The Tower Chimes, February 2008
bullet character Clergy Corner bullet character Pancake Supper
bullet character Annual Meeting Report bullet character Tower Repairs
bullet character SICC Dinner bullet character Coffee Hour Schedule
bullet character Carpenter's Kids Update bullet character They Were Lost...
bullet character Diversity Day Celebration bullet character Parish Register
bullet character Women of Christ Church bullet character Around the Parish
bullet character Our Lenten Journey bullet character Save the Date
bullet character An Open Letter bullet character February Calendar
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Clergy Corner

I first lived on the East Coast in 1984 when I moved to Boston. Then, as now, Easterners assumed that since I’m from the Midwest I must know all about farming.  The fact of the matter is, I’ve lived my whole life in suburban and urban communities and know as much about farming as the average New Yorker. Despite that, even I know that in the spring the farmer plows the earth and plants the seed.

We usually think of Lent as a dreary time, but the word Lent comes from a Middle English word meaning spring. During Lent we plow the soil of our souls to prepare them to flower  with new life at Easter. In the midst of plowing we may come across some rocks and dead stumps that need to be uprooted, and that gives Lent its penitential character. But fundamentally this is a hopeful time, as spring is a hopeful time.

In this edition of the Tower Chimes, you can read about all of our Lenten programs and activities on page 5.  These activities – such as extra celebrations of the Eucharist; devotional aids like the pocket crosses; mite boxes; meditation guides; educational opportunities – all provide ways to deepen our faith by plowing the soil of our souls. We may not be farmers, but we all know that spring is the time to prepare for a bountiful harvest. So I urge you to use this Lent wisely to prepare for a wonderful Easter.      

Faithfully yours,

Fr. Chuck

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Annual Meeting Report

On Sunday, January 13, 2008, the Annual Meeting of Christ Church New Brighton took place in the parish auditorium following the 10 a.m. service. Members of the parish had the opportunity to review the published annual reports of the various parish committees and organizations, in addition to the Treasurer’s Report and the budget for 2008.

The election of a new Warden, and four new vestry persons then took place, with two additional nominations from the floor – one for Warden and another for vestry person. The following individuals were elected to the following positions:

Warden for a two-year term:
Victor Stanwick

Vestry Persons for a three-year term:
William Brown
Beth Johanning Hayes
Nancy Lettiere
Barnett Shepherd
Vestry Person to complete a remaining one-year term:
Trevor Mills

In his annual meeting report Fr Howell took the opportunity to thank our outgoing warden, Nick Dowen, and outgoing vestry persons, Ed Craig, Gene Darconte, Sheila Swigert and John Watson for their service to the Vestry, and also thanked all of the chairs and members of the various committees and organizations in Christ Church for their hard work.

Father Howell discussed plans for the year ahead, in particular a focus on youth group ministry, community youth ministry, expanding the feeding ministry and developing an adult Bible study, and spoke of the great future that lies ahead for Christ Church.

Fr. Howell also noted that Sunday attendance is increasing and our financial situation is improving.      
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Willie Black, Jr., to be Honored at the
Staten Island Council of Churches Dinner

Each year, The Staten Island of Council of Churches, which consists of about 40 congregations here on Staten Island, hosts its annual awards dinner during the month of February. The Awards Dinner has become a very popular way for member congregations to recognize the efforts of members of their congregations; in fact, this event has become so popular in the past few years that people have had to be turned away from the Old Bermuda Inn, the large catering hall where the Awards Dinner takes place.

Willie Black, Jr.We are pleased to announce that this year’s Christ Church honoree is none other than our own Willie Black, Jr. Known affectionately to many of us as “Pappa”, Willie is most readily recognized as the founder and organizer of our yearly Diversity Day, which celebrates the many diverse gifts and talents of our parishioners in an afternoon of ethnic foods, music, readings and good fellowship. Willie was also the chair of the Search Committee that helped to bring our new rector, Fr. Charles Howell, into our midst. He is also a former Warden, and the chair of our Social Concerns Committee.

This year’s awards dinner will take place on Thursday, February 7 at 6:30pm at the Old Bermuda Inn and tickets are $40 per person. Please contact  our parish administrator, Cathy Romano at 718-727-6100, or, for ticket reservations.

Congratulations, Willie, on this well-deserved recognition.      
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Carpenter's Kids Update

Christ Church has been linked with the Church of the Regeneration in Pine Plains, New York, to support children in the parish of Nghome, Tanganyika. Through the generosity of many of our parishioners we are currently supporting 21 children who are victims of the AIDS epidemic in Tanzania, Africa.

Carpenter's KidsEach child who receives our support is given a wholesome breakfast, school uniforms, school supplies, and a decent education. The cost per year for this support is a mere $50. We have a roster of 19 donors who will be supporting the children for a five year period.

Linking with the Pine Plains parish increases the total number of children supported (by our combined parishes) to 50, which is the number required for a single support element. That requirement has been established by the Episcopal Diocese of New York, which administers the program.

We hope soon to have an e-mail contact to learn more about the progress of these children. This will be done monthly. Also, Christ Church will include the parish of Nghome in our prayers.

Anyone interested in joining this worthwhile project should contact Valerie Quinlan at 718-273-3668 or All funds go directly to the support of the program in Tanzania.

Be sure to check the bulletin board in the Parish Hall for materials describing the Carpenter's Kids program in greater detail.      
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Diversity Day Celebration at Christ Church,
February 3rd

Traditional Ukranian Easter dressEvery year, members of Christ Church gather together during the month of February to celebrate the diverse backgrounds and traditions that make up the Christ Church family.

This year’s celebration will take place on Sunday, February 3, immediately following the 10 a.m. service. The theme for this year’s program is “Celebrating Diversity: Our Past, Present, and Future.”

Diversity Sunday is a very joyful day, and a time to share our customs and culture with each other through ethnic foods, music, readings and talks. It’s a time to share your particular talent, whether it be singing, playing a musical instrument, reading a poem, etc. Members are also encouraged to wear their native costumes that day.

All members of the parish are warmly invited – and encouraged – to share in this afternoon of diversity and fellowship. If you’d like to participate by bringing an ethnic dish, performing – or both – please contact Willie Black, Jr., chairperson for the event, and let him know how you’d like to participate.      
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Women of Chirst Church

(Ed. Note: Brenda is a member of the Women of Christ Church and has graciously offered to write this month’s column)

The Women of Christ Church are happy to report that our December bake sale raised $98 for the Carpenter’s Kids. We thank you all for your support of this worthy cause.

Our Silver Tea which took place during our December meeting, brought in $250 for the benefit of the Safe Horizons program here on Staten Island.

As part of our ongoing outreach program to the residents of the Staten Island Care Center, Martha Keucher Valerie Quinlan and Laura Craig made it a point to spend some quality time with the residents. As many of you are aware, the Sunday School gave a special performance of their wonderful Christmas play at the Center, which was met with overwhelming approval.

Watch your mail for our Annual Appeal. Your support helps to fund the many outreach programs that are sponsored by the Women of Christ Church.

Our next meeting will take place on Tuesday, February 19 at 7:30 p.m. All women of the church are invited, and encouraged, to join us. We hope to see you there.
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Our Lenten Journey at Christ Church

This year, our Lenten journey at Christ Church begins on Tuesday, February 5, with our traditional Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper, and ends on Easter Day, May 23, with the joyous celebration of the resurrection of Christ.

During this time we will be viewing a video series on Sunday morning, and focusing on a collection of short stories for our Wednesday evening program. The following is a brief description of each:

  • Theologians under Hitler: Examining and repenting of our sins and those of the Church is one of the key themes of Lent.  This video series introduces us to three of the greatest theologians of the twentieth century who were also vocal supporters of Hitler and the Nazi Party.  The film asks: “How could something like this happen in the heart of Christian Europe? Could it happen again? How does the scholarship of this period affect the church today? Does the church of today retain the ability to recognize profound evil?”
  • Listening for God: God didn’t just speak to the people of old, God is speaking now to those who have ears to hear. Our Lenten series this year will use the book Listening for God, which is a collection of short stories by contemporary American authors, as a way of hearing God nowadays.  These writers tell of “the struggles, joys, challenges, and fulfillment of listening for God in America now.” Each Wednesday in Lent one of our fellow parishioners (Lisa Rhoades, Anne Devlin, Linda Reiersen, Nick Dowen, Fr. Howell) will present one of the stories and lead a discussion about it. Copies of Listening for God are available in the parish office for $12. We ask that you read each story ahead of time and come prepared to share your insights.

      The following is a brief calendar of events beginning with Shrove Tuesday, and leading up to the joyful celebration of Easter on Sunday, March 23.

Every Week

  • Holy Eucharist on Thursday at 11:00am
  • Monday – Saturday - Morning Prayer at 5:15a.m.; Evening Prayer at 5:45pm
  Sunday, February  24 – 3rd Sunday in Lent
7:30 a.m - Morning Prayer
8 a.m & 10 a.m. - Holy Eucharist,
9 a.m. Adult Ed. Theologians under Hitler
7 p.m. Compline
Tuesday, February 5 - Shrove Tuesday
Pancake Supper & Burning of Palms – 6 p.m.
  Wednesday, February 27 – Lenten Program
7 p.m. - Holy Eucharist
7:40 pm - Supper
8 p.m. – Discussion - Listening for God
Wednesday, February 6 - Ash Wednesday
7:30am & 7:30pm H oly Eucharist & Imposition of Ashes
  Sunday, March 2 – 4th Sunday in Lent
7:30 a.m - Morning Prayer
8 a.m & 10:00 a.m. Holy Eucharist,
9 a.m. Adult Ed. Theologians under Hitler
4 p.m. – 6 p.m. - IPC Lenten Program
Barbara Crafton
St. Alban’s Church
7 p.m. - Compline
Thursday, February 7 - SI Council of Churches Awards Dinner
6:30p.m., Old Bermuda Inn
Willie Black, Jr., Christ Church Honoree
  Wednesday, March 5 - Lenten Program
7 p.m. - Holy Eucharist
7:40 pm - Supper
8 p.m. – Discussion - Listening for God
Sunday. February. 10 - 1st Sunday in Lent
7:30a.m Morning Prayer
8 a.m & 10:00am H oly Eucharist & Distribution
of Pocket Crosses
9 a.m. Adult Ed. Theologians under Hitler
7 p.m. Compline
  Sunday, March 16 - Palm Sunday
7:30am Morning Prayer
8 a.m. & 10 a.m. – Holy Eucharist &
                              Distribution of Palms
7 p.m. - Compline
Wednesday, February 13 – Lenten Program
7 p.m. - Holy Eucharist
7:40 pm - Supper
8 p.m. – Discussion - Listening for God
  Thursday, March 20 - Maundy Thursday
NO 11:00am Eucharist
7:30pm Holy Eucharist
Altar of Repose
Saturday, February 16 - Retreat
“Forgiveness: What it is and What It Isn’t”
9:00am – 4:00pm
Barbara Crafton
Convent of St. John the Baptist

Friday, March 21 - Good Friday
7:30 a.m. Good Friday Liturgy and H oly Communion from
Reserved Sacrament
4 p.m. - Children’s Program
7:30p.m. Good Friday Liturgy and Holy Communion from Reserved Sacrament

Sunday, February 17 -2nd Sunday in Lent
7:30a.m - Morning Prayer
8 a.m & 10:00 a.m. Holy Eucharist,
9 a.m. Adult Ed. Theologians under Hitler
7 p.m. Compline

Sunday, March 23 - Easter Day
7:30 a.m. Morning Prayer
8 a.m. Holy Eucharist
10 a. m. Festive Choral Holy Eucharist
7: p.m. – Compline

Wednesday, February 20 – Lenten Program
7 p.m. - Holy Eucharist
7:40 pm - Supper
8 p.m. – Discussion - Listening for God
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An Open Letter
Thank You All!

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their assistance in aiding our youth in their continued adventures for the year 2007. We call them “adventures” because we are constantly doing new things to help teach our young people about sharing the responsibility for others in our community who are less fortunate, and having a good time in the process.
      Some of our “adventures” for 2007 included:

  • Cake Decorating Class
  • Visiting the Staten Island Care Center
  • Raising over $100 for Breast Cancer Awareness
  • Giving gifts to the HIV/AIDS Program at St. John the Divine
  • Visiting the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC
  • Collecting food for Thanksgiving baskets

Thank you again…looking forward to a wonderful 2008.
Sheila Hewitt
Sunday School Director

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Pancake Supper at Christ Church

pancakesBe sure to mark your calendars for our traditional Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper at Christ Church. on Tuesday, February 5.

      Pancakes will be served between the hours of 6 p.m. and 8 p.m., along with tasty sausages, applesauce, coffee, tea and soft drinks. Reservations are not necessary and there is no charge. A free-will offering will be taken.      
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Tower Repairs Finally Start

We finally received the building permits from the Department of Buildings on January 10, thanks to Marguerite Connelly and her company, Your Expeditor. Her bill was sent to the Diocesan Property Support Committee for payment from the grant we received from them.

Jack Scibor of Burda Construction has started work inside the tower, now that they’re done with the outside, for now. They had already stripped the roof of its slate to reduce the weight in case of snow. However, the roof started leaking badly, so badly on the two Sundays before Christmas towerthat it seemed like it was raining indoors.

On the Sunday just before Christmas, Jack went up to the roof during the rainstorm and found that the problem was due to clogged gutters. He pulled birds’ nests and other debris from the gutters and the water started flowing through the gutters and stopped dripping into the church.

However, he says that the capacity of the gutters on the tower roof is too low. Rebuilding the gutters is already part of the contract, but we will also need to create easier access to the tower so that Vito or others can inspect the gutters and roof as needed.

But What about the Wet Pews?

After the tower-roof leaks abated, Valerie Quinlan and Susan Fowler inspected every pew in the church to see which ones had been damaged by the rain.

We found that the varnish had been scoured off two pew end-pieces in the epistle (right) transept and the wood had separated. There was no structural damage to those pews but they look very bad. We also saw minor water damage to the finish of 12 pews.

Many of the cushions and kneelers are dirty or have wax or water stains, and much of that dirt is NOT due to the leaks. P&E will experiment with stain removers and rug cleaners to see if there is an easy way to clean the velvet cushions. The kneelers can be washed, perhaps at a Hands to Work, Hearts to God day this spring.

However, the pews themselves may be at the ends of their lives. We discovered 14 split backs and seats, three of them possibly dangerous to the people who may sit in those pews. The cracks are not due to water damage but rather to old age. (Note, however, that although there are many cracked backs, the hymn-book and BCP holders on the back of each pew prevent the cracks from actually breaking through.)

We’re making a chart of the damaged pews and will get quotes from companies that repair or replace pews during the next month. Once we have some prices and approaches to the problem, we’ll be able to make some decisions on how to address it.
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Coffee Hour Schedule

The following people have signed up to host Coffee Hour in February:

February 3 – Diversity Sunday
February 10  – Sunday School
February 17– Michael Buss and Anna-Lisa Cox
February 24 –David and Dan Wood

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They Were Lost, but Now They Are Found

They were lost…odd gloves and socks…but now their mates have been found and are being put to good use.

Last month, Kristin Reiersen and I asked for your help, by giving us your odd socks and gloves, which in turn were “mated” with other odd socks and gloves and distributed to homeless men and women.

Your response to our initial request was overwhelming; we are now asking you to donate any “gently used” coats, sweaters and blankets to help keep the homeless warmer this winter. We will be collecting these items until March 1, 2008.

All of the items that we collect will be donated to St. Mary’s Episcopal Church Homeless Ministry in Manhattan.

We thank you for helping to make a difference in the lives of those less fortunate. If you have any questions, please feel free to speak to Kristin or to me.
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From the Parish Register

February Birthdays
2—Andrew Schneider; 5—Fr. John Walsted, Prince Williams; 11—Hal Reiersen; 13—Gytha Darconte, Lisa Rhoades; 14—Bruce Liozzi; 19 – Eddie Thompson; 21 – Andrew Hardin; 22– Alleida Mitchell; 23—Pat Sciré; 24—Trevor Mills, 26 - Nicholas Lettiere., Alyssa Richards, Alexia Richards.
February Anniversaries  15 –Nathaniel & Ella Seeley.

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

Happy New Year to one and all. Since our January issue was devoted to the Parish Annual Meeting, our column did not appear last month. Needless to say, there’s much to report.

Christmas at Christ Church was wonderful – the greens, the poinsettias, the Sunday School Pageant, the Treble Choir, the services, the music, and Fr. Chuck’s sermons – all contributed to a joyful celebration.

Congratulations to Lisa Rhoades and David Nygard on the birth of their son, Charles Silas Nygard, on December 22. Everyone in the parish had the opportunity to meet “Charlie” when he was baptized the following month on January 13.

And best wishes and congratulations to Alleida Mitchell on the birth of her first grandchild, Damali Maryse Brown. The proud parents of this beautiful little girl, born on January 4, are Alleida’s daughter, Catherine Barnett and her husband, Nigel Browne.

Congratulations to Charles McLean III and Peter Mazzucco, who both graduated from the Fire Academy on January 16. Charles, the son of Beth and Chip McLean, will be stationed in Canarsie; Peter, the son of Ellen and Ron Mazzucco, will be stationed on Staten Island. Best of luck to both of these fine young men.

Bill Brown reports that his granddaughter, Brianne Pineiro, graduated from basic training on January 25, and has been transferred to Pensacola, Florida where she begins training as a Navy diver, and in turn, fulfilling her dream of being able to work with dolphins.

Janet Schneider has asked us to thank everyone who has sent letters and packages to her son Andrew, who is stationed in Iraq, and to her son, Ted, who is stationed in Alabama. Both Ted and Andrew have enjoyed and appreciate all of your good wishes, and everything that has been sent to them. Janet has also told us that Andrew’s address has changed, as he has moved to a new area in Iraq and will now be a platoon leader in field artillery. As soon as his new address becomes available we’ll get it out to you.

It was so nice to see Tryphena Fanbullah when she was visiting here last month. Many of us remember when Tryphena was a parishioner here, and her cakes were the centerpiece at many of our celebrations. She had been living in Texas, but about three years ago she returned to her native Liberia when her mother passed away, and decided to stay.

When Tryphena was here, she mentioned that there is a desperate need for Prayer Books in the Liberian churches and has asked that we send out the word that donations of used or new editions of the Book of Common Prayer would be most appreciated by the Liberian congregations. The decision was made to dedicate the offering taken at our New Year’s Eve Watch Night service to this cause. If you would like to donate any Prayer Books, or are aware of anyone else who might be interested, please contact Tryphena’s brother, Togba Porte, and he will be more than happy to coordinate the delivery for you. Togba’s telephone number is 646-210-8908.

That’s all for now. Please keep in mind that we’re always looking for news for Around the Parish. If you’ve got some news to share please feel free to drop me a line, or you can leave a note in the Tower Chimes mail box in the parish office.
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Save the Date!

Thursday, April 10Interfaith Seder at St. Teresa’s RC. Church. $25 adults; $12 children

April 10-13 – Staten Island Community Days. Our opportunity to “give back” to the community by reaching out to help others in our neighborhood.