Tower Chimes, October, 2009
bullet character Clergy Corner bullet character Parish Register bullet character Christ Church Fundraising Committee
bullet character Sunday School News bullet character Serenade Presents... bullet character The Play's the Thing
bullet character Friday Evening Youth Group Meetings bullet character The Stationary Movement Church bullet character Fall Bus Trip
bullet character Vestry Notes bullet character The Holly Ball... bullet character Around the Parish
bullet character United Thank Offering bullet character Memorial Donations bullet character Lift Every Voice and Sing
bullet character Baptisms on All Saints Day bullet character Classes at Christ Church bullet character Save the Date!
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Clergy Corner

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

As we begin our fall stewardship campaign, this seems like a good time to review some of the basics of our parish’s finances. I find that each year I launch into the fall stewardship campaign assuming that everybody knows what I’m talking about; I’ve come to learn that that’s not always the case.

The first thing to know about the parish’s finances is that Christ Church is supported entirely by money our parishioners give or have given.  Each fall we run a stewardship campaign and ask parishioners to make a pledge of what they plan to give to Christ Church during the coming year. Knowing with some accuracy what parishioners will give during the coming year helps the finance committee and vestry prepare the budget.  Our parish is also supported by investment income, which parishioners have given as gifts and bequests.

Currently we need more income than we generate from our pledges and investment income.  This means that each year we are forced to use some of the principle of our investments in order to balance the budget.  This is a highly undesirable situation which could imperil the long-term future of our church.  Although the situation is improving, we still have a ways to go.

It’s important for everyone to understand that our budget has very little flexibility.  About 50% of our budget is spent on salaries and benefits for a full-time rector and part-time secretary, sexton, and organist.  30% is spent on operating expenses, such as lights, heat, and maintenance.  And 16% is spent on programs, such as music, education, and pastoral care.  Short of laying off or reducing staff positions, or failing to pay our bills, or failing to maintain our historic buildings, the only way to balance our budget is to continue to grow our parish and to rely on the generous stewardship of our parishioners.

Stewardship refers to how we use all the gifts that God has given us. To my mind, stewardship is really just a short-hand term for Christian living. At stewardship time it is common to talk about giving time, talent, and treasure (church talk for money) back to God in thanks for all that God has given us. When you receive information about the stewardship campaign, you’ll receive a pledge card, on which you can indicate your monetary pledge, and you will also receive a time and talent sheet, on which you can indicate your time and talent pledge. The information from the time and talent sheets is put on a spread sheet and shared with the appropriate leaders of committees and groups in the church who are eager to help you share your gifts with the church.

In the coming days and weeks you will receive a mailing about this year’s stewardship campaign and will be hearing about it in church.  I hope that this article clarifies some of the unspoken assumptions about stewardship and parish finances, and that it will help you as you prayerfully consider your pledge of time, talent, and treasure to Christ Church.        

Faithfully yours,

Fr. Chuck

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Sunday School News

Breast Cancer awarenessThe older members of our Sunday School will be participating in the Breast Cancer Walk on Sunday, October 18, which begins that morning at Clove Lake Park.

We will be marching as a group, rather than asking parishioners and friends to support us individually. Those wishing to sponsor the “walkers” may do so during the Sunday morning coffee hour on October 11.

If you’d like any additional information, or if you are interested in being one of our sponsors, please contact the parish office for more information.
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Friday Evening Youth Group Meetings

This is a time for our teens to meet, talk, study, and share an evening of fellowship. The meetings take place on the 2nd and 4th Friday of the month, beginning at 7 p.m. Here is the schedule of events for the remainder of the year:

October 9 Activity Night
October 23 Bible Study
November 13 Activity Night
November 27 Bible Study

If you haven’t had an opportunity to experience these interesting and enjoyable evenings we hope you’ll be able to come out to one (or more) of the remaining sessions.

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Vestry Notes

The regularly scheduled meeting of the Christ Church Vestry took place on Monday, September 14, 2009. Following are some highlights of important issues that were discussed that evening:

  • A letter from Linda Reiersen, on behalf of the choir, was read by the Vestry concerning the possible dangers to the choir and congregation because of mold in the Choir room. The mold may be on the wood paneling, which will probably be removed; the question is whether the testing for the presence of mold should be done before it is removed.
  • The Vestry recommended that safety and health matters come first and that testing be done to discern what type of mold is present.
  • Highlights of the Plant & Equipment report included a summary of the July 17 Landmarks Preservation meeting, the inspection of the north and south sides of the Parish House by Jack Scibor of Burda Construction to consider replacement of gutters and other major repairs to the south side of the building.
  • Our Treasurer, Dorothy Thompson, reported the following:
    • Godly Play has received a Diocesan grant of $4,200 and donations from members of the congregation about $1,000.
    • CCCO remains overdrawn, but the outlook for some grants to be finally paid is brighter than it has been for some time.
    • The church has received a first draw-down from the Diocesan Investment Trust. The money has been posted to a cash account pending finalization of the new fund accounting procedure.
  • Alleida Mitchell said the Blueberry festival was a success and expressed special thanks to Brenda Baskerville, Valerie Quinlan, Susan Fowler and Williette Thompson (who sold $500 raffle tickets).
  • Fr. Howell reported that 34 children had registered for Sunday School and Godly Play and there will be more registrations to come.
  • Fr. Howell noted that Dr. Lester Blair had agreed to chair this year’s Stewardship campaign. Members of the Vestry on the committee include Dr. Hueldine Webb, Willie Black Jr. and Beth Johanning-Hayes.
  • The Diocese has taken action in response to the recessionary environment by allowing parishes to reduce their 2009 assessment by 20%. Fr. Howell recommended that Christ Church accept this reduction in our assessment and the Vestry unanimously agreed.
  • The nominating committee will be chaired by outgoing Warden Victor Stanwick and the committee will comprise the four outgoing Vestry persons, plus parish members Harald Reiersen and Mark Gherzo.
  • The feeding ministry might be able to lower its budget in 2010. Jack Martz, who organizes the Trinity Lutheran feeding ministry, is willing to allow us to use food that Trinity is able to purchase in bulk quantities because of their larger budget.
Fr. Howell has been appointed by the Bishop to the Diocesan Adjustment Board. The Board meets to discuss ways to assist parishes that are unable to fulfill their Diocesan assessment.
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United Thank Offering

Fellow Parishioners:

I have been asked to coordinate the fall campaign of the United Thank Offering. The UTO is a personal and family devotional program of the Episcopal Church. It is the sum of our daily thanks for the blessings in our everyday lives—for good weather, happy times, job opportunity, and unexpected visits—there are so many things for which we can be thankful.

United Thank OfferingAt the very least, we can be thankful to God for blessings and take action by putting coins in the Blue Box ( The blue box can be found at the back of the church, or I will have some with me during coffee hour.)Traditionally, the Diocese conducts this campaign twice a year.  We are asked to bring the amount of our daily thanksgiving to the ingathering here at Christ Church in late fall, where it will eventually be combined with the offerings of hundreds of thousands of other Episcopalians to become the United Thank Offering.

The UTO is an organization founded by women in 1889 and originally supportive of women missionaries. It has become a worldwide effort to meet compelling human needs and to expand the mission and ministry of the church –for men, women and children throughout the world. The UTO is a way for each person to express tangible thanks to God. United with the prayers and offerings of Episcopalians, its ministry reaches around the world.

I invite you all to pick up a Blue Box –each member of the family may have one! -- and other informative literature about this extraordinary mission, and to join the United Thank Offering. Put it in a convenient place. Take a moment each day to say thank you to God and put a coin in that box. We are not meant to be passive receivers; rather we are bid to be active participants in God’s work in the world.

Please check out the information about the UTO on our bulletin boards. I will be glad to answer any questions you may have. Most especially—include the children –they learn from our example.

Thank you for giving me this opportunity.

A Prayer of Illumination

Lord, you are the giver of all things. Grant us grace to recognize your hand in all the events of our life, that we might give you thanks and glorify your Name now and for ever.  Amen.
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Baptisms on All Saints Day, November 1st

The next occasion for Holy Baptism will be Sunday, November 1st, All Saints’ Day.  If a member of your family would like to be baptized, please contact Fr. Chuck.

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Parish Register

October Birthdays
1—Julia Kennedy; 2 – Judith Davis; 3- Dylan Scire; 5 – William Sherman, Ronald Massey; 6 – Susan Fowler; 8 - 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 Laraine Holt; 22- John Gerney; 23 – Christopher James, Deborah Lindsay, Peter Liu; 24 – Edward Craig; 26 – Hueldine Webb; 29 – Amber James, Virginia Peel; 30 – Hugo McIntosh, Sr.; 31- Marcia Clendenen

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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Serenade Presents: Amuse
A 16-Voice Women's Choir

On Sunday, Sunday, October 18 at 3 p.m., Serenade at Historic Christ Church, Inc. will present a celebrated Women’s choral ensemble known as Amuse. The program will take place at Christ Church New Brighton, 76 Franklin Avenue.

The concert is free to the public. It will be followed by a “Meet-the-Artists” reception. Both the concert and reception areas are handicapped accessible. Info: 718-273-3668.

Amuse is a 16-voice women’s ensemble founded in 2002 to bring music written for women’s voices to New York audiences. An often overlooked area of choral literature, this repertory comprises works by well-known composers throughout the last 12 centuries, including many new contem­porary works for women’s voices composed in the last 50 years.

Writing in the New York Times last September, Allan Kozinn said “...this choir's real magic is in its delicate balance of serenity and intensity...a pure trans­parent tone and solid ensemble.”

Most recently Amuse singers joined the Dessoff Symphonic Choir in performances of Mahler’s Eighth Symphony and Britten’s War Requiem with the New York Philharmonic under the baton of Lorin Maazel as part of his final appearances with the orchestra.

This concert is made possible (in part) by a Staten Island Creative Communities Grant from the Council on the Arts and Humanities for Staten Island (COAHSI), with public funding from the New York State Council on the Arts. A J. P. Morgan Chase Regrant in partnership with the Council on the Arts and Humanities for Staten Island (COAHSI), provided capacity building funding.

Additional support is provided by City Councilman Kenneth Mitchell, State Senator Andrew Lanza, and Richmond County Bank Foundation. Also, special thanks are extended to Jean Roland, Barnett Shepherd and Nick Dowen for their support.
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The Stationary Movement Church

The Stationery Movement which since its founding in 1988 has raised more than $20,000 for our church is teaching five or six young people how to make and market our traditional holiday greeting cards. We have been selling these cards to parishioners and others for the last 20 years.

The Stationary MovementWith the help and guidance of Sheila Hewitt, Colin Reed will be teaching older members of the Sunday School how to continue this project for the benefit of Christ Church. We’ll work together in the Guild Room, but regular Sunday School classes will not be disrupted to more than two short 20-minute periods prior to the major vacations.

We are hoping that the profits of our youngsters will be used to support our Sunday School.
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Holly Ball at Christ Church on December 12th
Celebrating a Caribbean Christmas

Holly Ball 2009Even though the leaves have just begun to change colors, and the days are now a bit cooler, it’s not too early to plan for this year’s Christ Church Holly Ball.

This year’s event, which takes place on Saturday, December 12, will be a bit “different” than the others since it will feature a “Caribbean” theme; however, we will still be offering the same “traditional” foods as in the past years.

The popular group “Good Clean Fun” will be with us again this year to provide the musical accompaniment during dinner, and of course we will be hosting the traditional cocktail and hors d’oeuvres hour prior to the dinner.

This year’s honorees will be Alleida Mitchell and Barnett Shepherd, two of our long-time, hard working parishioners who are well deserving of this honor.

Invitations will be mailed out later this month, and we will also be asking for your support by taking an ad in this year’s Journal.

Don’t forget to mark the date on your calendar!
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Memorial Donations

The Music Fund continues to accept donations from parishioners to honor or memorialize a loved one.

Names will be engraved on the plaque that is on the wall as you exit the church into the Parish Hall.

Please see our organist, Tom Sarff, or Beth McLean if you wish to make a donation.
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Classes at Christ Church

Our Sunday Adult Education program, which meets at 11:30 a.m. in the Guild Room, continues through the next three months, with courses taught by Fr. Chuck and our seminarian, Dr. David Carletta. The program is entitled “The Episcopal Church 101”, and will focus on the history, polity (form of government) and future of the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion.

If you have not yet had a chance to attend, we’ve provided you with a list of the remaining dates and topics:

October 11 Anglicanism in the Colonies
October 18 Founding the Episcopal Church
October 25 Polity of the Episcopal Church
November 8 Development of the Church before World War II
November 15 Development of the Church afterworld War II
November 22 The Anglican Communion
November 29 Current Issues
December 6 Our Parish.
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Christ Church Fundraising Committee

The Fund Raising Committee will be meeting in November to plan the calendar of events for 2010.

Individuals and groups wishing to organize a social or fund raising event for 2010 are invited to submit their proposal(s) to the Fund Raising Committee NO LATER than October 28 for consideration and submission to the Vestry for approval.

The format for submitting a proposal should include 1. The type of event; 2. Proposed Date; 3. Purpose; 4. Target Income, and 5. Support Needed.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact me.

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The Play's the Thing

Frank Quinlan’s full-length play Shadow Wars, a fantasy-comedy set in post-Civil War Virginia, will be presented at Trinity Lutheran Church, 309 St. Paul’s Avenue (corner of Cebra and Beach).  The ghost of a Confederate soldier who died in battle finds an ingenious way to return to the mansion where his fate was decided. His instrument is Percy Vance, an ambitious Harvard historian. Percy leaves Harvard and goes to Marshall Hall, which is known as the House of Portraits. Every portrait is said to house a ghost. His encounter with the ghosts of Marshall Hall sets Percy off on an extraordinary adventure, in which he learns that ambition and success mean little without love. A fun show!

The Southern Opinion

      Performances will take place on October 30 and 31, and again on November 6 and 7, beginning at 8 p.m. Adults: $15, Seniors: $12. For further info can be obtained at or by calling 718-273-3668.
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Fall Bus Trip November 6th

The autumn spirits are stirring and what better way to access the wonder and imagery of fall than a trip through the Brandywine district of Delaware. This trip will generate your creative energy, enrich your senses and inspire you.

Fall Bus TripThe day begins at the fabulous Harry’s Savoy. This “Spectator Award” restaurant offers service like no other and pays attention to every detail (they roast their own coffee.) The gourmet food is without compromise and does deliver what it promises.

The next stop is the newly-renovated Delaware Art Museum. Our personal tour will be geared towers “Maxfield Parrish: Fantasies and Fairy Tales/Art of the Print”, and “Illustrating Her World: Ellen Pyle.” This 50-work exhibition has drawn acclaim from around the country for her covers for the Saturday Evening Post. And yes – there is a gift shop!

Tickets are $95 per person, and include the cost of the bus, lunch and the tour. To purchase tickets, or for additional information, please contact Laura Napolitano at 718-981-5673 or call the parish office at 718-727-6100.
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Around the Parish

It’s been a little over a month since we returned from our summer hiatus and much has happened since our last issue.

Getting to know you: For those of you who attend the 10 a.m. Sunday services, you may have noticed the lovely array of handwritten name tags that are located at the entrance to the church. Many thanks to Margaret Harris and Nick Dowen, parishioners who have taken the time to coordinate this ongoing project. Please be sure to pick yours up before the service and wear it to the coffee hour. If you don’t have a name tag, please let them know.

Wedding Bells: Congratulations to Thomas Liu and Teal Shepley-Blair, who were married in Falmouth, MA on Labor Day weekend. Thomas, the son of Joyce and Paul Liu, is the assistant swim coach at Marist College, and he and his wife currently reside in Poughkeepsie. A bit closer to home, congratulations Madeline Smith and Michael Tavani who were married by Fr. Howell here at Christ Church on September 26.

Welcome to our new Nursery Care worker, Ashley Steed. A native of Beacon, NY, Ashley holds a BA in psychology with a minor in education from Wagner College, and is currently pursuing her Masters Degree at Wagner. She has a good deal of experience with children and has also been involved in several “volunteer” projects, including rebuilding homes for victims of Hurricane Katrina victims in New Orleans and working with Habitat for Humanity.

We are pleased to report that Nat Seeley, the grandson of David and Mae Seeley, has been accepted to the St. Thomas Choir School in Manhattan. Nat joins his brother, Alex, who was enrolled in the school last year.

Get well wishes to Martha Keucher and Laura Napolitano, as they recover from recent surgeries; to Liam McCloskey, grandson of Joyce Rowan, who was injured in an auto accident. Thankfully, he was not seriously injured and is on the mend.

Condolences to the Lettiere family on the passing of Nancy’s mom, Marie Pirozzolo.

That’s it for now. If you have some news that you would like to share, please be sure to leave a note in the Tower Chimes mailbox, or you can email me.
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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.  The hymns are drawn from a wide variety of genres: Negro spirituals, Gospel songs, Protestant hymns, missionary hymns and evangelistic hymns. The contents were taken from other black hymnals, including a Roman Catholic hymnal, a Methodist hymnal and Caribbean hymnals.

      Each hymnal costs $18 and may be given as a memorial or thanksgiving. Order forms are available in the church office.
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Save the Date!

Stewardship Sunday
Sunday, November 1