In like a lion, out like a lamb.
Close Window March 2006

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paragraph ending graphic Clergy Corner paragraph ending graphic Snapshots
paragraph ending graphic Around the Parish paragraph ending graphic Easter Memorial Flowers
paragraph ending graphic Vestry Notes paragraph ending graphic A Note from our Choir Director
paragraph ending graphic Women of Christ Church paragraph ending graphic Cathy Romano
paragraph ending graphic Serendipity paragraph ending graphic 40 Years of Progress
paragraph ending graphic Lenten Quiet Day paragraph ending graphic Concordia Choir at Christ Church
paragraph ending graphic Lenten Bible Study paragraph ending graphic

Special Occasions

Clergy Corner

(What follows are some excerpts from Fr. Clarke's homily on Ash Wednesday)

Lent is upon us. With the smell of the pancakes and sausages from the Shrove Tuesday pancake supper still in the air, we have, at least symbolically, begun to prepare ourselves for a holy season. Shrove Tuesday was originally the day when people used up all of the tempting and decadent things in their kitchens - things like oil and sausage and butter and eggs, in anticipation of forty days of Lenten discipline. Here at Christ Church the kitchen cupboards are bare, and our Lenten observance has begun with the imposition of ashes.

On Wednesday night I invited us, "in the name of the Church, to observe a holy Lent by self-examination, penitence, prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, and by reading and meditating on the word of God." We are asked to kneel in repentance before our creator and redeemer, to acknowledge our failings and to ask for God's mercy.

Between the number of things that we're being asked to do, and the number of things that we are called to repent of, Lent is a time of intense focus and discipline for Christians throughout the world. Our Ash Wednesday service was powerful – we heard the words '”remember you are dust and to dust you shall return” - words that can be disturbing, especially when we hear those words and see the sign of the cross on the forehead of a baby or a small child, or when we see the grey ashes marking someone who has recently suffered a profound loss, or on the forehead of someone who is seriously ill. The reminder becomes a little too real, and we are uncomfortable.

Many people find an entire season of penitence uncomfortable, something that doesn't quite gel with our expectation of religion as an essentially joyous exercise. The reality is most people don't like to think about the frailty of human life, we don't like to dwell on our own sin and failings, and we would prefer just to ignore those shortcomings than to ask God to accept our repentance. Perhaps it would be best if we could just skip over all of this ashes and Lenten jazz, and move straight into Easter.

But if we're being honest, then we can admit that life doesn't usually work that way - we have to work for those things that are truly worthwhile, and we ourselves are not the ones ultimately in charge of our lives, no matter how much we might wish we were. In the gospel reading for Ash Wednesday (Matthew 6.1-6, 16-21), Jesus reminds us of our priorities in life. As Christians, we are called to take our minds off the ordinary, everyday, trivial things of this world and to fix our sights firmly on our relationship with God. We are not to worry about what others think, or about how our lives and our faith and our spiritual disciplines may appear to others. Instead, we are to build up treasures in heaven, to be attentive to the Lord, and to respond in faithful obedience to his call. And at this time of year, that means sacrifice, that means effort, and that means repentance.

Throughout this holy season, we are invited, “in the name of the Church, to observe a holy Lent by self-examination, penitence, prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, and by reading and meditating on the word of God.” However the invitation to a Lenten discipline is not an invitation into the disciplines of the church as ends in and of themselves. Instead, they are gifts - tools that God gives us to make our journey easier. Self-examination, penitence, prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, and reading and meditating on the word of God are all ways that we can move into a deeper relationship with our creator and redeemer, and that is what lies at the heart of Lent.

My hope is that you see this Lent as an invitation - an invitation to go deeper, to work harder, and simply to listen to God. We will hear this invitation over and over in the coming weeks as we journey from this day of ashes to the day of resurrection. We will hear it in the daily readings, in our prayers, and in our common life, whenever we gather together as Christ's church, to celebrate his call to us, and to share in the Lenten journey. Because at the heart of it all - at the heart of our worship, of our lives, and of our church, is our treasure, and that treasure is Jesus Christ. If we fix our hearts and our lives firmly on him, if we work to know him better and to follow him more faithfully, then we shall have an infinite treasure, not only in our present lives, but in the life to come.

Clarke French. paragraph ending graphic

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Around the Parish

CCNB in the grip of a blizzardChrist Church was a winter wonderland on Sunday, February 12, 2006, (see photo on left) when a small group of brave and faithful parishioners fought biting winds and mile-high drifts to get there. Special thanks to Victor Stanwick for this great shot!)

By now, you are all aware of the passing of Rick Boody and Helen Martin – two dear and faithful parishioners who did so much for Christ Church, and the Staten Island community. In an effort to keep Helen’s memory alive for many years to come, her niece is circulating a petition to nominate Helen as a Staten Island Woman of Achievement, a well-deserved recognition of all of her wonderful works.

Author! Author! – You’re invited to a book signing of Remember the Future: Financial Leadership and Asset Management for Congregations, written by our friend, The Reverend Gerald Keucher. Jerry will be signing copies in Donegan Hall at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine on Wednesday, March 15 from 6-8 p.m.

Last month Fr. Clarke welcomed two new members into the family of Christ as he baptized Corrina Marie Charles, daughter of Rosie Charles (and great niece of Elizabeth James), and Isabella Pasquale, the daughter of Marguerite and Joseph Pasquale. Congratulations to you all.

Last month’s Tower Chimes featured an article about our Sunday Coffee Hour, and made mention of several parishioners who have worked “behind the scenes” to keep it going. It was recently brought to our attention that we failed to mention that when Father Fred Lefebvre first came up with the idea he asked Ginny and Jay Spadaro to coordinate the event. For several years, they would provide home-made sheet cakes (obviously the precursor to Entenmann’s!) and coffee for the grateful parishioners who attended the Sunday services.

Congratulations to Second Lieutenant Andrew Schneider and his proud parents, Janet and Paul Schneider. Andrew was commissioned last month at Fr. Benning, Georgia, and has been reassigned to Ft. Sill, Kentucky until August of this year. At that time he will receive his permanent assignment with the U.S. 101 Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

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 Notes

The Vestry of Christ Church New Brighton met for its regular meeting on Monday, Feb. 13, 2006, at 7:30 P.M. Newly elected Vestry members were warmly welcomed by the Rev. Clarke French, who presided. Pending election of the Clerk of the Vestry, Nick Dowen, Junior Warden, was approved as Clerk Pro Tem, to take minutes, and Dorothy Thompson was elected Treasurer.

In his Priest's Report, Father Clarke commended Nancy Reiersen for her outstanding service as Senior Warden during the past year, and noted that 14 Christ Church parishioners turned out to honor her at the annual Staten Island Council of Churches awards dinner.

Father Clarke also pointed out the Vestry's responsibility to ensure effective congregational planning. by engaging in short- and long-range planning, both directly and through parish committees. It reviews the parish's mission, its current programs, staff and facilities, and plans for the future.

The Vestry voted to reappoint the current chairpersons of the three Standing Committees: Nominating, Beth McLean; Plant & Equipment, Susan Fowler; and Finance, Nick Lettiere.

The Vestry's Investment Subcommittee has met with representatives of both the Diocese of New York's Parish Endowment Management Service (PEMS) and of Citibank, in order to discern the most efficient management of our parish endowments. A decision will be made in the near future.

Sheila Swigert was elected Clerk of the Vestry. The Vestry also approved the creation of a Fund-Raising Subcommittee to consist of five members of the parish, with Alleida Mitchell chairing. paragraph ending graphic
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Women of Christ Church

Our beautiful chapel was nearly filled when the Women of Christ Church gathered for the Healing Service and Eucharist in February. It is always a lovely way to start our meeting, and heartwarming see so many of us together. 

Valerie Quinlan had brought to our attention the needs of AIDS orphans of Tanzania in whom Bishop Roskam has taken an active interest. We are seeking information that will explain how we can take part in helping.  Stay tuned. We have begun to receive responses to the Annual Appeal; and a more complete report will be given next month.

Vlasta Jantzi and Laura Craig brought wonderful cakes for our luncheon, and we stayed around the table and caught up with one another for quite a while. It was like old times to have Patsy Parese with us, smiling and bringing extra sandwiches and helping in the kitchen.

You should know that the chapel had some extra seats which are waiting for others of you to come and join us next month, on Thursday, March 9 at 11 a.m. See you then! paragraph ending graphic
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Obviously the Women of Christ Church were listening very closely to Somerset Maugham when he said “Dying is a very dull dreary affair. And my advice to you is to have nothing whatever to do with it.” Many of us were delighted to hear that a group that has given an incredible amount to our church and the outside community was being restored to life. We were elated to hear that there were ten people at their meeting on February 8, which like old times, included Patsy Parese.

Serendipity, continues as always, with the strong support of our Wardens, Beth McLean and Nick Dowen, and we are planning our next event on Sunday, March 12, when we host a St. Patrick’s Day brunch in the Parish House when morning services have ended

The Food Ministry, headed by Victor Stanwick and Susan Fowler, sponsors our weekly food collections for New Directions and others, and continues to organize the Second Saturday Lunch Program at Trinity Lutheran (other churches do it on the other Saturdays).

The Food Ministry’s latest endeavor, on St. Valentine’s Day, was to host a breakfast of pancakes, sausages, and apple sauce, for the deeply appreciative homeless men who sleep at Christ Church each evening. Other parishioners and friends joined us in welcoming our overnight guests. Ed and Laura Craig did a truly terrific job of preparing picnics in striking red carrier bags, containing a soda, a couple of chocolate bars, two sandwiches, and two muffins homemade by Lesley Shannon, for each man to take with him.

(Note: Colin Reed is a vegetarian who learned that fifty-two sausages for about twenty people are not enough. “Next time,” said Victor emphatically, “I’ll get the sausages.” There are many lessons to be learned in life. As the poet T.S. Eliot wrote, believe it or not, “Don’t throw away that sausage, it’ll come in handy.”)paragraph ending graphic

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Lenten Quiet Day at Christ Church

Christ Church will be hosting a Lenten Quiet Day on Saturday, March 25 from 10 a.m. to 3p.m., with three guided mediations on the spirituality of Holy Week led by the Reverend Richard Townley. Fr. Townley teaches in the Anglican Studies program at Princeton University and is a gifted, gentle and accessible speaker.

      If you are interested in attending, or want to help with lunch and snacks, please speak to Fr. Clarke or Lesley Shannon. Prior registration is a must in order to make the proper arrangements for food and seating. Please contact Cathy Romano, our parish administrator, at 718-727-6100 to register. paragraph ending graphic
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Lenten Bible Study

Lent is an ideal time to reconnect with the most basic and foundational parts of ourselves and our faith, and there is no better place to turn for spiritual reflection than to where it all began. Please journey with us every Thursday during Lent in the Vestry Room at 7:30 p.m. as we “Explore the Covenant.” The schedule is as follows:

March 2  

Covenant with Abraham
(Genesis 17: 1-27)

March 9    Sacrifice of Isaac
(Genesis 22:1-19)
March 16  Jacob and Esau
(Genesis 27:1-45)
March 23 Jacob’s Ladder and Struggle with God
(Genesis 28:10-22, 32:22-32)
March 30 Joseph and his Coat of  Many Colors
(Genesis 37:1-36)
April 6 Destination: Egypt
(Genesis: 42:50)

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Mr. Irving R. "Rick" BoodyFebruary was a very sad month at Christ Church as we mourned the passing of two Rick and Sue Boodydearly beloved and long time members of our parish family: Helen Martin and Rick Boody.

As I was searching through our parish archives for photos that would best portray them it suddenly dawned on me that the “pictures” I was looking for were not necessarily images captured by a camera, but “snapshots” - memories of each of them that were special to each of us.                      

My “snapshots” of Rick and Helen are varied and different: Rick, dressed in his work clothes, building closets in the choir room; greeting people at the entrance to the Spring Fair;  organizing the every-member canvass for our yearly Stewardship drives; the look on Rick’s face when he told the story of how he first met his wife Sue, and the look on Sue’s face as she watched him tell the story; looking out on Rick in his accustomed church pew every Sunday to see if he “approved” of the hymn choices that day or if they would be “book slammers”; and just a few years ago, sharing in Rick’s joy as he and Sue were honored at our 2003 Holly Ball.           

Mrs Helen MartinMany of you will remember Helen as the elegant lady with a smile that could light up a room, who was always dressed in style and refused to give up wearing her high-heeled pumps; how she and her good friend, Margaret Dente (another wonderful Christ Church “memory”) would sit in their favorite pew on a Sunday morning, and share their various “adventures” from the week before; Helen’s Stewardship talks during the Sunday service; how much she enjoyed being a “regular” at the 8 a.m. Sunday service; the wonderful accounts of her interesting trips to exotic and interesting vacation spots; and the look on her face when she spoke about the wonderful years that she spent with her late husband, Tim.

These “snapshots” will never fade away, nor will the memories of Rick and Helen. Their memories will live on at every Sunday service and parish celebration. paragraph ending graphic
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Easter Memorial Flowers

Those who would like to contribute to the memorial flowers for Easter should list the 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 Ave., Staten Island, NY 10301. To be listed in the Easter bulletin, all names must be received no later than Palm Sunday, April 9th. paragraph ending graphic
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A Note from the Choir Director

On Saturday, April 15, Pam Miller will sail on the Queen Mary to England for an extended visit. She will be accompanied by her daughter, Wendy, Wendy’s husband, Tim, and their dog Riley. We know Pam will enjoy visiting her homeland again, and we look forward to hearing of her adventures there with Wendy, Tim, Riley, and longtime friends.

In the meantime, I’m sure she would love to hear from us.  We can contact her at:
Pam Miller
28 Willow Grove
Harrogate, North Yorkshire
Great Britain  HG1 4HP
(An e-mail address is forthcoming.)

Pam embarks the day before Easter, so we will miss her presence in the choir for the Resurrection festivities. However, what a marvelously unique way it is for her to celebrate Easter morning, crossing the Atlantic on board the Queen Mary.  Pam, you sly fox, you always had a certain style.Write soon. paragraph ending graphic
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Cathy Romano, our "Office Wizard"

Mrs. Cathy RomanoBy now, most of you have had the pleasure of meeting our new Parish Administrator, Cathy Romano. Hers is the cheerful voice that you will hear when you call the office on Monday, Thursday or Friday, and if you’ve got a question or a problem she’s always quite happy to help in any way that she can.

Cathy came on board during the latter part of 2005, and luckily for us, it was a “perfect fit.” Victor Stanwick has dubbed Cathy the “Office Wizard” – and for good reason. Since her arrival she has single-handedly gotten the office “ship shape,” served as Fr. Clarke’s “right hand”, and has quickly familiarized herself with the office “routines.”

In addition to all of her many wonderful qualities, Cathy is also an Episcopalian! She and her husband, Joe, have been members of All Saints Church here on Staten Island since 1993 and were married there in April of the following year. Cathy is currently the Clerk of their Vestry, a position that she has held for the past several years, and Joe is their current Treasurer. Cathy and Joe’s seven-year old son, Andrew, attends first grade classes at St. John’s Lutheran school on Manor Road.

Cathy has a wealth of experience and worked for almost 18 years at Remy Martin Amerique, Inc. (the cognac people), in Manhattan. She was also an Administrative Assistant with JP Morgan & Co. Inc. in Manhattan.

Fortunately for us, and for two other Staten Island parishes, she decided to give up the daily commute to Manhattan in 1998 and became the Parish Administrator for the Church of the Ascension, a position she held from 1998 to 2005. During that time she also shared part of her time as the Parish Administrator for All Saints. Today, Cathy still splits her time between Christ Church and All Saints every week.

Cathy is quite modest when it comes to accepting the well-deserved praise for the wonderful job that she does here. How many wizards do you know who can do that? paragraph ending graphic
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40 Years of Progress

March 2006 marks a milestone in my life: I am celebrating 40 years as an Episcopalian. It all started with an invitation from a college friend to attend his church, the only Episcopal church in town. That experience was a revelation to me, and I was amazed to hear such beautiful poetry and music in church and to find such opportunity for singing. I fell in love with the psalms and canticles at Morning and Evening Prayer.

Thomas CranmerAnglican chant, once mastered, gives a person the sense of belonging to a special inside group. Cranmer’s masterly English version of the Te Deum laudamus climbs the heights and plumbs the depths of the Christian religion with astonishing ease and assurance. I still think that the Collect for Peace at Evening Prayer is the most perfect piece of writing I have ever encountered (page 69 in the present Prayer Book). In due course I was baptized and confirmed, and church attendance and participation have been constants in my life ever since.

The past 40 years in my personal life have been crowded, busy, and quite varied. These have also been years of change for the Episcopal Church, but I am more aware of continuity in our church life than of change. The greatest change was the seating of women deputies at General Convention, which finally occurred after a long struggle, in 1970. This heralded the empowerment and recognition of women’s ministries in all areas of our church’s life and work.

The changes that have occurred since, though not of the same magnitude, no doubt owe part of their success to the votes cast by women deputies. Some of these changes include women’s ordination (1976), the new Prayer Book (1979), the new Hymnal (1982), and the election and consecration of an openly gay bishop (2004). Starting with women’s ordination, these latter changes were accompanied by a good deal of publicity, sometimes inaccurately reported by journalists unfamiliar with democratic forms of church government.

Christianity is not about seeking, but about finding. Our heritage as American Episcopalians, including church government crafted by Bishop White (whose likeness appears in this column) and others in the early years of American nationhood is a great blessing. We look now not to the past, but to the future, as we pass on all that we know and have to a new generation. paragraph ending graphic
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Concordia Choir at Christ Church


Be sure to mark your calendars for Sunday, March 19th when members of the touring choir of Concordia University College of Alberta, Canada join us during our 10:30 a.m. service.

This talented group, performs and tours frequently in Western Canada, and has also traveled to Eastern Canada, the US, and Europe.

It’s an occasion not to be missed! paragraph ending graphic

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Special Occasions

March Birthdays

6—Betsy Kalfa; 13—Kevin McAndrew, Kenneth A. McLean, William Keck III; 15—Gail Bernardez; 18—Beverly Pavelec, Theresa Lettiere; 26—Pamela Miller; 30—Daniel Lettiere, Tom Sarff.

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

Save the Date:
Friday, September 8 
- – Games Night
Saturday, December 9 – The Holly Ball  paragraph ending graphic

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