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For All Those Doubting
In preparing for
Low Sunday, that is, the Second Sunday of Easter, or as one of
the wardens has reminded me, the Sunday after Easter when the choir
is off (a very low state of affairs, indeed!), I realize that our
world is full of a lot of doubting Thomases. I know I don't have
to convince many of you of this, since we live in a country and
during times where anything religious is held in suspicion or even
demeaned by many people because it doesn't make sense.
I believe that the story of "Doubting Thomas", the gospel reading
for Low Sunday, calls us to show the wounds of Christ to these
numerous doubting Thomases. As Christians, that is, followers of
the resurrected Christ, we have been called by our risen Lord show
to the world the true face of Christ at any price - even that of
our own lives. We are surrounded by so many living "Thomases" who
will not believe in Christ until they put their own fingers into
his wounds, and so we must show those wounds in ourselves.
Before anyone goes out and drives nails through feet and hands,
or begins praying for a stigmata, I would like to suggest the way
we can do this is by living the gospel each moment of our lives.
Actually, we who follow the crucified and risen Christ must be
crucified also: on the cross of faith, love and surrender.
In many ways, this is what Jesus spoke about when he said we must
take up our cross and follow him. To follow Christ is enter into
the struggle between our natural inclinations and the will of God,
that is, living the gospel without compromise places us at the
crux of the tremendous struggle between humanity's way of living
and God's way of life. It is only in our total surrender to God's
call to holiness that we can receive the shalom, or the peace and
joy, that the risen Lord greeted his disciples with, and it is
in this spiritual crucifixion and struggle that we receive our
own wounds that we can show others.
The wounds come from our stripping ourselves of ourselves, and
opening our individual lives and life together to God's healing
process. These are the wounds that come from living in God's gifts
of faith, hope and charity with everything that we are and everything
that God is calling us to be. They are the wounds that come from
humble service, loving others as ourselves and faithfully living
our lives to the fullest in the God's abiding and life-changing
presence. These are the wounds that many people are so desperately
seeking, to know that Christ is fully risen. If people can touch
our wounds, they can then accept their own. For we all have wounds,
so that we might understand each other and believe.
Around the Parish
Spring is in the
air, with all of the loveliness - and "busyness" that comes with
it as well. Graduations, confirmations, weddings, spring fairs
and so many other family gatherings and social events.
It seems like just yesterday when Andrew Schneider went
to Massachusetts to begin his first semester at Boston College
. It's now four years later and Andrew will be graduating , with
a B.A. degree in History, on May 24. And it's no surprise that
he's also on the Dean's List. Andrew's grandmother, Ginny
Peel , will be coming from Texas to join the rest
of his family ( Janet, Paul ,
Kate and Ted ) in Boston for his graduation weekend,
and Ginny, Kate and Janet hope to attend Sunday services at historic
Trinity Church (Episcopal of course) in Boston on May 23.
We've also been told that Kate will
probably be attending Thunderbird University in Phoenix , Arizona
, beginning in August, planning to earn her M.B.A. in International
Business, and majoring in Global Marketing. And Ted has
almost finished his second year at Stevens Institute in Hoboken
, NJ , where he is majoring in Electrical Engineering and will
be spending the summer in an internship program designing circuits
We're also glad to report that Ginny has moved back into her house
at her retirement village in San Antonio , after the horrible fire
that started in her garage in January. She is now busily unpacking
more than 300 boxes of stuff that had to be "de-gunked" from the
oily smoke smell!
Congratulations to Melissa Angone and Kevin Rosa on
their engagement (Christmas Day - how romantic!) Melissa, the beautiful
daughter of Lois and Jim Angone , has
been busily at work preparing for the big event that will take
place on June 25, 2005
And speaking of 2005, don't forget to mark you calendars for Saturday,
May 14, 2005 - that's when Serendipity will
be hosting a gala May Ham Dinner to mark the 100 th Anniversary
of the Dedication of our church. The actual 100 th Anniversary
date is May 30, 2005 and it will be marked with many special
celebrations and commemorative events here at Christ Church
Bill Beveridge , son of Nancy
and Bill Beveridge , was recently featured in
a wonderful article in his church Newsletter. Bill, his wife Robin and
their two children, Julia and Jackson ,
reside in New Paltz, NY and are members of St. Andrew's Episcopal
Bill is quite active at St. Andrew's, having been reelected to
a second term as Junior Warden. This will be his third term as
an Advisory Board member and he has also been St. Andrew's Choir
Director for several years. Robin has been quite busy as well.
In addition to being a full-time mom, she is also studying for
Have you ever wondered why Susan Fowler and Victor
Stanwick always sit in the same pew at the back
of the church? No, it's not because the music is too loud or
because they want to make a quick getaway after the service - actually,
it all has to do with the stained glass windows! As Victor
tells us, "We met on a ship (both were volunteers at the South
Street Seaport) and were married aboard ship. The windows near
that pew remind us of the sea." And for those of you who are
wondering, the two lovely windows that Victor was referring
to are "Christ's Call to Peter and Andrew "in the
rear-right of the church and "Christ Settling the Storm" in
the rear left.
We were saddened to hear of the passing of Hector
McIntyre on April 25 in Rockport , ME. Hector
was a long-time parishioner at Christ Church and one of our
most active leaders, having served as senior warden, treasurer
and Sunday School superintendent and teacher. Condolences to
his wife, Betsy and their family.
That's it for now - see you in June for
our Spring Fair and our final issue before the summer hiatus!
The regularly scheduled
meeting of the Christ Church Vestry took place on Monday, April
12, 2004 . Our Treasurer, Phyllis Bath, gave her report for March
2004 and noted that "pledge and plate were good," meaning ahead
of March 2003. This is partly due to several generous contributors
who have not yet pledged. Constance Ricciardi, Parish Financial
Secretary, gave her report for the first quarter of 2004 (ending
March 31, 2004 ). She noted that, out of 81 pledging units, 55
have fulfilled their pledges, while 26 are behind..
Lesley Shannon then led the Strategic Planning portion of the
meeting, during which time the Vestry discussed some of Christ
Church 's many successes of the past five to ten years. These included:
Fund-raising and fellowship events, like the St.
Nick's Fair, Holly Ball, Spring Fair, and dinners, like the May-Ham
Dinner. These are well attended and always profitable.
The Family Service. Attendance is growing. Kids do
everything. "Children come and children stay."
Music: a quality choir, organist and choirmaster,
and organ. Also the Serenade concert series.
Lay participation - excellent ushers, readers, servers.
Plant & Equipment Committee.
Renovation of gymnasium.
Public use of space.
Diversity of parish membership and church attendance
- more inclusive
The Vestry then discussed opportunities for improvement which
Adult programs and adult education.
Church youth programs, especially for intermediate
and senior high school groups.
"Fishes and Loaves Ministries": improved outreach
to parishioners' special needs.
Recommendations for Long-Range Plans will be created by June 2004.
These will generate Task Forces for the different areas of the
Long-Range Plans, with the involvement of each Vestry member in
one or more of these task-force areas.
Nancy Reiersen -Scromo reported on the recent diocesan-wide Wardens'
Conference, pronouncing it excellent. Nicholas Lettiere then gave
a brief report on our 2004 Stewardship Campaign
As recommended by the Plant & Equipment Committee and approved
by the Finance Committee, the Vestry voted $2500 to replace the
office computer and $3600 to create measured drawings of the church,
cloister and parish house.
Gytha Bellaby appealed for volunteers for the Christ Church Spring
Fair, set for Saturday, June 12. A Spring Fair meeting will be
held after church on Sunday, May 2.
Issues concerning the Project Hospitality Sleepover Program, which
currently houses 10-12 persons each program night, have been successfully
resolved. A motion was passed to approve the continuation of this
program, as it was outlined in the initial proposal, with the understanding
that the Vestry liaison will review the ministry every six months
and report back to the Vestry.
The Vestry approved the dates for two major events that will take
place in 2005: The May-Ham Dinner on May 14, 2005, and the 100th
anniversary of the consecration of the present Christ Church building
will take place on May 30, 2005.
Women of Christ Church
The Women of Christ
Church cancelled their April meeting and attended the Maundy Thursday
service instead. We will be resuming our regular schedule on Thursday,
May 13 with the Healing Service and Eucharist in the Chapel at
11:00 a.m., followed by the business session in the Vestry Room.
Please bring a sandwich for the lunchtime. Dessert will be provided,
and as always it will be bounteous!
On the following Thursday, May 20, the New York Altar Guild will
be visiting One Pendleton for one of Fr. John's fabulous lunches,
and all Women of Christ Church are cordially invited to attend.
This organization provides vestments and altar linens for chapels
and churches which are in need of these things. They hold regular
meetings at the House of the Redeemer in Manhattan.
I hope you'll come out and take this opportunity to meet these wonderful
The Lehmann Family
& Camp Scholarship Fund
The Christ Church
College and Camp Scholarship Fund. was established in 2003 by Gytha
Bellaby, Colin Reed and Trevor Mills to give the young people in
our church a helping hand, financially, in order to offset some
of the expenses associated with rising college costs, and also
to provide funding for a summer camp experience.
That year, the campaign got underway with a donation from Rick
Smith, followed by the British Tea Room and Take-Away fund
raiser held at Snug Harbor . In addition, thanks to the generosity
of our long-time benefactor, Mr. John Lehmann, a substantial amount
of money was added to the fund. Last summer we sent one of our
younger parishioners, Olisha James, to the Incarnation Center in
Ivoryton , Connecticut . If you have had the opportunity to speak
with Olisha, you will find that she had a fantastic time in a rural
setting where a whole new world was opened up for her.
Funds are now available to once again invest in our future, and if
you are planning to attend college as a freshman this fall, we would
love to help. We also have a limited number of camp scholarships
available for this summer and would appreciate being contacted by
anyone wishing to attend a one-week session at Incarnation Camp.
Keep in mind that vacancies fill up quickly at the camp this time
of year, so please contact Gytha, Colin or Trevor as quickly as possible!
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.
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.
I would like to sponsor:
¨ Ceiling lamp
How many? ___
Cost: $180 x _____
¨ Wall bracket
How many? ___
Cost: $210 x _____
Please put this name or these names on the plaque and whether
this gift is a memorial or a sponsorship:
Who Rescues Animals?
A few weeks after
we officially adopted Mordecai and Ezra, the two cats left in front
of our house in a vegetable box, we took them to meet our regular
veterinarian, Dr. Thomas Carreras. Dr. Carreras has taken care
of all our animals since we moved to Staten Island, including
a baby squirrel we found on our basement floor and a puppy we discovered
tied to a tree.
It had snowed the night before, and the street in front of the
animal hospital hadn't been plowed yet. The sanitation worker who
was sharing the waiting room with us pointed out that, since that
part of Dongan Hills Avenue was a dead end, they had to bring in
a front loader to get rid of the snow. Garbage-truck plows wouldn't
be able to maneuver, he said.
The sanitation worker had a beautiful, tall, slender, slightly
unhappy boxer with him. "This guy is a purebred," he said, "and
he has some genetic problems. My son has a boxer, too, but his
boxer was a stray and he's healthy. We found him on the street."
"You did? We found these guys on the street, too," Victor said.
He nodded. " Me and my son both work for the Sanitation Department,
and he found his dog running around loose on his route."
"The Sanitation Department rescues dogs?" I asked.
"Yeah, but not officially. We take them back to the depot, and
then someone usually takes them home. It happens a lot."
"These two cats were sitting in a box I had put out for recycling.
We found them on a pick-up day," I said, looking at him a bit suspiciously.
He jerked his head ever so slightly and smiled faintly. Then the
technician came to the door and called him and the boxer inside.
Victor and I looked at each other, then at Ezra and Mordecai.
They looked back. They didn't say a word.
What to Do If You Lose an Animal
If you lose a pet, here are some things you can do. Note that
cats tend to stay within a block or so of home, but dogs will range
for miles. Also, you usually have to leave a message at many of
the phone numbers below, but you will be called back.
Call the Center for Animal Care and Control ( CACC)
as soon as you realize your dog or cat is missing. The Staten Island
CACC sends unclaimed animals to Brooklyn within a day or so, and
although they agreed to stop killing healthy animals, your animal
may get caught up in the bureaucracy. He or she is also likely to
get sick from a long wait in the pound. The number is (718) 984-6643.
Call all the local veterinarians. People
sometimes bring animals without tags to veterinarian offices.
Call local animal rescue organizations.
Two are the Staten Island Council for Animal Welfare (SICAW) and
Pet Lovers United Together as One (PLUTO). SICAW puts rescued cats
up for adoption at Petsmart on Forest Avenue. Sicaw numbers are
(718) 448-3525 and (718) 761-6678. PLUTO puts their animals up for
adoption at Petco on Forest and Richmond Rd. The PLUTO phone number
is (718) 227-0553.
You can put ads in the Staten Island
Advance and on Staten Island Community Television (channels
34, 35, 56, and 57). To put a lost-or-found pet notice on cable
TV, call them at (718) 727-1414 or fill in the form at http://www.sictv.org/ctvvideograms
Carry flyers around your neighborhood
and hand them to people, especially people walking dogs. Note that
if you put flyers on telephone poles, the city will take them down
again. It's considered a form of littering.
And finally, ask the mail delivery people
and the sanitation guys. You never know.
In the church where
I was baptized and confirmed a story circulated about a parishioner
who, it was said, went to church only on Ash Wednesday and on Good
Friday. This believer, whom I never met, has never been far from
my mind. Understatement appeals to me and I admire her penitence,
while recognizing the difficulty of organizing a community around
her kind of minimal, idiosyncratic participation.
If I were to choose but one day in the year to go to church it
would be Maundy Thursday. There is something about the liturgy
of that day that puts me in touch with my roots, both as a church
member and as a person. I was baptized and confirmed in Lent, not
long before Holy Week. In a stark, visible and dramatic way, the
Maundy Thursday observance re-presents the dark and somber, yet
joyful events that make up the bedrock of who we are and what we
do, not only on Sunday but also on every other day in the year.
Here we find ourselves and each other.
A remarkable feature of Maundy Thursday at Christ Church is the supper
of lamb stew prepared and served by Shirley Black and her family.
This dish would do credit to the best restaurants in New York, or
indeed to any other restaurant in the world. The recipe is a closely
guarded family secret handed down from Shirley's mother. Like the
Black family's hospitality, no one could really duplicate their lamb
stew, yet everyone may taste it on Maundy Thursday.
Long Range Planning:
Vision into Reality
The Vestry has
been discussing what Christ Church will be like in the next five
years, and it's been time very well spent. We've discussed how
to make the church more inviting and active to attract new membership.
It's been a time of thinking beyond our usual boundaries and looking
at the image we project as a church. It's been a time of looking
at our church from different perspectives. A goal has emerged as
we've shifted the focus a little less "in" and a little more "out".
By the end of 2009, the church will be an integral part of the
neighborhood and community.
Now the Vestry is ready to move on to the next phase of the process.
Some important ministries have emerged from the survey sessions
last year and the Vestry's visioning sessions over the past couple
of months. We believe our ministries reflect the best of who we
are as a parish, and will be the foundation of our growth. We have
created several task forces to plan the expansion of these ministries.
The task forces will come up with ideas for programs, research
program requirements, and outline implementation plans for the
programs. Finally, the task forces will make recommendations for
the programs to the Vestry at the June meeting.
The task forces are:
Landscaping ministry - Susan Fowler , Bill Sherman
Elderly and handicapped access ministry - Lester
Reclamation ministry (Evangelism) - Anne Devlin,
Nancy Reiersen -Scromo
Church buildings use ministry - Dorothy Thompson,
Fellowship expansion - Beth McLean, Trevor Mills
Youth ministry expansion - Beth McLean, Trevor Mills,
Outreach expansion - Lesley Shannon
Spirituality growth and Adult Education ministry - Anne
Devlin, Nancy Reiersen -Scromo
Music ministry - Beth McLean
Physical Plant (Buildings) ministry - Plant and Equipment
The Vestry welcomes your involvement in theses task forces. The more
people that are involved, the better the plan! Please contact the
task force leaders above or Lesley Shannon at 442-5184.
It Wouldn't be Spring
the Christ Church Fair
Well, it's that time again! At this year's Spring Fair , scheduled
for Saturday, June 12 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. , we will be celebrating
our Staten Island neighborhoods. You were all so wonderful last
year in making our Fair fun and successful but our goal now is
to top that - have more fun and make more money!
Of course we will have our traditional White Elephant in the auditorium.
Don't forget our raffles! The door prize will be $500 and our 4
th annual 50/50 raffle is being offered again (winner gets half
the money taken in). I hear through the grapevine that someone
will be donating a brand new television. Of course we have all
those fantastic basket raffles and a Silent Auction table. Paul
Smith & Nick Dowen
will be conducting tours of our beautiful, historic church, so
come and learn about all the treasures we have.
Speaking of treasures, it wouldn't be a fair without our faithful
vendors and the delicious homemade goodies at Margaret Harris'
cake table. This year Nick and Victor will be doing the hot dogs & hamburgers.
Last year, the beautiful weather enabled us to have an old-fashioned
lemonade and an ice cream stand run by Serendipity, and I hear
they are going to do it again! And this year, Beth McLean and her
youth group and Sheila Hewitt and the Sunday School will be beefing
up the kid's games, etc. so there will be plenty for the kids to
do while the rest of you shop!!!
On hand, also, will be plenty of NFL shirts, jackets, etc. By
the way, this year, we are having a "numerologist" at the Fair - come
and see who it is and what your numbers have to say! Remember that
great classic rock group we had last year? Well, "IN
BETWEEN " will be there again! So come,
dance, and be happy.
If you have any ideas regarding new attractions for our Fair,
please let Gytha or Anne know! All suggestions, assistance, and
donations will be gratefully appreciated! (Please don't
forget, we do not deal in books or clothes.)
You will soon be receiving Door Prize Raffles and the ever popular
50/50 Raffle. Please buy as many as you can but even more important, sell them - to
your friends, family, people you work with, anyone.everyone! Please
return your admission raffle tickets to Christ Church , 76 Franklin
Ave , Staten Island , NY 10301 Att: Trevor Mills, Admissions. The
50/50 raffle tickets should be marked to the attention of Gytha
Bellaby. As usual, our proceeds go directly to the church for use
in our Outreach programs, such as the Feeding Ministry, Boy's Youth
nights, and surrounding community, as well as our operating costs
to keep the church running.so we can have heat in the winter and
light in the dark!
P.S. Did we mention that Richard Sigman will have more honey
from Upstate NY this year? And that we expect to have even more fun than
the way to spiritual health and maturity, but for stewardship to
have a chance we must begin with a serious spiritual question: "What
do we owe to God for the free gift of life and its accompanying
benefits?" The answer, of course, is everythin g .
And that means we need to reject the all-too-common conviction
that what we have personally earned, deserved, acquired, or won
is ours to possess and do with as we see fit.
Calling All Young
Lou Ranieri, our
Youth Director, has planned a special Youth Workshop for the younger
members of Christ Church (and their friends) on Saturday, May 15
at 2:00 p.m.
You can find out more by joining us that day at the Staten Island
Institute of Arts and Sciences on Stuyvesant Pl. or call Lou at 718-227-4419.