October 2008 Tower Chimes
bullet character Clergy Corner bullet character Stewardship 2008: Stability and Adaptability
bullet character Sunday School News bullet character Mark Your Calendar
bullet character Bible Study: Why Not Give it a Try? bullet character Parish Register
bullet character Vestry Notes bullet character Save the Date!
bullet character We Need Your Fund Raising Proposals bullet character Around the Parish
bullet character A Special Honor bullet character We're Growing!
bullet character Chinese Auction    
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Clergy Corner

The Rev. Charles H. Howell, Rector of Christ Church New Brighton
The Rev. Chuck Howell

On Saturday, September 13, the vestry took a one day retreat at Mt. Manresa, a Jesuit retreat center here on Staten Island.  The retreat gave us an opportunity to spend some uninterrupted time to consider our hopes and dreams for Christ Church, and fresh surroundings helped open us to fresh ideas.

We began the day with a discussion about what it means to be an authentic Christian community based on ideas found in a Time magazine article about ten ideas that are changing the world.  We focused on the ways in which our parish acts authentically and inauthentically, and we discussed the ways in which it elevates and transforms peoples’ lives.  Generally speaking, we are pleased with our liturgy, music, presence in the community, and warm fellowship.  We felt that we needed to improve in terms of welcoming children and people from other cultures, and in reducing the harmful nature of cliques.

We then engaged in a process of assessing the ministries of Christ Church by asking ourselves which ministries are going well, which are stable, and which need improvement.  The information we gleaned from this process helped us to engage in the final task of the day, goal setting.  Although there are certainly many areas of church life that can be improved, I asked the vestry to set just a few goals that we can concentrate on during the coming year.  The vestry set as our goals:

  • Form an Education Committee to coordinate information and resources among various programs: Godly Play, Sunday School, Treble Choir, adult education, Lenten programs, and retreats.
  • Start a Youth Group
  • Increase the church’s publicity through a variety of methods.
      We ended our retreat with a celebration of the Holy Eucharist, and, in place of a sermon, Lisa Rhoades told the story of the Good Shepherd in the style of Godly Play.  We had a wonderful retreat, and I am pleased to be working with such a dedicated and motivated vestry.  I am excited about the work we’ll be doing together in the coming year to achieve our goals and strengthen the mission and ministry of Christ Church.      

Faithfully yours,

Fr. Chuck

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Sunday School News

Now that the fall season is upon us it’s time to start thinking about how we can extend our efforts to help those who are ill, or less fortunate.

This year the Sunday School will be raising money for the Breast Cancer Fund by sponsoring the Sunday coffee hour on October 5 and October 12. All proceeds raised will be donated to the Breast Cancer Fund.

We’ll also be starting our RED SOCK/BLUE SOCK clothing collection to help provide clothing for the homeless who are supported by St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Harlem. We’re not just looking for donations of socks, both “gently used” (the members in the “pair” don’t have to match!) or new, but also blankets or coats. Last year’s drive was quite successful, and we’re hoping to do even better this year.

If you have any questions please speak to me, or any of our young people who are helping to coordinate this program.
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Bible Study: Why Not Give it a Try?

Mr. David Holt
Mr. David Holt

Where and when?
We meet on Wednesday evenings at 7:30 p.m. sharp (we're a punctual lot!) in the Vestry Room -- and we aim to finish at 8:30 PM.   But, if you can't make it for 7:30, we'd be happy for you to join us during the session.

What do we do?
After a short opening prayer, we study and talk about the lessons for the coming Sunday and conclude with the service of Compline from the Book of Common Prayer.

Looking at the lessons
We take it in turns to read the lessons out loud and then we have a wide ranging discussion on their meaning, how they interact with each other -- and also their significance to us and to the Christ Church community.  The service bulletin for the previous Sunday always lists the lessons for the coming Sunday and, as a hand-out, the group also gets a lectionary study leaflet regarding those lessons, produced by "Synthesis CE".  But this is only meant as a guide, and, to be honest, we often get so engrossed in our own discussion that we don't take much heed of the leaflet -- and that's O.K.! 

What's in it for me?
Well -- for starters, when it comes to the following Sunday, you'll hear the lessons with more understanding and a feeling of familiarity if a particular lesson is one that, previously, you didn't know very well. You'll also enjoy the discussion and fellowship. Everybody gets a chance to have his, or her, say -- but if you want to just come and listen, that's fine. And, on a more solemn note, study of the Holy Scriptures and their meaning is most certainly a wonderful way to deepen your faith.  

As mentioned, we end with the short evening service of Compline. Our service is very informal and also takes place in the Vestry Room while we sit around the table. Either Fr. Chuck, or one of the group members, leads the service. With Compline over, we head out into the wilds of Staten Island, having often been comforted by the following prayer, a favorite of many of us, and one of the optional ones in Compline:

"Keep watch dear Lord with those who work, or watch, or weep this night and give your angels charge over those who sleep.  Tend the sick Lord Christ; given rest to the weary, bless the dying, sooth the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the joyous; and all for your love's sake.  Amen"

Look forward to seeing you!
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Vestry Notes

The regularly scheduled meeting of the Christ Church Vestry took place on Monday, September 8, 2008. Following are some highlights of important issues that were discussed that evening:
  • Our Treasurer, Dorothy Thompson reported that the grant of $30,000.00 to Christ Church by the Richmond County Savings Bank was received in August, and in September this money will be used to reduce the diocesan loan given to repair the church tower. Again, Barnett Shepherd was thanked for his help in securing this grant.
  • David Nygard, chair of the Investment Committee, gave an informative explanation of how the church’s endowment and regular funds will be incorporated into the PEMS accounting system that the Vestry has voted to accept. The spread sheet he presented will be updated each quarter and it will be relatively easy to discern every fund’s principal balance and any transfers or adjustments made in those periods. Money can be taken out of the principal or out of the estimated earnings to pay expenses.
  • Reporting for the Plant & Equipment committee, Victor Stanwick spoke about the new stove that was installed in the kitchen with much huffing and puffing. Everyone is delighted with the way it performs.
  • Alleida Mitchell reported that the successful Blueberry Festival (in spite of the heavy rain) is expected to show a profit of around $2,500.00.
  • The Jazz Nite in August raised about $1,200.00 for the Episcopal Schools in Liberia. The use of the parish hall for the event was given free, but the organizers paid Vito the Sexton for his time.
  • Earnings for the Spring Fair were slightly lower this year due to the one-time expense of purchasing outdoor tables and umbrellas, which will be used for other fair weather outdoor fundraising activities.
  • There will be a meeting of the Fundraising Committee in October to discuss planning purposes.
  • The Finance Committee will be putting a budget for 2009 together and Fr. Howell reminded committee chairpersons to get their proposed budgets to him as soon as possible in time for the October 8 budget meeting.
  • Trevor has agreed to chair this year’s Stewardship drive.
  • An Education Committee is being formed to coordinate programs and the allocation of funds to those programs at Christ Church, including Godly Play, the Sunday School, Wednesday Bible Study Group and the Sunday Adult Education programs.
  • Lisa Rhoades reported on the results of the Christian formation House which took place on Sunday, September 7. There are potentially 11 children who might participate in Godly Play at present. The age range for children is two years to second grade (about eight years). Grade 3 children and higher grades will attend the regular Sunday School. The two groupings will join for events like the All Saints parade and the Christmas Pageant.
  • Tom Sarff has announced that two organ builders, Ed Odell and Sebastian Gluck, will be coming to look over the organ project to discern what still needs to be done.
  • There was discussion as to whether the Parish Annual Meeting in January could be moved to a second, third or even fourth Sunday in the month, and the Rector will look into it further.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Vestry will take place on Monday, October 13.

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We Need Your Fund Raising Proposals

Individuals, committees or groups wishing to do fundraising next year are asked to submit their proposals to the Fundraising Committee no later than Thursday, October 23 in order to give us time for scheduling and presentation to the Vestry.


If you have any questions, or require any additional information, please speak to any of the committee members: Willie Black, Jr., Mark Gherzo, Andrea McIntosh, Alleida Mitchell, Colin Reed, Nancy Reiersen-Scromo, Sheila Swigert, or Richard Zayzay.

You may give your proposals to any committee member, or leave them in my mail box in the parish office.

We’re looking to a successful year of fund raising in 2009. Thank you all for your support and cooperation.
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A Special Honor

On any given Sunday, a parishioner at Christ Church will find the altar adorned with fresh cut flowers, freshly laundered and pressed linens, trimmed candles, and colorful altar coverings – all of which contribute to the beauty and solemnity of the worship service. These things don’t occur by magic, but are a result of the hard work performed behind-the-scenes by members of the Altar Guild.

On Sunday, September 28, a special Evensong Service, sponsored by the Altar Guild Association of the Episcopal Diocese of New York, was held at The Church of St. Andrew to honor those members of altar guilds of all Episcopal churches here on Staten Island who have served their parishes for 25 years or more. Bishop Don Taylor officiated, and also presented the honorees with a certificate of recognition for their dedication and service.

Three of our long-standing altar guild members were honored that day:

Mrs. Shirley Elfers Mrs. Connie Ricciardi Mrs. Linda Reiersen
Shirley Elfers
(the Directress of our Altar Guild) for fifty-nine years of service.
Connie Ricciardi
for twenty-six years of service.
Linda Reiersen
for twenty-five years of service.

Congratulations to each of you for this well-deserved honor.

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Chinese Auction
Saturday, October 18th, 6:30 PM
Doors Open @ 6 PM
An Evening of FUN!
Admission $3

As in the past, all monies raised for this event will go towards the church operating budget. In addition, a portion of these funds, at the discretion of the Vestry, will be used to support our many outreach programs.

In order to make this event a success we need your support. This includes purchasing raffle tickets for the 50/50 and Basket of Cheer; perhaps donating one or two items for the auction; volunteering to man a table for a couple of hours that evening. But most of all we’re counting on your attendance at this event.

If you’d like to help out in any way please speak to the event co-chairpersons, Alleida Mitchell and Sheila Swigert.
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Stewardship 2008: Stability and Adaptability

This fall our stewardship campaign begins on Stewardship Sunday, October 5. The theme of this year’s campaign is Stability and Adaptability, and you will be hearing more about the campaign in the weeks to come.  The members of the Stewardship Committee are Trevor Mill, chair, Willie Black Jr., Gytha Darconte, Richard Zayzay, and Fr. Chuck.  If you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to speak to any committee member.

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Mark Your Calendar

Saturday, December 6
St. Nick’s Holiday Fair at Christ Church
Fun, Food, Pictures with Santa, Vendors and More!
A day of fun for the entire family!

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Parish Register

October Birthdays
1—Julia Kennedy; 2 – Judith Davis; 3- Dylan Sciré; 5 – William Sherman, Ronald Massey; 6 – Susan Fowler; 8 b- Jeremiah Zayzay, Andrea McIntosh; 10 – Iris Colbourne; 11 – Jaime Szczepanik, Kataski George, Eva Black; ; 12 – Kate Schneider, Charles McLean, Jr., Olisha James; 18 – Katherine Liu, John Hayes; 21 – Ian Sinclair Smith, Nathaniel Seeley; 23 – Christopher James, Peter Liu; 24 – Edward Craig; 26 – Hueldine Webb; 29 – Amber James, Virginia Peel; 30 – Hugo McIntosh, Sr.

October Anniversaries
1– Fr. Chuck & Liz Howell

      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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Save the Date!

Believe it or not, plans are already underway for the annual Holly Ball, which will take place this year on Saturday, December 13. Tickets for this year’s event are $70 per person.

For those of you who are new to the parish, or have never had the opportunity to attend, this is a night where the parish house takes on a festive aura. Decorated trees, twinkling lights, a sumptuous cocktail hour with tasty hors d’oeuvres, a first rate dinner and dancing to the ever popular band, “Good Clean Fun.”

The honorees for this year’s Holly Ball are Judy Davis, Paul Smith and Victor Stanwick, and as has been the custom, we will be publishing a memorial journal where you and your local businesses can place their ads and good wishes for the honorees.

The Holly Ball Committee has already held their first meeting and you should be receiving your invitation and journal solicitation letter in the next several weeks.
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Around the Parish

There’s always something going on at Christ Church, and this month is no exception. There’s much to report.

Blushing brides and blushing “brides to be” are at the top of the list. Congratulations to Paul Elia and his bride, Christine McDermott who were wed on September 20 in Spring Lake, New Jersey. Paul is the son of Marlene Elia. And best wishes to the newly-engaged couple, Kim Davis and Edward Sorge. According to Kim’s mom, Judy Davis, the proposal took place during a Saturday outing to Bryant Park in Manhattan.

As we reported in an article in this month’s issue of the Tower Chimes, three of our “senior” altar guild members, Shirley Elfers, Linda Reiersen and Connie Ricciardi were honored in a special Evensong service for their many years of service, and presented with certificates of recognition by Bishop Taylor. Although Connie was unable to attend the ceremony due to illness, Bishop Taylor made it a point to call on her in the hospital that evening to personally present her with her certificate.

We’re pleased to report that Daniel Lettiere, son of Nancy and Nick Lettiere, will be singing with the men’s choir that will be in attendance at the Blessing of the Animals at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in Manhattan. Daniel is completing his junior year at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts.

Condolences to Victor Stanwick on the passing of his father, Richard, last month.  

That’s all for now. If you have any news that you’d like to share with our readers please be sure to drop me a line, or leave a note in the Tower Chimes mail box in the parish office.
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We're Growing!

On Sunday, October 5 Christ Church will be welcoming Meaghan Gnieski as our new child care worker. She will be on duty in the Nursery on Sunday mornings, between the hours of 8:45 a.m. and 12:15 p.m.

In order to keep our children safe and happy in the Nursery we are instituting a few new procedures. Access to the Nursery will be limited to children under the age of six. Parents will be asked to sign their children in and out of the Nursery; older siblings and other adults should not sign a child in and out unless prior arrangements have been made with Meaghan. We also plan to develop a rotation of parents and other adults who will take turns being in the Nursery with Meaghan. If you would like to help, please contact Fr. Howell.

And now, a little bit about Meaghan She grew up in the Boston area and is a senior at Wagner College, majoring in Education and Psychology. She is a member of the Kappa Delta Pi National Education Honor Society and, following graduation, hopes to work in the Teach for America Program. Meaghan also has extensive experience as a babysitter, nanny and camp counselor.

We are pleased to welcome Meaghan to the Christ Church family. Not only is this a positive step in terms of additional child care for our young ones, it also represents an increase in the number of children in our parish which is truly a positive development in the life of our parish family.