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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
10:30 a.m. – Festival Choral Eucharist
Easter Egg Hunt to follow
Reception to follow in the Parish House
immediately following the service.
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.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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