Christ Church Spring Fair, Saturday, June 13th, 10 am to 5 pm.
bullet character Clergy Corner bullet character Sowing the Seeds of Godly Play
bullet character Largo bullet character Mae Seeley: Her Spirit Lives On
bullet character Additions & Updates to the Parish Register bullet character Thank You!
bullet character Vestry Report bullet character Around the Parish
bullet character Parish Register bullet character Lift Every Voice and Sing
bullet character It's Scholarship Time Again!    
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Clergy Corner

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

On a rare sunny day in early May, I spent many hours working in the yard, mowing, clipping, and trimming.  The next day I woke up to a raging case of poison ivy on both my arms from my wrists (I was wearing gloves) to my elbows.  A couple of days later we had our second Thursday Eucharist and healing service.  After Hal Reiersen, the lay reader, anointed me, I stood up and whispered to him, “I’m still itchy.”  This trivial episode was a good reminder that God is not a celestial gumball machine:  We put in the right prayer and the guaranteed result pops out.  C. S. Lewis counsels that prayer is a relationship with God.  We don’t demand the people we love – spouses, partners, family, friends – do exactly what we want, we ask and discuss.  In the same way we don’t boss God around; we have a conversation. So was God trying to tell me something in my red itchy arms?

A few days later I was taking the bus from Franklin Ave to the ferry when the bus was boarded by a man with two prosthetic arms.  It may be corny to say, but seeing that man reminded me how grateful I am to have two perfectly functioning arms, even red rashy arms.  The man with the prosthetic arms sat down next to a little boy whose eyes got very wide as he looked at the man’s arms, the cables, and hooks.  With a warm smile the man graciously answered all the little boy’s questions and his mother’s too.  Grace abounds, even on the 40 bus.

During the summer our Gospel lessons focus on the life and ministry of Jesus.  In these lessons we read about how God’s grace abounds in Jesus’ words and actions.  They also remind us that God’s grace is bursting out all around if we have the eyes to see it.  This summer keep your eyes open for God’s grace – and watch out for poison ivy.      

Faithfully yours,

Fr. Chuck

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Handel and Caruso.Handel’s numerous Italian operas are not performed very often and are not as well known as they should be. However, one of the most noble and beautiful melodies that Handel ever wrote is contained in one of them. This is the world-famous "Largo" from Xerxes.

In a bit of gender bending, the title role of Xerxes, King of Persia, is usually assigned today to a mezzo-soprano or contralto, but "Largo" can be sung by other voices, and it adapts extremely well to the organ. It is evidently a favorite of Tom Sarff, our wonderful organist and choirmaster.

Enrico Caruso recorded "Largo" on January 29, 1920. In discussing her husband’s records, Dorothy Caruso wrote simply, "The grave magnificence of Handel’s ‘Largo’ moved him deeply." Louise Homer, the American contralto, also made a notable recording. Several complete recordings of the opera are now available.
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Additions & Updates to the Parish Register

Larry & Laila Modzelewski
109 Lafayette Ave.
SI 10301
Maya, Owen

Joseph & Theresa Gilman
2 Curtis Ct.
SI 10310

Sharon Gardner
406 Bement Ave. #2
SI 10310
H – 718-442-0097
W – 718-588-4975

Caroline Richards
48 Oliver Place
SI 10314
H – 718-727-8929
Caroline's Email

Deborah Lindsay
56 Harvard Ave.
SI 10301
H - 718-420-0279
C – 718-614-9171
Deborah's Email

Ruth Richards

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Vestry Report

The regularly scheduled meeting of the Christ Church Vestry took place on Monday, May 11, 2009. Following are highlights of important issues which were discussed at that time:

  • Our Treasurer, Dorothy Thompson reported the following:
    1. At the end of April we should be at 33% of the annual budget.
    2. The Christ Church Community Outreach account (CCCO) remains overdrawn $6,084, although $500 was received this month from Episcopal Charities.
    3. The first payment of $6,720 for the organ rebuilding project was made. The total for this work is $33,600, as previously approved by the Vestry.
    4. For the Operating Fund, the church has received $1,450 insurance claim money for the water damage to the Choir Room from the burst pipe.
  • Walsh Electric has installed three outdoor outlets and seven new outlets and circuits to prevent overloads with air conditioning and coffee-making. They will also put a Quad box in the hall of the parish house.
  • Jon Spector, an audio system expert, is repairing the church’s sound system. Since the two large speakers are in working order, the bill (which was estimated to be $500) only came to $60.
  • Alleida Mitchell provided an update on the profits raised by two fund raisers: the Chowder Fest, which was organized by the Choir, had no expenses and netted a profit of $766; the Fish Dinner netted a profit of $686; the Wine Tasting event netted a profit of $1,817.
  • Fr. Howell said he enjoyed seeing the movie “The Matrix” at the recent Youth meeting. Next month there will be an activities night. Sheila Hewitt is arranging for summer activities to involve the parish youth.
  • Plans are underway to subdivide the large Sunday School room with a new Godly Play room. Linda Clapp, a trainer in Godly Play, will be at the church on June 21. She will tell a story in the Godly Play style in place of a sermon and will lead a workshop for interested people after the service
  • Investment Committee members, David Nygard and Mark Gherzo, distributed an Investment Fund Analysis of the church’s funds, both bonds and mutual funds. In line with the market turbulence and the recessionary environment, our funds have been seriously depleted, not helped by the fact that all our bonds were in financial services except for one Wal-Mart bond. The Investment Committee has suggested that it was a good time to liquidate our declining bonds and that the money should be placed in a PEMS account, with a 60-40 equity/bond split.
  • The Vestry is considering the purchase of an Automatic External Defibrillator. Dr. Hueldine Webb said that it was imperative that the church get an AED, but to make sure that the one chosen included paddles for children. The best place for it would be in the hall of the Parish House where it could be fetched for use in either the church or the parish house.
  • The church has been asked if it would accept a sculpture work by Gloria Benbow, who was for many years the lead alto in our choir and who recently died. The work is a representation of a bearded face embraced by hands. The Vestry agreed to accept the work and a place to put it would be decided upon when it is seen.
  • The vestry approved moving the church’s funds to a PEMS account, confirming a decision made two years ago.
  • We have applied for a “Next Step” grant from the Diocese to be used in the Godly Play program, but it has not yet been approved. Cash gifts from generous parishioners would also be needed to buy necessary items. A list of items needed with an estimated cost will be made and distributed.
The Vestry will not be meeting during the months of July and August and will be meeting again on the second Monday in September.
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Parish Register

June Birthdays
4 – Christopher John Brown; 9 – Kristin Reiersen; 10 – Sean McLean; 12- Anne Beveridge; 13 – Peter Raff; 15 – Claire James, Vlasta Jantzi, Charles McLean III, Patsy Parese, Richard Zayzay; 16 – Jill Kanner Smith, Romeo Zayzay; 18 – Eleanor Larimer; 25 – Liz Howell; 28  Evelise Leila Hutton; 29 – Leslie Thompson, Gregory Brown, Michael Buss; 30 – Togba Porte;
June Anniversaries
8 – Joseph Ambroggi & Dorothy Thompson; 11 – Bill & Nancy Beveridge; 17 – Richard & Yassah Zayzay; 20 – Robert & Christina Mantz;

Parish RegisterJuly Birthdays
5 – Monette McIntosh; 8 – Isabella Rhea Massey; 10 – Williette Thompson, Colin Red; 13 – Brian McLean; 14 – Togba Porte II; 15 – Nick Lettiere, Bonnie Nygard; 16 – Carol Brown, Ryan Johnson; 19 – Sydney George; 20 –
Oliver Simpson; 21 – Peter Flihan, Sarah Kanner; 22 – Charlotte Hewitt; 23 – Sheila Swigert; 24 – Marie Mantz; 26 – Ann Sohm, Barnett Shepherd; 27 – Sydney McIntosh, Evelyn Hernandez; 30 – Titus Zayzay
July Anniversaries
30 – Constance & Willie Black III;

August Birthdays
2- Ted Schneider; 3- Joseph Ambroggi; 4 – Edwin John; 8 – Erin Shannon, Kevin Larimer; 10 – John Watson; 12 – Anne Devlin; 15 – Joseph Zayzay; 21 – Luke Larimer; 23 – Christina Mantz; 24 – Yassah Zayzay, Robert Hayes; 25 – Elizabeth McLean, Laura Mazzucco-Gambino; 28 – David Nygard; 29 – Christiana Adeshote; 30 – Troy Richards;
August Anniversaries
9 – Ed & Laura Craig; 15 – Charles & Elizabeth McLean, Jay & Ginny Spadaro; 20 – Nick & Nancy Lettiere; 30 – Clyve Hutton & Evelyn Hernandez; 31 – John & Christine Szczepanik

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It's Scholarship Time Again!

Just a reminder: it’s scholarship time.  If you have a teenager who is starting college this fall, don’t forget to have him/her apply to the Lehmann Family (Christ Church) scholarship committee for a scholarship.  It’s so easy.  All the student has to do is to write a one page letter to the committee, with a brief explanation of where he/she has been accepted, and include a little about themselves.  For example, what they will be majoring in, where they are going, how long they have been in Christ Church and whatever else they would like to share. That’s it!  It couldn’t be simpler.  Letters must be received no later than July 15th and must be addressed to the scholarship committee.

Scholarship CommitteeThe Scholarship Committee is once again funding scholarships to Incarnation Camp in Ivoryton. Ct.  This is an Episcopal sleep away camp, with two week sessions. It is an approved Christian camp that is full of wonderful things to do and opportunities to meet others from all over. Bus fare to and from Ivoryton is also included; the bus leaves from the Cathedral. We are hoping to receive more information from NY State for a 1 week camp for 16/17 year olds. In a previous year, the theme was Water & The Living Spirit. Titus Zayay would be glad to tell you about it. The other approved camp is the YMCA Camp Pouch on Staten Island. Those sessions are also one or two weeks long and we can include bus pickup to and from your home on a daily basis.  All three of these camps have been researched and approved by your scholarship committee and we are offering either partial or full scholarships.

If you have any questions, you may contact anyone on the committee: Father Chuck, Gytha Darconte, Colin Reed, Trevor Mills, Paul Smith or Dr. Hueldine Webb. Please do not wait too long!  These camps fill up quickly! Camp Requests must be made in writing and received by the scholarship committee by June 10th. The sooner the better!
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Sowing the Seeds of Godly Play

As a gardener, I have always wondered about the parable of the sower.  If you remember, in Mark 4:1-20, Jesus tells the parable of the gardener who sows his seeds upon the bare ground where they are eaten by birds, then upon the rocky, thorny ground where their roots can find no purchase and finally upon the rich ground where the seeds germinate and flourish.

My thoughts always start out a bit judgmental -- I mean, what was he thinking wasting seeds by sowing them where any decent gardener would know they would fail?  Was he slow?  Wasteful?  Inexperienced?  Overly optimistic?  Then I have to stop, because in the course of my gardening life I have been all of those and more.  Who hasn't looked at the "full sun" recommendation on a pot and then at the perfect (but shady) spot in their yard and thought "oh, but I can make this grow."  Of course my recently purchased hydrangea will stay blue, no matter if I have acidic soil or not.  The squirrels won't dig up MY bulbs....and on and on.

Godly PlayI think the creative life of any organization, but especially of a church, is full of many similar starts and (sometimes) false dreams.  People get excited about ideas and plans.   Some don't do quite as well as we would hope.  Like the gardener, we keep sowing our ideas even if they seem to have an unlikely chance at success.  We tweak and change, wondering how to make things better the next time.

But some of our plans turn out to be spectacular successes.   Sometimes our plans grow bigger than we could ever imagine.  That's how it's been this year with Godly Play.

The seeds of Godly Play at Christ Church have reaped an abundant spiritual harvest.  We have had an average attendance each week of eight children aged 3 to 8.  They have learned sacred stories and let their imaginations travel through the desert with the People of God and the Holy Family.  The doll we use to tell the story of baptism has been "baptized" again and again by the class.  We wrote our own Ten Best Ways (or Commandments) for the Godly Play room and came up with over 20 smart and caring rules to live by together. We have shared many feasts and done the work of childhood by playing and wondering and being together.  We are still working on including music in our regular class time, but meanwhile some of the children have started practicing during coffee hour and they have lent their voices to the 10 a.m. Eucharist on Easter and Pentecost.

We Need More Space!
This all means that with the projected addition of several youngsters who will be Sunday School age next fall, we need more space!   After careful consideration the Education Committee decided that an accordion or folding door should be put between the two ends of the largest classroom.  The older kids will keep the larger of the two sides and the smaller will be set up as a second Godly Play room.  The accordion doorway will allow all the children to gather for pageant preparations and other shared activities when appropriate. 

We Need More Materials!
In addition to making more space, WE NEED MORE MATERIALS.  All of the beautiful, sacred objects that we use in the first room need to be provided for in the second room as well.  Victor has already volunteered his carpentry skills and in forthcoming bulletins you will find our wish list asking you to help ready the room by sponsoring materials.

We need volunteers!
Our second room will be staffed by parents who have volunteered to participate in a rotating teaching schedule and both rooms will share the time and talents of some of Christ Church's teen leaders.  If you are interested in joining this dedicated group of volunteers, we will find a job for you.  See Lisa Rhoades or call at 718-420-0363.

Save the Date!
On Sunday, June 21, we will have the great pleasure of hosting Linda Clapp, Godly Play Coordinator of the Northeast Region, who will share a Godly Play story with the entire parish at the 10 a.m. service and then spend time with all interested parishioners for a further Godly Play experience and discussion. A light luncheon will be served.  Babysitting will be available.

So much of the last year has felt uncertain for so many people.  We are worried about our jobs, our homes, and our planet.  Hardly the time for planting, some might say.  Hardly the time to invest.  But Christ teaches us "some fell into good soil and grew, and yielded a hundredfold."  Please sow the seeds of your time, talents and money in our second Godly Play room.

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Mae Seeley: Her Spirit Lives On

Last year we lost a dear parishioner and friend with the passing of Mae Seeley.

On Sunday, April 26 (Mae’s birthday) a tree was planted at High Rock Park in honor of her tireless efforts to preserve the natural beauty of Staten Island, and her work at High Rock Park and the Staten Island Institute for Arts and Sciences.

If you’ve not yet had the chance to visit High Rock Park, this is a wonderful opportunity to explore this lovely Staten Island treasure, and to take a moment to remember a good friend and a lovely lady.
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Thank You!

Thank you.Thanks to the generosity of so many Christ Church parishioners we collected $453 for Episcopal Charities. This money will be directed to the efforts of feeding ministries, such as ours, and others around the Diocese.

We collected $486 for Bishop Hart’s Discretionary Fund. Many of you were in attendance when he preached and celebrated at Christ Church last month. (Fr. Chuck) 

“I just want to take this time out and thank you all so much for praying for my husband John every Sunday for the last fifteen months. I really can’t put into words what that meant to me and my family, because there is nothing like the power of prayers.

John came home to us safe and sound on April 14 and we are so thrilled and grateful to have him home! It has been a joy!!

Again, thank you all so very much. God bless you!” (Ursula Laskodi)

( Lt. Col. John Laskodi of the 82nd Airborne Division has completed tours in Iraq and Afghanistan and is now back in the US where he is buying a new home in Virginia for his wife, Ursula, and their eight children (all of whom have been baptized at Christ Church). He is the commander of the 189th combat support battalion, which completed many dangerous missions in Afghanistan over the past year.)

“Thank you all for your cooperation in helping to collect bottle caps for the recent dialysis machine donation project. It further proves the dedication, kindness and support of our church community. I am deeply touched by the outpouring of compassion and aid that was shown.” (Ruth Richards)
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Around the Parish

It’s been a busy year at Christ Church and it’s hard to believe that summer is right around the corner. This will be our last column for a while – at least for the next two months – but we will be returning in September.

Many of our younger parishioners will be graduating this month and moving on to new schools or new career opportunities. If you’ve got some news that you’d like to share please leave a note in the Tower Chimes mailbox in the parish office, or you can send an email to your editor.

And speaking of good news, congratulations to Wolde Archer who has been accepted to Oswego State University.

Congratulations to Meaghan Gnieski, who will be returning to her home state of Massachusetts after graduating from Wagner College with a degree in Elementary Education/Psychology. She hopes to find a teaching job close to home, or perhaps, will be able to begin graduate school in the fall. Meaghan has done a spectacular job this year overseeing our young ones in the Nursery on Sunday morning.  She will be missed. 

Andrew Schneider, son of Janet and Paul Schneider, was promoted to the rank of Captain in May. Andrew is now attached to an Army Reserves Engineering Unit in Kentucky – about ten miles from where his great grandmother was raised.

Congratulations to Amanda C. Hakius, daughter of Ruth Richards, who is graduating from the College of Staten Island with a BA degree in Sociology. Amanda also made the Deans List. And kudos to her brother, Robert, who graduates this year from St. Peter’s Boys High School, where he was on the honor roll and was also a member of the baseball team. Robert will be attending college in the fall.

As many of you are aware, our Sunday School has been helping to collect school supplies for the Liberian children. This project will be continuing over the summer, and participation is open to ALL members of the congregation. Any supplies that you’d like to donate or collect can be left with Fr. Chuck or Cathy in the parish office.

That’s all for now, but there will be much more to report in September. Best wishes to all of our readers for a healthy, happy, relaxing and enjoyable summer.
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Lift Every Voice and Sing

This was a tremendous amount of work for a sorry pun and a very short article. Oh well.There’s still time to donate a copy of the supplemental hymnal Lift Every Voice and Sing.  Each hymnal costs $18 and may be given as a memorial or thanksgiving.  Order forms are available in the church office.