do cats. 'Please call me back as soon as possible.'

"Luckily we have a guest bedroom where we've probably hosted as many cats as people. So I covered the box with my jacket and carried them into the bedroom. Got a litter box. Got food and water. Closed the door and waited an hour. Checked the cats-okay, huddled in the farthest corner of the room under the bed. Called SICAW again. Sent email.

"A woman named Ellen eventually called back and told me to take the cats to the Bay Street Animal Hospital where SICAW has an account. Bay Street Animal Hospital tested them, vaccinated them, neutered them, and defleaed them (oh wonderful-fleas in the house again).

"We ended up fostering them-SICAW couldn't put them at PetSmart where they usually show cats for adoption because some disease was going around and they had to clean the cages first. And then, since I couldn't imagine Ezra and Mordecai sitting in those little wire cages looking up hopefully at everyone going by in the store, we decided to adopt them ourselves."

"kindhearted people here""Who would've left two cats on the street ? And why didn't they jump out of the box?" Donna asked.

"Dunno," I answered. "However, there had been a bag lady across the street looking for bottles earlier that day. She had a young, thin German shepherd with her on a leash. Although how or why she'd be walking around with a dog and two cats, I can't imagine. And then why did she leave them in front of our house?"

Victor said, "Our vet says there must be a sign out front that only cats and dogs can read-'kindhearted people here,' like the signs hobos used to draw on houses for other hobos."

I said, "We've even had animals bring other animals to our house. One Saturday, a stray we're friendly with brought another dog to our house. It was dragging a heavy 35-foot chain behind it-"

Donna's jaw had been dropping lower and lower as she listened, and finally she interrupted. "What kind of neighborhood do you live in? Stray dogs, abandoned cats, bag ladies ?"

We laughed. "An interesting one!" we said. paragraph ending graphic
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Parish Register

Burial: Jeanne P. Pratt

February Birthdays

2-Andrew Schneider, 5-Fr. John Walsted, Prince Williams, 11-Hal Reiersen, 13-Gytha Bellaby, 14-Bruce Liozzi, Lois Angone, Vivian Freeman, 17-Joy Woodall, 19-Eddie Thompson, 22 Alleida Mitchell, 23-Pat Sciré, 24-Trevor Mills, Nicholas Lettiere

February Anniversaries

28-Lois & Jim Angone

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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