the Tower Chimes, March, 2009
bullet character Clergy Corner bullet character From the Parish Register
bullet character Interfaith Seder on Thursday, March 26 bullet character Staten Island Yankees
bullet character Wednesday Evening Lenten Program bullet character Sunday School News
bullet character Vestry Report bullet character Keeping the Spirit Alive
bullet character "Godly Play" News bullet character Sunday, March 8 is a Busy Dat at Christ Church
bullet character Save the Date! bullet character Around the Parish
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Clergy Corner

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

Our Lenten program this year is called Lent: 40 Days to Physical and Spiritual Health

Lent, the forty days preceding Easter, has traditionally been a season of fasting and penitence as preparation for Easter.  Individuals customarily give up something for Lent or take on something extra, such as additional time in prayer, reading, study, or some other spiritual discipline.  The purpose of these activities is not to make Lent an extra busy time, although it sometimes feels that way.  The purpose is to strip away luxuries and distractions and to concentrate on growing closer to God.

The Bible describes our bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit, and as we concentrate on our spiritual health, it makes sense also to think also about our physical health, which is the purpose of our Lenten series.  I know that when I hear about programs concerning healthy living I immediately thing about running the other way.  I think that I will be made to feel guilty or given impossible tasks to do. If you share those concerns, let me set your mind at ease about this series.

Our series, led by fellow parishioner Debi Marotta, focuses not on extraordinary tasks, but on ways to integrate healthy living into our everyday lives.  For instance, I often eat at fast food restaurants because they are cheap and convenient. During Lent no one will tell you never to eat at a fast food restaurant again.  Rather, we will be taught how to shop at a fast food restaurant so that we can buy a meal that is balanced and nutritious – and also cheap and convenient. Sometimes when I think about exercising, I think that if I don’t run five miles a day and join a gym then I might as well not do anything at all. But that’s not true. Again, we will be taught simple strategies so than daily exercise is not an impossible task but something we can make part of our daily routine. To mitigate guilt and encourage a spirit of fun, each night we will raffle off a healthy-living prize, such as pedometer, a blood pressure machine, or a glucose meter.

More and more we are discovering – or rediscovering – the connection between our bodies and our spirits. Of course, this is not a direct causal relationship – a sick body doesn’t indicate a sick spirit any more than a healthy spirit indicates a healthy body – but there is a connection.  In the Gospels the same Greek word can be translated either “make well” or “save,” and that word is frequently used in healing stories.  When Jesus heals a person, they are often made well or saved.  Our Wednesday nights in Lent with the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, fellowship, and a program give us an opportunity to concentrate on the health and salvation of both our bodies and our souls.

Faithfully yours,

Fr. Chuck

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Interfaith Seder on Thursday, March 26

Jewcy Partners, LLC Interfaith Seder LogoPlease mark your calendars and plan to attend this very popular annual event at St. Teresa’s RC Church. St. Teresa’s is located on the corner of Victory Boulevard and Slosson Avenue.

This year’s Seder, which is sponsored by the Building Bridges Coalition, will honor our own Nick Lettiere. Nick has been the chef for this Interfaith Seder for several years; in fact, he coordinated the very first Interfaith Seder here at Christ Church many years ago.

Additional information and a sign-up sheet will be posted in the parish hall for those wishing to attend.
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Wednesday Evening Lenten Program

This year’s Wednesday Evening Lenten Program at Christ Church, “Lent: 40 Days to Physical and Spiritual Health” has something to offer for everyone. Our program leader, Debra Marotta, is a member of Christ Church and a registered nurse with thirty-five years of nursing experience. She has coordinated community education programs on Staten Island focusing on diabetes and other health care issues.

The evening program begins at 7 p.m. with a Eucharist in the church, followed by supper at 7:40 p.m. and a program at 8 p.m. in the parish house.  The dates and scheduled topics appear below:

March 4 - Nutrition: What is a Healthy Diet?
Leader: Debra Marotta
March 11 - Stress Reduction (Create a De-Stressing Tool Box) and Smoking Cessation
Leader: Kerry Gillespie, Staten Island University Hospital
March 18 - Medication Adherence
Leader: Debra Marotta
March 25 - Wholeness: Good Health through Spirituality
Leader: Father Chuck
April 1 - Physical Activity: Get Up and Get Going
Leader: Debra Marotta

Please don’t despair if you don’t think you’ll be able to arrive by 7 p.m., or if you have to leave early. You are most welcome to join us for all, or any portion, of these evening programs.      
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Vestry Report

The regularly scheduled meeting of the Christ Church Vestry took place on Monday, February 9, 2009. Following is a brief report concerning some of the issues that were discussed that evening:

  • Alleida Mitchell reported on behalf of the Fund Raising Committee, and noted that plans had been finalized for the annual Fish Supper to be held on Friday, March 27. Upcoming events include Wine Tasting on April 18; Pre-Spring Fair Dinner on May 30, and SI Yankees “All You Can Eat” ball game on June 28.
  • Our Plant & Equipment Committee chair, Susan Fowler, asked the Vestry to approve a contract with Burda Construction to do a job of repointing inside the church. This is necessary to prevent the mortar from falling down from the walls and possibly causing injury. The cost of $19,500 was already included in the 2009 P&E budget. A motion was passed to approve the contract and the money required for the job.
  • It was reported that the basement choir room floor is in a bad state of disrepair. There is leaking water under a moldy plywood floor. The floor will have to be removed and the source of the water eliminated.
  • A donation of $1,100 was made to offset the cost of refurbishing the new Archive Room (formerly the Sunday School Director’s office and latterly as a store room) located next to the auditorium across from the rest room.
  • The Vestry has perused the two proposals to complete the organ restoration from Odell and from Gluck. Tom Sarff, our organist, recommended the Odell proposal and the Vestry agreed. A motion was passed to accept the Odell bid.
  • Fr. Howell said that the monthly teen bible study, led by Kristin Reiersen and him, appeared to be successful with 12 high school students attending.
  • The Vestry approved the membership and Chair appointments for the three standing committees: Finance; Plant & Equipment: Nominating. Nick Lettiere will chair Finance; Susan Fowler will chair P&E; Victor Stanwick (as retiring Warden) will chair Nominating.
  • The church has received several letters of thanks from churches and organizations who received CCCO food baskets for distribution to the needy by their feeding programs.
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"Godly Play" News

On Sunday, March 8 we will be visited by Bishop Taylor – his last visit with us before his retirement this September – and we hope to show off our Godly Play room to him during class time. Because this will be a VERY FULL and potentially long service (at last count thee are 2 baptisms, 8 confirmations and 2 receptions) we will offer snacks in the Nursery during the service and allow older (6+) children to be in the Nursery during church. Please feel free to give your kids a break from being on their best “visiting Bishop” behavior, if necessary. Following the service the entire parish will celebrate with a champagne reception in the auditorium in honor of Bishop Taylor.

Godly PlayOn Easter Day there will be NO FORMAL CLASSES at 9 a.m.; rather, the children will gather in the Parish Hall and then outside for an Easter Egg Hunt. There will be NO FORMAL CLASSES on Sunday, April 19 or May 24. Our last day of class will be Pentecost Sunday, May 31. Children who are in attendance that day will participate in the opening procession and we will mark the end of the Sunday School year during that service.

Finally, we are adding music to the Sunday School and Godly Play classes this spring. In coordination with the Worship & Liturgy Committee we will pick one hymn each month that the children will sing at the end of class. This hymn will also be sung by the parish during the 10 a.m. service. This weekly pattern of practice with peers and repetition with the parish offers the children not only the chance to learn sacred music, but also more fully integrates them into our worship.
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Save the Date!

Our Fundraising Committee has asked us to remind you of the following events that will be taking place at Christ Church in the next few months.  Please be sure to mark them on your calendar so you don’t miss out on a single minute:

March 15 – Serendipity Soup & Salad Luncheon
(following the 10 a.m. service in the Guild Room)

March 27 – Fish Supper in the Guild Room

April 18 – Wine Tasting and Lecture at the home of Laura and Hal Kennedy

April 26 – Serenade Concert at Christ Church

May 3 – Serendipity Quiche and Salad Luncheon
(following the 10 a.m. service in the Guild Room)

May 30 – “Pre-Fair” Spring Dinner (featuring our own Tony Colucci on keyboard)
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From the Parish Register

March Birthdays

 1 - Bob Mantz; 2 - Clyve Stephen Hutton; 6 – Betsy Kalfa, Mark Richards; 13 – Kenneth McLean, William Keck, III; 14 – Maria Gelabert; 15 – Gail Bernardez; 17 – Theresa Lettiere; 18 – Troy Richards; 22 – Robert Kowach 23 – Nancy Lettiere, Heather George; 24 – Lillian Hughes; 26 – Pamela Miller; 29 – Anna-Lisa Cox; 30 – Daniel Lettiere; Tom Sarff

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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Staten Island Yankees

Staten Island YankeesChrist Church New Brighton Night at Richmond County Ballpark
Sunday, June 28 – starts at 4 p.m.

  • ALL-YOU-CAN-EAT burgers, hot dogs, chicken sandwiches, soda and water
  • FREE limited edition Staten Island Yankees cap
  • FREE PlayBall game program for each member of your group
  • All kids 12 and under can run the bases for FREE after the game
Contact Sheila Swigert at 718447-4185 or, or complete a ticket order form which can be found in the parish office.
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Sunday School News

Our Sunday School is looking forward to April, which we’ve designated as “Volunteer Month.”

We will be visiting with the residents of the Staten Island Care Center on Lafayette Avenue to play “Cootie” with them, and looking for donations to use as prizes to give to the winner of each game. The prizes should be geared to seniors and young people; if you’re interested in making a donation please speak to me during the Sunday coffee hour or leave a message in my mail slot in the Parish Office.

I wish to thank everyone for their donations to the Hat, Scarves and Gloves tree during the Christmas holiday. Thanks to the generosity of Christ Church parishioners this project was a great success!

We will be collecting candy and plastic eggs for our traditional Easter Egg Hunt, which will be held in place of Sunday School classes at 9 a.m. on Easter morning.
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Keeping the Spirit Alive

During last month’s Diversity Day celebration at Christ Church, Willie Black IV (son of Connie and Buster Black) shared a poem that he had written with his uncle, Andre Black. Many of us were fortunate enough to have had a chance to share many good times with Andre before his body finally succumbed to illness a few years ago. We’d like to take this opportunity to reprint Willie and Andre’s poem for those of you who weren’t able to hear it on Diversity Sunday.

Together As One
Why is it that we can’t see past one’s colour?
Aren’t we just like one another?
If we bleed, don’t we bleed red?

Is there really need for discrimination?
Doesn’t the Bible say that we are all as one?
We are all God’s creation
And He did not mean for us to destroy one another
Destruction is not what He wished for

Why can’t we love our neighbors as He intended?
All races, creeds and colours
United as one on God’s green earth
For united we stand as a peaceful nation

And divided we fall.
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Sunday, March 8 is a Busy Day at Christ Church

Just a reminder! Bishop Taylor will be visiting Christ Church on Sunday, March 8 for confirmation, reception and baptisms. There will be a welcome reception for him after the service .

      And don’t forget the Serenade concert that afternoon at 3 p.m.!
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Around the Parish

It never fails that when I think I have hardly any parish news to report there always seems to be an abundance of information that shows up right before press time. This month’s column is no exception.

Best wishes go out to Bill Beveridge as he continues to recuperate from knee surgery. The choir and the congregation have missed you on Sunday mornings, Bill. Please get well soon! Please add Gifford Gayle to your get well list. Gifford, who splits his time between our 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. Sunday services, tore his Achilles tendon last week and is making his way around on crutches. And last, but surely not least, please keep Mother Rhoda Treherne-Thomas in your prayers as she recovers from an injury to her femur during one of the nasty windstorms that we’ve had lately.

Last month’s Diversity Day celebration gave us many reasons to celebrate. We started off the day with the baptism of Angela Lindsay, daughter of Deborah Lindsay. The celebration continued in the auditorium with a variety of ethnic foods, and a diverse program of poetry, readings, speeches, art work and music presented by members of the parish. A big “thank you” goes out to Willie, Shirley, Connie and Buster Black who coordinated this entire event – and who have been doing so for the past several years. The day ended at St. John’s Church on Bay Street, where several members of the parish participated in the Service of Institution for their new rector, the Reverend Roy Cole. All in all it was a wonderful, albeit exhausting, Sunday.

And speaking of the Black family, let’s take a moment to congratulate Eva-Marie Black, daughter of Connie and Buster, on her acceptance to LaGuardia High School of the Arts in Manhattan. Eva, a very talented violinist, will begin classes at LaGuardia in the fall.   Also, a round of applause goes out to her grandfather, Willie (Pappa) Black, who was recently awarded the coveted “blue jacket” by the Catholic High School Athletic Association for over 25 years of service to as a coach and official for Track & Field. According to Willie, he has spent a total of 50 years as a Track and Field coach!

Sean McLean, son of Beth and Chip McLean, recently became a member of the Staten Island Pipers. This talented young “bagpiper” is also a member of the Albany Police Pipe Band, and plays with them in-between classes as a junior at SUNY Albany.

More good news to share about our young students. Tovin Hewitt, son of Charlotte Hewitt, has been accepted to Embry Riddle Aeronautics University in Daytona, Florida. Tovin begins classes in the fall. And Joyce Liu reports that her son, Thomas, set a new school record in the 50 Yard Breaststroke. Tom, a senior at Vassar College, has been co-captain of the Vassar men’s swim team. Congratulations to this talented young athlete.

Congratulations to Bill Brown and Kay Lande on their February 14th nuptials. The wedding took place at Our Savior Lutheran Church here on Staten Island, where Father Chuck was the co-celebrant.

The next time you’re in church please take a minute to take a good look at the colorful laminated bookmarks that you’ll find in the pew Hymnals. These lovely items were designed and donated by the members of our Sunday School.

Many thanks to Sheila Swigert for donating the brand new American flag that graces the church oval.

A belated “welcome” to some new members of the Christ Church choir whose presence has been sorely overlooked by your editor: Kirsten Swanson and Marcia and Dick Riley.

That’s all for this month. If you’ve got some good news that you’d like to share please feel free to leave me a note in the Tower Chimes mailbox, or talk to me on any given Sunday during the coffee hour.