Easter Island
Close Window March 2005

Click one of the titles below to read the article:

paragraph ending graphic Warden's Report paragraph ending graphic Feeling Overwhelmed?
paragraph ending graphic Around the Parish paragraph ending graphic Wanted—Good Listeners
paragraph ending graphic Vestry Notes paragraph ending graphic Christ Church Concert
paragraph ending graphic Women of Christ Church paragraph ending graphic Point of View
paragraph ending graphic Serendipity paragraph ending graphic Easter Flowers & Greens
paragraph ending graphic Holy Week & Easter Service Schedule paragraph ending graphic Parish Register
Warden's Report

We are pleased to tell you that the Reverend Clarke French will be joining us as our Interim Pastor, effective Tuesday, March 1st, and his first Sunday with us will be March 6th. There will be a welcoming reception for him, following both the 9 a.m. and the 10:30 a.m. services that day. Father Clarke, and his wife, Sally, are quite excited about the prospect of making Christ Church their new parish home, and we too are thrilled to have them with us during this important time of transition. In anticipation of his arrival, Fr. Clarke has asked that we publish the following letter to all of you in this month’s issue of the Tower Chimes:

Allow me to introduce myself! My name is Clarke French and I am delighted to be coming to ChristChurch to serve as your interim pastor.

I am a native of Toronto where I was reared and educated. Toronto is not only Canada’s largest city, it is also known for its beauty and rich cultural diversity. I was educated at TrinityCollege, an Anglican school that is part of the University of Toronto, where I received both Bachelor of Arts (Politics, German) and Master of Divinity degrees. TrinityCollege is also where I met my future wife Sally. Ordained to the priesthood in 1999, I left city life and moved to a rural farming community about 80 miles northwest of Edmonton, Alberta in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Part farmland, part oil field, my first parish had four distant churches and covered an area about the size of Rhode Island. It was an immensely rewarding time for me. At the invitation of my bishop, I joined the staff of a thriving downtown parish in the city of Edmonton in late 2002.

Sally and I were married at my parish church in Edmonton on July 31 st of this year, and we both love married life very much! We are moving to New York so that Sally (also a priest) can begin graduate studies at Manhattan’s General Theological Seminary—a dream of hers for some time now. Coming to serve at ChristChurch makes that dream come true, so we both thank you for that.

At my interview with Christ Church’s Vestry, I was asked how I wanted to be called after I arrive. Did I prefer “Father French” or “Father Clarke”? Either would be fine, with a mild preference for “Father Clarke.” But keep in mind, I have answered to plain old “Clarke” for thirty years—so that will work for sure!!!

Sally and I don’t have any children yet, but we will be bringing our two cats: Mathilda and Horatio. We love to read, entertain, and explore new places. As well, I am especially looking forward to being in such close proximity to New York’s vibrant cultural life.

I ask your patience in advance as Sally and I adjust to living in a new city, as well as in a new country. New York is by no means strange to us (we’ve each been here many times and Sally’s brother lives in Manhattan) but I’m sure there will be some initial “bumps” along the road. I think I’ve managed to eliminate the Canadian word “eh” from most of my sentences, but if I mess up and put an extra “u” in some things (colour, honour) or use a term or phrase you’ve never heard of before, please bear with me. I’ll try and get it right sooner or later!

Lastly, let me say that I consider the opportunity to be your Interim Pastor a unique privilege. I look forward to together serving our Lord Jesus Christ at ChristChurch. I keep you all in my prayers, as I hope I am in yours.

 Yours in Christ,

Clarke (& Sally) French. paragraph ending graphic
Click here to go to the top of the page.
Around the Parish

The big news at Christ Church these days is the arrival of our Interim Pastor, The Rev. Clarke French, and his wife, Sally on March 1. Fr. Clarke will celebrate his first service at Christ Church on Sunday, March 6 and we hope all of our Christ Church parishioners will come out to greet him and Sally. There will be a welcome reception for them in the Guild Room immediately following the Family Service at 9 a.m. and again after the 10:30 a.m. service.

A big “thank you” to Shirley and Willie Black, Jr. for organizing a wonderful Diversity Day celebration on Sunday, February 6 th. This year’s theme was “Celebrating Diversity: Love One Another” and that’s exactly what we did. There was a wonderful variety of ethnic dishes, and entertainment provided by Ann Sohm, Jay Spadaro, Hal Reiersen, Eva Black, David Holt and members of the choir. And let us not forget the wonderful presentation by our young people as they spoke of their hopes and dreams for the future of Christ Church and the world.

Martha Keucher has always been one to count her blessings, and added another one to her list in January when her granddaughter, Melissa, gave birth to Martha’s first great granddaughter, Cecelia Kate who weighed in at 6 lbs, 1.3 ounces.

The month of January had its “ups and downs,” but thanks to several Christ Church parishioners it certainly was interesting. On Sunday, January 16th the 10:30 worship service at Christ Church was glorified by the presence of members of the Maryland Boy Choir who happened to be in town that day, and thanks to the efforts of our own Valerie Quinlan, gave a lovely pre-service concert and led us in the service that followed afterwards.

And let us not forget the following Sunday, when Mother Nature turned Staten Island into a winter wonderland. Special thanks to Victor Stanwick, Tom Sarff and Mother Rhoda Treherne, who made it to church that day and made sure that our services at 8 and 10:30 a.m. took place for the hearty souls who were able to brave the elements and worship that morning.

Anyone who attends church at 10:30 on Sunday morning will tell you that the coffee hour that follows is one of the most important parts of the worship service. And thanks to Margaret Harris, who has shared of her time and talents to schedule volunteers, set up and serve the coffee and assorted goodies, and clean up afterwards, our coffee hour is one of the best on Staten Island ! And now, after several years of putting the “perk” in the coffee hour, Margaret is stepping down to make way for Nancy Beveridge, who has graciously offered to take on this important responsibility. There are still several empty spots on this year’s calendar (see box) that need to be filled, and Nancy would love to hear from you.

For those of you who have been wondering where in the world has John Watson been, wonder no more! This world traveler is at it again – this time, in Tahiti . Although several of us have been speculating when – and if – John will be returning from this island paradise, rest assured that John has not deserted us and will be returning some time in March with many colorful photos and stories to match!

And speaking of world travelers, let us not forget our own Andrew Schneider who continues to send e-mail updates of his travels throughout China . There are some absolutely breathtaking photos of his most recent trek to Tibet on his website. His mother, Janet, would be more than happy to direct you there if you’re interested. And speaking of the Schneider clan, we would be remiss in not sharing the good news about Kate Schneider, who is hard at work earning her Masters Degree from UCLA. Kate and several of her classmates entered and won a Business School competition which netted them each $1000 to be applied to their tuition expenses. Bravo, Katie!

Looks like there might be another Kennedy in the White House – Elizabeth Kennedy, one of the four lovely daughters of Hal and Laura Kennedy, that is! Elizabeth will be graduating from the Berkeley School of Law in California on May 14, and is currently working as an intern for Senator Ted Kennedy in Washington , DC . Elizabeth is following in the footsteps of her dad, who is an attorney here on Staten Island .

That’s all for now. On behalf of the writers and editors of the Tower Chimes, best wishes for a blessed and joyful Eastertide. paragraph ending graphic
Click here to go to the top of the page.
Vestry Notes

The following is a brief recap of the important issues that were discussed at the Vestry meeting of Monday, February 14th:

Trevor Mills was elected as Clerk of the Vestry for the year 2004-2005

Richard Sigman was elected as Acting Treasurer for the year 2004-2005

Willie Black, Jr., chairperson of the Search Committee, made a brief presentation to the Vestry to update it on the important work that has been done, and the important tasks that lie ahead in order to select a new rector for Christ Church . He indicated that members of the committee met with Canon Thomas Orso from the Diocesan Deployment Office and the groundwork was laid for the Search that will take place over the next year or so.

Because of problems with the original flooring on the first level of the Parish House basement, the floor tiles have detached themselves from the sub floor; and some of the stairs are in poor shape as well. The Vestry voted to have Howard Sohm & Son come in to make the appropriate repairs.

The Landscape Committee has invited five landscape architects to present a plan for the grounds, including the parking lot behind the church. In addition, a land surveyor has been chosen to assess some structural problems in this area as well.

The Vestry discussed the proposed dates for our yearly The Rectory will be cleaned and the plumbing fixed before the arrival of our Interim Rector. In addition, there are other areas where the walls will be painted and the wallpaper repaired.

Susan Fowler, chair of the Plant & Equipment Committee, and Warden Beth McLean have been working to provide alternative solutions to getting the Sexton’s job done until a replacement has been hired. Our current Sexton, Jim Angone, has submitted his resignation and will be leaving on February 28th.

The Vestry discussed the proposed dates for our yearly fundraising events. The Spring Fair will take place on Saturday, June 11th - however, we are still looking for volunteers to chair this yearly event. The Holly Ball has been scheduled for Saturday, December 10th. Once again, Beth McLean and Trevor Mills have graciously offered to co-chair this event

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Vestry will take place on Monday, March 14th. paragraph ending graphic
Click here to go to the top of the page.
Women of Christ Church

After some mix-up of dates, the Women of Christ Church met as usual on the second Thursday of February - it is always the second Thursday, ladies, mark it down!  The Rev. Buddy Stallings of Ascension celebrated the Eucharist in the chapel.  The business consisted of the report of our donations for the intervening months.  Some letters of thanks were received, including one from our Warden of last year for the new round tables that we had bought for the Church.  We are glad that they were available for the Holly Ball.  The World Day of Prayer for Church Women United will be at the Swedish Home on March 4th. Our luncheon sandwiches were topped off by home-baked goodies from Helen Martin and Martha Keucher.

We blame the flu bug going around for our low attendance, and sincerely  hope that all will be well again for our next meeting on the second Thursday of March, March 10th. paragraph ending graphic
Click here to go to the top of the page.

Congratulations to the new officers of Serendipity, elected in February: Paul Smith, the first ever male president; Gytha Bellaby, Vice President, Martha Keucher, who will continue to be the Treasurer and Colin Reed, who will continue to be the Secretary.

All the funds raised by Serendipity through a variety of activities are for Christ Church and our Treasurer reported that during the last year we raised and spent a total of $4, 883.69 on a variety of Christ Church projects.

The Pancake Supper, in honor of Shrove Tuesday, was a wonderful success. The proceeds from the free will offering, along with $300 from our funds, will be sent to the Bishop’s fund for tsunami relief. The total amount is $529.

Preparations are beginning for the 100 th May-Ham Carvery to be held on May 14, and which Bishop Taylor and Bishop Sisk will attend. This will be a wonderful celebratory event and more information will be forthcoming.

Our membership is growing! We now have several men joining our ranks and our meetings are diverse and exciting, not to say fun! All are welcome—please note that our next meeting in March will be announced in the Sunday Bulletin. Please join us!

The next meeting will be March 8 th at the home of Martha Keucher. paragraph ending graphic
Click here to go to the top of the page.
Holy Week & Easter
Service Schedule

Palm Sunday – March 20
8:00 a.m. – Spoken Eucharist in the Chapel

10:30 a.m. Combined Service
Procession of the Palms and Choral Eucharist

Maundy Thursday – March 24
7:30 p.m. – Eucharist

11:00 p.m. – Hymn Sing and Compline
in the Chapel

Good Friday – March 25
10:00 a.m. Eucharist

7:00 p.m. - Organ mediations in the Chu rch

7:30 p.m. – Eucharist

Easter Sunday – March 27
8:00 a.m. – Spoken Eucharist in the Chapel

9:00 a.m. – Family Service
Easter Egg Hunt to follow

10:30 a.m. – Festival Choral Eucharist
Reception to follow in the Parish House
immediately following the service. paragraph ending graphic
Click here to go to the top of the page.
Feeling Overwhelmed by
Current Events? Good!

Participate in a stimulating discussion of the ideas and present-day relevance of Reinhold Niebhur, 20th century American theologian, author of the Serenity Prayer, who coined the term “ ‘Christian realism:’ a middle path between religious idealism and arrogance.”

Anne Devlin will share copies of Niebhur’s works: Moral Man and Immoral Society: A Study in Ethics and Politics, Presbyterian Publishing, 2002; The Serenity Prayer: Faith and Politics in Times of Peace and War, Elisabeth Sifton, W.W. Norton & Co., 2005; The Irony of American History, Reinhold Niebhur, Macmillan, 1982. Also, check out http://speakingoffaith.publicradio.org/.

Don’t have time to read? Just show up on Wednesday, March 16th at 7pm., draw upon your life experience and enjoy the discussion! Sandwiches and beverages will be served. paragraph ending graphic
Click here to go to the top of the page.
Wanted—Good Listeners

Although, as members of our Christ Church faith community, we endeavor to practice good deeds on a daily basis, the Staten Island Council of Churches is designating the week-end of April 8 th, 9 th and 10 th for its 3 rd annual inter-faith community outreach, Good Deeds Week-end.

At the January planning meeting, the SICC was enthusiastic about Anne Devlin’s idea to organize volunteers of all ages to visit local nursing home residents and listen to their stories. Anne has met with Sheila Hewitt, our Sunday school director, and representatives from the S.I. Hindu Temple , St. John’s Villa Academy , I.S. 61, and the Staten Island Care Center on Lafayette Avenue . On Friday, April 8 th, 25 students from the I.S. 61 Leadership Team will visit residents at the S.I Care Center . Volunteer good listeners are needed to visit the S.I Care Center on Saturday and/or Sunday, from 10am to 11am. Special arrangements can be made to visit homebound members of our congregation. Please e-mail Anne, if you are interested in volunteering: annebunchie@aol.com. paragraph ending graphic

Click here to go to the top of the page.
Christ Church Concert

On Sunday March 13th our good friend Sachiko Hasegawa will be returning to Christ Church to play a piano recital. As in the past, Sachiko will entertain us in the best pianistic tradition. On this occasion, she will be assisted by friends from Japan , who will add variety to the program. The program will begin at 3 p.m. and is free to the public. A good will offering will be accepted at the door to repay in part the generosity of this extraordinary artist. paragraph ending graphic

Click here to go to the top of the page.
Point of View

In September 2004 the editors of the Tower Chimes announced a brand new column entitled “Point of View.” This is the place, they said, where “readers would have the opportunity to respond to any articles they may have read in a previous issue or the Tower Chimes, or even on a subject that they feel strongly about as Christians or as Episcopalians.” Contributors were told not to worry about typing, grammar or spelling. Unavoidable problems have delayed the onset of this column but here’s the first from a man who never pushes anyone’s buttons. [Ed. Note: ha!]

There’s been a great deal of support for the election of a gay Bishop but it has also caused deep divisions within our church. I don’t agree with the conservative Anglicans who are opposed to the ordination of homosexuals as priests, but although we may disagree with them, at least we should understand the reasons they and many others are opposed to the ordination of gay men and women. It’s really very simple.

In Leviticus 18 vs 22 the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.” Forget about loving the sinner but not the sin, Leviticus 20 vs 13, simply says that homosexuals should be put to death. In Romans 1 vs 26-27 in the New Testament gay men and women are condemned for their degrading passions and their shameless acts. Some Biblical scholars can twist the texts every which way they like, but the Bible is as plain as it’s possible to be.

But of all the things the word of God condemns why do we pick on homosexuality? Should we keep quoting little pieces of the infallible scriptures in which we believe, and ignore all the other rules laid out for us? One could write many pages about what the Bible forbids. Here’s just a smattering: God’s word prescribes death for homosexuality, hitting your father or mother or cursing them, letting a witch live, tolerating blasphemy or working on Sunday. If you’ve got a rebellious stubborn son who sometimes gets drunk and is disrespectful, God’s word says kill him. The Bible also condemns compulsory celibacy as a heresy, yet we all know that one of the largest churches in the world says that something the scriptures condemns, is mandatory for all priests and nuns. Let’s examine the women in our congregation who are ignoring the Bible’s injunction against wearing braids, gold or pants. The word of God forbids children to play with dolls, and adults to eat pork, lobster or shrimp. Girls who represent themselves as virgins when they’re not are to be killed. The Bible also says that women should not come to church thirty-three days after their babies are born and of course the Bible says you’re dirty and must bathe after you’ve had sex. The scriptures do permit you to release your slaves after seven years. Does our Warden, Nancy, wash her clothes after cuddling her cat, Snoopy? If not then she’s disobeying God’s word and not setting a good example for the rest of us. And now we have a newly elected rebellious Vestry member, Sheila Swigert, who has more than one cat. Excommunication is probably in order! paragraph ending graphic
Click here to go to the top of the page.
Easter Flowers & Greens

Those who would like to contribute to the memorial flowers for Easter should list names of those to be remembered and place envelopes containing donations in the offering plate on a Sunday. Flower fund envelopes will be found in the pews. Checks should be drawn to Women of Christ Church. Names and donations may also be mailed directly to Mrs. Richard Elfers, 61 North Randall Avenue, Staten Island, NY 10301. To be listed in the bulletin, all names must be received no later than Palm Sunday. paragraph ending graphic

Click here to go to the top of the page.
Parish Register

March Birthdays

13—William Keck III, Kevin McAndrew, Kenneth A. McLean; 14—Eva Sherman; 15—Gail Bernardez; 18—Theresa Lettiere, Beverly Pavelec; 23—Nancy Lettiere, Heather George; 26—Pamela Miller; 30—Daniel N. Lettiere, Tom Sarff.

If your special day is not in our records, call the Parish Office at 727-6100 so it can be added.

Something to Think About
Great tranquility of heart is his who cares for neither praise nor blame.
Thomas A. Kempis

Easter Food Distribution
The Episcopal Feeding Ministry, at All Saints’ Church need volunteers to help with the packing of Easter food distribution to those less fortunate. The date is Wednesday, March 23 rd at 9:30 a.m. paragraph ending graphic

Click here to go to the top of the page.