the Tower Chimes, December, 2009
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Godly Play Schedule
bullet character Holly Ball bullet character Around the Parish
bullet character Annual Meeting bullet character Lift Every Voice and Sing bullet character Christmas Food Baskets bullet character Save the Date
bullet character Christmas Services bullet character Vestry Notes bullet character United Thank Offering    
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bullet character Sunday School News bullet character Stewardship bullet character Parish Register    
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Clergy Corner

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

The term Incarnation refers to the Christian belief that in Jesus God took on flesh and blood, becoming a human being.  We particularly celebrate the Incarnation each year at Christmas.  It has sometimes been said that the Roman Catholic Church is the Church of Good Friday; the Eastern Orthodox Churches are the Church of Easter, and the Anglican Churches are the Church of Christmas.  While every Christian tradition commemorates the great of events of Jesus’ life, the Episcopal Church does seem to have a special fondness for Christmas.

Perhaps we owe some of this fondness for Christmas to the Oxford Movement of the 19th Century.  This fall our seminarian, David Carletta, and I have been teaching a course on the history of the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion, so I recently had the opportunity to consider again the importance of the Oxford Movement.

The Oxford movement began in England in the 1830s, and its ideals soon spread to the United States. The Oxford leaders tried to recover some of historic theology and ceremonial practices of the Church.  Things we now take for granted – candles on the altar, Eucharistic vestments, and vested choirs – were all reintroduced, amid great controversy, thanks to the Oxford Movement.  More important than ritual, the Oxford Movement emphasized that Christianity is a social religion. Although a personal relationship with Jesus is important, the Oxford Movement leaders believed that a faith that does not expand beyond the personal is inadequate.

The leaders of the Oxford Movement stressed the idea of the Incarnation, saying that since God had taken on, and redeemed, human flesh and blood all human beings are incalculably valuable in the eyes of God. If people are incalculably valuable to God, then they should be valuable to us as well.  The successors to the Oxford Movement leaders were known for their beautiful ritual practices and also for their work among the poor.

Nowhere is the social imperative of the Incarnation expressed more beautifully, I think, than in the Christmas carol O Little Town of BethlehemO Little Town of Bethlehem was written by the great 19th century preacher and Bishop of Massachusetts, Phillips Brooks (decidedly not a follower of the Oxford Movement).  In the fourth and fifth verses of the carol he writes:

Where children pure and happy pray to the blessed Child,
Where misery cries out to thee, Son of the mother mild;
Where charity stands watching and faith holds wide the door,
The dark night wakes, the glory beaks, and Christmas comes once more.

O holy Child of Bethlehem, descend to us we pray;
Cast our sin and enter in, be born in us today.
We hear the Christmas angels the great glad tidings tell;
O come to us, abide with us, our Lord Emmanuel!

May Christ be born in us again this Christmas, so that in faith and charity we respond to the cries of those in any need or trouble.

Faithfully yours,

Fr. Chuck

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Annual Meeting

Annual Meeting Sunday January 10 after the 10 o"clock serviceChrist Church New Brighton’s Annual Meeting will be held in the auditorium of Christ Church on Sunday, January 10, 2010 following the 10 a.m. service.  A light lunch will precede the start of the meeting.  At the Annual Meeting we will elect a new churchwarden and four new vestry members.  We will hear reports about the finances and business of the church, receive written reports, sign up for committee membership, and, most importantly of all, enjoy the company of fellow Christ Church parishioners.  Child care will be provided for small children and activities will be offered for older children.

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Christmas Services

Christ Church offers three opportunities to celebrate Christmas.

4 p.m. Christmas Eve, Family Holy Eucharist.

This service is geared toward families with young children and also those who would prefer not to be out late at night.  The service will feature familiar carols, music and dance by the young people of Christ Church, the children’s choir, and placing the Christ Child in the Christmas Crèche.

star of Bethlehem10 p.m. Choral Holy Eucharist

This service is in the formal Midnight Mass tradition of Christmas.  It is a candlelit service featuring carols, anthems by the Christ Church choir, and adoration of the Christ Child.  Worshiping in the candlelit church on Christmas Eve is truly a magical experience.

10 a.m. Christmas Day Holy Eucharist

The congregation for this simple, said service of Holy Eucharist sits close to the altar in the choir stalls.  The Gospel lesson for Christmas Day is always taken from the first chapter of the Gospel of John in which the evangelist unfolds the mystery of the Incarnation.  The Christmas Day Eucharist is a quiet, reflective moment amid the hubbub of Christmas celebrations.
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Watch Night

The Liberian community will once again be sponsoring a Watch Night service on New Year’s Eve.  Watch Night begins with a hymn sing at 10:30pm and a service of Holy Eucharist at 11:00pm, culminating with greeting the New Year at midnight.  Following the service there will be a reception in the Guild Room.  All Christ Church parishioners and their friends are welcome to attend the Watch Night service.  What better way to welcome the New Year than in church.

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Sunday School News

Breast Cancer Walk

Again I would like to thank family, friends and especially the parishioners at Christ Church for helping our Sunday School youth to be successful in all of their endeavors. This year we raised over $100.00 more than last year. The Sunday School youth raised $386.00 for the Breast Cancer Awareness. Due to inclement weather I suggested to the Sunday School youths not to walk but Connie Black, Eva Black, Amber James, and I walked in the rain that day.

St. Mary’s Clothing Drive

Yes, we are going to collect odd socks, hats and scarves only which will be given to St. Mary’s Church in Harlem to be distributed to the homeless. We will be collecting these items until December 20, 2009, and then we will deliver the items to the church before Christmas.

Christmas Pageant

This year the Christmas Pageant will be held on Sunday, December 13, 2009. The Godly Play Sunday School youths will be the players with the assistance of members of the older Sunday School class.

Annual Meeting

Parents: During the Annual Meeting this year (2010) all the children will be participating in the CHIRST CHURCH GREAT BINGO GAME.

Community Service Activity

As you know our youth are constantly involved with community services activities and are always supported in their endeavors by family, friends, and again, the parishioners from Christ Church. The Sunday School youths ask questions all the time about the priorities in our lives as good Christians and serving God and the Church.

During one of our enlightening conversations we were discussing the school in Liberia that we sponsor and the youth wanted to know about the school supplies that those children use and where they come from. You may remember that the Sunday School donated school supplies when the Bishop of Liberia visited with us earlier this year.

Beginning Sunday, January 10, 2010 until Sunday, January 30, 2010 the Sunday School “School Supplies Committee”, chaired by Amber James and Eva Black, will be collecting NO MORE than .50 cents from everyone who wished to donate and then when the stores like Staples, CVS and Wal-Mart have their school supplies sale they will purchase as many supplies as they can. The supplies will then be donated to the Liberian schools that are sponsored by Christ Church Youths helping our young people in Liberia.

Thank You In Advance

I just want to remind everyone about how Christ Church every day and in every way proves that it does take a village to raise our children into responsible young adults.

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Sunday School & Godly Play Schedule

There will be no Sunday School & Godly Play classes on December 13, December 27,  January 3, or January 10.  Regular classes resume January 17, 2010.

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Lift Every Voice and Sing

Lifet Every Voice and SingWe still have a few unsold copies of the supplemental hymnal Lift Every Voice and Sing.  If you would like to purchase a copy for Christ Church as a memorial or in thanksgiving for the life of a loved one, an order form is enclosed.  A bookplate will be put in each hymnal indicating its designation.  It would be wonderful to have all of our copies of Lift Every Voice and Sing paid for by the end of the year.

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Vestry Notes

The regularly scheduled meeting of the Christ Church Vestry took place on Monday, November 9, 2009. Following are some highlights of important issues that were discussed that evening:

Our Treasurer, Dorothy Thompson, reported the following:

  • As of the end of October, we should be at 83% of the budget. Repair and Maintenance is at 107% of the allotted 2009 budget line.
  • The church has received $34,861 from the insurance company to cover partial repair of the choir room.
  • CCCO is finally in the black with the NYC council grants of $8,431 coming in, plus the Episcopal Charities grant of $500 per month.

Plant & Equipment

  • The committee has contracted architect Willy Yuin to draw up plans for the repair of the choir room. His fee of $1,800 will come out of the insurance money.
  • Further concern over the presence of mold and asbestos in the choir room was expressed by several Vestry members. We are still waiting for the official lab report, at which time abatement of some kind will be necessary to remedy the situation. There has been no water in the choir room since the new pipes were installed by Victor Stanwick to move water from the downspouts into the parking lot.

Fund Raising

  • Alleida Mitchell reported that the Chinese Auction showed a net profit of $2,275.19. Year-to-date the fund raising activities have shown a net profit of $10,655.08 and two of our biggest fund raisers, St. Nick’s Fair and the Holly Ball, have not yet been held. 


  • The Vestry was shown a first draft of the proposed 2010 budget. Two major expenditures have not yet been finalized: the Diocesan Assessment and Repairs & Maintenance. Figures for these two lines are estimated for the time being

Christ Church Community Outreach

  • Funding for 2010 was discussed. CCCO received less from Council member Mitchell than we did from his predecessor. Letters will be sent to churches and agencies inviting them to participate.
  • Alleida Mitchell asked for an advance from the 2010 money allotted by the Vestry to CCCO to cover costs for this year’s distribution of baskets for Thanksgiving and Christmas, $750 for each event. A motion was made and approved by the Vestry for this allocation.

Nominating Committee

  • Victor Stanwick, Chairman of the committee, said that several names had been received for consideration by the committee for the positions of Warden and Vestry. The deadline is set for December 4 and the nominations will be made then. The names will be presented to the Rector, who will announce the slate to the Vestry at its December 14 meeting.

Fund Raising Calendar for 2010

  • Alleida Mitchell submitted a calendar of fund raising events in 2010 to the Vestry. Some dates are not yet finalized but the majority of events have definite dates already set.

Rector’s Report

Fr. Howell has received requests from two groups asking to use the parish house for meetings. One is from the Preservation Society, to discuss its “Save The Castle” campaign (the Smith Infirmary of the old SI Hospital on Castleton Avenue); the other is from Ruth Richards to hold four meeting of Police Community groups.
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Weekly Services

 As you may or may not be aware, weekday services are offered here at Christ Church.

Morning Prayer is offered most of the week at 7 a.m. and Victor Stanwick officiates. Please contact Victor for meeting times.

Evening Prayer is offered on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday afternoons at 5 p.m. During the periods of Daylight Savings Time, the setting sun beams through the chapel window. To quote the Phos hilaron, “…and our eyes behold the Vesper light…”

The services last about twenty minutes, and one of our faithful members said that it is a great way to unwind before and after a bad day.

On Thursdays at 11 a.m. the Holy Eucharist is offered with a Healing Service on the second Thursday of the month. We average an attendance of about six people and the service lasts about one-half hour. I find these services a nice way to worship.

The Eucharist is also offered at St. Alban’s Church in Eltngville and St. Mary’s Castleton on Wednesdays at 9:30 a.m. At St. Mary’s there is a Bible Study that follows after the service.

If you find yourself with some extra time during the week I commend these worship services to you. To quote the Prayer of St. Chrysostom, “…that when two or three are gathered together in His name thou wilt be in the midst of them.”
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Our stewardship campaign is now drawing to a close.  If you have turned in your pledge card for 2010, thank you.  If you have yet to return your pledge card, please do so as soon as possible so that the Finance Committee and Vestry can complete their work on the 2010 budget.

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Holly Ball @ Christ Church on December 12th
Still Time to Make Your Reservation!

Christ Church is buzzing with activity these days as we prepare for the upcoming holiday season. One of the loveliest and most popular traditions is the annual Holly Ball, which takes place this year on Saturday, December 12. Our honorees this year are Alleida Mitchell and Nick Dowen, both of whom have been involved with numerous projects at Christ Church throughout the years.

In addition to her current responsibilities as our warden, Alleida is also chair of the Fund Raising Committee, is deeply involved in the work of the Christ Church Outreach Committee (CCCO), and also plays an integral part in organizing our annual fairs and festivals.

Nick Dowen is a former Vestryperson and Warden, and is also a very active member of our Landscape and Grounds Committee. You’ll often find him, and Barnett Shepherd, working behind the scenes on a Saturday morning or during the week, weeding, planting and helping to maintain our lovely gardens and grounds. Nick is also serves as our parish historian, and often contributes interesting and informative articles about our Parish, and the Staten Island figures who played a role in the history of Christ Church. Nick is also deeply involved in the community outreach programs at the Cathedral, and played an integral part in this year’s 16th Annual St. Nicholas Celebration at the Cathedral.

We also are issuing a Program Journal for this event, which will enable you to show your support for Nick, Alleida and Christ Church. Profits from the Journal are used to offset the cost of this event. Please consider taking an ad to congratulate our two honorees – and perhaps asking one of your local merchants to place and ad in the journal to show their support. Ad forms can be found at the back of the church, in the Guild Room, and outside of the Parish Office.

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Christmas Food Baskets

Christ Church will once again be working with various churches, schools, and social service agencies to provide Christmas dinners to individuals and families throughout Staten Island.  We will assemble the Christmas Baskets on Thursday, December 17 and distribute them on Friday, December 18.  Please watch the bulletin board in the parish hall for sign-up sheets to help out with this very important parish activity.

      This program is possible thanks to the generosity of Congressman McMahon, Councilman Oddo, Councilman Mitchell, the Episcopal Church Women of the Diocese of New York, the Episcopal Church Women of Staten Island, Episcopal Charities, and several private donors.
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United Thank Offering

The UTO collection will take place on Dec. 6 during the regular collection at both services. It would be more convenient for us if you could bring a check instead of the blue box. However, I would like the children to bring in their boxes to put in the plate. Please have them put their name somewhere on the box so that I can send them a thank you.

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Have You Seen This Chair?

metal folding chairsWe are missing a number of gray folding chairs, which are usually stored on the rack opposite the first floor men’s room.  If you have borrowed these chairs please call the parish office (718-727-6100) to make arrangements for their return.

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From the Parish Register

December Birthdays
1 – Clyve Hutton; 3- Liam Aleman; 4 – Philip Aleman; 5 – Victor Stanwick; 12—Linda McAndrew; 14 – Ginny Spadaro; 17 – Lester Blair; 18 – Willie Black, Jr., Tovin Hewitt, Iris Brown; 22 – Charlie Nygard; 24 – Sunita Massey; 25 – Nick Dowen, Kirsten Swanson; 28 – Nathaniel Seeley II;

December Anniversaries
9 – David & Laraine Holt, Ronald & Sunitha Massey; 13 – Karen & Paul Smith; 13 – Joseph & Theresa Gilman; 27 – Shirley & Willie Black, Jr.; 27 – Robert & Linda McAndrew.

If your special day is not in our records, call the Parish Office at 718-727-6100 so it can be added.
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Around the Parish

Hard to believe that 2009 is coming to an end. It has been a very busy year for many of us, and the month of December is no exception!

Best wishes for a speedy recovery to our dear friend, Martha Keucher, who is on the mend from surgery and other health-related issues that she sustained earlier this year. Martha, you continue to be in our prayers and our thoughts. And our thoughts go out to Bill and Nancy Beveridge, who were both admitted to Staten Island University Hospital last month for (thankfully) brief stays for each of them.

And a great big “get well” wish goes out to Caroline Richards, one of the newest members of the Christ Church family, and the mother of Ruth Richards.

Last month we welcomed Erin Rose Basso, the beautiful little daughter of Kirstin Swanson and Brian Basso, into the Christ Church family when she was baptized on All Saints Sunday. The event was even more special, since her grandmother, Deacon Geri Swanson, was the one who actually baptized her.

And speaking of babies – congratulations to Laura Jean Gambino and her husband, Carl, on the birth of their baby daughter, Lola Jean. Laura is the daughter of Ron and Ellen Mazzucco.

All Saints Sunday would not have been complete without our Sunday School Parade of Saints. This year’s event was lots of fun, as each participant spoke briefly about the saint they had chosen for their poster.

Wedding bells rang out last month for Deirdre Aleman and Chuck Reilly. Deirdre is the daughter of Valerie and Frank Quinlan, and our congratulations and best wishes go out to all of them.

And last – but surely not least – you are invited to attend the 50th Anniversary celebration of the ordination of our Rector Emeritus, Fr. John Walsted, which takes place at St. Paul’s Memorial Church (Staten Island) on Sunday, December 13, beginning at 4 p.m.

Best wishes for a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, to you, our readers, from the entire staff of the Tower Chimes.
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Save the Date!

Please take note: the January Tower Chimes will be devoted entirely to our Parish Annual Meeting, which takes place on Sunday, January 10, immediately following the 10 a.m. service.

Deadline for the February Tower Chimes is Sunday, January 17.

Save the Date!
Saturday, January 16, 2010
Second Annual “Chowderfest”
Sponsored by members of the Christ Church Choir.

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