bullet character Clergy Corner bullet character Confirmation Classes In Session bullet character Parish Register
bullet character Vestry Notes bullet character Easter Memorial Flowers bullet character Women of Christ Church
bullet character Not by Tiffany bullet character Holy Week at Christ Church bullet character Have YOU Adopted a Pipe?
bullet character Call to Discernment bullet character Community Activities bullet character Daylight Savings Time
bullet character Save the Date bullet character Celebrating Our Diversity bullet character Around the Parish
bullet character Sunday School News bullet character Water Water Everywhere bullet character Memorial Candles
bullet character A Salute to our Parishioners
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Clergy Corner

In the parable of the mustard seed, Jesus says, “’The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches’” (Matthew 13:31-32).  We have recently undertaken a couple of initiatives at Christ Church that, although small now, have the potential for great success.

On January 24, Christ Church parishioners associated with our Feeding Ministry, Deacon Beverly Neuhaus, and the Rev. Donna Dambrot of Episcopal Charities met to discuss expanding the feeding ministry of Christ Church.  For years Joan Cupo and the Episcopal Feeding Ministry located at All Saints’ Church have provided food baskets for needy individuals and families at the holidays: Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter.  Last year the Episcopal Feeding Ministry stopped providing this service, and, with Joan’s support, I have begun to explore the possibility of establishing this ministry at Christ Church.  The members of the Feeding Ministry were enthusiastic about this opportunity, and each member left the meeting with an assignment to accomplish before the next meeting.  At our first meeting, the question of a name came up; we cannot use Episcopal Feeding Ministry since that group continues to run a food pantry at All Saints.  We decided to call our new ministry Christ Church Community Outreach, CCCO.  The advantages of this name are that it accurately describes the purpose of the holiday basket program and it also can serve as an umbrella group under which future outreach ministries could operate.  In addition to the holiday basket program, a revived community youth program and other future outreach ministries could all be housed under Christ Church Community Outreach.  The beginnings of the holiday basket program and the concept of Christ Church Community Outreach is a small seed that one day may grow into a mighty tree of outreach ministries at Christ Church.

As you will read elsewhere in this issue of the Tower Chimes, our fellow parishioner Kristin Reiersen is exploring a call to the priesthood.  I have had several in-depth conversations with Kristin and have informed the Vestry of her desire to enter the ordination process.  I am now in the process of forming a discernment committee which will meet with Kristin for the next eight to twelve months to explore whether she has gifts and talents for the priesthood.  At the end of this period, the discernment committee will make a recommendation to me, which, assuming a positive recommendation, will guide me in the letter I write to Bishop Sisk sponsoring Kristin for postulancy, the first step towards ordination.  Kristin’s nascent sense of vocation is another seed filled with potential.

On Easter Day the Treble Choir – another small seed that is growing mightily – will sing "Now the Green Blade Riseth", which likens Jesus’ Resurrection to a seed sprouting after it has lain in the dark earth.  Many small seeds are starting to germinate at Christ Church as part of our parish’s resurrection.            

Faithfully yours,

Fr. Chuck

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Vestry Notes

The regularly scheduled meeting of the Christ Church Vestry took place on Monday, February 1, 2008.  Following are some highlights of important issues that were discussed at that time:

  • Nancy Lettiere has volunteered to organize recycling at the church. Please take note of the separate receptacles located in the parish house which have been designated for trash and recyclables.
  • Paul Smith was unanimously elected Clerk of the Vestry.
  • The Vestry has approved a request from Victor Stanwick, asking for $1,500.00 to be given to the feeding ministry for expenses incurred at the Second Saturday lunches held monthly by Christ Church volunteers at Trinity Lutheran Church. The funds will be transferred from the Interest and Dividends account.
  • The Worship & Liturgy Committee is considering the addition of a supplemental Episcopal hymnal called Lift Every Voice and Sing containing gospel-influenced songs and spirituals. It is hoped to incorporate these hymnals into the 10 a.m. service.
  • The holiday food basket program run by Joan Cupo and All Saints Church has been offered to Christ Church to run and manage. The Vestry was very receptive to the proposal, but more needs to be learned about the program before any definite decision is made. The suggested name of the new program would be Christ Church Community Outreach, an umbrella name which would include subgroups like a youth group, scout troop etc.
  • Lisa Rhoades has spoken with Deacon Jerri Swanson about a proposed Southern Cook-off to raise money for ERD (Episcopal Relief & Development) in aiding the victims of Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana and Mississippi. She would like Christ Church members to participate in the Cook-off, to be held at All Saints in June, with dishes like jambalaya, gumbo and pulled pork.
  • Fr. Howell suggested that the time had come to hire a professional babysitter for the Nursery. The babysitter would be responsible for the care of children and be required to be in the Nursery for two (or three) hours every Sunday morning. There will be further discussion on this item at future Vestry meetings.
  • There has been a mention of establishing a Scout troop at Christ Church. More to follow.
Fr. Howell thanked everyone responsible for the Pancake Supper on Shrove Tuesday and reported on the good time had by all at the annual SI Council of Churches dinner.
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Not by Tiffany

The five Tiffany stained-glass windows in Christ Church New Brighton are well known. Visitors and newcomers often ask to be shown these windows, a task made easy by John B. Woodall's pamphlet, "The Memorial Windows of Christ Church," copies of which are kept on the table inside the church's front door.

However, two of our most beautiful and significant windows are not by Tiffany, but by Lamb Studios. Frederick Lamb doesn't get the name recognition accorded to Louis Comfort Tiffany, but Lamb's windows are seen in churches all over the country, and are often mistaken for Tiffany's.

"The Ascension" is the first of our two Lamb windows. Given in 1908 in memory of Laura Geddes Baldwin Morton, it was installed above the church's front door. This window is as broad as it is tall, which might make it seem unsuited to its subject, but the artist managed to fill in the broad space beautifully. There are only three figures. The ethereal figure of the ascending Christ in the center is flanked by two dignified and handsomely posed observers. The left and right sides of this window have only foliage and gorgeous deep purple glass, like a sunset. With our backs to it during church services, we may not appreciate this window as we should, but it does have its admirers. "It's my favorite window," Sheila Hewitt once said to me. I agree with her.

The ascending Christ in this window is beautifully complemented by the painted statue of the resurrected Christ that hangs directly below it above the front door. This striking statue, arms open and upraised, used to hang in St. Vincent's Hospital. It was given to Christ Church in memory of Daniel N. and Emma M. Lettiere and Loreto and Margaret Dente. Ann Sohm, our parishioner, soprano soloist and choir member, restored it and painted the stylized cross behind it.

The second Lamb window is "The Sermon on the Mount" in the Left Transept. It was installed in 1945 in memory of Marie Alice Bush Kennedy (Mrs. T. Livingstone Kennedy). Evoking medieval stained glass, with many faces close together, this is not in the pictorial style of most other Christ Church windows. Its subject is really the ethical and moral teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ. The morning sunlight makes its rich colors glow and shine.

Marie Alice Bush Kennedy brought up six sons and two daughters. Images of her eight children's faces are seen in the window. When her children were older she became a community leader, serving as president of the Staten Island Diet Kitchen, which provided milk to needy children. Proud of her descent from several old Staten Island families dating back to Colonial times, she became interested in what today would be called historic preservation. Around 1910 she formed a committee that attempted unsuccessfully to persuade the New York State Legislature to purchase the Conference House in Tottenville as an historic monument. (The Conference House became city property in 1926.) In 1939 she purchased the Voorlezer's House and donated it to the Staten Island Historical Society, which created Historic Richmond Town.

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Call to Discernment

Kristin Reiersen
Kristin Reiersen

After prayerful consideration and considerable guidance from Fr. Chuck, I have decided to enter into the discernment process for ordination as an Episcopal priest. My focus for the past year has been working with the poor and homeless, and I am blessed to currently have a position working with the Community Ministry programs at both Saint Bartholomew Episcopal Church and Saint Mary's Episcopal Church in Manhattan.

While my recent social work studies are essential to my work in community ministry, I come across people everyday on the street that ask me for more than what a social worker could provide - they ask me for pastoral guidance, sacramental healing, absolution for a penitent heart, and an invitation to the church community through communion.

My call to serve both sacramentally and practically emerges from these experiences. As part of a burgeoning field which combines the priesthood with social work, I will be able to meet their needs, and facilitate new ways for the church to welcome the stranger in love and kindness to the great Paschal Feast.

When Christ is recognized in the face of the poor, we affirm Christ within ourselves, and it is this truth that is the foundation of my call. While there are several examples of this that I have witnessed at Christ Church over the years, the past few months feature prominently in my mind's eye: Literally hundreds of donations from Christ Church parishioners have come pouring in for the homeless that I work with in Harlem.

It is this Christian love that Christ Church embodies which has shaped my spiritual formation through the 26 years I have been a parishioner here. Without your continuous witness to God's Love, I would never have dreamt of taking this step, and I look forward to your continuing guidance and support as I move forward in the discernment process. The seeds which were gently planted in my heart as a child

are sprouting, and Christ Church is both the garden and the gardener. Thank you so much!
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Save the Date

Earlier this year, members of the  Fundraising Committee met with heads of the various church   organizations, and, with Vestry approval, has put together the following calendar of fund raising activities at Christ Church that will take place in 2008:

(Please note: since this is the March issue, dates that were established for January and February have been omitted)

April 7 (tentative date) – Women of Christ Church UTO Appeal
April 19 (new) – Wine Tasting Party and Raffles
April or May (tentative) – Serendipity bus trip/outing
May 17 – Serendipity May Ham Dinner
June 1 – Colin Reed’s pre-Spring Fair lunch
June 8 – Christ Church Spring Fair
June 9 – Serenade Concert at Christ Church
June 10 – Ongoing campaign for contributions to music programs at Christ Church
September 6 – Blueberry Festival
September 21 (tentative) – Scholarship Tea
September 27 (new) – Pumpkin and Apple Harvest Festival
October 5 – Stewardship Sunday
October 5 – Serenade Concert at Christ Church
October 18 – Chinese Auction
November 8 – German Dinner
November 9 – Serenade Concert at Christ Church
December 6 – St. Nick’s fair
December 13 – Holly Ball.

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Sunday School News

The Sunday School has planned several interesting activities for our young parishioners this month.

On Saturday, March 16 from 2 to 4 p.m. we will be having our Easter Egg Hunt party. Donations of colorful plastic eggs, candy, “egg stuffer” toys and food for the celebration – hot dogs, potato chips, cupcakes, soda or juice – would be most welcome. Please contact Sheila Hewitt or Connie Black if you’d like to make a donation, or help out in any way that day.

Members of the Sunday School will be participating in the March of Dimes Walk at the Staten Island Mall on Sunday, April 27. Please speak to Olisha James if you’d like more information on this worthwhile project.

We are also looking for a King and Queen for our October Harvest Festival. Look for more information on this brand new fundraising activity in future issues of the Tower Chimes.

We would also like to thank everyone who donated socks, gloves, scarves, etc. during our recent clothing drive. Kristin Reiersen reported that we collected about 20 large bags of items that were given to the homeless.

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A Salute to our Parishioners in the Armed Forces

On Sunday, February 24, Father Howell offered a special prayer for four of our parishioners who are currently serving in the armed forces, and also blessed four sets of prayer books and crosses especially designated for those in the armed services.

We have reprinted the Prayer for Those in the Armed Forces and offer our continued prayers for their safety:  First Lieutenant Andrew Schneider (US Army); Officer Candidate Edward Schneider (US Air Force); Brianne Pineiro (completed Basic Training in December (US Navy); and Lieutenant Colonel John Laskodi (US Army).

Andrew Schneider Ted Schneider Brianne Pineiro
Lt. Colonel Laskodi and his family at a Christening at Christ Church in 2003

A Prayer for Those in the Armed Forces

Almighty God, we commend to your gracious care and keeping all the men and women of our Armed Forces at home and abroad. Defend them day by day with your heavenly grace; strengthen them in their trials and temptations; give them courage to face the perils which beset them; and grant them a sense of your abiding presence wherever they may be; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
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Confirmation Classes In Session

Confirmation window in the Christ Church sanctuary.For the past few months, Father Chuck and a group of 14 eager young minds have been meeting after the 10 a.m. service on Sunday to prepare for Confirmation. The group, comprised of 10 young people from Christ Church and 4 young people from St. Mary’s Church are reading and studying the Gospel of Matthew and using a confirmation preparation curriculum called “The New Episcopal Way.”   

      The Confirmation will take place at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in Manhattan on Saturday, May 10 at 10:30 a.m. with Bishop Taylor presiding. Members of Christ Church are most heartily invited, and encouraged, to join our young confirmands that day as they take this important step in their spiritual journeys.
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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 Avenue, Staten Island, NY 10301. To be listed in the Easter bulletin all names must be received no later than Palm Sunday, March 16.
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Holy Week and Easter at Christ Church

Here is the schedule for Holy Week and Easter services at Christ Church. We hope you’ll be able to take part in each of these services.

Sunday, March 16 – Palm Sunday
7:30 a.m. – Morning Prayer
8 a.m. & 10 a.m. – Holy Eucharist and Distribution of Palms
7 p.m. – Compline

Thursday, March 20 – Maundy Thursday
No 11:00 AM Eucharist
7:30  - Holy Eucharist and Foot Washing
Lamb Supper in the Parish House, Compline and Hymn Sing,  Altar of Repose

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

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.

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Community Activities

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.
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Celebrating our Diversity

This year’s Diversity Day at Christ Church was truly a “celebration” of our differences. Native costumes, ethnic foods and all forms of entertainment made this a day filled with much joy and fellowship.

Poetry readings, speeches, dances, vocal solos, young people singing, and a finale presented by the choir (with a solo performance by Fr. Chuck) made the day quite memorable. A special thanks to Ernie Bruce, a childhood friend of William Sherman, who drove three hours from his home in Cape May, New Jersey to sing an inspiring version of “Panis Angelicus.” And of course, kudos to Willie Black Jr. for organizing the Diversity Day activities, and to Shirley and Connie Black for coordinating food donations and organizing the luncheon.  

For those of you who were unable to attend that day, you can find a wonderful collection of photographs taken by John Watson and Victor Stanwick on the Christ Church website, [link to pictures].
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Water Water Everywhere

Tower: Wet Again, but in a New Way
Jack Scibor of Burda Construction reported that the repairs are moving along well ahead of schedule, and that Burda will be able to do the cheaper version of the repair. (The engineer gave us two alternatives, depending on how bad things were once Burda started working in the tower.)

However, his workmen discovered water coming through the walls. The tower needs repointing to replace the mortar between the stones, which has fallen out in some places. The work will cost about $63,000, but since the tower repairs will be somewhat cheaper than we expected, we’re hoping that this cost will still be within the budget we set up earlier.

Peter Raff is supervising the work. He agreed to keep track of the tower-access requirement (making sure people can get up there relatively easily); rebuilding the gutters to the right capacity; making sure the lightning rods are still attached and functioning correctly, and now the repointing.

Barnett Shepherd also reported that he had written a proposal to the Richmond County Bank Foundation asking for a grant to help offset the costs of the tower repair.

Pews: Damaged by Age More Than by Water
Valerie Quinlan and I looked at all the pews in the church and delivered our report to the vestry. Now, the fun part: Finding out what it will cost to repair or replace the pews.

The first reports are not reassuring. Fredrick from Fredrick & Emily’s Church Renovations inspected the pews on Feb. 4, and his preliminary report is that we will need to either replace the pews completely or replace the backs and seats, reusing the caps (the rounded parts along the tops) and the ends.

The problem, he said, is that the pew backs are made of three-layer plywood. The layers separated a long time ago and created cupping in the backs and the end pieces. The book-rests are also pulling out because the wood shrank. “The pews should have been refinished 40 years ago,” he said.

Get the Wet Out of the Parking Lot
Michael Browne met with Valerie Quinlan, Barnett Shepherd, and Susan Fowler to deliver a preliminary draft of the plan for redoing the parking lot. Some of the interesting items are two handicapped-access parking spaces and 10-foot wide areas of bushes and grass on both sides of the lot. A few feet underneath the greenery will be French drains to siphon water away from the Angones’ lot and the church walls.

On Feb. 10, the need for this work was driven home when a large chunk of granite nearly beamed David Seeley during rehearsal downstairs in the Choir Room. There have long been concerns about water is being forced below the surface of the parking lot into the walls and causing damage. This falling rock proved that subsurface water is definitely a concern.

“Christ Stilling the Sea” Has Returned
The stained-glass window gone since November for repairs has returned, cleaned and repaired. The blues are striking, and the ventilators at the bottom are no longer falling into pieces. Gil Studios did the work to their usual high standards. Thanks to Sheila Swigert for shepherding this project from beginning to end.

Hands to Work, Hearts to God Projects
In January, the crew made a big dent in removing old broken tables, old boxes, and wood scraps from the church basement. The February H2WH2G project will be a combined breakfast for our Project Hospitality guests and clean-up in the Parish Hall basement.

Look for Peter’s article on the new “Adopt a Room” project.

Projects Budgeted for 2008
As per the 2008 budget agreed to in 2007, P&E will schedule the following projects for 2008:

Rectory basement: repair ceiling to remove falling plaster, maintain 2-hour fire rating, and remove asbestos


Rectory basement: replace cellar door, repair brick wall


Parish hall kitchen: replace hot water heater


Church basement, ceiling: repair openings in the basement ceiling to maintain the integrity of the 2-hour fire rating between the basement and main level; repair deteriorated floor beams & joists (wood framing for the main floor of the church)


Church basement: replace steam condensate piping in basement


Church basement: Insulate boiler breaching


Church basement: Install a temperature and pressure relief valve on water heater




Do you have expertise in fire-prevention strategies and building to fire-control specifications? If yes, we’d like your help in getting bids for many of the projects above. Please talk to Fr. Chuck or call me at 718 720-1169 if you think you can help.
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Parish Register

March Birthdays
6 – Betsy Kalfa, Mark Richards; 13 – Kenneth McLean, William Keck III; 15 – Gail Bernardez; 18 – Theresa Lettiere, Troy Richards; 23 – Nancy Lettiere, Heather George; 24 – Lillian Hughes; 26 – Pamela Miller; 27 – Brianna Potter; 29 – Anna-Lisa Cox; 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.
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Women of Christ Church

The Women of Christ Church held their monthly meeting on Tuesday, February 19. Although our numbers have grown a bit, we still need to increase our membership if we are to continue our various ministries here at Christ Church.

We thank those of you who have made your donations to our annual appeal.  The work of our organization depends on these contributions to help fund the many worthwhile causes that we support. This includes our membership in the Episcopal Church Women of the Diocese of New York, Church Women United, the Church Periodical Club which helps to provide books for seminary students, in addition to our yearly contribution to the Christ Church budget.

As of our February meeting we had received 13 donations; if you have not yet had a chance to make your contribution there is still time. A representative from the Women of Christ Church will be available during the Sunday Coffee Hour to take your donation, or you may mail it to the parish office.

In our continuing effort to reach out to the community, we have planned another visit to the Staten Island Care Center on March 12. The residents are very grateful for our visits, even if it’s just to sit and chat for an hour or so.

Due to the Holy Week schedule, we will not be meeting during the month of March. Our next meeting will take place on Tuesday, April 15 at 7:30 p.m.  We would love to have you join us and share in the fellowship, and also have you share your thoughts and your ideas.
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Have YOU Adopted a Pipe?

The Adopt-a-Pipe program was inaugurated last year to benefit the music program at Christ Church. To date, we have received many contributions, and the names of those who have “adopted” have been displayed on a special plaque located at the doorway to the parish house in the left transept of the church.

Christ Church organ pipe bankIt is not too late to contribute, as there are still many wonderful pipes just waiting to be “adopted.” If you would like to name a pipe in honor or memory of a loved one, a pipe will be selected from a category of your choosing. So far, the Great Trumpet has been the most popular. Other categories are the Principal Chorus, Reed Chorus, Flute Chorus, String Chorus, and the console (keyboards.)

Payment should be made to Christ Church and “music fund” stipulated on the memo line of your check. (Payment can also be made in installments if you like.) Donor’s names, along with honorees and memorials, will appear on a perpetual plaque, to be displayed in a prominent location.

For further information about this unique program, please see Tom Sarff or Beth McLean, or drop by the church office, where donor cards are available.

Thanks to all who have contributed thus far to help keep the music playing at Christ Church.
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Daylight Savings Time

Just a reminder!

      Daylight Savings Time begins on Sunday, March 9, when we turn the clocks AHEAD one hour. Don’t forget to set your clock before you go to sleep on Saturday night!
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Around the Parish

It’s hard to believe that Easter Sunday will be here on March 23. Where has the time gone?

Thanks to Father Chuck there have been many meaningful and interesting Lenten programs at Christ Church this year. The Sunday morning discussions and the Wednesday evening service, supper and book discussions have been both educational and thought provoking.

Last month, on Saturday, February 23, 2008, members of the Christ Church Feeding Ministry met at the church at 6:30 a.m. to prepare a pancake breakfast in honor of our Project Hospitality overnight guests. Special thanks go out to Colin Reed and Victor Stanwick, who coordinated this “annual” event, to “chef” Hal Reiersen who manned the griddle along with Victor, and to John Watson and Susan Fowler who were part of the hospitality and serving crew. Be sure to check out the Christ Church website for John Watson’s photos of this special day.

It was such a pleasant surprise to see Emily Benjamin in church last month. Emily has been living in Texas for the past several years, and made it a point to visit her Christ Church family while she was in Staten Island visiting with friends.

Best wishes to Paul Elia and his fiancée, Christine McDermott on their upcoming nuptials in September. Paul is the son of Marlene Elia and her late husband, Dominic.

Laura and Hal Kennedy plan to be very busy in the next few months. Their daughter, Elizabeth, and her husband, Nicholas, are anxiously awaiting the birth of their first child in April. Hal also reports that he and Laura will be celebrating their anniversary in April (over 30 years), and their daughter, Lindsay will be celebrating her 29th birthday in May.

Ron and Ellen Mazzucco are awaiting the birth of their second grandchild later this year. This will be the first baby for their daughter, Laura Jean, and her husband, Carl.

Best wishes for a speedy recovery go out to Tryphena Fahnbullah, who is undergoing treatment at Cornell Medical Center in Manhattan. Tryphena was hit by a car while crossing the street, and suffered damage to her leg and knee.

We’re always looking for news for Around the Parish. Please feel free to drop me a line, or you can leave a note in the Tower Chimes mail box in the parish office.  Happy Easter!
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Memorial Candles at Christ Church

Candle memorials are one of the loveliest ways to remember a departed friend or family member. For a small donation of just $10 your loved one will be remembered during the two services on the designated Sunday of your choice, in addition to the services that take place during the week. His or her name will also be printed in the Sunday bulletin.

There are two memorials candles, both located in the chapel. One is the Blessed Sacrament candle, and the other, the Perpetual Light Candle. If you are interested in a candle memorial please contact our parish administrator, Cathy Romano, at 718-727-6100 or you can leave a note for her in the parish office.