May flowers
  May 2004

Click one of the headings below to read the article:

paragraph ending graphic Father Michael paragraph ending graphic Who Rescues Animals?
paragraph ending graphic Around the Parish paragraph ending graphic Maundy Thursday
paragraph ending graphic Vestry Notes paragraph ending graphic Long Range Planning: Turning
Vision into Reality
paragraph ending graphic Women of Christ Church paragraph ending graphic Christ Church Spring Fair
paragraph ending graphic The Lehmann Family College
& Camp Scholarship Fund
paragraph ending graphic Reflections
paragraph ending graphic Let There Be Lighting paragraph ending graphic Calling All Young People

For All Those Doubting Thomases

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. paragraph ending graphic

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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 for computers

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 Church.

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 the Deaconate.

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! paragraph ending graphic
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Vestry Notes

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.

•  Feeding ministries.

•  Youth group.

•  Lay participation - excellent ushers, readers, servers.

•  Serendipity.

•  Plant & Equipment Committee.

•  Renovation of gymnasium.

•  Public use of space.

•  Coffee Hour.

•  Scholarship Program.

•  Tower Chimes.

•  Diversity of parish membership and church attendance - more inclusive

The Vestry then discussed opportunities for improvement which included::

•  Evangelism/Reclamation.

•  Adult programs and adult education.

•  Church youth programs, especially for intermediate and senior high school groups.

•  Youth choir.

•  "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. paragraph ending graphic
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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 church women. paragraph ending graphic
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The Lehmann Family College
& 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! 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.

lampsWith 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:






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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 forms.html .

•  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. paragraph ending graphic

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Maundy Thursday

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. paragraph ending graphic
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Long Range Planning:
Turning 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 Blair

•  Reclamation ministry (Evangelism) - Anne Devlin, Nancy Reiersen -Scromo

•  Church buildings use ministry - Dorothy Thompson, Mark Gherzo

•  Fellowship expansion - Beth McLean, Trevor Mills

•  Youth ministry expansion - Beth McLean, Trevor Mills, Dorothy Thompson

•  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 Committee

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. paragraph ending graphic
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It Wouldn't be Spring
Without the Christ Church Fair

Dear Friends:

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 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 last year? paragraph ending graphic

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Stewardship is 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. paragraph ending graphic

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Calling All Young People

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. paragraph ending graphic
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