tower chimes may 2008
bullet character Clergy Corner bullet character Save the Date! bullet character Hooray! It's Almost Tea Time!
bullet character Sunday School News bullet character Christ Church Receives Grant Funding bullet character Bible Study
bullet character Vestry Notes bullet character Thank You! bullet character Spring Fair Update
bullet character Time for Camp & College Scholarships! bullet character Plant & Equipment Committee Report bullet character Around the Parish
bullet character Confirmation at the Cathedral bullet character Parish Register bullet character Grace Institute Business Skills Program
bullet character Women of Christ Church        
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Clergy Corner

The Reverend Charles H. Howell, Rector of Christ Church New BrightonConfirmation may be the least understood of all the sacraments, even though every Episcopalian has gone through the rite.  In the early Church, the bishop usually was present at baptisms and laid hands on and anointed the newly baptized. As the Church grew, bishops could not be present at every baptism, and so they confirmed people at a later date. In this sense confirmation may be viewed as the completion of baptism and so it became customary to delay reception of Communion until after confirmation.

More recently the Church has understood baptism to be full initiation into the Christian faith, so those who are baptized but not confirmed are eligible to receive Communion.  In confirmation those who were baptized at an early age take responsibility for the vows that their parents and godparents made on their behalf.  They make these vows in the presence of the bishop, the living symbol of the universal Church, and the bishop lays hands on and anoints the confirmands, praying that God will strengthen and increase their faith.

In addition to the theological rationales for confirmation, confirmation also has an important pastoral function: Every Episcopalian has had personal contact with their bishop at least once in their life and remembers their confirmation day.  I was confirmed by Bishop Charles Bennison, Sr. at my family’s parish, St. Mark’s, Grand Rapids, when I was eleven-years-old.

Back then there were several myths associated with confirmation.  The first was that the bishop would examine the class, asking obscure questions that, should you give the wrong answer, would disqualify you for confirmation.  Oh, the shame.  The second was that after he confirmed you the bishop would slap you hard enough to rattle your fillings.  Oh, the pain.

As it turned out, the bishop did meet with the confirmation class before the service, but he just wanted to get to know us and didn’t ask any hard questions.  After the laying on of hands and the anointing, the bishop gently tapped each of us on the cheek as a symbolic reminder that the Christian life is hard. I still have my confirmation Prayer Book (1928 version, proof that I’m getting old), and I have happy memories of my confirmation -- and my parents gave me a watch!

This year Christ Church will present eleven young people for confirmation.  With four young people from St. Mary’s Church, they have been meeting at 11:30 Sunday morning almost every week since November 18. On Saturday, April 19 they participated in a four hour confirmation retreat.

The confirmation service will be on May 10 at 10:30am at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, Bishop Taylor presiding. On Sunday, May 4 we will present the confirmands to the congregation and give them each a Book of Common Prayer. If it is possible, you are welcome to join us at the cathedral, and I hope everyone will make every effort to be in church on May 4 to support the young people of Christ Church as they take this important step.            

Faithfully yours,

Fr. Chuck

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Sunday School News

The March of DimesOn Sunday May 4 and May 11, the Sunday School will be selling Mother’s Day plants, in addition to other gift items.

All proceeds from the sale will be used to buy food for the Christ Church Food Pantry, in addition to gifts that will be donated at a later time to the HIV/AIDS Christmas gift drive at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine.

The Christ Church Youth, under the direction of Olisha James, completed the March of Dimes Walk on Sunday, April 27,2008. Thanks to the many sponsorships from Christ Church parishioners, they were able to raise a little over $400.00.      
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Vestry Notes

The regularly scheduled meeting of the Christ Church Vestry took place on Monday, April 14, 2008. The following are some highlights of what took place that evening:

  • With 25% of the year already passed, Dorothy Thompson reported that everything in the operating budget was satisfactory. The only item that was over-budget was heating, but not enough to be concerned about.
  • A new 80-gallon hot water tank in the Parish Hall basement will replace the broken heater in the kitchen.
  • Two unexpected bills for the stained-glass window repairs were received from Art Femenella, after a lengthy delay. These bills are legitimate and will be paid, the money coming from the P&E budget for 2008.
  •  The roof repairs, except for the louver replacement in the tower entrance, have been completed. The contract with Property Support for a loan of $88,110 has been signed by Vestry representatives and should be authorized soon.
  • Richmond County Savings Bank Foundation has awarded the church a grant of $10,000 for parish programs.
  • P&E will make a decision before the next meeting about repairs in the rectory and church basements to make them more fire retardant.
  • Alleida Mitchell asked for Vestry approval of 12 lawn tables with umbrellas. The tables and umbrellas could be stored behind the artificial wall on the stage of the auditorium. They will be used at the Spring Fair for “Tea on the Lawn.”  A motion was made to give $600.00 to the fund raising committee to purchase these tables and umbrellas by Lisa Rhoades, seconded by Andrea McIntosh, and passed unanimously.
  • The March Fish Fry dinner showed a profit of $864.10.
  • The Spring Fair will be co-chaired by Alleida Mitchell and the Wardens, Lisa Rhoades and Victor Stanwick
  • A report by the Evangelism committee showed that several proposals are under way to attract new people to our growing church. These include a welcome table, name tags, new pew cards, and an MP3 of Fr. Howell’s sermons, re-hanging the “Episcopal Church Welcomes You” signs, an ad campaign, and distribution of brochures.
  • Fr. Howell reported that there are two exciting new programs to be discussed for use by our youth in the spring and summer breaks. 1) Godly Play, a Montessori-based program for use in Sunday School on Sunday Mornings. 2) Venturing, a co-ed program affiliated with the Boy Scouts of America for older youth. This will be an evening venture.
  • On Saturday, May 17 there will be an Acolyte Festival at the Cathedral. 15 adults and youth members from Christ Church will be participating.
Also on that Sunday, May 18, will be a Quiche Luncheon, hosted by Serendipity.
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Time for Camp & College Scholarships!

Summer will be here soon and your scholarship committee wants to remind you that we are still sponsoring camp and college scholarships.  College scholarship applications must be made, in writing or by coming in front of the committee, before July 15th.  All the applicant has to do is to write a one page letter to the committee, explaining what college he/she will be attending, what the major is, and then indicate some information about their history at Christ Church.

Incarnation CampIn the past we have sent our young people to Incarnation Camp in Ivoryton, Connecticut.  This is a sleep-away camp and scholarship can be awarded for one or two week sessions. This is the oldest Episcopal camp in America, with an excellent reputation and your child will be meeting others from all over and participating in many types of activities.

This scholarship includes the bus fee from the Cathedral of St. John the Divine and return to the Cathedral (See the brochure on the bulletin board). There is also a one-week camp for teenagers that we utilize (through NY State).  Last year’s program was called Water and The Living Spirit. Another camp we have sent children to is the YMCA Day Camp (also includes bus fee) right here on Staten Island.

We are always looking for new opportunities for our children, so if you have information about any other camp that you would like included on our approved list, please contact one of us.  Even though the deadline for camp application to the committee is June 15th, the sooner you apply the better the chance of room at the camps. Their lists fill up quickly.

Just in case you haven’t noticed, everyone on the committee loves to talk about this exciting program, so please, if you have any questions, please call or see us!      
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Confirmation at the Cathedral

Our confirmation class has been meeting weekly on Sunday mornings since November. Eleven young adults from Christ Church are enrolled in the class:  Eva Marie Black, Amber James, Nicholas Lettiere, Adaja Jean-Mary, Jamie Szczepanik, Evelyn Zayzay, Siaber Zayzay, and Titus Zayzay are preparing for confirmation; Jabari Archer and Malik Archer, who were confirmed by Bishop Roskam when she baptized them, are preparing to reaffirm their baptismal vows; Chrystal Mends-Cole is preparing for baptism and confirmation.

The Confirmation window in Christ Church's sacristy.Because St. Mary’s Church has been without a rector, the class was joined by four young adults from St. Mary’s, all of whom are preparing for confirmation:  Alison Bohnenberger, Kevin Carlson, Julia Nix, and William Yarns.  Also an adult from St. Mary’s, Richard Rella, will be received into the Episcopal Church at the confirmation service.

Members of the confirmation class had a retreat on April 19 at St. Mary’s, which was led by their interim rector, Fr. John Stubbs, and Father Chuck.

The confirmation service will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 10 at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, where Bishop E. Don Taylor will preside.

All members of the parish are invited and encouraged to celebrate this joyous and important occasion by attending the confirmation service. A reception will follow in the auditorium of Christ Church, and everyone is invited to attend.      
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Women of Christ Church

The April meeting of the Women of Christ Church provided a wonderful opportunity to learn about the history of the ECW (Episcopal Church Women) and the important role that they have played throughout the history of the Church.

Episcopal Church WomenWe wish to thank those who supported our 2008 Annual Appeal. Shirley Elfers reported that we received 29 donations, totaling $1,058, a significant increase from our 2007 appeal. In addition to our support of the annual parish budget; we also support the Carpenters Kids project, the Church Periodical Club (which distributes funds for books to the Diocese of New York for postulants in their first year of seminary), and other worthwhile causes.

During our April meeting we discussed several future fellowship activities, including a Fall foliage bus tour, a luncheon tour of the Cloisters and St. John the Divine, and a bus trip to St. Thomas’ Church in Manhattan for their Festival of Lessons and Carols in December. We’ll be providing updates on these activities once more information has been obtained.

The Women of Christ Church meet in the Parish Hall on the third Tuesday of the month at 7:30 p.m. We would love to have you join us at our next meeting on May 20.      
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Save the Date!

The next Serenade Concert, “A Program of Spirituals” featuring Marilyn Damon and Anthony Turner will take place at Christ Church on Sunday, June 8 at 3 p.m.

      Don’t forget to mark your calendar. Additional concert information will be available in the June issue of the Tower Chimes.
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Christ Church Receives Grant Funding

Northfield Savings BankChrist Church was recently awarded a grant of $10,000 from Northfield Savings Bank for the support of our community programs.

These programs include housing homeless men each night through Project Hospitality; the Living Room, a project for HIV-positive individuals and their families; the feeding ministry of Trinity Lutheran Church, and the New Directions Food Pantry in Port Richmond.

The Northfield Bank Foundation was founded this past November with the purpose of supporting charitable organizations that help improve the quality of life in the communities which Northfield Bank does business – specifically Staten Island, Brooklyn and Central New Jersey. For more information about the Northfield Bank Foundation, please visit
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Thank You!

Our Good Friday Offering for the Church in Jerusalem was $80.  We have also received $163 from the mite boxes for Episcopal Relief and Development and the boxes are still coming in.

      Thank you Christ Church, and in particular, the children and young people of our parish.
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Plant & Equipment Committee Report

The following is a brief overview of the current projects and issues that are being overseen by members of the Plant & Equipment Committee:

  • The roof repairs, with the exception of replacing the louvers in the entry to the tower, are done. We asked Property Support for a loan of $88,110 and we’ve received the loan contract.
  • Barnett Shepherd was notified that the Richmond County Savings Bank Foundation has awarded us a grant of $10,000 for programs.
  • We replaced the failed water heater in the Parish Hall kitchen the week on April 7 with a new 80-gallon lifetime guarantee hot water tank in the Parish Hall basement. This tank takes advantage of the boiler that is used to heat water for the radiators in the Sunday school classrooms. The cost was $4,600 for the tank and installation (Richmond Plumbing) and $400 for the electrical work required to switch between radiators and hot water (Walsh Electric).
  • We received two unexpected bills for the stained-glass repairs, one for $6,063 for Art Femenella’s oversight of the repair work and the other for the retainage (money held out as a guarantee of the work) from Gil Studios for $1,749. We will pay these bills from the P&E budget for 2008.
Peter Raff went through the rectory and church basements with Burda Construction and ATEC to get quotes for repairing the ceilings. So far, the quotes for all the work required are more than $28,000.
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Parish Register

May Birthdays
1 – Lindsay Kennedy; 4 – Jessica Szczepanik; 8 – Dominic Elia; 9 – Victoria Gilbert; 11 – Shirley, Etta Johnson; 14 – Tara Smock; 15 – Laura Farr; 16 – Connie Black; 17 – Nancy Beveridge; 18 – David Holt; 19 – Agnes Thompson; 28- Fidel Zayzay; 30 – Jay Szczepanik

May Anniversaries
1 – David Nygard & Lisa Rhoades; 9 – Lester Blair & Hueldine Webb; 12 -  Hugo & Andrea McIntosh

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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Hooray! It's Almost Tea Time!

This year will be the 3rd Annual Concert and Tea to benefit our Scholarship Fund.  Can you believe we’ve been doing it for 3 years already? The date for 2008 is Sunday, September 21st.  I can’t wait for the sumptuous real English tea, scones, and assorted cakes!  And of course, all the fun and chatter that goes with it!

We usually start with a free concert at 3pm and then tea at 4pm. But more about that at a later date.  You can make your reservations any time between now and September 9th.  Reservations can be made by speaking with any of the committee members (Gytha, Colin, Trevor, Hueldine, Paul) or with Cathy in the office.

P.S. There will be a small supply of coffee available for those of you who prefer it.

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Bible Study

Christ Church will offer a Bible Study every Wednesday beginning on May 7 at 7:30 p.m. This will be a lectionary-based Bible study in which we will read and discuss the lesson for the coming Sunday.

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Spring Fair Update

Preparations are underway for our annual Spring Fair, which will take place on Saturday, June 14 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. – RAIN OR SHINE!

Stars and stripesOur chairpersons, Lisa Rhoades, Victor Stanwick and Alleida Mitchell, are hoping that many of you will be active participants in this year’s event by volunteering to work at Fair. There are many ways to get involved – just take a look at the sign-up sheet in the Parish House and sign up in the area that suits your fancy.

In addition to our traditional offerings – the white elephants, raffles, vendors, church tours, baked goods and barbecue stand, we’ll be introducing some new and interesting additions: a car wash by our youth group, a play mobile with games for children of all ages, tea on the lawn and steel band music.

The Spring Fair is one of our major fund-raising events, not to mention a wonderful opportunity to be involved, and to meet our wonderful neighbors and friends.

See you at the Fair!
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Around the Parish

It’s May and Christ Church is buzzing with activity!  This month eleven young of our members will be confirmed by Bishop Taylor at the Cathedral. All of the details are in a special article in this issue of the Tower Chimes, as well as Fr. Chuck’s column.

Our very first Wine Tasting event was an overwhelming success. Congratulations and thanks to David Wood, Christina Mantz and Alleida Mitchell, and all those who volunteered, for all of their hard work.

Congratulations to the parents and relatives of Alexandria Katherine Kalfa and Luke Gannon Larimer, our newest members who were baptized by Fr. Chuck last month.

Johanna Gilbert has been keeping quite busy these days as a Physician’s Assistant in the Emergency Room at Elmhurst General Hospital in Queens. Best wishes to her in this exciting new assignment.

We are thrilled to report that Alex Seeley, son of Nate and Ella Seeley, and the grandson of David and Mae Seeley, was recently accepted into the St. Thomas Choir School in Manhattan. This is a major accomplishment for this extraordinary young boy who auditioned for the school earlier this year and was accepted into the program shortly thereafter. Alex is a member of the Christ Church Youth Choir, and many of you may have had the opportunity to hear him sing recently during one of our Sunday services.  And of course we should mention that Alex’s decision to audition for St. Thomas’ was based on a recommendation from Beth Johnanning, the director of the Youth Choir.

And speaking of the Seeley’s – best wishes to Mae Seeley, who marked her 80th birthday last month. Mae has been on our prayer list, and our prayers and best wishes go out to her.

Get well wishes to Colin and Esther Reed, who were involved in a traffic accident last month. Although their car did not fare very well, we are pleased to report that they both made it through the ordeal, but with some bumps and bruises.

And condolences to Laura Craig on the passing of her brother, Lauris McGee last month.

If there’s some news that you’d like to share, please be sure to get in touch so it can be included in the June issue of the Tower Chimes. That issue will be our last issue before our two-month summer hiatus, and we don’t want to miss a thing!
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Grace Institute Business Skills Program

Grace InstituteGrace Institute in Manhattan is currently accepting applications for its tuition-free Business Skills Program. This is a four-and-a-half month training program for women that includes an in-depth study of computers, keyboarding, business writing and communications, and office procedures. All graduates receive job placement assistance.

Classes meet Monday- Friday, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. and begin in September 2008. Evening classes are also available in September.

Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED, fluency in English, and be eligible to work in the U.S.