February, 2006
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paragraph ending graphic Clergy Corner paragraph ending graphic And Baby Makes Three
paragraph ending graphic Around the Parish paragraph ending graphic Diversity Sunday
paragraph ending graphic Vestry Report paragraph ending graphic Parish Register
paragraph ending graphic Women of Christ Church paragraph ending graphic Coffee Anyone?
paragraph ending graphic Save the Date paragraph ending graphic Serendipity
Clergy Corner

On Sunday, January 15, 2006 members of the parish gathered together in the auditorium for the annual parish meeting. At that time, six members of the parish were elected to serve on the Vestry (see “Vestry Notes” for further details), our Treasurer presented her annual report, and Fr. Clarke gave his annual report as well. For those of you who were unable to attend that day, we have reprinted Fr. Clarke’s Annual Meeting speech.

The year 2005 has been a time of momentous change in the life of this parish.

I want to begin this report with a word of thanks to the whole congregation. The spirit of welcome and kindness that you have shown to Sally and me this past year is something that neither of us will soon forget. Coming from a different country and a branch of the Anglican Communion (with its ever so slightly different ways of doing things) could have been far more difficult for the both of us, but you all have made our transition to life in the United States a joyous one indeed. I know that as your interim pastor we are all supposed to keep the temporary nature of our relationships out front and center, but we have time and time again been treated as one of your very own—and for that Sally and I thank you.

The staffing situation at Christ Church over the last ten months has seen an almost complete turn over during my tenure. With a minimum number of “bumps” along the road, the team that is now in place is one that I would feel proud to bequeath to the next Rector of Christ Church. Always pleasant, always helpful, Vito deRenzis not only works hard, he works “smart” too. A special note of thanks needs to be given to Susan Fowler who kept the office running during key transition times this year.

Tom Sarff our organist and choirmaster is a fantastic professional, and it is such a relief to be able to rely on his good sense week after week. And Cathy Romano will soon win all of your hearts with her cheerfulness and efficiency. I have invited Cathy, her husband Joe and their son Andrew to attend the 10:30 service on February 5th in order that all of you may get the chance to place a face to a name. Please make it a point to welcome her on that day with typical Christ Church hospitality. A major problem that has consistently dragged down office efficiency this year has been the amount of time and frustration spent on our photocopier. Perhaps 2006 is the year we make the commitment to supplying the office with a reliable machine.

The three key members of the Parish’s lay ministry team—a/k/a the people who keep things running in the office—are our able Churchwardens, Nancy Reiersen-Scromo and Beth McLean and our treasurer Dorothy Thompson. They’re kind of like our “Dream Team.” Nancy’s term as Senior Warden expires today and I cannot let that happen without telling you all just how wonderful it has been to have Nancy to rely on. Without a lot of fanfare, sometimes completely under the radar, Nancy just gets things done, and she does them well. As a parish we owe her a deep debt of gratitude for assuming this position in such a great time of transition.

Retiring from the Vestry this year are Lesley Shannon, Bill Sherman, Johanna Gilbert, Dorothy Thompson and Trevor Mills, who has served as Clerk of the Vestry for the past year. Each of these people has served the parish well with their counsel, energy, time and talent. We thank you for your service. Let’s connect these folks with new projects that will enrich our common life long into the future!

This past year I attempted to provide a number of different kinds of Christian education initiatives. Attendance was a disappointment, that’s for sure. But for the loyal band of folks who regularly turned out, this past year we spent some time with the Miracles of Jesus, Paul’s Letter to the Philippians, several interesting book discussions as well as a look at chapters one and two of Matthew’s gospel. A new slate of courses, including a Lenten program, is being worked on even now.

Production and filming of The Book of Daniel took up an enormous amount of energy and time this fall. The project was successful in most ways, not in the least by reminding us that we really do have a church pretty enough for the whole world to see. While the show is not the kind of quality product we would have hoped for, it was nevertheless an “interesting” way to raise tens of thousands of dollars for stained glass window repair.

2005 also had its share of sadness. Around the middle of the year Christ Church lost three long-time members. André Black, Eleanor DeMuth and Richard Sigman—each a force in their own way at Christ Church—claimed their heavenly reward this year and have left a noticeable gap in our common life.

Also, Rick Boody, our Warden Emeritus and most trusted financial advisor, has had to extricate himself further from parish responsibilities because of health concerns. All of Christ Church joins together in great thanks for Rick’s wonderfully faithful management of our parish endowment. We can’t wait till he’s back on his feet again and occupying his customary pew. At its last meeting, the Vestry reconstituted the Investments Committee in order that they may present to the next Vestry a plan for the further management of parish monies.

The parish suffered a catastrophic year in the stock market. We’re posting a loss this year—a first in the history of the parish—but the real number is actually much higher. The only reason this number isn’t higher is because of the considerable reserve that Rick’s shrewd investments had brought us over the years. Nevertheless, it is my hope each parishioner understands that we do, in fact, live considerably beyond our means. The expenses the parish budgets for each year are more or less fixed i.e. heating oil costs what it costs, health insurance is (and always will be) expensive.

The number that is the problem remains the income bottom line. The membership of Christ Church funds only 37% of our expenses. When investment and other incomes aren’t enough to cover expenses, the endowment must be “invaded.” The budget approved by the Vestry for 2006 is bad news on every front. While expenses have risen dramatically, pledge income has remained about the same while investment income will likely continue to be sparse in the coming year. The bottom line is this: when capital funds are used to cover regular operating expenses, the money we use to make more money is diminished. Deficit budgeting is a slippery slope, and one with no future whatsoever.

There are a number of different ways to ameliorate this situation. New ways can always be found to enhance our standing fundraising ventures, and new ideas for fundraising abound. A properly run capital campaign is a superior idea once your new Rector is in place (the shortness of an interim situation prevents this). However, the key to all of this is teamwork.

It is my hope and prayer that 2006 will be a time of health, growth and peace here at Christ Church. Some of the lessons of 2005 have, I think, reinforced the importance of being intentional in our efforts. To borrow a phrase I used earlier in this report, let’s not only work hard, let’s “work smart” in 2006.

Fr. Clarke paragraph ending graphic

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Around the Parish
This month’s column is a bit more “jam-packed” than usual – mostly due to the fact that we didn’t publish during the month of January. So grab a cup of coffee and get yourself comfortable in your favorite easy chair as we give you the latest update on what’s been going on at Christ Church.

Although the month of December has come and gone, we couldn’t let it pass without some mention of how we celebrated the holidays at Christ Church. First of all, thanks to Sheila Hewitt for volunteering to chair our St. Nick’s Holiday Fair. Although the turnout was not quite as large as in past years, we did see a lot of old friends and familiar faces. In fact, we were quite pleased to see Helen, Laura and James Sigman that day. Helen looks terrific and has been keeping very busy - so busy, in fact that James and Laura have had a tough time keeping up with her.

Beth McLean and Trevor Mills once again chaired the Christ Church Holly Ball, and judging from the size of the crowd, this event has become one of the most popular holiday events on Staten Island. The music and food were terrific and our honorary chairpersons, Shirley Elfers and Connie Ricciardi, were absolutely radiant.  And it certainly was a nice surprise to look out on the dance floor and see our old friends, Kit and Joan Kell.

The church was beautifully decorated for the Christmas season, thanks to the keen eye(s) of  David and Dan Wood, and the hard work of Shirley Elfers and the members of the Altar Guild. Once again, a time for joy and celebration and visits from old friends and former parishioners.

New Year’s Day brought two special visitors to Christ Church. Former parishioner, Kathy Black and her handsome son, Austin, were in Staten Island to visit her mom and paid a surprise visit to our 10:30 service.

Best wishes to Johanna Gilbert as she enters the internship phase of her Physician’s Assistant Program. In order to devote her full time to her education, she is unable to complete her three-year term as a member of the Vestry; however, we do thank her for the time and effort that she put in during the two years that she was able to serve.

And speaking of good news, congratulations to one of our younger parishioners, Brianna Potter, who was just accepted as a member of the Trinity Church Choristers in Manhattan.  She and her mom, Angelique Dawkins, are new to Christ Church and look forward to being with us on Sunday morning as much as we look forward to having them.

The Kennedy girls – Elizabeth, Lindsey, and Claire have been keeping quite busy these days. Elizabeth has returned from the West Coast and is working for a law firm in Brooklyn. She recently became engaged, and will be getting married this year.  Lindsey has returned to Staten Island from England, where she was a teaching in a small rural town, and is now teaching at IS 61 here on Staten Island.  And Claire is now in her third year at Loyola University in Chicago, where she is pursuing a degree in law.

Congratulations to Roderick Sherman, son of William Sherman, who recently graduated from Oswego State University with a BS degree in Communications.

Get well wishes to Rick Boody, as he progresses back to health from a series of heart related problems. Rick is currently recuperating at Eger Nursing Home and remains in our thoughts and prayers.  Best wishes also to Dorothy Rapp as she recuperates from hip replacement surgery. Dorothy is out of rehab and is back at home working on her “two-step”

We also pray that our Verger, Paul Smith, will be back on his feet again very soon. Despite some significant episodes with back pain, Paul has made it a point to be in church every Sunday to assist Fr. Clarke at our 9 and 10:30 a.m. services.

We were saddened to learn of the passing of our long-time parishioner, Mary Scott, at the Eastern Star Nursing Home in Oriskany, NY. During her many years at Christ Church she was a faithful parishioner at the 8 o’clock Sunday service, was a member of the Altar Guild and the Women of Christ Church. And our condolences to Christie and Channing Lefebvre on the loss of their mother, Judy. As many of you know, she was one of the founders of Serendipity, and was also instrumental in organizing the Holly Ball. Although she is gone her spirit lives on at Christ Church. We also offer our heartfelt condolences to Richard Zayzay on the passing of his sister, Theresa

Best wishes to Hal Reiersen as he celebrates a “milestone” birthday this month – on February 11th he will turn 65.

And last, but surely not least, a heartfelt “thank you” to Linda Reiersen for her devotion and hard work as co-editor of the Tower Chimes.  Linda is retiring her “red pencil” to spend more time with family and friends, and enjoy her well-deserved rest.

If there’s some news that you’d like to share about your family, our Christ Church family, events, congratulations – whatever – please let us know. Just drop a note in the Tower Chimes mailbox that’s located in the parish office. paragraph ending graphic

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Vestry Report

On Sunday, January 15, 2006 the parish annual meeting was held in the auditorium at 12 Noon. At that time, the following individuals were elected to serve as members of the Vestry of Christ Church:

Warden for a two-year term:

Nick Dowen

Vestry person for a three-year term:

Alleida Mitchell

Lisa Rhoades

George Smith

Richard Zayzay

Vestry person to complete the remaining two-year term of Nick Dowen:

Edward Craig

Vestry person to complete the remaining one-year term of Johanna Gilbert:

Connie Black

Father Clarke presented his report to the annual meeting, making note of the many challenges that we faced last year, but also encouraging parishioners to come together in 2006 to work harder and to work “smarter.” (Excerpts from Fr. Clarke’s speech have been included in this month’s “Clergy Corner.”)

The first meeting of the new Vestry will take place on Monday, February 13th at 7:30 p.m. paragraph ending graphic

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Women of Christ Church
Those of us who dislike change will be overjoyed to learn that the decision to disband the Women of Christ Church was premature. Our December gathering was chiefly concerned with our future, and if we really had a future. Father Clarke’s calm advice, and our very real wish to stay in business, kept us thinking and talking together until we worked out a plan.

Our dwindling numbers and the unenthusiastic response to last year’s Annual Appeal makes it impossible to give donations to the many worthy programs that we have supported in the past. So we have voted to keep to our usual schedule of meeting as an organization of Christ Church, and as a constituent of the Episcopal Church Women of Staten Island. Other donations will be reduced.

As we have said in the past, every woman in the parish is considered to be a member of the Women of Christ Church because of their affiliation with this parish. The main purpose of our organization is friendship and fellowship. We like having lunch with one another each month, participating in the Eucharist and socializing.

Another reason that we exist is to keep in touch with other church women, those in Staten Island churches and those in Episcopal parishes in our Diocese. We have only one source of funds to do this and to contribute to needs that arise in our Church and in our neighborhood – and that is our Annual Appeal.

In short, not much has changed and our regular meeting schedule will remain the same:

11:00 a.m. – service in the Chapel

12:00 Noon – Meeting in the Guild Room

12:30 p.m. – Lunch (bring a sandwich; coffee and dessert will be provided.)

We are relieved to be functioning, although at a reduced speed, and we are hoping that our membership will show a significant increase this year. Our next meeting will take place on Thursday, February 9 and we hope to see many new faces in attendance that day. paragraph ending graphic

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Save the Date

Members of the Worship and Liturgy committee met with Fr. Clarke last month to plan our upcoming Lenten and Easter worship schedule. Please take a few minutes to look over this very important list, and be sure to add these dates to your calendar at home:

Sunday, February 12 @ 12 Noon
Diversity Sunday

Tuesday, February 28, 6 –8 p.m.
Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper

March 1 – Ash Wednesday 7:30 p.m.
Holy Eucharist with Imposition of Ashes

Sunday, March 19 – 10:30 a.m.
(Combined Service)
Guest choir from Canada will sing during the service.

April 9 – Palm Sunday – 10:30 a.m.
(Combined Service)

April 13 – Maundy Thursday – 7:30 p.m.
Solemn Liturgy followed by supper in the Guild Room

April 14 – Good Friday
4:00 p.m. – Family Service
7:30 p.m. – Solemn Litany of Good Friday

April 16 – Easter Sunday
Regular service schedule. paragraph ending graphic

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And Baby Makes Three

On December 20, 2005, John (Jack) Clarke French made his entrance into the world – no small feat for this 6lb, 2oz young man who chose to arrive on the first day of a city-wide transit strike.

Jack is the apple of everyone’s eye, with a shock of blonde hair and striking blue eyes. He’s been a very busy young man since his arrival: a trip to the Staten Island Mall, the candlelight Christmas Eve service, attending his own baby shower at Christ Church on January 6, in church every Sunday with mom – not to mention early-morning feedings and “changes.”

Jack will be traveling to Canada with mom and dad later this month for his christening, which will be attended by his grandparents, and friends and family there who have not yet had the opportunity to meet him.

Bless you Jack! Our joy at Christ Church is now three-fold with your dad (and our “Father”) Clarke; your mom, Sally, and you.

(Note: Pictures from Jack’s baby shower can be found here.). paragraph ending graphic

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Diversity Sunday at Christ Church

In honor of Black History Month, and more importantly, a tradition that has become a favorite here at Christ Church, we will be observing Diversity Sunday on February 12, 2006 immediately following the 10:30 a.m. worship service. Our theme this year is Celebrating Diversity with Faith, Hope and Love and we hope that all of our parishioners will come out that day to join in this joyful celebration of our diversity.

As many of you are aware, this is a day when our parishioners prepare and share dishes from their heritage, and our past events have circled the globe with foods from our respective Liberian, French, Norwegian, British and Scottish heritages. Each year brings a new surprise, and we hope that this year is no exception. In the past, members of the parish have also participated by providing some sort of entertainment: singing, playing an instrument, dancing, a dramatic reading, or the like.

If you would like to prepare a dish, be part of the entertainment, or just want to help out with the preparations, please contact me or my wife, Shirley. We’re hoping you’ll be there that day to celebrate one of the many reasons why the Christ Church family is so special. paragraph ending graphic

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Parish Register

February Birthdays
2—Andrew Schneider; 5—Fr. John Walsted,
11—Hal Reiersen; 13—Gytha Darconte, Lisa Rhoades;
14—Bruce Liozzi, Lois Angone; 17—Joy Woodall;
19 – Eddie Thompson; 22– Alleida Mitchell;
23—Pat Sxire; 24—Trevor Mills, Nicholas G. Lettiere.

February Anniversaries
28 – Lois & Jim Angone.

If your special day is not in our records, call the Parish Office at 718-727-6100 so it can be added. paragraph ending graphic

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Coffee Anyone?

It’s Sunday morning and you’ve just spent the previous hour in church, totally enmeshed in the worship service – the liturgy, the hymns, the communion, the choir – and you’re just filled with the Holy Spirit. Now it’s time to share that “enthusiasm” with your fellow parishioners during the coffee hour and lo and behold – there is no coffee hour. Talk about a letdown!

The Sunday morning coffee hour is one of our most important fellowship events – a chance to meet and greet your fellow parishioners in a relaxed and pleasant setting. Some of you may be unaware of one of our unsung heroes – Nancy Beveridge – who puts in countless hours organizing the coffee hour schedule for the year.

This not only entails signing up volunteers for each Sunday, but  also showing the newer volunteers “the ropes” by working with them on their assigned Sunday; and on those days when the assigned volunteer is unable to fulfill their commitment, Nancy is usually the one to find a quick replacement or take on the task herself.

There have been others who have also worked “behind the scenes” to make our coffee hours happen in the past: Pat Parese and Ellen Mazzucco, Margaret Harris, Colin Reed, Victor Stanwick and Susan Fowler. (Please forgive me if I’ve omitted any of our unsung heroes – apparently you’ve done such a good job of being quiet about it you’ve managed to slip past me!)

There’s a “sign-up” sheet located in the Guild Room that still has several empty spaces just waiting to be filled. Doing the coffee hour is not an arduous task, but it does involve getting to church before the service on your “assigned day” to set the tables, make the coffee and prepare the trays of “goodies” which you are asked to provide and serve. It’s a good idea to try to “partner-up” with another person that day, to make things easier all around. And, all coffee hosts are reimbursed for any expenses that they incur for the milk and other food items that they purchase.

Won’t you consider being a part of this important ministry at Christ Church? If you can’t make it to church to sign up on Sunday mornings, please feel free to contact Nancy at 718-448-3901. There are a lot of grateful parishioners here who will thank you for it! paragraph ending graphic

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Meetings of Serendipity are always opened with prayer, but the ones offered by Paul Smith at our January meeting were especially poignant. Members were all saddened to hear of the recent death of Serendipity’s founder, Judy Lefebvre, the woman who founded our organization in 1967, almost forty years ago. Her spirit and her enormous gifts to our church live on at every monthly meeting and in the life of Christ Church.

We are, as usual, planning a pancake supper on Shrove Tuesday, February 28 from 6 to 8 p.m. There will be no charge, but contributions will be welcome. Prior to Valentine’s Day, members will be selling greeting cards smothered with red roses.

We have set aside the money, but continue to investigate, the best kind of refrigerator for our kitchen. Plans have also been made for a St. Patrick’s Day brunch on Sunday, March 12.

The next meeting of Serendipity will take place on Tuesday, February 14 at 7:30 p.m. at the home of Karen and Paul Smith.

Serendipity can use old home canning jars lurking in cupboards or basements. Please call Colin Reed at 718-981-3495. paragraph ending graphic

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