of the happier developments in
Anglicanism over the past century has been the
way the Church has looked at its calendar of
saints. Roman Catholics have always viewed
the creation of saints as a kind of on-going
affair. Certainly the late Pope John Paul II was
very enthusiastic in this regard having supported
the canonization of hundreds of people from all
walks of life. The Anglican Communion has
always been a little more reserved.
we lack a formal canonization process, perhaps
because our more Protestant members have mixed
feelings about the whole concept of sainthood,
we have tended for a long time now to stick with
the classics: the Apostles, the more famous martyrs,
and the early English saints like Richard and
Thankfully, the church has begun to
recognise the fact that sainthood is a vocation of
every age. And recent revisions of Prayer
Books the world over have begun to add "local
fare" to their litany of saints. The Canadian
Church, when they published their Book of
Alternative Services in 1984 included a woman
by the name of Hannah Grier Coombe. Mother
Hannah was the founder of the Sisterhood of St
John the Divine in Toronto, the largest order of
Anglican nuns in the world. The British have
recognized people like William Wilberforce,
one of their greatest sons. It was Wilberforce
who tirelessly advocated the abolition of slavery
in the whole of the British Empire, well before
And the Episcopal Church is no exception to
this trend. With every General Convention there
appear to be more and more names added to the
greatly expanded calendar of saints published in
the Prayer Book revision of 1979. We now
remember people like Jackson Kemper (May
24) who was a missionary bishop in Iowa,
Wisconsin, Minnesota as well as the southwest.
Kemper (long before it became politically
correct-this was around 1850) designed a
liturgy for the Oneida Indians that used images
of their culture.
And there are many more: Florence
Nightingale, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Dietrich
Bonhoeffer, Martin Luther King Jr., and
Absalom Jones to name a few.
This all speaks very clearly to my belief that
sainthood is, in fact, the true vocation of all
Christians. It is easy to confuse sainthood with
perfection. None of the people I've listed above
were perfect-some were far from it. But in their
lives there existed a spark of God's grace that
shone brighter than most. They each became a unique
(and timely) channel through which people could
see God more clearly. And for this the church honors
Check out Hymn 293 in The Hymnal
1982. There's a great little hymn there with
a catchy melody. The last verse is this:
They lived not only in ages past,
there are hundreds of thousands still,
the world is bright with the joyous saints
who love to do Jesus' will.
You can meet them in school, or in lanes or at
in church, or in trains, or in shops, or at tea,
for the saints of God are just folk like me,
and I mean to be one too.
Sunday at Christ Church was a sight to behold!
Special thanks to David and
Daniel Wood for selecting
and arranging the beautiful array of Easter lilies
and pink azaleas; to the altar
guild for all of
their time and preparation; to Tom
Sarff and the choir for the glorious music; to the many parishioners
who contributed to the cost of hiring the brass
players; and of course, to Fr.
Clarke for his inspirational
Easter message. It was a special treat to have
his mother with us that day as well.
However, the day would not
have been complete without the traditional Easter
Egg Hunt, organized by Sheila
Hewitt, Connie Black, Christine Szczepanik and the Sunday School parents,
and also, the terrific reception that followed
the 10:30 a.m. service, which was organized by David and Dan Wood. A wonderful time was had by
Some members of the parish
were not able to be with us that day, but were
observing Easter Sunday in other ways: Carol
and John Brown, with CJ and Greg in tow, were off to
Vancouver for a week of rest and relaxation. David
Holt and his wife, Laraine spent Holy Week in Indianapolis
and had a chance to visit with their son, Daniel.
They also had the opportunity to worship there
at All Saints Church, where they are both good
friends with the rector.
Rapp has asked us to
extend her thanks to all of our wonderful parishioners
who helped her get through her recent hip surgery
with cards, flowers, visits and phone calls.
Gilbert has been quite
busy these days as she continues her education
to become a Physician?s Assistant. Although she
devotes many hours to studying, and hospital assignments, she
finds it to be very rewarding. Keep up the good work, Johanna!
And speaking of career changes,
congratulations to Paul Smith who has taken on
a second career as a realtor with Weichert Realtors.
That?s it for now. There will
be lots more to report next month, especially with
the May Ham Dinner this month and the Spring Fair
on June 10th. Hope to see you there!
Vestry met on April 10 for its regular monthly
meeting. The following is a brief outline of the
items that were discussed and decided during the
Following the service on May
7, City Councilman McMahon will unveil the street
sign at the corner of Filmore Street and Franklin
Avenue, which will read ?Christ Church Way.
The Feeding Ministry has purchased
two shares in the Staten Island Community Agricultural
Group (CSA) at a cost of $800 to provide fresh
produce for the needy. The Vestry authorized the
Feeding Ministry to receive $2500 from the dividend
and interest account of the church to provide assistance
to those in need.
With Susan Fowler, the chair
of the Plant and Equipment Committee, away on business,
Barnett Shepherd outlined the proposal that the
Landscape Committee, a sub-committee of Plant & Equipment,
had to make the church grounds more welcoming, friendly, and
inviting. New plantings, walks, lighting and more would need
to be installed — all of which is planned for the future.
Sheila Swigert reported that
the stained glass window showing Christ with the
Elders will soon be removed by Gil Studios for
restoration. Two other windows will also be repaired
at the same time, although the work on them will
be done in the church. Nick Dowen, a member of
the Search Committee, reported that on the Wednesday
following Easter, the committee will select three
candidates to be submitted for background checks
by the Diocese. Once the candidates have passed
the background check, their names will be submitted
to the Vestry for interviews.
Eugene Darconte, the co-chair
of the Spring Fair, which is scheduled for June
10, reported that all is moving along smoothly,
although help is needed for setting up.
A journal is to be available
at the May Ham dinner and the Vestry members have
purchased a full
Women of Christ Church are leading the Christ Church
participation in Bishop Roskam's much-needed project
called Carpenter's Kids. At the April meeting
many of those present signed up to sponsor a child
for a year or two - or three - with a gift of $50
for each year. This dollar-a-week amount
will provide breakfast, books, tuition, and a uniform
for an elementary school-aged AIDS orphan
in Tanganyika for a year. Isn't that incredible?
We will be telling you more aboutÿthis program
and urging you to join us in it.
The comforting Healing Service
and Eucharist began our time together. Changing
the date made our attendance smaller, but business was conducted
as usual. Our treasurer, Shirley Elfers, reported several
donations to the charities we support, including a part of
our annual amount to the Church budget.
Spring meetings of the Episcopal
Women and Church Women
United were announced, and several are making plans to attend.ÿ Sadly
we remembered our past President, Joy Woodall, who truly lived
up to her name (Joy) as she worked with us in many capacities.
Fr. French was with us, and told us of the Holy Week services
and other ongoing weekday programs.
A cheerful spring lunch tableÿwas spread by Connie Riccciardi,
and we were so happy that our honorary member, Patsy Parese,
was able to make our coffee and share our day.
By the next meeting, May 11
(remember our date is almost
always the second Thursday of the month), we will have details
of how you can take part in the Carpenter's Kids project, when
and to whom you can write your checks, and other information.
Martha Keucher will be glad to take the names of
any of you who want to sign up now.
You are all invited to bring
your sandwich and come to our gathering in May
which will begin at 11:00 a.m. in the Chapel.
Serenade Concert series will be presenting the
second program of the current season at Christ
Church on Sunday, May 7 at 3:00 p.m.
The program is entitled Spirit
of the Baroque and will feature the talents of
Edward Brewer on harpsichord, Virginia Brewer on
baroque oboe, and Claire Jolivet on baroque violin.
The concert is free to the
public and a "Meet the Artists" reception will
follow in the parish hall, immediately following
For further information please
call 718-372-3668 or send e-mail inquiries to Serenade228@yahoo.com.
April 4, 2006 Richard Dickenson passed away. Richard
was Staten Island's Boro Historian, and some of
you may remember this wonderful gentleman who attended
Christ Church from time to time, and sang in our
choir. Richard's daughter, Leonore, attended Christ
Church in her teen years, was one of our acolytes,
and was also confirmed and baptized here by Fr.
During the April 8 Memorial
Service at The Unitarian Church of Staten Island,
Barnett Shepherd shared his recollections of Dick,
which appear below. Our condolences go out to Richard's wife,
Toni, and their family)
With the death of Richard Dickenson Staten Island
has lost a true friend. We have lost a beloved
friend and a dear colleague. Dick was unfailingly
devoted to history in general, and to the preservation
of Staten Island's history in particular. He was
the latest in a long chain of Island leaders, our
heroes, who understood the importance of local
history: William T. Davis, Charles Leng, Mabel
Abbott, Edna Holden, and Loring McMillen. Dick
was devoted to their legacies. And through his
scholarship he has added to that legacy. Every
forgotten incident of our past was grist for his
As a scholar he was always generous with information,
sharing readily with his colleagues. Each time
I asked Dick for help on some topic he shared what
he knew. Even when I did not think to ask, he would
volunteer information on topics he knew would interest
me. We have his writings, and his memories of what
he said, but it is the man himself we will miss most. His
exemplary life, scholarly work and gentlemanly
ways are vivid testimonies to the fact that one
person can make a difference. His kindnesses, generosity
and willingness to be our friend have made our
community a better place.
In the face of our feelings of loss and sadness
we must now renew our energies for the preservation
of Staten Island's history. The fragile resources
of history, so threatened at every turn, enhance
our community life. We must strengthen our devotion
to the work and renew our unity as a group. Some
of the great rewards of our work in preservation are the
friends and associates we make and our ability
to work together. This legacy was enriched enormously
by Dick. Richard Dickenson's legacy emboldens us
to continue the work with ever more devotion.
April 20, the stained-glass window showing Christ
speaking to the elders in the Temple was removed
from its frame and taken to the workshop of Gil
Studios, a highly regarded stained-glass restoration
firm based in Brooklyn.
The window is on the left side
of the church, the second from the front of the
nave. If you had studied the window, you would
have seen that some of the glass in the robe of
the elder at the front was missing (one part fell
out and broke, but two others were removed and
In many of our windows, colors
are built up from layers of glass. Sometimes a
bright color is muted by an opalescent layer, as
is the case with the elder's robe. The glass underneath is
bright purple but the glass on top is a translucent
Gil Studios will replace the
damaged leading that was just barely holding the
pieces of glass together, redo the failing horizontal
bars that were supposed to keep the layers flat, and put back
the missing pieces. They will also clean dirt off the surface
of the window and between the layers of glass. In addition,
the studio is repairing two small ventilation windows
at the bottom of the Tiffany nativity scene and
two windows on the stairway from the chapel to
These three repairs will cost
about $45,000 (with $30,000 of that amount for
the elders? window), and will be paid for by the
income from the Book of Daniel TV show (thank you,
NBC) and a $5,000 grant from the New York Landmarks
Conservancy?s Sacred Sites program.
According to Peg Breen, president
of the conservancy, Christ Church "now joins the nearly 600 houses of worship throughout
New York State that have received over $4.6 million in grants
from the Sacred Sites Program." This program is one of the
few in the country that gives financial and technical help to
However, ten more windows need
to be repaired (the total estimate is $148,000),
and the roof and gutters over the south side of
the church need to be fixed as well. If you look at the stonework
around the missing window, you can see from the efflorescence
(the whitish powder) that there has been water damage.
In fact, according to our consultants,
Rus Watsky (roofing) and Ron Isles (masonry), water
has been coming in the south side of the building
through broken slates and gutters for some time.
To fix the leaks around the tower and replace half of the roof
will cost about $60,000. (The less-weathered north side of
the roof has ten, twenty, or thirty more years,
which is pretty good for a 100-year-old roof.)
We have applied for grants
that we hope will pay for some of these costs,
but we?ll need to match the grants with our own
funds. We?re not sure how we?re going to do that yet, but Victor
Stanwick is building a suggestion box. Until he finishes it,
please feel free to talk to me (718 720-1169), Sheila Swigert
(718 447-4185), or the wardens about the windows, roof, and
2 was a big day for Christ Church's Landscape Committee.
Joseph and Michael Browne, landscape architects,
delivered their plans for the Christ Church grounds.
In 2005, the committee had
asked three landscaping engineering companies to
bid on our project, and the Brownes came up with
the most creative approach.
But before showing you what
they showed us, this is what we asked them for:
"The landscape should create a welcoming atmosphere
for the public and especially the people in the neighborhood.
Consideration should be given for a possible Biblical or Interfaith
Garden and a memorial garden. The gardens must be low maintenance
as well as animal-friendly and use native and/or historical
plants wherever possible."
We also wanted the landscaping
plan to include:
- Redesign of the parking lot to insure proper
drainage: Water is running into the neighboring
lots. The asphalt that comes up to the walls
of the church needs to be cut away from the church
(because water is getting caught under the asphalt
against the stone walls and is eating away the
stone and mortar). Drainage was our first priority.
- Handicapped accessibility for entrance
to the grounds and buildings.
- New fencing or some other method for defining
- Environmentally responsible watering systems.
- Landscaping plans for the areas in front
of and to the east of the church; in front
of the parish hall; for the small area between
the rear parking lot and the cloister between
the church and parish hall (currently planted
in grass); for the ?nursery garden? behind
the rectory; and for the front rectory garden
(replace the trash shed, remove the weed trees
hanging over the rectory, and take care of
the dogwood and other plantings already there).
- Seating along the periphery and inside
the gardens, and especially seats along the street
for all the neighbors struggling uphill with
their groceries, book bags, or children.
- An outdoor signage plan.
- A lighting system for the stained glass
(from the inside out) and on the sides of the
church, for both security and aesthetics.
Joe and Michael Browne met with the committee
three times, and the result was extraordinary,
not just because their plan meets the requirements
and looks interesting, but because it pulls our
entire landscape together into one whole.
Maybe you've never thought about it, but "outside
the church" and "the grounds" seems to mean the
oval in front of the Parish Hall. We only occasionally
use the front walk to the church, and only three
or four of us ever walk along the side of the church
from the parking lot. Christ Church sits on nearly
three acres, in other words, and we use only a
few square yards.
When you look at the drawings, you can see what
the Browne brothers did: They created one long
sweep of grass and garden visually tied together
using ovals and, on the north side of the church,
a spiraling meditation walk.
The landscape still has an edge?—a low
it's interrupted with entrances and, in front of
the Parish Hall, with a relocated flagpole and
a set of benches.
Our magnificent old trees also come into their
own. It's hard to see right now, but someone planted
two rows of trees, one along the street and the
other a few yards in. The Brownes' plan gradually
trims away the "weed" Norway maples that grew up
between the lines and lets more light onto the
The plan is divided into three phases over three
to five years, depending on how quickly we can
raise the funds:
- Phase 1 solves the drainage issues in the
parking lot, and replaces the old chain link
fence and ratty shrubs around the perimeter with
a new low metal fence. The stained-glass windows
are lit from inside at night. This phase costs
- In Phase 2, we plant the new meditation
garden and reconstruct the Oval lawn, move the
flagpole, and add the street-side seats. A certified
arborist moves donor trees and starts trimming
away the Norway maples. New signs and lights
that wash up the walls of the church are installed.
This phase costs $166,000.
- In Phase 3, we finish all the plantings
and replace the Oval pavement. Lighting for the
tower and for the Oval is installed. This
phase costs $143,000.
The plan is ambitious, but Michael Browne has
worked on bigger projects with worse odds?—for
example, the new fishing pier at South Beach, the
visitor's center on Rockland Avenue, and the Tuscan
garden and pond at Snug Harbor.
However, the vestry will need your help, your
ideas, and your contacts with potential donors.
Please feel free to talk to the wardens and to
the Landscape Committee members: Anne Devlin, Nick
Dowen, Susan Fowler, Laura Patrick, Valerie Quinlan,
Bill Sherman, Barnett Shepherd, and Leslie Thompson.
people have asked how to make donations toward
music at Christ Church, having assumed that a portion
of their pledge could be "redirected" into the
music fund upon verbal request. Unfortunately,
that method is not possible. Any donation for a
specific fund needs to be designated as such by
a separate check—otherwise the entire amount
goes into the general operating fund.
So, for instance, to make a
donation for the Easter brass quartet, you would
write a separate check and mark on the bottom of
the check "Easter Brass - Music Fund." Similarly,
donations to help support our paid section leaders
or assist in purchasing sheet music for the choir
should also be made to the music fund. Donations
for the organ restoration, however, should be made to the Organ
Fund. (More about this in the next issue of the Tower Chimes.)
Contributions to either fund
are greatly appreciated, no matter what the amount.
Donations need not coincide with a particular event,
but are accepted at any time with hearty thanks
from your organist and choir director!
1—Lindsay Kennedy; 4—Jessica
Szczepanik; 6—Kla Thompson; 7—Dominic Elia; 11—Shirley
Elfers, Etta Johnson; 14—Tara Mazzucco; 16—Connie
Black; 17—Nancy Beveridge; 18—David and Bob Holt,
Laura Farr; 19—Agnes Thompson; 28—Fidel Zayzay;
5—Lisa Rhoades & David Nygard;9—Heuldine Webb
and Lester Blair.
If your special day is not in our records, call
the Parish Office at 727-6100 so it can be added.
March 15th, Fr. Jerry Keucher hosted a "book signing"
at the Diocesan House to celebrate the release
of his book, Remember the Future.
As you can tell from this photo,
Jack French is a very real symbol of what that
"future" is all about.