the Tower Chimes, May 2009
bullet character Clergy Corner bullet character Come One, Come All to the Christ Church Spring Fair bullet character Sunday School News
bullet character Vestry Report bullet character Lift Every Voice and Sing bullet character Around the Parish
bullet character Parish Register bullet character Bishop Taylor's Retirement Service at the Cathedral bullet character Save the Date
bullet character Author! Author! bullet character Youth Group Calendar bullet character Caught in the Act!
bullet character Dinner is Served bullet character Play Ball! bullet character Coffee Hour Schedule for May
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Clergy Corner

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

Christ Church is honored to host a visit by the Rt. Rev. Jonathan B. B. Hart, the Bishop of Liberia, on Sunday, May 10.  Bishop Hart will celebrate and preach at the 10 a.m. Eucharist and a festive reception in the auditorium will follow the service.  May 10 is also Mothers’ Day.  The Sunday school will sell plants and flowers they have grown in their classroom greenhouse on May 3 and 10.  On May 10, they will provide the desserts at the reception and also sell corsages with the proceeds to be given to the Episcopal schools in Liberia.

As you no doubt are aware, Christ Church has been working closely with the Episcopal Elementary and High School Alumni Association of the USA, whose national president is our own Bill Sherman.  The Alumni Association is working hard to rebuild the schools, which were destroyed during the recent civil war.  Progress is being made – the schools were able to host the diocesan convention in February – but there is still a long way to go.  In addition to monetary dictions, Curtis High School has donated used lab equipment; Notre Dame Academy has committed to donating hundreds of used textbooks; and individuals have donated many books as well.  These all are being stored in the rectory attic until there is a sufficient amount to fill a container to be sent to Liberia.

The Right Reverend Jonathan B. B. Hart
The Rt. Rev. Jonathan B. B. Hart, Bishop of Liberia
Bishop Hart’s visit reminds us that we are not a stand-alone church but are part of the Anglican Communion.  So often we read about problems and tensions in the Anglican Communion but that is only part – a small part – of the story.  My limited first-hand experience with the Anglican Communion – as Vicar of a Sudanese congregation and now in our work with the Episcopal schools in Liberia – has been uniformly positive.  Bishop Hart’s visit will help us appreciate the many ways we are enriched by being members of a world-wide Communion.  Please plan to be part of this wonderful celebration and to welcome Bishop Hart to Christ Church.

Faithfully yours,

Fr. Chuck

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Vestry Report

The regularly scheduled meeting of the Christ Church Vestry took place on Monday, April 13, 2009. Following are highlights of important issues which were discussed at that time:

  1. Our Treasurer, Dorothy Thompson, reported that at the end of March, the first quarter of the year, we should be at 25% of the annual budget.
  2. Repair and general maintenance is at 79%. This is mostly due to $19,500 for repointing the church walls; also, repairs to the Choir Room came to $4,150 (which will be offset by $1,400 in insurance reimbursement for the damaged floor and which should show up on the April report) and the new boiler room pump which cost $1,900.
  3. The Chowderfest luncheon given by the choir netted approximately $700 and the parish Fish Fry Supper netted $553.
  4. Susan Fowler, chairperson of the Plant & Equipment Committee, reported that Peter Raff had requested three bids for the electrical upgrade project. Based on the bids and a Vestry vote, Walsh Electric was selected to complete the work for a bid of $15,330. Since the Vestry had originally set aside a sum of $25,000 for this project, the upgrade should have no effect on the 2009 budget.
  5. Peter Raff has been asked to obtain a quote to see if remaining funds could be used to upgrade the lighting in the sacristy, install new light switches, and install dimmer switches in the church. Peter will obtain a quote and report back to the Vestry next month.
  6. Renovations continue in the choir room, and the area will be checked for mold and other potential problems.
  7. Susan reported that dry rot was present in the moldings around the stained glass windows in the church. This is not a serious problem as yet and it will be dealt with by the committee going forward.
  8. Susan was commended for the job of hiring the tree trimmers who made safe all the trees on the church properties.
  9. The Education Committee is considering an additional Godly Play room. The second room would enable Godly Play to accommodate more children, from pre-K through 5th grade. The congregation will be asked to donate or make the necessary donations to bring this project to fruition.
  10. There was some discussion regarding changing the Sunday School and Christian education meetings from before the 10 a.m. service to after the service, beginning in the fall. This idea will be discussed further with the parents and at future Vestry meetings.
  11. Narcotics Anonymous has asked Fr. Howell if the Vestry would consider their using the Guild Room for their weekly meetings. The general consensus was that this move would be acceptable with a short-term contract to see if things were working out alright for them and for us.
  12. Alleida Mitchell reported on fund raising events scheduled for the near term: a wine tasting evening at the Kennedy’s house; the pre-Spring Fair dinner to be held on Saturday, May 30, and the Spring Fair, which will hold committee meetings after church.
  13. Alleida reported that 197 baskets of food were distributed to for Easter. Willie Black commended Hal Reiersen for putting in a great deal of time and effort in the basket preparation and distribution.
  14. The Rectory will be used as a film location for an upcoming series on the Biography channel which will focus on ghost stories. Filming would take three to four days and take place at the end of April or mid-May.
  15. Fr. Howell asked the Vestry to keep Fr. Blasingame in our prayers and remember the good he did during his ministry on Staten Island.
  16. Christ Church will be hosting the Staten Island Council of the Churches dinner on October 3, 2009.
Father Howell thanked everyone involved in making Holy Week and Easter so successful from every perspective. Attendance was up markedly and everyone said the services went very well indeed.
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Parish Register

May Birthdays
1 – Lindsay Kennedy; 4 – Esther Reed, Jessica Szczepanik; 8 – Dominic Elia; 9 – Victoria Gilbert; 10 – Daniel McCabe;  11 – Shirley Elfers, Etta Johnson; 14 – Tara Smock; 15 – Laura Farr; 16 – Connie Black; 17 – Nancy Beveridge; 18 – David Holt, Richard Jackson; 19 – Agnes Thompson; 28- Roxanne Ingoe; Fidel Zayzay;  30 – Jay Szczepanik; 31 – Cesar Gardiner

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

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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Author! Author!

For those of you at Christ Church who have been fortunate enough to make the acquaintance of Barnett Shepherd at a Sunday morning service, or during the coffee hour that follows afterward, you are well aware of the incredible wealth of Staten Island knowledge that he has gained over his many years as a Staten Island resident, and the time spent as the Executive Director of the Staten Island Historical Society, and as the founder of the Preservation League of Staten Island.

Barnett Shepherd
Barnett Shepherd

Barnett recently published a very informative and interesting book about Staten Island’s south shore, which is entitled “Tottenville: The Town the Oyster Built.”  A recent review by Mike Wallace, Professor of History at John Jay College in New York, accurately describes this wonderful local history: “Barnett Shepherd’s book is a model of what every local history should be – carefully researched, set within a regional context and chock-full of informative photographs,”  as well as being “…scrupulously researched, but lively and vivid.”

If you’ve ever had a chance to spend time talking with Barnett, I think you’d agree that a conversation with him is often times “lively and vivid.” Here’s a chance for you to meet him “in print” and to learn more about Tottenville, its history and all there is to offer in this charming suburban town.

Although the book is not available at your local bookstore, it can be purchased through the Preservation League of Staten Island and the Tottenville Historical Society. However, the BEST way to obtain a signed copy of the book is to pick one up from Barnett during the Sunday morning coffee hour at Christ Church. Price of the book is $30 (not including tax). 

Not only will you have a chance to read a thoroughly enjoyable history, but you’ll also have something in your book collection to pass on to your children and grandchildren.
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Dinner is Served

Are you looking for a tasty and reasonably priced meal that will satisfy both your taste buds and your wallet and serve a good cause as well? Then look no further – we’ve got the perfect answer for you.

On Saturday, May 30 from 6 to 9 p.m., Christ Church will be hosting a Spring Fair Dinner two weeks prior to our Fair. We’ll be offering two different choices: Spider Webb’s roast pork with applesauce (right out of the family cookbook) or baked chicken. Side dishes include Spider’s Spiced Carrots and Pineapple, Roasted Red Skin Potatoes, Green Salad, Dinner Rolls, and Sherbet with Anne Devlin’s cookies (another family recipe!) Coffee and tea will also be available, in addition to a cash bar.

Tickets are $16 for adults, $8 for children and free-of-charge for children under 5.

You’ll be receiving a letter with all of the details. Just complete the order form enclosed with the letter and you’ll be all set.

Good food, good friends and a good time. What more could you ask!
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Come One, Come All to the Christ Church Spring Fair

On Saturday, June 13, the grassy oval in front of the Christ Church Parish House will be transformed into a shopper’s paradise, complete with food, music, children’s activities, raffles, and an array of American Flags to celebrate Flag Day and so much more, when the annual Christ Church Spring Fair gets underway at 10 a.m. that morning.

This year’s chairpersons, Elizabeth Gattullo, Ruth Richards and Willette Thompson, under the careful guidance of our FUNdraising chairperson, Alleida Mitchell, have planned a full day of food, fun and fellowship for everyone who passes through the entry gate.

Spring Fair 2009In addition to our popular features which include Tea on the Lawn, home baked goodies, white elephant treasures, lemonade, hot dogs and hamburgers hot off the grill, a car wash, plants, books and numerous professional vendors,  we’ll also be introducing some brand new features which include dancing around the Maypole (for children); “frog racing” for the children; picture taking with famous cartoon characters; and our own Tony Colucci rendering intermittent classical favorites on the our beautiful Steinway piano during organized stained glass window tours.

You’ll be receiving a letter from our Fair chairpersons inviting you to be part of the fun as a volunteer at one of the many booths and tables. You’ll also find a supply of 50/50 raffle tickets which we urge you to purchase – or sell to your friends, family and neighbors.

See you all on June 13!
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Lift Every Voice and Sing

It’s not too late to donate 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 printed on the back of the calendar insert and in the church office.

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Bishop Taylor's Retirement Service at the Cathedral

A special service of Holy Eucharist to mark Bishop Taylor’s retirement will be held on Saturday, June 16 at 10:30am at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine.  All are invited to attend.  If you have signed up to ride the bus leaving from Christ Church, you will be contacted directly with final instructions.

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Youth Group Calendar

Friday, May 8   7:30 p.m.  Activity Night
Friday, May 22 7:30 p.m. Bible Study
Friday, June 12 7:30 p.m. Activity Night
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Play Ball!

Staten Island YankeesThere’s still time to sign up for Christ Church New Brighton Night at Richmond County Ballpark, which takes place on Sunday, June 28.

The game starts at 4 p.m. and you’ll have a chance to take advantage of the ALL-YOU-CAN EAT burgers, hot dogs, chicken sandwiches, soda and water, a FREE limited edition Staten Island Yankees cap, and a FREE “PlayBall” game program for each member of your group. In addition, all kids 12 and under can run the bases for FREE after the game

Contact Sheila Swigert at 718-447-4185 or email, or complete a ticket order form which can be found in the parish office.
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Sunday School News

The Sunday School would like to thank everyone who donated the plastic eggs and candies to the Sunday School Easter Egg Hunt. I would also like to thank the parents who made sandwiches for coffee hour and Liz Howell for that delicious punch. Additionally we thank the Godly Play students, who baked the bite size brownies and cupcakes and the older Sunday School students who baked cupcakes.

We had over 40 children participate in this event. The children not only hunted for eggs, but also received an activity bag at coffee hour.

Staten Island Community Days was held on April 25, 2009. As in past years, we went to Staten Island Care Center and played “Cooties” with the patients there. Again I need to thank those who gave us token gifts as prizes for this event. As always, the youth enjoyed themselves as well as the residents at Staten Island Care Center.

On May 3, 2009, the Sunday School will be having their annual Mother's Day Plant sale. We will be sell tomato plants, some of which the children planted in March and grew from seeds. We will also be selling flowers which we also grew from bulbs and seeds in our own little hot house!!

On Sunday, May 10, which is Mother's Day, the Sunday School will be selling corsages to raise money that will go to the school that we sponsor in Liberia.
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Around the Parish

The longer days and the warmer weather can only signal one thing – the annual Christ Church Spring Fair. Be sure to mark your calendars for Saturday, June 13 and plan to be a part of this wonderful Christ Church tradition!

Easter Sunday at Christ Church was glorious thanks to the efforts of Shirley Elfers and the Altar Guild; the special floral arrangements which were coordinated by David and Dan Wood;  the musical offerings of the Riverside Brass, Beth Johanning, Lisa Rhoades and the Godly Play group,  and Tom Sarff and the choir; the Easter Egg Hunt and other children’s activities coordinated by Sheila Hewitt and the Sunday School staff; the festive reception following the service which was coordinated by Lisa Rhoades, Roxanne Ingoe, and David and Dan Wood, and of course, Father Chuck’s inspirational sermon and the wonderful Easter Day services.

Speaking of Easter Sunday, “get well” wishes go out to Dylan Luke and Nellie Johnson, who each took ill during the 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. services respectively.

We are very happy to report that Georgia Howell is a prize-winning essayist. Georgia entered an essay contest sponsored by the Daughters of the American Revolution on the theme “What the Flag Means to Me.” Her essay won her age group on Staten Island, and her essay is now in the state-wide competition.

Nancy Beveridge reports that her daughter-in-law, Robin Beveridge, was recently installed as Deacon of Christ the King Church in Stone Ridge, New York. What made this occasion even more special was that the Bishop who was present that day was none other than our beloved Bishop Taylor.

If you still have your copy of the magazine section from the April 26 issue of The New York Times be sure to check out the article on New York’s “super docs.” You’ll find the name of our very own Dr. Lester Blair listed there. Congratulations, Lester, on this well-deserved honor.

Congratulations to Xander Raff, the son of Peter Raff. Last month Xander won the PSAL NYC Wrestling Championship for the 189 pound weight class, and competed in the New York State Wrestling Championships in Albany as well. He was also co-captain of the Tottenville High team this year, and his proud dad was able to attend most of his matches.

That’s all for now. If you have some news that you’d like to share with our readers please leave it in the Tower Chimes mail box in the parish office. Next month’s issue (June) will be our last one before we go on our two-month “summer vacation.”
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Save the Date

Grab your calendar and your pencil and make sure to take note of these important dates for upcoming Christ Church events that will be taking place in the next few months!

Saturday, May 30 Spring Fair Dinner
Saturday, June 13 Christ Church Spring Fair
Sunday, June 21 Staten Island Yankee Day
Sunday, August 9 Serendipity “Ice Cream Social”
Saturday, September 12 Annual Blueberry Festival
Sunday, September 27 Annual Scholarship Tea (tentative date)
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Caught in the Act!

Nick Dowen Barnett Shepherd
Nick Dowen Barnett Shepherd

Christ Church is known for its beautifully landscaped grounds and gardens. In the spring and summer months there is always an array of lovely flowers and healthy green plants that decorate the parish oval, and the front and side entrances to the Church. You’ll hardly ever find a weed in the garden, and during the fall and winter months when leaves and branches find their way to the ground they never seem to stay there for any considerable amount of time.

One might think that Christ Church has hired a professional landscaping service, but this picture proves otherwise! Our two “secret gardeners” Barnett Shepherd and Nick Dowen are the reason why things are looking so lovely these days. You’ll find them hard at work on many a Saturday morning, and even during the week.

Thank you both for this wonderful parish ministry. This is truly an example of using your time, talents and treasures!
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Coffee Hour Schedule for May

May 3  
May 10 Sheila Hewitt & Sunday School
May 17 Brenda Baskerville
May 24 Richard & Yassah Zayzay; Tammy & Alice Pyne
May 31 Agnes and Willette Thompson