the Wednesday before Holy Week I received a phone
call at the office from someone informing me of
a rumor that was going around the neighborhood.
Apparently, at a recent Community Board meeting
someone announced that our very own Christ Church
was up for sale. What’s more, the rumor went
on to say that most things in and outside the church
were “up for grabs.” What, you might
ask, would make anyone say something like that?
Well, for a few days last month land surveyors
had been here working—trying to help us get
a handle on drainage and water run off. It seems
that some dear soul (charity first, as I always
say) saw the men working and figured that kind
of work is only done in advance of a property sale.
Squelching the rumor was easy enough, but it continued
to trouble me for the rest of the week. It reminded
me of something that I have known always to be
true: that is, for many people—be they people
of faith or no faith whatsoever—there is
a determined curiosity when it comes to the church.
People wonder what goes on here. They wonder
what sort of people come here, what happens on
Sundays and through the week. And although any
of us would be happy to provide answers to their
questions, they never ask. They just wonder. And
when wondering isn’t enough, then they try
and fill in the blanks. Hence, the rumor.
I am writing about this not because I want you
all to don your sleuthing hats and find out who
started all of this—it really, really doesn’t
matter. I mention it only as a reminder that we,
by virtue of our association here, are “persons
of interest” to a great deal of people in
our community. So, let’s be interesting!
We would do well to remember that we can advertise
what goes on here all we want, we can offer programs
and outreach opportunities galore, and still not
be able to communicate the very heart of what happens
here. The simple truth remains; each and every
one of us in our own daily lives and work has a
far greater capacity to communicate to our broken
world the truth of the love of God and the freedom
possible only in Jesus Christ.
That is the buzz we want to
be floating around the community. And the individuals
that make up Christ Church remain the single best
and effective method of getting that message across.
Happy Easter everyone, and God’s blessings
to you all.
month of March was quite a busy one at Christ Church.
On Sunday, March 6 th the parish “officially” welcomed
our new Interim Pastor, Fr. Clarke
French. It was quite a wonderful
day, with receptions held in his honor after the
9:00 a.m Family Service and again, after the 10:30
a.m. service. We are sorry that Fr. Clarke’s
wife, Sally, was unable
to be there as well; however, she was only able
to be here for a few days to get things “somewhat” settled
in the Rectory before she had to return back to
Canada. Hopefully Sally will be back soon - with
all of the furniture and of course, the two most
important members of the French family, their two
cats, Horatio and Mathilda!
Colin Reed reports that
there has been a revival of his “New Brighton
Lives,” a scrapbook of histories, paintings
and stories, which was published in 200. He’s
had requests for reprints from people in New Brighton,
and also from former Staten Island residents who
have moved as far away as Arkansas, Wisconsin and
Don’t forget to mark your calendars for
three of our major fund-raising events this year:
the Spring Fair on Saturday, June 11
th(chaired this year by Beth
McLean and Anne Devlin); the St.
Nick’s Fair on Saturday, November 19 th(chaired
this year by Sheila Hewitt and Dorothy
Thompson); and of course, the Holly
Ball on Saturday, December 10 th,
once again chaired by Trevor Mills
and Beth McLean.
Babies R Us! Two blessed events at Christ Church
that should be noted with great joy. First of all,
congratulations to the Colucci family - Tony,
Tina and daughter, Evangelina, on
the most recent addition to their family. On March
12, 2005 they welcomed Gianni Antonio
Colucci into the family who weighed
in at six pounds, two ounces. Gianni shares this
special day with another important member of the
family - Tina’s dad!
Betsy and Scott Kalfa are
anxiously awaiting a visit from “Mr. Stork” in
April. We do know that it’s a boy, and even
more important, that everyone on both sides of
the family - the Kalfas and the Gattullos -
are quite excited and happy about the impending “blessed
Welcome to our newest office volunteer, Ginny
Spadaro. She will be manning
(or “womaning”) the parish office
each Monday and Tuesday and we thank her taking
on this important task.
Talk about a small world! It took almost 18 years
after they were born before our soprano soloist, Ann
Sohm, and Jay and Ginny Spadaro’s
daughter, Ginger Spadaro,
discovered that they were each born on the same
day, and in the same hospital! These two lovely
ladies “discovered” each other in college
and have since become the best of friends.
Calling all the young ladies of Christ Church!
The “Girls Night Out” program
will be resuming on Friday, April 8 th at 6 p.m.
We’ve hired a new youth mentor who is quite
excited to lead these wonderful evenings of crafts
and activities. Any questions? Please contact the
chair of our Youth Committee, Beth McLean.
Get well wishes to Andr é Black
and Richard Sigman who are both
under the weather right now and would be grateful
if you could remember them in your thoughts
and prayers. We’re also glad to see that Laura
Craig, Connie Ricciardi and Wilma Temple-Woods are
recovering nicely from their recent illnesses.
Condolences to William Sherman and
his family on the passing of his wife, Eva in
February. This wonderful woman, who had the deepest
love for her family and her church, fought the
good fight in her struggle to overcome breast cancer.
Her presence at our 10:30 a.m. Sunday services
will be sorely missed.
And in closing, a special wish from your Tower
Chimes editors and correspondents for a blessed
and joyful Eastertide. God’s Peace!
members of the Vestry of Christ Church New Brighton
met on Monday, March 14 for their regularly scheduled
monthly meeting. Here are some important highlights
reflecting the important issues and decisions that
were made at that time:
The next meeting of the Vestry will take place on
Monday, April 11 at 7:30 p.m. The approved minutes
of the February 14 th meeting have been posted on
the Parish House bulletin board for those wishing
to review them.
- Fr. Clarke announced that Bishop Sisk will
be visiting Christ Church on Sunday, October
30 and will be preaching during the 10:30 a.m.
- Fr. Clarke and his wife, Sally, will be away
from April 15 to May 3 as they lead a previously
arranged tour of the Holy Land. Mother Rhoda
Treherne-Thomas will be our supply priest during
the Sundays that Fr. Clarke is away.
- Beth McLean and Susan Fowler have met with
several prospective candidates to fill the Sexton’s
position. (Editor’s note: an announcement
will be forthcoming regarding the final selection
of a candidate to fill this position.)
- Beth McLean will also be interviewing prospective
candidates to lead the “Girls Night Out” program.
This popular program was discontinued a few years
ago when its leader, Diana Yates, was unable
to meet with the girls on Friday nights
- Anne Devlin is the Christ Church liaison for
the upcoming Community Days Event, sponsored
by the Staten Island Council of Churches, on
April 8 th through 10 th. Please contact Anne
if you would like to participate in this very
interesting and important community project.
- The Vestry voted to allocate $1100 to complete
several important and necessary repairs in the
- The search continues to find a new Treasurer
for Christ Church. Richard Sigman is currently
handling all of these functions on an “interim” basis,
and is quite anxious to begin training a replacement.
This is a non-paying, volunteer position. Interested
parties should contact either Fr. Clarke, the
Wardens or Richard Sigman if they would like
take over this important parish position.
Women of Christ Church were delighted to have our
new Interim Pastor, Fr. Clarke, celebrate the Eucharist
and conduct the Healing Service at their regular
meeting (the second Thursday, remember?) In March.
He was kind enough to stay for our meeting and
lunch, joining in on our fellowship around the
table. It was an opportunity for us to get to know
him, and I imagine he learned lots about us, too.
It was nice to have Connie Ricciardi and Laura
Craig with us. In spite of their recent illnesses,
both insisted on helping with the luncheon, so
we know they are feeling better.
Food certificates are to be given to Fr. Clarke
for distribution at Easter time to members of the
community who are in need of our help. Our Treasurer,
Shirley Elfers, reported that some donations have
already been made.
Decorations on the table and the desserts were
in green and white, in honor of St. Patrick’s
Day, and were prepared by Helen Martin and Martha
Our next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, April
13 at which time Fr. Clarke and his wife, Sally,
will be leading a tour to Egypt, Lebanon, and the
Holy Land. Our Rector Emeritus, Fr. John will be
with us for the Eucharist and Healing Service in
the chapel at 11 am. The meeting will follow afterwards
in the Parish House. We hope you will bring your
sandwich and join us then.
that it’s April, it’s hard to remember
that our March meeting had to be postponed because
of any icy blizzard. Even so, members gathered
at the church where they learned that the famous
basement closet is now complete, plans for the
renovation of our dumbwaiter are being explored,
and that the twenty prize raffle booklet and tickets
were circulated during the third week of March.
It was obvious too that Christ Church’s
one foundation is not any one group or individual,
but Jesus Christ our Lord. Along with so many other
things, the membership of the group has changed
since Judy Lefebvre founded Serendipity 40 years
ago. No one serves now who served then. People
come and go but the church goes on because it is
stronger than any one person in it. A group of
people whose number has grown this year, continue
to meet monthly to sit, laugh and talk to each
other and discuss ways in which they can make life
better for everyone in a 100 year old creation
like our church.
There was also discussion at the meeting of our
celebration of our 100th birthday on Saturday,
14 May. Let’s fill you in on some of the
details. We urge everyone to sell as many tickets
for our 20 prize raffle as possible. We are also
carrying on the tradition started in 1997 when
the May Ham dinners first began, of asking for
sponsors for everything from 25 cents for a lettuce
leaf or a teabag, to $25 for a ham or $100 for
our birthday cake. Want to sponsor the whole party?
Your check for $1500 will do the trick!
As usual Kim Davis will be with us downstairs
and later on upstairs, to serve us cocktails beer
or soda. The May Ham Dinner itself this year will
include a carvery which the Oxford Dictionary describes
as “a restaurant displaying joints for carving.” Almost
two dozen parishioners will be preparing food for
the great event at which ham, roast beef, turkey,
chicken, and duck will be served, along with a
salad bar featuring at least ten salads. The meal
will be topped, of course, with a birthday cake.
We’re looking forward to welcoming Bishop Taylor,
an old friend of our parish, as well as Bishop Sisk.
The Archbishop of Canterbury has promised to send
us greetings. Gytha and Eugene, who by the time you
receive this, will be Mr. and Mrs. Darconte, will
be organizing a commemorative journal including the
menu, that will contain the names of sponsors, ads.
and boosters. Dinner reservations for adults only,
please, will be $19.05. Installment plans available
in complete confidence. Discounts for reserved tables
of 4, 8 or 10. Raffle tickets are $1, or 6 for $5
and they’ll will be on sale throughout the
dinner. Food and other commemorative items will also
be on sale. Our dear friend, Carol Shea, will be
our hostess, and we invite all parishioners and friends
to join us for a great evening.
were eighteen parishioners, dear friends Norma
Sue Wolfe, Rhoda Treherne-Thomas, Vestry members,
and an assortment of famished parishioners, shivering
in the oval early in the morning waiting for the
hot baked beans that were on the menu when the
Full English breakfast was served to our overnight
homeless guests on St. Valentine’s Day. The
first cook went off to the Bagel Bin on Forest
Avenue that is open 24 hours, to pick up freshly
baked rolls and deliver them to Christ Church at
4:30 a.m., soon to be followed by Victor and Susan,
Colin, Martha, Salome Yepez and Peter Raff, who
began to prepare a full English breakfast of eggs,
bacon, sausage, fried tomatoes, fried potatoes
and baked beans. Rolls, coffee and tea, HP sauce
and Oxford marmalade were served on the side.
When our guests arrive late in the evening every
day, our church is locked. When Nick Dowen asked
them if they would like to see our church they
responded eagerly and when he took them in they
were awe-struck by its dramatic beauty. Later Nick
was amazed when he took the men into the chapel,
for some of them were familiar with people whose
ashes were housed in the Columbarium. As they left,
our homeless guests were given a bag lunch that
included Lesley Shannon’s muffins. As one
parishioner said when it was over, “I think
this morning’s breakfast was an astounding
success and I’d like to suggest that we make
this some sort of regular thing.” There were
many other warm praises for what happened. Our
image of homeless men changed a little when two
of them bowed their heads in prayer before wolfing
in to their breakfast.
Later in the day sixty small boxes of chocolates
were delivered to the drop-in center for the homeless
in St. George and several bystanders came up to
theme for our search is “Journey Through
Change.” Certainly this has been a learning
experience, and to quote Father Thomas Orso, the
Diocesan Canon for Deployment, “It should
be an exciting experience.”
The Search Committee has convened several times
this year, including an initial meeting with Father
Orso in February. We have begun to share philosophies,
experiences and emotions relating to our common
mission. The chart depicting our progress is on
display in the Guild Room.
We are currently in the “Self Study” phase
of our search where we determine who we are, where
we want to go, how to get there and who is to lead
us. This is a requirement for the entire parish
- not just the Search Committee. In order for us
to determine the best answers to these questions,
the Search Committee requests your attendance and
participation at a Parish Meeting in the auditorium
on Sunday, April 17, 2005 immediately following
a combined service at 10:30 a.m. The purpose of
the meeting is to gather your input in our search
to find a new Rector. The meeting will require
approximately one hour of your time.
The Search Committee, whose members include its chair,
Willie Black, Jr., Anne Devlin, Nick Dowen, Shirley
Elfers, Marlene Elia, Nicholas Lettiere, Connie Ricciardi,
Richard Sigman and John Watson, needs your support
and prayers in this endeavor.
Sunday, May 1 st the Serenade Concert Series will
begin its spring season at 3:00 p.m. in a program
entitled “Serenade for Strings and Piano.” This
afternoon of musical enjoyment will feature Isabella
Liss and Valerie Quinlan (violin); Lucy Corwin
(viola); Madeline Caspare (cello); and Sandra Russo
(piano).is free-of-charge and open to the public.
This ensemble will present Schumann’s Piano
Quintet in E flat, Opus 49. Also on the program
will be a duet composed by Handel and arranged
by Halvorsen for violin and violin, featuring Isabella
Liss and Lucy Corwin. Also featured is Kodaly’s
duet, Opus 7 for violin and cello, performed by
Valerie Quinlan and Madeline Caspare.
Come and enjoy this afternoon of beautiful music.
A “Meet the Artists” reception will
follow in the Parish House.
This program is supported by grants from Staten Island
Bank & Trust Foundation, Richmond County Savings
Foundation and Independence Community Foundation.
This is a request to all of you religious fanatics
out there (you know who you are). When you use
Biblical references to try and convince the rest
of us that we are sinners and are doomed to eternal
damnation because we don’t think like you
do, please use the following disclaimer at the
beginning of your pointless point of view:
“WARNING! Do not read any of the Biblical
text that appears before or after the cited references
in this diatribe.”
As long as people follow that instruction, your
rants and raves can be taken as gospel truth and
proof of your wildest theories.
Having said all of that, I shall now use several
citations from the King James Bible to lay down
a few new societal rules in an attempt to keep
all of you heterosexuals out there (you know who
you are) straight (no pun intended). But first,
a disclaimer: “WARNING! Do not read any of
the text that appears before or after the cited
references in this diatribe.”
Rule Number 1: If your wife is not able
to bear children, you may marry as many women
as it takes until you find one who is fecund.
I cite First Samuel, chapter 1, verse 2: ...and
he had two wives; the name of the one was Hannah,
and the name of other Peninnah: and Peninnah
had children, but Hannah had no children.
Rule Number 2: Women should suffer and
be subservient to men for having caused mankind
to become sinners in the first place.
I cite Genesis, chapter 3, verse 16: Unto
the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy
pain and thy conception; in pain thou shalt bring
forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy
husband, and he shall rule over thee.
I further cite First Timothy, chapter 2, verses
12-15: But I permit not a woman to teach, nor
to have dominion over a man, but to be in quietness.
For Adam was first formed, then Eve; and Adam was
not beguiled, but the woman being beguiled hath
fallen into transgression: but she shall be saved
through her child-bearing, if they continue in
faith and love and sanctification with sobriety.
Rule Number 3: Heterosexual relationships
are from this point on to be frowned upon, perhaps
even banned altogether (heterosexual relationships
cause both parties to be considered “unclean”). I
cite several references, including Leviticus, Chapter
15, verses 18 and 24, and chapter 20, verse 18: The
woman also with whom a man shall lie with seed
of copulation, they shall both bathe themselves
in water, and be unclean until the even… And
if any man lie with her, and her impurity be upon
him, he shall be unclean seven days; and every
bed whereon he lieth shall be unclean. And if a
man shall lie with a woman having her sickness,
and shall uncover her nakedness; he hath made naked
her fountain, and she hath uncovered the fountain
of her blood: and both of them shall be cut off
from among their people.
It is further evident that heterosexual relationships
are held in the same category as idolatry and unlawful
alpine-related eating habits. I cite Ezekiel, chapter
18, verse 5: But if a man be just, and do that
which is lawful and right, and hath not eaten upon
the mountains, neither hath lifted up his eyes
to the idols of the house of Israel, neither hath
defiled his neighbor`s wife, neither hath come
near to a woman in her impurity…. We
may have to enact some culinary rules in the near
Good old reliable Paul has this to say on the
subject of heterosexual relationships: Now
concerning the things whereof ye wrote: It is good
for a man not to touch a woman. This is, of
course, from Paul’s first letter
to the Corinthians, chapter 7, verse 1. How much
clearer can we be on the subject of heterosexuality?
Even Matthew relates heterosexual relationships
with adultery. I cite Matthew, chapter 5, verse
28: but I say unto you, that every one that
looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed
adultery with her already in his heart. Note
that Matthew never once claims that to looketh
upon a person of the same sex is considered adulterous.
Matthew continues on to say: And I say unto
you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except
for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth
adultery: and he that marrieth her when she is
put away committeth adultery. The disciples say
unto him, If the case of the man is so with his
wife, it is not expedient to marry. It seems
that Matthew is telling us that it’s just
easier not to have anything to do with women in
the first place.
In conclusion, I hope that all of you out there
will take these rules to heart and obey them. And
remember to wait until you are ninety-nine years
old before you are circumcised (Genesis, chapter
17, verse 24).
1—Ian Robert Adams, Bryan
Jamal Adams, Matthew Ambroggi; 6—Harry Bernardez;
10—Michael Devlin; 17 – Siaber Zayzay,
Celestine Zayzay; 24—David Wood, Daniel Wood;
26—Mary Boody; 30—Nancy Sherman
6—Linda & Harald Reiersen;
12—Carol & John Brown; 17—Sue & Rick
Boody; 25—Laura & Henry Kennedy.
If your special day is not in our records, call
the Parish Office at 727-6100 so it can be added.