Etching of Christ Church by Bill Murphy June 2004
  June 2004

Click one of the headings below to read the article:

beach ball graphic Father Michael beach ball graphic Let There Be Lighting
beach ball graphic Around the Parish beach ball graphic Serenade Concert Series
beach ball graphic Vestry Notes beach ball graphic Food for Thought
beach ball graphic Women of Christ Church beach ball graphic By Majority Vote
beach ball graphic Colin's Corner beach ball graphic Parish Registry

Staten Island's "Biggest Lie"

During the past six months I’ve become aware of Staten Island’s “biggest lie.” The journey started through my personal and concerned involvement in the community over the closing of the Bayley-Seton Hospital complex and addressing the negative repercussions this will have on our common life together. I immediately became aware of many people’s concerns about the displacement of this site’s treatment of alcohol and drug dependency and the detrimental effects this would exacerbate within the community at large. However, I soon realized that this was just the “tip of the iceberg”, so to speak. For in the discussions regarding the relocation of these services (which I am pleased to note have been or are in the process of being continued on Staten Island, but at other sites and facilities) I became aware of an Island-wide secret that highlighted the denial all of us have had regarding the severity of alcohol and drug abuse among our population.

What was even more startling was the broad nature of this health crisis – it is intergenerational, interfaith, interracial, inter-social and inter-economical. It is a crisis throughout the entire Island, in fact, the south shore is the community with the fastest growing incidences of alcohol or drug abuse. When one reflects upon the recent tragic episodes of road rage, brawls and other dangerous behavior at fire stations, expressways, youth athletic events, parks and social gatherings, there is in most cases, the rancid reek of alcohol or the insidious shadow of drugs involved. These have not been just isolated cases of social uses of alcohol or drugs going a little awry, but the blatant expressions of an illness that is running amok throughout Staten Island.

This has become more than a simple quality of life issue, it has become an epidemic that is threatening the very core of our common life together. Lest anyone accuse me of “crying wolf”, I also learned that our beloved borough has the highest rate of alcoholism and drug abuse of any county in the state. Furthermore, I came to the realization that the landscape has dramatically shifted regarding the dynamics of this disease. The streets have been flooded with a new form of heroin that is so potent that it can be taken orally rather than intravenously. There are also numerous people of all ages addicted to painkillers and our youth have found a new and relatively hassle free source for obtaining prescription drugs – the wonderful and ever available Internet. Kids, just seven years old, are showing up at our schools either with drugs or alcohol in their possession, or already inebriated with the smell of alcohol on their breath. Alcoholism is a rapidly rising epidemic among the elderly. This is a literal time bomb, not only because of the increased vulnerability to falls and serious injuries, but also because the mix of alcohol with some the medications common to this group can have very deadly consequences.

Finally, Staten Island as a whole, has become a very anxious, and in many ways, depressed community. There are many factors that mental health professionals have told us are the probable causes for this, but what this means to us as a church, is the general population’s vulnerability to alcohol and drug dependency. Alcohol and drugs have become the popular and readily available sedatives to salve numerous anxious spirits and numb many hearts filled with pain. What I have prayerfully reflected upon with much discomfort since this “eye-opening” learning experience is the church’s culpability with this issue from our neglect of the multitudinous agonized pleas for the healing balm of redemptive acknowledgement of the current epidemic and our lack of compassionate concern for those who are courageously pursuing the often dangerous and forever lonely road that comes from exorcising the alcoholic and drug demons that have so decimated fragile bodies, psyches and souls. In our ignorance we have facilitated a deplorable environment of codependency and by our common lack of concern we have become inept enablers of this wasting disease rather than empowered healers.

On Thursday, May 13th, many clergy gathered here at Christ Church and actively engaged themselves to help defuse this health care crisis in our community. Besides committing ourselves to stop our Island-wide denial and begin to confront this epidemic with candidness and empathy in our respective faith communities, we also became acquainted with those health care professionals and services that we can refer people to who come to us seeking help and that we have contact with in our pastoral relationships. We received many resource materials to take back to our respective churches and faith communities on Staten Island as we collectively agreed that by God’s grace we would become a more integral and powerful influence in stopping the ravages of Staten Island’s “biggest lie”. Thus, I am humbly beseeching all of the members of this wonderful parish to lift up this community interfaith endeavor in your prayers and support it by your direct or indirect involvement within our parish, in your homes and in your work places. Together let us stop being ignorant or denying enablers, and instead, become empowered and compassionate healers.

Thank you and God Bless. paragraph ending graphic

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Around the Parish

Is it really June already? It’s hard to believe that five months have passed us by so quickly and that we’re gearing up for our respective summer vacations. In fact, this will be our last column - and our last Tower Chimes issue - until September! Yes, folks, even the Tower Chimes gets to take a summer break!

In any case, there’s much to report before we take our leave. Here we go!

As many of you may be aware, Fr. Michael has been conducting Inquirer’s Classes on Sunday mornings to prepare the participants to be confirmed or received into the Episcopal Church. Since there are no visitations scheduled this year for our Bishops, services will take place on Saturday, June 5 at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in Manhattan. At that time, the following individuals will become members of the Episcopal Church: Mandie Jarvis, David Nygard and Lisa Rhoades, Ed and Laura Craig, Elizabeth Gattullo and Brenda Baskerville.

On Sunday, May 30 th (Pentecost) the following individuals will be baptized here at Christ Church during the 10:30 a.m. service. Selena Noelle Velez, Mandie Jarvis, Bonnie Linnea Nygard, Christian Patrick Jarvis, Barkel T. Foster and Lawrence T. Foster. (Pentecost Sunday is one of the days in the church year that is traditional for baptisms.) A heartfelt welcome to all of you - the newest members of the Christ Church family!

And speaking of the Cathedral, there’s one more piece of good news to share - Robin Beveridge, the lovely daughter-in-law of Bill and Nancy Beveridge, is now a candidate for Holy Orders and will be ordained to the Deaconate on Saturday, May 14, 2005 at the Cathedral. Congratulations, Robin! Not only have you endured an intensive course of study, but you have also overcome many health problems to attain your goal. We are very proud of you!

This is also the time for graduations, and there are a few that we’d like to mention. Congratulations to Charles McLean, III (son of Beth and Chip McLean) who graduates from SUNY Oneonta this year. Charlie is on the Dean’s List and will be receiving a BA in English; to Michael Devlin (son of Anne Devlin) upon receiving his degree from New York University in Manhattan; and to David Reiersen (son of Linda and Hal Reiersen) who will be receiving his BT (Bachelor of Technology) in Entertainment Technology from the NYC College of Technology. By the way, if there are any other graduates in the parish who have not been recognized please let us know, and we’ll be sure to include them in the September issue of the Tower Chimes.) We’ve got more good news to share about our graduates and their families. Jessica Szczepanik, daughter of Christine and John Szczepanik, who graduated on May 21 from Wagner College. Jessica majored in business and hopes to pursue a career in Marketing or Sales.

Claire Kennedy, the youngest of the four lovely Kennedy sisters, (daughters of Laura and Hal Kennedy), will graduate from Curtis High School this month and is excited about starting college at Loyola University in Chicago. She tells us that it’s one of her favorite cities, and many members of the Kennedy clan live in that “windy city.” Her three older sisters have also been quite busy as well: sister Lindsay continues to live abroad in London, where she is having a thoroughly enjoyable time teaching elementary school; sister Elizabeth just completed her second year of law school at Berkeley University in California; and sister Julia, has moved back to Staten Island from Massachusetts, and turns twenty-one this year! Congratulations to all of you!

The next time you see David Holt don’t forget to ask him about the miniature “Union Jack” that graces his car antenna. He’ll be more than happy to share the details of his recent trip to England, where he celebrated “the big six-o” with his twin brother, Bob, in fine style. Friends and family helped these two fine gentlemen celebrate their big day in style!

Best wishes for a speedy recovery go out to Nick Lettiere, Anne Devlin and Ann Louderback. Our prayers are with you.

Our world traveler, Pam Miller, is at again! This time she’s off on a cruise to Alaska, with daughter Paige by her side. This is truly the stuff that future Tower Chimes articles are made of!

And speaking of world travelers, have you happened to notice the camper parked in the back parking lot of the church? It belongs to Colin and Esther Reed’s nephew, Jon, and his wife, Linda. After spending several months in Norway and other Scandinavian countries, Jon and Linda arrived recently on the Queen Mary 2. After collecting their mobile home from a dock in Newark, where it had been delivered earlier by freighter, they took up residence in the Christ Church parking lot. After a brief visit with Colin and Esther’s daughters - Alyson in Washington, and Annie Reed in Boston, they will return to Staten Island. There are no definite plans after that, but they do intend to “criss-cross” the United States before heading up to Canada and Alaska. For part of their explorations, Jon’s son, Charlie, hopes to join them. They will be in the United States for several months and we hope to be seeing more of them before they return home to England.

A few “housekeeping” issues before we close for the summer. Don’t forget that the summer service schedule begins on Sunday, June 20 with Morning Prayer at 7:30 a.m., the said Eucharist at 8 a.m. in the chapel, and the combined service at 9:30 a.m. in the church. The regular schedule of services will resume on Sunday, September 19. And don’t forget to be with us on Sunday, August 8 when the members of Serendipity host their traditional “Ice Cream Social” after the 9:30 a.m. service in the oval (weather permitting.)

Have a wonderful, restful and safe summer. See you all in September! paragraph ending graphic
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Vestry Notes

The regularly scheduled meeting of the Christ Church Vestry took place on Tuesday, May 10, 2004. A quorum was present. Mark Gherzo led the Office for a Meeting. Strategic Planning, led by Leslie Shannon, focused on the Christ Church Mission Statement. It is a proactive statement. We serve Christ in every person, not just Christians. Our actions toward others may be to assist them, with programs and other ministries, or may be only a presence: “Just being there sometimes.” The Mission Statement is a force for enabling and generating growth. It is being simplified and rewritten.

In giving the Treasurer’s Report, Phyllis Bath noted that pledges are ahead of this time last year. Richard Sigman reported that the Annual Audit is ahead of schedule and will be sent to the auditor next week. A Stewardship Campaign will be conducted this year.

Work is needed to reopen the Nursery for Sunday services. This important ministry must be offered to families with young children. The room needs some installation of sheet rock and t o have its carpet cleaned or replaced. E specially needed is someone to organize the Nursery personnel. The Vestry is concerned about this and working on it.

The Parish Office will be closed in observance of the Memorial Day holiday on Monday, May 31. UPCOMING EVENTS: Serenade Recital, Sunday, June 6, 3 p.m. ; Spring Fair, Saturday, June 12. paragraph ending graphic
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Women of Christ Church

The final meeting of the Women of Christ Church took place as scheduled. LADIES: set aside the second Thursday of the month! We rarely depart from that day On a lovely spring to summer day in May we were pleased to get together since we had cancelled the April meeting and glad to see that the attendance was considerably improved over our March session

Father Michael left the Forum on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, which was going on upstairs to celebrate Holy Communion and the Healing Service for our group. After that, the busy priest went off to his participation in Prison Ministry and we conducted a short business meeting.

The luncheon honored Shirley Elfer’s birthday and Nancy Beveridge’s too, though she was unable to be present. Helen Martin had arranged for the dessert and Connie Ricciardi carried out her plans. With all the catching up there was to do, we lingered long over our lunch.

On 10 June (the second Thursday in June, remember?) we will enjoy lunch at One Pendleton, guests of Father John Walsted at noon, following the Healing Service at 11 a.m. in the chapel. Come one; come all! paragraph ending graphic
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Colin's Corner

At coffee hour last Sunday I sat next to a lady I’d never seen before at Christ Church. I smiled and although I tried to be friendly, I had many things to do. Not having anyone to talk to she abruptly left. Another woman I’d never seen at our church before took her place. I smiled and apologized for my inattention but I continued to do business, which I could easily have done on the telephone during the week.

The incident reminded me of a story I heard years ago. At a local theological college, students were given an assignment for which, it was impressed upon them, they had to get to a certain place on time. Deliberately staged on the route through which they had to quickly pass, was a woman in real distress who obviously needed help. Just like the first two people in the story of the Good Samaritan all the students, who were preparing for the Christian ministry, “passed by on the other side.”

Colin Reed

Later the students were challenged about why they had ignored someone desperately needing help. They all confessed that they had “passed by on the other side” because of their compulsion to hurriedly get to their destination. That was my trouble at coffee hour on a recent Sunday. I was in such a hurry to conduct other business that perhaps a couple of prospective parishioners were turned off by my attitude and found a church elsewhere.

Each week I try hard to learn the name of someone I don’t know. It’s very hard because at my age. as soon as I’ve learned their name, I forget it—unless I have a gimmick. I learned Brenda Baskerville’s name because every time I saw her I thought of Basil Rathbone playing Sherlock Holmes and trying to waylay the Hound of the Baskervilles. It was easier to learn Jeremiah Zayzay’s name because it reminded me of the 24th book of the Old Testament and the prophet after whom he was named. The biggest recent challenge was to learn the names of Lisa Rhoades, her husband David Nygard, a Norwegian name, and their daughter Bonnie Nygard. For three Sundays I’ve tried and failed to learn the name of the couple that sits just in front of us. I have asked the man each week for three Sundays to tell me his name and then promptly forget it, but last week I vowed to remember—Manny—come hell or high water. Now that I’ll remember it, I have to learn his wife’s and two daughter’s names.

I believe that one of our priorities on a Sunday morning ought to be to make strangers feel welcome among us, and the least that I can do is to learn and remember a stranger’s name in spite of all one’s senior moments. At the same time we should all think about other priorities.

There are already four services on Sunday morning, and if there’s good reason for a fifth why not add a sixth, seventh and eighth, and cut out everything else? Shouldn’t we all be meditating, praying and singing glory to God instead of drinking coffee? Can’t the elements of the healing service be included in our regular services on Sunday morning? If it’s important to have a healing service once a month, why isn’t it important enough to have it every week, and if it’s that important, why not have it during the week as well?

I’d like to suggest that coffee hour is being crowded by too many activities. I don’t think parishioners should have to choose whether it’s more important to attend a healing service, a Bible study, a fair planning group, a choir practice, or what we keep saying is an extension of the Eucharist. We could give Margaret Harris and dozens of others a break by foregoing coffee hour, even though we advertise it as an extension of the Eucharist. Why don’t we just have coffee hour and schedule everything else during the week? If people won’t come, then we should think about why people can’t be bothered to come out on a weeknight for an advertised activity. Quite a few of our parishioners don’t like to drive after dark but that problem could be solved with car pools run by younger folks. After all God’s life was filled with activity all during the week but on Sunday he rested. Why can’t we be content to do one thing well instead of doing three or four things poorly? paragraph ending graphic
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Let There Be Lighting

You may have noticed that, on gloomy Sundays, the lights in the Guild Room do not cut the murk very well. When we have evening talks there, people have trouble reading their handouts. Since one of our goals is to make the church and parish hall more welcoming, we need to better illuminate this important gathering place.

With the help of Lichten Craig Architects, the Plant & Equipment committee re­searched lighting fix­tures and found some that are attrac­tive, historically sensi­tive, and energy-efficient.

To the left is the ceiling light we chose.

The church will be able to use fluorescent bulbs in the fixtures, which will let us both save electricity and go for years without hav­ing to change the bulbs.

However, Plant & Equipment doesn't have enough money in the budget to buy the fixtures as well as repair the rectory, vent the stained-glass windows, and get measured drawings of the church for a fire-alarm system and a wheelchair, walker, and person lift for the cloister.

For this reason, we would like to ask you for your help. You can sponsor a ceiling light for $180 and a wall bracket for $210. We will list your name, or the name of the person you wish to memorialize, on a wall plaque in the Guild Room.

Lichten Craig Architects recommends eight fixtures for the room, replacing the four fixtures currently on the ceiling. We can also put dimmable wall brackets around the room, which can be used to make the room especially elegant for the Holly Ball and our other high-toned parties and get-togethers.

This is the wall bracket with its lampshades:

All surfaces will be a warm brass, lacquered so they won't have to be polished.

For more information, please talk to Susan Fowler or the wardens, Nick Lettiere and Nancy Scromo.

If you'd like to sponsor a light, please fill in the form below. Make checks payable to “Christ Church New Brighton” and put “Lights” in the memo area. paragraph ending graphic
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Serenade Concert on June 6th

On Sunday, June 6 th at 3 p.m., the Serenade Concert Series at Christ Church will present a vocal program featuring baritone Anthony Turner. He will be joined by pianist Jean Anderson-Collier and cellist Madeline Casparie.

Mr. Turner’s program will feature arias and songs by Handel, Respighi and Xavier Montsalvatge. He will also perform spirituals and “Celtic Suite,” a new composition by Staten Island composer, Celeste Lederer.

The concert is free to the public and there will be a “Meet-the-Artists” reception in the Guild Room, immediately following the performance. paragraph ending graphic
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Food for Thought

...Stewardship is concerned with our growing into an ever deepening and loving relationship with our true self, the self in the image of God, with all people, and with the natural world. But we need to acknowledge that this end is dependent upon our growing into an ever deepening and loving relationship with God. Love God and then love neighbor and self equally. The spiritual comes before the material. paragraph ending graphic

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By Majority Vote

This article is dedicated to the memory of Bishop Moore.

It’s perilous to write about recent history. The true meaning and importance of certain events may not become apparent for years. However, it does appear that the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire made history on June 7, 2003, just a year ago, when it elected as its Bishop Coadjutor the Rev. Canon V. Gene Robinson, an openly gay priest living with his partner, Mark Andrew.

Episcopal elections are seldom predictable, but there was in a way nothing surprising or unexpected about the outcome of this one. Canon Robinson was well known in the diocese, having served the Rt. Rev. Douglas E. Theuner, Bishop of New Hampshire, as Canon to the Ordinary, or assistant, since 1988. Prior to being elected bishop in his home diocese, Canon Robinson had been nominated, but not elected, in Episcopal elections in the dioceses of Newark and Rochester. In 1983 he became Executive Secretary of the Episcopal Church’s Province of New England. This province includes the Diocese of Massachusetts, the church’s largest diocese. He is a 1973 graduate of New York’s General Theological Seminary and a member of its Board of Trustees.

The New York Times, and many other news media across the country, deemed the Robinson election worthy of front-page coverage. This was nothing compared to the media coverage lavished upon the General Convention of the Episcopal Church, meeting in Minneapolis from July 30 to August 8, 2003. (The Robinson election had been carefully planned to fall within 100 days prior to General Convention, requiring its approval by majority vote.) Incredibly, over 300 credentialed journalists covered General Convention, surely a record for any American church.

General Convention approved the Robinson election by comfortable majorities in both the House of Deputies and the House of Bishops. Actually, the House of Deputies’ vote was better than a simple majority, for it was a Vote by Orders, in which clergy and laity vote separately.

Much Episcopal Church history lies behind Bishop Robinson’s election. Here are a few of the most important events: in 1977, Bishop Moore ordained the Rev. Ellen Marie Barrett, an open lesbian, to the priesthood. The brilliance of a comet’s return is predictable. In 1985, Bishop Browning declared, in his acceptance speech as Presiding Bishop: “This church of ours is open to all—there shall be no outcasts.” Our culture is saturated with advertising slogans, including “All Are Welcome” signs at most churches and many religious consumers are understandably skeptical, but Bishop Browning really meant this. His statement and the Anglican worldview behind it have proved surprisingly durable. In 1996 Bishop Righter, against whom charges had been brought for ordaining Barry Stopfel, an openly gay deacon, was declared innocent of heresy. In a very strong ruling, the Court for the Trial of a Bishop stated: “There is no core doctrine prohibiting the ordination of a concelebrate homosexual person living in a faithful and committed sexual relationship with a person of the same sex. There is no discipline of the church prohibiting the ordination of a concelebrate person living in a committed relationship with a person of the same sex.”

We are blessed that the Episcopal Church is not a confessional church committed to man-made documents like the Augsburg Confession (Lutherans), the Westminster Confession (Presbyterians), the Book of Discipline (United Methodists), or the philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas (Roman Catholics). We are blessed that the Episcopal Church’s system of electing bishops, devised in the early years of American independence, fosters bishops’ accountability, both to the laity and to the other clergy. Long may it flourish! paragraph ending graphic
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Parish Registry

Summer Birthdays

June: 4–Christopher John Brown, 9–Kristin Reiersen;10–Sean Patrick McLean; 12–Anne Beveridge; 15–Patsy Parese, Vlasta Jantzi, Charles McLean III; Richard Zayzay; 16–Jill Kanner, Romeo Zayzay; 19–André Black; 21–Melodi Coleman; 22–Paige Cooper; 29– Leslie Thompson , Gregory Brown; 30–Mary B. Scott.

July: 9–Wendy Cooper; 10–Williette Thompson; 13– Brian William McClean; 14-Togba Porte II; 15–Nick Lettiere; 16– Carol Brown ; 19–Sydney George; 20–Oliver Simpson; 21– Peter Flihan, Sarah Kanner; 22–Charlotte Hewitt, 23 – Sheila Swigert; 15 – Maureen Sohm; 26 – Ann Sohm; 30 Titus Zayzay..

August: 2–Ted Schneider; 3–Joseph Ambroggi; 4–Edwin John; 5–Eleanor DeMuth; 7–Michael LaCause; 8–Erin Hawley Shannon; 10–John Watson; 11–Bill Beveridge, Jr.; 12–Anne Devlin; 15 – Joseph Zayzay; 24 – Yassah Zayzay; 25–Laura Jean Mazzucco, Elizabeth McLean; 29–Christiana Adeshote, 31–Anna Parese.

Summer Anniversaries

June: 1 – Ann and Llewellyn Louderback 8–Joseph Ambroggi and Dorothy Thompson; 11–Nancy and Bill Beveridge; 17 – Richard & Yassah Zayzay.

July: 4–Mae and David Seeley; 16-Gilda & Joseph Armstrong; 30–Constance & Willie Black III.

August: 15–Elizabeth and Charles McLean; 20–Nancy and Nick Lettiere. 31–Christine and John Szczepanik. paragraph ending graphic
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