the Tower Chimes newsletter, March, 2010
bullet character Clergy Corner bullet character Holy Week Services
bullet character Wednesday Evening Lenten Program bullet character Youth Group Activities
bullet character Vestry Notes bullet character Erin Go Bragh
bullet character Coffee Hour bullet character Easter Memorial Flowers
bullet character Book Discussion Group bullet character Play Ball!
bullet character Interfaith Passover Seder bullet character Around the Parish
bullet character Daylight Savings Time bullet character Easter Food Baskets
bullet character Easter Sunday Reception bullet character Richmond IPC Lenten Program
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

It may be heresy to say, but I’ve often felt that Lent goes on too long.  Six weeks of Lent and Holy Week is a lot of Lent.  Lent is so intense that I find it hard to concentrate that long.

I find that I am very rigorous with my Lenten disciplines during the first few weeks of Lent, but by the time weeks four and five roll around my enthusiasm starts to flag.  I know that Jesus stuck it out for forty days and forty nights in the wilderness, and I know Children of Israel stuck it out for forty years in the desert, but I’m good only for about three and half weeks. If I were the King of Episcopal Church, I would take two weeks off Lent and add them onto Advent, a season I adore.

This year, thanks to the Sunday school, Lent has turned into a kind of Advent for me.  On the First Sunday of Lent and on the Sunday before, the Sunday school distributed coin folders.  You put a quarter in the folder each day of Lent and by the end you’ve collected $10.  The Sunday school decided that half the money collected would go to Haiti and half would go to Episcopal Schools in Robertsport, Grand Cape Mount County, Liberia.

I was familiar only with mite boxes during Lent and had never seen coin folders until Sheila Hewitt, our Sunday School Director, suggested them to the Education Committee.

I like them because they remind me of an Advent calendar. As the Advent calendar counts down to Christmas, the coin folder counts up to Easter. The quarters accumulate in my family’s coin folder each day as we move closer to celebrating the Resurrection, and that makes Lent seem less like an endless march and more like a joyful pilgrimage.

As I think about this, I notice similarities between Advent and Lent that I had never seen before.  The liturgical color for both seasons is purple, and both seasons have seasons have prominent themes of repentance and renewal.  Advent is a time of expectation during which we prepare both for Jesus’ birth at Bethlehem and his return at the close of the age.  Lent is a time of expectation as we prepare for Jesus’ Resurrection on the third day and remember that as Jesus was raised from the dead someday we will be too.  Advent is a time when we await the arrival of a king who was born in a stable, and Lent is a time when we gaze upon the king who reigns from the Cross.

I like Lent better this year because it feels less like a dreary duty and more like a time of preparation and anticipation.  I think I’ll go put another quarter in my coin folder and think about how Easter is on its way.            

Faithfully yours,

Fr. Chuck

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Wednesday Evening Lenten Program
@ Christ Church

Wednesday Evening Lenten PRogramThe Wednesday evening Lenten program at Christ Church is one that you don’t want to miss.

This year’s program will feature a book study of Kenneth Leech’s We Preach Christ Crucified. The book focuses on the importance and meaning of the Cross, with examples that are drawn from the Bible, hymns and poetry of the Anglican spiritual tradition; and from personal encounters with others.

The evening begins at 7 p.m. with a celebration of the Eucharist, followed by Supper at 7:40 p.m. and the program, which begins at 8 p.m.

The program schedule is listed below. Please be sure to mark these dates on your calendar and plan to attend these informative and interesting evenings.

March 3 Healed by His Wounds
March 10 A Kingdom not of This World
March 17 The Love of God Poured Out
March 24 Darkness where God Dwells &
Christ Our Passover
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Vestry Notes

The regularly scheduled meeting of the Vestry of Christ Church New Brighton took place on Monday, February 8, 2010. Following is a brief synopsis of important discussions that took place at that time:

Plant & Equipment

Committee chairperson Susan Fowler reported the following:

  1. The organ façade, which has been missing for at least a decade, will probably be in place by Easter.
  2. The Choir Room is ready to be painted and a painting team will be recruited from parishioners in time for the next Hands to Work, Hearts to God gathering on Saturday, February 27, 2010.
  3. Other major concerns are the Belfry (also called the Bell Tower) which is constructed of manufactured stone that is crumbling. The bell cannot be rung.
  4. The stone in the rose window end of the Parish House needs repointing. The church tower’s outside stone will require repointing in about six years. Susan will meet with the Rector and Churchwardens to discuss the extensive fund-raising required by these costly projects.

Stewardship Committee

  1. The Rector distributed a memorandum from Financial Secretary Beth McLean reporting that we have 90 pledge units so far this year, with seven new pledges. The total amount of pledged income is $141,976. The budgeted amount is $125,000.

Treasurer’s Report

Our Treasurer, Dorothy Thompson, reported the following:

  1. The savings in utility costs are due primarily to the changeover from oil to natural gas heating.
  2. Thanks were extended to the Lettiere family for their donation of the new green vestment set.

Standing Committees

According to the Bylaws, Christ Church New Brighton has three Standing Committees. They are Plant & Equipment, Finance, and Nominating.

  1. The following individuals have been appointed to the Plant & Equipment Committee: Susan Fowler, Chair; Bill Brown (Vestry); Nick Dowen: Mark Gherzo (Vestry); Marshall Green; Beth McLean; Alleida Mitchell (Vestry); Barnett Shepherd; Victor Stanwick; Valerie Quinlan; Peter Raff (Vestry); Bill Sherman and Sheila Swigert.
  2. The following individuals have been appointed to serve on the Finance Committee: Nick Lettiere, Chair; Willie Black Jr. (Vestry); Willie (Buster) Black III; Nick Dowen; Shirley Elfers; Mark Gherzo (Vestry); Ron Mazzucco; David Nygard (Vestry); Beth McLean; Barnett Shepherd; Sheila Swigert; Dorothy Thompson, Treasurer; Patrick Wigmore and Richard Zayzay. The Investment Committee, since the parish’s inclusion in the Episcopal Diocese of New York’s Parish Endowment Management Service (PEMS), is now folded into the Finance Committee.

Clerk of the Vestry

  1. Willie Black Jr. has been elected as Clerk of the Vestry.

Rector’s Report

Fr. Howell reported that he is now a member of the Diocesan Adjustment Board, which determines the course of action to be taken with parishes in arrears in payment of diocesan assessments. He also is vice chairman of the Staten Island Interparish Council.

The Living Room, the local organization that works with persons with HIV/AIDS and their families and meets twice monthly at our church, has obtained a grant from Episcopal Response to AIDS, a diocesan committee. The grant will cover the payment of rent to our church and the stipend to an Episcopal priest who will be available to discuss spiritual concerns with Living Room clients as desired.
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Coffee Hour

Over the years coffee hour has been handled in many ways at Christ Church.  Years ago it was organized by Patsy Parese, then by Colin Reed, and more recently by Lisa Rhoades.  Coffee hour may seem like a small thing, but it is very important.  It is an extension of the fellowship that begins in the Eucharist, and it is a way to welcome visitors to our church.  The warmth and generosity of coffee hour expresses the warmth and generosity of our church.  Additionally, coffee hour serves an important pastoral function as it allows people who may see each other only once a week to catch up and share their joys and concerns.

Coffee hour at Christ ChurchWe are now entering a new phase of coffee hour at Christ Church.  Elizabeth Gatullo, a new vestry member, has agreed to coordinate a coffee hour committee, which will oversee coffee hour so that the work is not too much for one person.  Several people have volunteered to serve on this committee, and if you are interested also please speak to Elizabeth.

For all of us, whether on the committee or not, it is important to remember that coffee hour isn’t cost free.  Those who provide coffee hour are reimbursed from the money collected in the baskets on the coffee hour table.   Almost always the amount collected is less than the cost of the coffee hour, so when at coffee hour it might be a good idea to remember what a bagel and cookies cost at a coffee shop or grocery store.

Visitors invariably tell me that Christ Church is one of the friendliest churches they have ever visited, and they frequently mention the coffee hour.  I notice, too, that our regular parishioners like to linger at coffee hour, greeting visitors and visiting with each other.                                                     

Please consider hosting a coffee hour or serving on the committee, and help make our fellowship better than ever.
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Book Discussion Group

Book discussion groupThe Education Committee announces plans to form a book discussion group to start in the spring.  Anne Devlin will serve as facilitator.  The group, in our safe, supportive, faith community environment will address an array of current issues and interests.  Refreshments will be served and transportation can be arranged.

Rediscovering Values on Wall Street, Main Street, and Your Street: A Moral Compass for the New Economy by Jim Wallis will be our first selection.  Future titles will be determined by group consensus.  Two copies of Rediscovering Values will be on reserve in the church office, for one week loan.

If you are interested in participating in this group, please speak to Anne Devlin and let her know your best time to meet.
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Interfaith Passover Seder
Sunday, March 14

On Sunday, March 14 at 3 p.m., the Building Bridges Coalition of Staten Island will host its 7th Annual Interfaith Passover Seder at St. Teresa's Roman Catholic Church. Building Bridges is an interfaith group made up of representatives from almost every faith community on Staten Island.

The Haggadah, the order of service, was created by members of Building Bridges and contains the elements of a traditional Jewish Seder supplemented by prayers form other traditions, such as Islam and Buddhism.  Hundreds of people from throughout Staten Island attend the Interfaith Seder, and in this era of religious fanaticism it is encouraging to celebrate the struggle for liberation with people of all faiths.

Our own Nick Lettiere is the chef for this event. Registration forms are available in the parish office and must be received by March 4.  The cost is $28 for adults and $15 for children.

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Daylight Savings Time

daylight savings timeDaylight Savings Time comes very early this year. Don’t forget to set your clocks ahead by one hour the night before (March 13) – we wouldn’t want you to be late for church on Sunday morning!

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Easter Sunday Reception

For the past several years, Daniel and David Wood have graciously volunteered to coordinate the festive reception that follows our 10 a.m. Easter Sunday service. There is always a wonderful variety of sandwiches and desserts, as well as punch and sherry.

      Donations of sandwiches for the reception would be most welcome. If you are interested in making a contribution please speak to David or Dan on Sunday morning, or you can reach them by telephone at 718-816-5831.
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Parish Register

March Birthdays
1 - Bob Mantz;   2 – Clyve Stephen Hutton; 6 – Betsy Kalfa, Mark Richards; 12 – Alice Wood Green, 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; 27 – Brianna Potter, 29 – Anna-Lisa Cox; 30 – Daniel Lettiere, Angela Lindsay,  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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Holy Week Services

Maundy Thursday, April 1 Holy Week Services
7:30 pm Holy Eucharist
  Lamb Supper
  the Altar of Repose
Good Friday, April 2
Noon until
3:00 pm
@ St. Mary’s
4:00 pm Family Program
7:30 pm Good Friday Liturgy
Easter Day, April 4
8 am Holy Eucharist
10 am Festal Choral Holy Eucharist
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Youth Group Activities Calendar
for Winter/Spring 2010

The members of the Christ Church Education Committee have planned many exciting and interesting events for the youth of our parish.

The activity nights have been designed for middle and high school ages (grades 6-12), and the Bible Study is geared for high school students (grades 9-12).

The complete schedule is listed below. If you have any questions please speak to Fr. Chuck.

Sunday, March 14, 3:00pm Youth Group Activity Night
Activity Night Interfaith Seder @
St. Teresa’s RC Church
Friday, March 26, 7:00pm
Bible Study Topic: Money
Friday, April 9, time TBA
Activity Night Roller Jam
Friday, April 23, 7:00pm
Bible Study Topic: Science
Friday, May 14, 7:00pm
Activity Night  
Friday, May 28, 7:00pm
Bible Study  
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Erin Go Bragh

Dan and David Wood have provided us with a real treat that comes just in time for St. Patrick’s Day!

erin go braghJust about everyone at Christ Church has had the opportunity to taste David’s famous ginger snap cookies and his luscious pound cakes. David has kindly offered to share his recipe for Irish Soda Bread.

This is the genuine article: David got the Irish Soda Bread recipe from an old Irish chambermaid he worked with in Wesport, CT (at the Warburg estate) during the summers before and after his senior year of college -- so it's authentic Irish Soda Bread. Enjoy!


3 to 4 cups sifted flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1/4 cup sugar

Sift above ingredients together and mix in:

1½ cups buttermilk
2 eggs
3 Tbsp. melted butter

Beat all together.  Add:

1 cup raisins
handful of caraway seeds

Knead gently on a floured board.   Divide the dough into two parts.  Shape each into a loaf and place in a greased and floured loaf pan.  With knife make an ‘ X ‘ on the top of each loaf, and brush tops with a small amount of buttermilk.
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Easter Memorial Flowers

Those who would like to contribute to the memorial flowers for Easter should list the names of those to be remembered and place envelopes containing donations in the offering plate on a Sunday. Flower Fund envelopes will be found in the pews. Checks should be drawn to Women of Christ Church.

      Names and donations may also be mailed directly to Mrs. Richard Elfers, 61 North Randall Ave., Staten Island, NY 10301. To be listed in the Easter bulletin, all names must be received no later than Palm Sunday, March 28.
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Play Ball!

Staten Island YankeesThe New York Yankees are beginning to assemble in Tampa, so it won’t be long before it’s time for the annual Christ Church baseball outing to see the Staten Island Yankees at play.

Please make sure to save the date – Sunday, June 27 – and make plans to attend this wonderful afternoon of food, fun and fellowship.

Details to follow as the season gets underway.
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Around the Parish

It’s been a very busy time at Christ Church. Last month we celebrated our Diversity with a wonderful program of song, dance and the spoken word, accompanied by a variety of tasty ethnic foods prepared by our parishioners and a visit from our new Councilwoman, Debi Rose. Thank you to Willie and Shirley Black for all of their efforts in putting together such a wonderful program.

Father Chuck and David Carletta, our seminarian have planned a very interesting book study program for our Wednesday evening Lenten series. In fact, Sheila Hewitt, Connie Black and the Sunday School were spotted in the kitchen preparing and baking some special loaves of bread that will be used during the celebration of the Wednesday evening Eucharist.

As many of you are aware, work is  proceeding on the renovation of the choir room. The walls and floor have been repaired, and painting should get underway and finished soon. Members of the choir are anxious to return to their home, and grateful to everyone who has put in so much time and energy in the renovation efforts.

Congratulations go out to Mark Hewitt, son of Charlotte Hewitt, who made the A10 Conference. (For those of us who need an additional explanation (I know that I did!) – this is the Atlantic East track and field competition.)

Several members of our parish are a bit “under the weather” and we ask that you remember them in your prayers. Get well wishes to Vlasta Jantzi who suffered a minor stroke last month. Her husband, Glendon, reports that she is making a steady recovery and should be returning home shortly.

Our “basso profundo” Buster Black has been sorely missed by the choir and the parishioners and is getting stronger every day as he fights back from a bout with pneumonia. Get well soon, Buster. It’s not the same without you!

Get well wishes to Xander Raff, son of Peter Raff, who is slowly mending from an injury that he sustained as a member of his school’s wrestling team. And best wishes for a speedy recovery go out to Jerianne Rey who is in the hospital.

We were glad to see that Victor Stanwick is back in action after suffering some temporary medical setbacks.

And our prayers to out to Bendu Sherman, the sister of William Sherman, who is currently in the hospital.

That’s all for now. Best wishes to our readers for a blessed and joyful Easter.
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Easter Food Baskets

We will be assembling Easter food baskets as part of our ongoing community  outreach program.

Baskets will be assembled on Wednesday, March 24 and distributed the following day, Thursday, March 25.

Sign-up sheets will be posted on the bulletin board in the Parish House for those who would like to participate in this important ministry.

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Richmond IPC Lenten Program
Sunday, March 21

The Richmond Inter Parish Council (the Episcopal Churches of Staten Island) is sponsoring an evening with the Rev. Dr. J. Robert Wright.  Father Wright is the Historiographer of the Episcopal Church, a professor at General Seminary, a scholar of ecumenical relations, and the author of numerous books and articles.  His topic will be Anglican Identity at the Crossroads

      The program will take place on Sunday, March 21 at All Saints’ Church, 2329 Victory Boulevard, beginning at 4:00 pm. Father Wright’s talk and question and answer time will be followed by a light supper.  There is no cost for the evening.
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