The General Theological Seminary of the Episcopal Church
Close Window September 2005


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paragraph ending graphic Clergy Corner paragraph ending graphic In Memoriam—André Juan Black
paragraph ending graphic Around the Parish paragraph ending graphic In memoriam—Richard James Sigman
paragraph ending graphic Vestry Notes paragraph ending graphic Serenade Fall Season
paragraph ending graphic Women of Christ Church paragraph ending graphic Devlin, Schnakenberg Portraits
paragraph ending graphic Search Committee Update paragraph ending graphic Parish Register
paragraph ending graphic Christian Education at Christ Church    
Clergy Corner

Since the publication of June ’s Tower Chimes there has been quite a lot of activity here at Christ Church , and not all of it happy. Most of you, by now, know that we lost two extraordinary parishioners this summer. Richard Sigman and André Black each made their mark on Christ Church in their own unique ways. Tom Sarff and I have each contributed articles later on in these pages as a way of honoring the commitment of these two fine men who are so sorely missed.

On a happier note, there will be some important changes to life in the Rectory come January. Sally and I are expecting our first child around the New Year. While we are trying to behave like we’re not the very first people in the history of civilization to ever have experienced a pregnancy, I must admit that each week we seem to encounter some kind of surprising experience. Things are picking up in other ways for Sally as well. A few weeks ago Sally was offered a (very) part-time position at All Saints’ over on Victory Blvd. As any of you may know, All Saints’ has been without a priest since the retirement of the Reverend Canon Joel Novey last Fall. Sally is not doing “the interim” there per se, but she is providing some continuity to the parish by being the face they see each Sunday. By all accounts she seems to be fitting in nicely. It is her hope, as well as mine, that she still be a part of our life here at Christ Church in whatever way she can. It just won’t be on Sunday mornings.

I suppose the most surprising news of the summer is something that’s still developing. In mid-August I was approached by representatives of NBC/Sony Pictures about the possibility of filming a television series here at Christ Church . The show is called The Book of Daniel and it’s about an Episcopal priest named Daniel Webster . The priest has a few monkeys on his back, but ultimately is a good man trying to find his way. Ron Mazzucco and I (actually, more Ron than me) are engaged in some contract negotiations making sure we’ve crossed our tees and dotted all of our eyes. Although approved by the Vestry, the deal is not final until Ron gives the green light and we sign the papers.

There are enormous benefits to all of this. Not the least of which is the money, which is considerable. But the thought of millions of prime time viewers getting a chance to glimpse inside of our beautiful parish church is almost too much to pass up. They will be filming at least eight episodes of the show over the coming months (never, of course, on the weekends or holy days). Should the show enjoy success with its viewers, the potential is very great indeed. I promise more to come, including ways Christ Church parishioners could find their faces on prime time. (They assure me that they’ll need lots of extras).

Every blessing,

Fr.Clarke paragraph ending graphic

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Around the Parish

It’s hard to believe that the summer has come to an end. It was a busy time for so many of us and there’s a lot of news to report, so here goes!

By now you’ve all heard (or just read about) the good tidings from the Rectory. Congratulations to Sally and Fr. Clarke on the anticipated arrival of their first child some time in January. What a wonderful way for all of us to begin the New Year.

And speaking of children, there’s much to report on the activities of our younger members. Thomas Liu , the talented young man who is our pianist at the Family Service on Sunday mornings was the recipient of this year’s Christ Church College Scholarship. Tom will be attending Vassar College in the fall, and while Tom is away at college, his equally talented sister, Katherine , will be taking his spot at the piano.

Our Warden, Beth McLean reports that her four sons – Charlie , Brian , Kenny and Sean – have been quite busy these days. Charlie has been substitute teaching at Curtis, was on the ski patrol at Hunter mountain this past winter, and was a Federal lifeguard at Riis Park this summer; Brian graduated from the University of Delaware in May with a degree in Exercise Physiology, and also worked as a Federal lifeguard at Riis Park during the summer months; Kenny will be entering into his junior year at SUNY Oneonta and life guarded this summer at Midland Beach. And last, but surely not least, son Kenny will be a senior at Curtis this year; and like his brothers, spent his summer life guarding. Let us not forget their dad, Chip McLean, who also has been busy with the Ancient Order of Hibernians. In July he was elected State Secretary for the Order, a very prestigious position!

Janet Schneide r was also kind enough to provide us with an update on her three children: Andrew , Kate and Ted . Many of us were able to share Andrew ’s experiences in China this past year through his marvelous website, and Janet ’s “A-Mails.” (And yes, the “A” stands for Andrew !) Andrew recently returned to the U.S. and is now attending Army Basic Training at Ft. Benning , Georgia . When he finishes the rigorous 9-week course in October he’ll continue on to Officer Candidate School , also at Ft. Benning . Daughter Kate spent the summer working for SONY in Manhattan and has returned to UCLA to complete her final year towards her Masters in Business Administration. She has been awarded a fellowship and will also be a teaching assistant in an undergraduate class this term. Ted is completing his fourth, but not last, year studying Electrical Engineering at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken . In order for him to earn his Bachelor’s Degree it will be necessary to complete 176 credits – a bit more than the standard 130 credits! This summer Ted worked at the college on a very interesting and challenging robotics project.

Congratulations to our soprano soloist, Ann Sohm , who was recently elected President of the St. Cecelia Society. This marvelous organization continues to bring beautiful music to the people of Staten Island .

Many of you may have seen the article in the Staten Island Advance which featured our own Laura Kennedy . This hard-working mother of four was recently named president of the Association for the Help of Retarded Children, and she is the first Staten Islander to be named to this prestigious post. Laura has been a tireless supporter of this wonderful organization for many years after her daughter, Julia , was born with a mental disability. In fact, when Laura speaks of her three other daughters – Elizabeth , Lindsay and Claire , she tells people that “they (her daughters) all learned more from Julia than anyone else.” Elizabeth , 27, just graduated from law school in California and will be working in a Manhattan law firm; Lindsay , 26, had been teaching in England and returned to Staten Island in August; Claire , 18, who was last year’s recipient of the Christ Church Scholarship, will be starting her second year at Loyola University .

During the month of June – Trinity Sunday to be exact – Stanley and Anne Marie Roesler returned to Christ Church to mark the 50 th anniversary of their confirmation on this very day. They spent a great deal of time reminiscing with Trevor Mills, who was also part of that confirmation class.

Even though it’s September, there are still a few hard working folks who need to be recognized for their participation in the very successful May Ham Dinner. Kudos to Sheila Hewitt and Connie Black who led the young people of our Sunday School in becoming the final sponsors of the May Ham Dinner. It was not possible to include their names in the commemorative booklet because of the printing deadline.

And while we’re on the subject of kudos, let us not forget to mention our successful Spring Fair and the dedication and hard work of chairpersons Anne Devlin and Beth McLean. Not to mention all of the Christ Church parishioners who volunteered to chair the different tables and booths, cook and serve pounds of hamburgers and hot dogs and lead visitors on tours of our magnificent church. Thanks to their efforts, and all of the Christ Church parishioners and friends who came out to support this event, we were able to raise over $4000!

Connie and Jack Ricciardi ’s granddaughter, Jessica Jude Logan , a Biology pre-med graduate of the College of Holy Cross in Massachusetts , is now attending Drexel University College of Medicine in Drexel , Pennsylvania , much to the delight of her entire family.

Many of you may remember Beth Johanning , an alumnus of the Christ Church choir and a featured performer in our Serenade Concert Series. Beth, the mother of a very active three-year old son named John, was recently spotted in Silver Lake Park “in training” for the New York City Marathon which takes place in November.

Best wishes to Regina Simpson, a faithful member of Christ Church , who moved back to her native Barbados at the end of August to be closer to her family. Her warmth and gracious presence – and most especially, her beautiful smile - will be missed on Sunday mornings.

Though it has been a very active time in the life of our parish, there have been times of sadness as well over the past few months. In June we marked the passing of Richard Sigman, head of the Finance Committee, our "interim” Treasurer on several occasions, a former Warden and a devoted and hard-working member of our parish family; and on July 4 thAndre Black entered into eternal life after a lifelong battle with Sickle Cell Anemia. Despite his medical problems, Andre continued to be an active member of the choir, was always on hand to participate in our Spring Fairs, and will be fondly remembered by this editor for the wonderful lamb dinners that he and his family would prepare for parishioners in the Christ Church kitchen on Maundy Thursday. We shall miss these two wonderful men, but their presence at Christ Church will remain with us for many years to come.

That’s all for now, but more than likely, not all of the news that’s out there. If there is anything we’ve missed, or news and information that you’d like to share, please drop a note in the Tower Chimes mail slot in the parish office. paragraph ending graphic
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Vestry Report

Members of the Vestry of Christ Church New Brighton met on Monday, June 13 for the regularly scheduled monthly meeting. Here are some important highlights regarding the discussions and decisions that took place at that time.

Father Clarke spoke briefly about several changes in our Sunday worship as a result of the decisions made at a recent meeting of the Worship and Liturgy Committee. These included a change in Bible translation from the Revised Standard Version (1948)to the New Revised Standard Version (1989), and replacing the Offertory Hymn with the Doxology (Old100 th) during the summer months. He also reported on the termination of our Parish Secretary, Linda Razzano , effective June 30th, and the formation of a committee to interview and hire a replacement for this very important position, and the appointment of Nick Lettiere as the new chair of the Finance Committee.

Susan Fowler , chair of the Plant & Equipment Committee, reported on proposals that have been submitted for repairs to our valuable stained glass windows. The Landscape Committee has created a preliminary scope of work that needs to be done and has hired a landscape engineer to create a site plan, parking lot drainage plan and phase plan. Ongoing issues with bees in the chapel ceiling and water in the pipes in the transept of the church were to be addressed over the summer.

Following a two-month summer hiatus, the Vestry will meet again on Monday, September 12 th at 7:30 p.m. paragraph ending graphic
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Women of Christ Church

The first meeting of the Women of Christ Church will be held very early in September this year, since the second Thursday falls on the eighth day of the month.

This means that you need to pack your sandwich and be in the Chapel at 11:00 a.m. on September 8, 2005 to meet old friends, and to make some new ones.

All women – and men, too – are welcome to be with us. The unchanged and unchangeable schedule is: 11:00 a.m. – service of Healing and Holy Communion in the chapel; 12 Noon – business meeting in the Vestry Room; 1:00 p.m. – lunch (dessert and coffee provided)

We would love to see you there! paragraph ending graphic
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Search Committee Update

Members of the Search Committee have been working diligently throughout the summer mont hs to complete the necessary steps that will enable us to put out “the call” for our new Rector.

The Christ Church Parish Profile has now been completed and is posted on the Christ Church website. Out next step was to compile the CDO ( Chu rch Deployment Office) Profile. This profile gives a brief description of our paris h, the qualifications that we are looking for in a new rector, and the salary and compensation package as well.

The final draft of the CDO Profile has been submitted to the Vestry for approval at the September 12 th meeting. Once it has been approved it will be submitted to the Chu rch Deployment Office for circulation on their website.

We will be providing you with updates as things progress. paragraph ending graphic
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Christian Education at Christ Church

Here at Christ Church we are committed to the ongoing education of our members and we are offering many opportunities to come together for study and prayer.

During the months of September, October and November we will study TheLetter of Paul to the Philippians in a series of eight evening sessions, facilitated by me, which meet in the Vestry room on Thursday evenings at 7:30 p.m.

Attendees are invited to participate as much or as little as their comfort zones permit. While this group contains a certain number of “regulars,” all newcomers are most welcome. Sessions last about an hour and a quarter. Please bring your Bible. Although any translation of the Bible would be fine, I will make my presentations using the New Revised Standard Version (the one we read in church.) If you would like me to order a copy for you please let me know.

The schedule for September, October and November is as follows:

Sept 15: Philippians 1.1-11
Sept 22: Philippians 1.12-30
Sept 29: Philippians 2.1-11
Oct 6: Philippians 2.12-30
Oct 13: Philippians 3.1-9
Oct 20: Philippians 3.10-21
Oct 27: Philippians 4.1-9
Nov 3: Philippians 4.10-23

Bible Study will then take a two and a half week break before it resumes on November 29.

And for those of you who would like to participate in a Book Discussion Group please mark your calendars for Tuesday, October 4 at 7:00 p.m. We will be discussing TheFive People you Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom .

If you’d like to obtain the full schedule for our Christian Ed programs you can find it “on line” at the Christ Church website at www.christchurchnbrighton.org. A printed version of the schedule is available at the back of the church, and also, in the Parish Office. paragraph ending graphic
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In Memorium: André Juan Black
1963 - 2005

Andre Juan BlackA large congregation filled Christ Church on Saturday, July 9, 2005 to pay final respects to a young man who had given so much to others. Through each of his endeavors André Black met a diverse and ever-expanding group of friends and colleagues to whom he gave – and from whom he received – love, respect, honor and support throughout his life.

Within Christ Church alone, André’s gifts are in abundance. One day he surprised the choir by presenting each of us with a handmade wooden cross to be worn over our cottas; each still has that cross. On another occasion, he graced the Guild Room with an art exhibit of his paintings and drawings; people still talk about that exhibit. He also sang tenor in the choir for many years, where his presence is still felt.

Outside this realm of comforting events and familiar places, André’s influence extends even farther. He encouraged us to reflect on our lives and to recognize our duties to one another, to question what is wrong and to affirm what is right. He inspired us to give thanks for the abundance in our lives and to celebrate our fellowship with one aother. This, perhaps, is André’s greatest legacy. paragraph ending graphic
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In Memorium: Richard James Sigman
1942 - 2005

Richard James Sigman Sunday, February 1st, 1942 is not a date that is terribly well known by most people. It was not the occasion of any great speech, incident or remembrance that historians would find fascinating. The times, though, were troublous. America was newly at war, still recovering from the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor, and thousands of Americans were joining the war effort on a daily basis. However, no great battles were fought on that day. It appears in no journal of history. But the first day of February 1942 is a day that has forever impacted the lives of so many of us here today. For on a perfectly ordinary Sunday afternoon Harry and Frances Sigman brought their five week old son Richard through the doors of Christ Church New Brighton for his baptism. And standing at the baptismal font, the rector of Christ Church , a man by the name of Andrew Long , opened his prayer book and said to those present:

I beseech you to call upon God the Father, through our Lord Jesus Christ, that of his bounteous mercy he will grant to this child that which by his nature he cannot have; that he may be baptized with Water and the Holy Ghost, and received into Christ’s holy Church, and be made a living member of the same.

God was listening very attentively that day because a living member of Christ ’s holy Church is what they got. Christened that day Richard James Sigman , he began what was to become a life long association with this Parish and her people—an association that would see him take on every aspect of its leadership. It was an association that persevered through good times and bad; through adversity and great joy. It was a journey of fidelity with both this grand old church, but also with the God whom Richard served without waver. And it is so fitting, so absolutely appropriate that we gather here in this house of God one last time with him to say our farewells and to offer our prayers.

Our brother Richard is dead; cut down all too soon by that wretched disease that claims so many long before their time. And like Mary and Martha, the sisters of Lazarus who in this morning’s gospel gathered round the body of their dead brother—we too come together to mourn the death of one who touched so many. But it is not the shortness of his life we have come here to lament. Nor are we to dwell upon those last few months which he faced with such dignity and courage. We are here to celebrate his life—a life devoted to his family, a life marked by the professionalism with which he approached every task, a life forever and inextricably linked to the service of his God.

As much as we can celebrate the incalculable devotion Richard had to God’s service, we are also here today to celebrate the same devotion and fidelity that God has shown to Richard . For it is obvious to all who met him that Richard Sigman was a man loved by God. From the moment Richard first came to be, God has loved him. Through his baptism, through the joys and the sorrows of his life, God has loved him. God was with him when he met and married young Helen Fairweather . When Laura and James were born and as he watched them grow up, God was there. As he helped care for his beloved mother Frances in her later years, God was there too. And finally, as his earthly life was drawing to a close, alongside Helen and his family, God never stopped loving. It’s all part of the unwavering commitment that God shows to all his children.

That quality of commitment, that kind of loyalty—these characteristics of God—they will always be what I will remember most about Richard . Although I knew him for all too brief a time, every encounter I had with him told me just what kind of man he was, a man who took his responsibilities seriously. My one regret was that I never got to spend any time with him when we just talked about how he was feeling. There was always work to be done—and he was always so willing to do it. To the hospital I would bring both the sacrament and a notepad full of questions I needed answers to. Patient to the end, he explained everything right down to the last detail. His counsel always wise. And my example is by no means unique. Throughout his more than half century of devotion to this parish, there is hardly a person here who has not been influenced by him—whether it was through a personal friendship, by the way he steadfastly managed the parish finances or simply by the quiet way he “just took care of things.” Helen , Laura and James ; on behalf of a grateful parish, thank you so much for sharing him with us. In the words I quoted earlier from the old baptismal service, he truly was a “living member” of this church, in every sense of the word. And the fruits of his life will go on living here long after this day.

Fidelity, commitment and devotion: three characteristics of God shown abundantly in the life of his servant Richard . These three aspects of God now give us the boldness to turn to God and ask for the final and ultimate sign of his love for Richard ; eternal life with him. As a follower of Jesus , hope in the resurrection was at the center of Richard ’s faith and it is that hope we now claim. Let us with confidence, surrender him: Richard the father, Richard the husband, our friend, our brother in Christ into the waiting arms of God. May he rest in peace and rise in glory. Amen. paragraph ending graphic
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Serenade Fall Season Begins on
Sunday, September 18th, 2005

Serenade will begin its 2005 fall season with a recital by soprano Kristin Reiersen. It will take place on Sunday, September 18 th at 3:00 p.m.

The daughter of Christ Church parishioners, Hal and Linda Reiersen , Kristin has developed an impressive career in opera, concert and recital. For the Serenade recital she will be performing works by Mozart, Pauline Viardot, Bellini, Debussy, Richard Strauss and Weil.

Kristin will be accompanied by pianist Myra Choi Huang. The program is free to the public and a “Meet the Artists” reception will follow in the Guild Room. paragraph ending graphic
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Devlin, Schnakenberg Portraits On View

The Staten Island Museum , also known as the Staten Island Institute of Arts and Sciences, has installed an outstanding art show in the Main Hall (Building C) of the Snug Harbor Cultural Center , 1000 Richmond Terrace. Titled AboutFaces:PortraitsPastandPresent, this show displays 36 historic portraits, most of them from the museum’s permanent collection and seldom exhibited before, together with the paintings of 24 contemporary artists.

Curator Robert Bunkin , himself a Staten Islander and a portrait painter, writes, “The face remains the most compelling subject in art.” This exhibit succeeds in several ways. It convinces us that portraits really are fine art. Its careful organization demonstrates the amazing similarities between portraits that cross centuries of time and even different cultures. It offers us a great deal of historical and personal interest.”

Members of Christ Church will want to see Lennart Anderson ’s portrait of his nephew, Matthew Devlin , the son of Christ Church parishioner Anne Devlin . Matthew ’s uncle is a prominent painter on the New York art scene. Matthew ’s face is beautifully painted and the portrait makes a very satisfying work of art, but Mr. Anderson wishes he had painted more. In May 2005 he wrote, “The portrait head is a benchmark of a painter’s ability. I could visualize Matthew , as a subject, painted. From a pictorial standpoint, I wis h I had painted more of the figure. I think clothing is important because it reflects the character. I wis h I had painted the shirt.”

All Staten Islanders should see Henry E. Schnakenberg ’s portrait of Theodoros Stamos (a well-known Abstract Expressionist painter of the New York school in the 1950’s.) Among Christ Church ’s many distinguished memorials the Schnakenberg family name remains prominent. Henry E. Schnakenberg was born on Staten Island and brought up at Christ Church . He painted the chapel altarpiece “The Adoration of the Magi,” in 1916. His parents, Daniel and Elizabeth Gillespie Schnakenberg , gave Christ Church two Tiffany stained-glass windows, “Christ Blessing the Little Children (Nave, 1904) and “The Adoration of the Magi” (Right Transept, 1919), in memory of their deceased children. Henry ’s style as a painter is termed “imaginative realism.”

In a happy display choice, Allen Tucker ’s “Study in Rose and Black” hangs near the Schnakenberg painting in the same gallery. “Study in Rose and Black” is known to have been included in New York ’s famous armory Show of 1913. This blockbuster modern art show hugely influenced American artists and persuaded Henry Schnakenberg to study art and become a painter.

The Main Hall at Snug Harbor is open every day except Monday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Admission is $3.00 per person or $2.00 for senior citizens. Included is admission to the adjoining Newhouse Center for Contemporary Art. About Faces runs through November 14, 2005. paragraph ending graphic
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Parish Register

September Birthdays

2— Margaret Harris , Evelyn Zayzay ; 3— Alayne Gilbert , Dorothy Rapp ; 6— Connie Ricciardi ; 8— Rick Boody ; 9— Karen Smith ; 14— Martha Keucher ; 15— Linda Reiersen ; 16— Claire Kennedy ; 18— David Reiersen , Joan Rock ; 20— Nancy Reiersen-Scromo ; 22— Matthew Devlin ; 24– Zachary E. Scire ; 25— Shirley Black ; 27— Willie Black , IV, Dorothy Rivera ; 28— Paul Elia .

September Anniversaries

1-Patricia & Dennis Scire ; 9— Nancy Reiersen & Garry Scromo.

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