the Tower Chimes
October 2011
Close Window
Clergy Corner
Girl Scouts Meet at Christ Church
Save the Date
Meet the Nominees
Youth Group Calendar
Adult Education
Sandro Russo to Perform at Christ Church
All Saints' Sunday
Vestry Notes
Fundraising Committee to Meet
Food Pantry Needs Your Help!
Date Change
Journey to Adulthood Class and Activity Schedule
Around the Parish
Serving Our Country
From the Parish Register
Clergy Corner
the Rev. Charles H. Howell, Rector

The Rev. Charles H. Howell, Rector of Christ Church New BrightonUndoubtedly you’ve noticed the scaffolding over the main door to the parish house.  The scaffolding is there because the mortar on the small bell tower over the door (called a bellcote) is so deteriorated that stones are in danger of falling.  Another serious safety hazard exists on the roof over the rose window in the auditorium.  The stones that form the top of the roof line (called the parapet) have slipped so far that some are in danger of falling into the rectory yard.  If the rectory yard were accessible to the public, you would also see protective scaffolding against the north side of the parish house.  Architects and engineers from the firm Licthen Craig have identified these and other masonry issues on the parish house as needing immediate attention if the building is to be safe and not fall into disrepair.

Barry Donaldson from Lichten Craig made detailed drawings and specifications of the pressing work that needs to be done on the parish house and helped us interview three construction firms specializing in historic buildings.  With Barry’s advice, we selected a firm call Seaboard and work will begin on Monday, October 10 with the goal of being completed by the end of January 2012.

The vestry has allocated $200,000 from our investments to do this work: $165,000 for the Seaboard contract and the rest, all of which may not be needed, for other related expenses such as the scaffolding rental.  The vestry and I were very reluctant to draw money out of our investments but given the serious safety concerns we felt we had no choice.  The vestry is aware, too, that there are other serious capital needs which are not part of this project, such as re-pointing the central tower and church and landscaping the grounds to prevent water from flooding basements in the church, parish house, and rectory which is damaging their foundations.

While considering these building issues, the vestry has also been discussing undertaking a capital campaign.  In December we interviewed two capital fund raising companies recommended to us by the diocese.  We spent time at several meetings discussing the merits of each company and also the feasibility of a capital campaign.  Vestry member Rich Whaley diligently checked references and talked to churches that had used each firm. Vestry member David Nygard did a comparison of the cost of each firm’s proposal.  During the summer the wardens, Rich, and I met with the Finance Committee to share what we had learned about each company and capital campaigns in general.  At its September meeting, the vestry voted to move forward with a capital campaign and to engage the services of Ruotolo Associates of Cresskill, New Jersey

Given the state of the economy, this may seem like a poor time to undertake a capital campaign, which makes the first stage of this process very important.  The first stage of the process, under the guidance of Ruotolo Associates, is a parish assessment which will study the feasibility of a capital campaign and estimate how much money we realistically can raise.  If a campaign does not seem feasible we can abandon it at this point, if it does we can move forward.  Whether we move forward to a capital campaign or not, a parish assessment will be valuable in itself and will help us continue to discern the mission of our parish and identify new leaders.  Soon you may be contacted about participating in an interview, a focus group, or asked to complete a survey.  I hope everyone will participate fully as we initiate this exciting process.

Fr. Chuck

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Girl Scouts Meet at Christ Church
Lisa Rhoades

Girl ScoutsDrop by Christ Church on any Thursday afternoon and you'll find the place bustling with activity--the Christ Church Community Youth Choir will be practicing in the Guild Room and church, you may find the Knitting group in the Vestry Room, and starting today Brownie Troop 5189 will join the Christ Church community by holding their bi-monthly meetings in the auditorium from 3:15 to 4:45 pm.

This is not the troop's first experience at Christ Church. For the past 3 years, they have helped assemble the Thanksgiving Holiday baskets distributed by Christ Church Community Outreach. In 2010 Christ Church was the location for the Staten Island Girl Scout's "World Thinking Day" activities--a day that Girl Scouts and Girl Guides do activities and projects to celebrate world friendship and honor their sisters in other countries.

Christ Church has been a long-time supporter of Scouting on Staten Island. From hosting a Boy Scout Troop in the 1990s to judiciously managing to purchase Girl Scout Cookies each December from several Daisies, Brownies and Juniors, Christ Church parishioners have opened their hearts and offered their treasure and talent to Scouts in the community. Watch for notices and pictures of their activities on the bulletin board in the Parish Hall, and Welcome Girl Scouts to Christ Church!
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Save the Date

Richmond inter Parish CouncilThe ten Episcopal Churches of Staten Island will join together for a service of Evensong on December 4 at 4:00 p.m. at Christ Church as part of the celebration of Staten Island’s 350th Anniversary.

     The service will be conducted according to the 1559 Book of Common Prayer, the book in use 350 years ago, and will feature period appropriate music sung by a combined choir.  A reception in the auditorium will follow with displays from each parish.
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Meet the Nominees

The Diocese of New York has released the names of five nominees for Bishop Coajutor, a bishop who will succeed Bishop Sisk as the Bishop of New York when he retires. In the Episcopal Church, bishops are elected by the diocese in a special convention and then the election is ratified by the other dioceses and diocesan bishops in the Episcopal Church. Christ Church’s delegates to the special convention are Fr. Chuck and Mark Gherzo, Sr. Warden.

The Very Rev. Peter Eaton
The Very Rev.
Peter Eaton
The Very Rev. Tracey Lind
The Very Rev.
Tracey Lind
The Rev. Canon Andrew Dietsche
The Rev. Canon
Andrew Dietsche
The Rev. Canon Petero Sabune
The Rev. Canon
Petero A.N. Sabune
The Rev. Cathy George
The Rev.
Cathy H. George
The Rev. Canon John Harmon
The Rev. Canon
John T.W. Harmon
The Rt. Rev. Pierre Whalon
The Rt. Rev.
Pierre Whalon

The nominees are: The Very Rev. Peter Eaton; The Rev. Cathy Hagstrom George; The Rev. Canon John T. W. Harmon; The Very Rev. Tracey Lind; The Rt. Rev. Peter Whalon. Since these nominees were announced two priests from within the Diocese: The Rev. Canon Andrew M. L. Dietsche and The Rev. Canon Petero A. N. Sabune, have been added to the list of nominees for Bishop Coadjutor through a petition process.

For more information about the candidates including the dates of the “walkabouts” at which you can meet the candidates, go to Although you are free to go to any of the “walkabouts,” the one for Staten Island will be Thursday, October 13 at noon at St. Mary’s, Castleton.
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Youth Group Calendar
Fr. Chuck
Friday, 10/14 6:30 p.m. Roller Skating (meet at church)
Friday, 10/28   Fright Night at St. Andrew’s
Friday, 11/11 7 p.m. Game Night & Mayhem Milkshakes
Friday 11/25  

No Youth Group
(Friday after Thanksgiving)

Friday, 12/9 7 p.m. Ice Skating
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Adult Education

This fall Deacon Geri and Father Chuck are offering a class entitled Women in Ministry.  The class will be held at 11:30 a.m. in the rectory.  You can get to the rectory either by the front door or by the outdoor cloister and in through the rectory’s side door.  Class will end at 12:15 p.m. so that parents can pick up their children in Godly Play.

Women in Ministry will explore the roles women have had in the faith community from Old Testament times, to the early and patristic church, during the Middle Ages and reformation, in the nineteenth century, and to the present day.  We will pay particular attention to the deaconess movement, an area of study for Deacon Geri, and the movement toward the ordination of women in the Episcopal Church.

10/9 New Testament and Early Church
10/16 Patristic and Medieval Church and the Reformation
10/23 19th Century
10/30 Deaconesses
11/6 No Class— All Saints’ Sunday
11/13 The Episcopal Church
11/20 Current Status
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Sandro Russo to Perform at Christ Church
Sunday, October 30
Valerie Quinlan

Sandro RussoWidely acclaimed pianist, Sandro Russo, will be featured in Serenade’s October 30 performance at Christ Church at 3 p.m.  The concert will feature works of Beethoven, Chopin and Liszt and is free to the public. A Meet-the-Artists reception will be held in the Parish House, immediately following the performance.

Noted for his profound sense of poetry and distinctive style, Mr. Russo has performed for audiences around the world and has unanimously received accolades for his sparkling virtuosity.

Born in San Giovanni Gemini – Sicily, Mr. Russo displayed exceptional musical talent from an early age. In 1995, he graduated summa cum laude from the V. Bellini Conservatory and earned the Pianoforte Performing Diploma from the Royal College of Music in London ‘with honors’. While still a student, he won top prize awards in numerous national and international competitions, including Senigallia, and the Ibla Grand Prize. As a result, he was invited to perform in some of the country’s most prestigious concert halls.

Mr. Russo has given solo recitals for The Rachmaninoff Society in London, Memphis, and New York, as well as the American Liszt Society – New York Chapter. He has also performed at the Salle Cortot in Paris and the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. More recently, he has been heard in concert at Carnegie Hall, the Moiseiwitsch Recital Series at the Music Festival of the Hamptons, the Dame Myra Hess series in Chicago, the Italian Institute of Culture in NYC, Concerts Grand in Santa Rosa (CA) and the Chetham’s International Piano Festival in Manchester, U.K, where he also joined its distinguished summer school’s faculty. This past November the Italian Academy Foundation presented Mr. Russo in a sold-out Chopin & Schumann anniversary concert at Carnegie Hall, which drew a standing ovation from the audience.

Sandro Russo’s performances have aired on WFMT Chicago, WQXR New York, RAI Sat Show and the Slovakian TV. In January 2009 Bechstein-America invited Mr. Russo to record a DVD on the historical 1862 Bechstein piano (#576) owned by Franz Liszt. In addition, in February 2010 he recorded a DVD on the Steinway & Sons CD-75, i.e. the legendary piano on which Vladimir Horowitz performed for his concerts at the Met and London’s Royal Family in the 80s.

The Serenade Concert Series is made possible in part by Northfield Bank Foundation, Richmond County Savings Foundation, Con Edison, The Lois and Richard Nitotra Foundation, and by public funding from the City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, Council Member Debi Rose.
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All Saints' Sunday
All Saints' SundaySunday, November 6 is All Saints’ Sunday.  If you have a departed loved one that you would like remembered in prayer on that day, please contact or call 718-727-6100.  All Saints’ Sunday is also the next occasion for Holy Baptism.  If a member of your family would like to be baptized, please speak to Fr. Chuck.
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Vestry Notes
Nick Dowen

The regularly scheduled meeting of the Vestry of Christ Church New Brighton took place on Monday, September 12, 2011.  Following are highlights of important issues that were discussed that evening:

Committee Reports
Plant & Equipment

  • Water coming into the rectory and church tower: Roof gutters on the rectory and those around the walls of the believes that the problem is that the tower church will be cleaned in hopes of alleviating this problem. Although Plant & Equipment, which needs to be repointed, is soaking up and then releasing water it might be worth sending someone into the tower to look for standing water.
  • Fascia board loose on rectory: It appears that cable or phone lines from the street have pulled the bottom of a fascia board loose and water is coming into the rectory from that area. Verizon and Time Warner Cable will be contacted to assess possible repairs.
  • Parish Hall basement repairs: The committee is soliciting quotes on repairing the various damages to the Parish Hall basement
  • Priorities for the next few months: the following projects, all costing about $10,000, were presented to the Vestry for consideration:
  • Chair lift, Parish Hall Auditorium: $13,800
  • Sound system, church: $7,000
  • Bathroom, Rectory: $11,800
  • Parish Hall basement repairs: unknown
  • Air conditioning, Parish Hall Auditorium: $10,000
  • Warming pantry and unisex bathroom, Parish Hall Auditorium: $15,000?

Father Howell noted that the Church of the Mediator, Allentown, PA, whose youth group visited our church this year, has sent a $100 gift which they suggested applying to the Parish Hall basement, where they stayed overnight. Our own youth group is interested in doing service and the basement has been suggested as a focus for their projects.


  • There is a new Godly Play room. The Rector noted that 33 children have registered for Godly Play, with more to come, and three youths have registered for Journey to Adulthood, also with more to come.


  • The September Blueberry Festival cleared about $2,000. There are four large fund-raising events in the year: the Blueberry Festival, St. Nick’s Fair (Dec. 3), Holly Ball (Dec. 10), Spring Fair.

Christ Church Community Outreach (CCCO)

  • Holiday Baskets for Thanksgiving and Christmas will again be assembled and distributed this year.

Christ Church Community Youth Choir (CCCYC)

  • Registration and first rehearsal will take place on September 15. CCCYC recently participated in Staten Island’s 9/11 observance at the "Postcards" memorial.

After School Programs at Christ Church

  • We will be offering a reading program and instruction in African drumming and steel drumming. Deacon Geri Swanson is looking for struggling readers and has compiled a varied book list that will appeal to youths.

Capital Campaign

  • The Vestry voted to engage Ruotolo Associates to begin undertaking a capital campaign. The program will begin with a self-assessment.

Deacon’s Report

  • Deacon Geri Swanson reported that Staten Island’s food pantries have experienced very heavy demand and are depleted. The Episcopal churches of Staten Island will be conducting a food drive on the first two Sundays of October. Christ Church parishioners are being asked to bring packages of spaghetti (8 or 9 – not other forms of pasta) and jars of spaghetti sauce.

Rector’s Report

  • Thank-you notes from scholarship recipients have been received, including Hugo McIntosh Jr. and Dylan Luke. Hugo was also honored by the local chapter of the NAACP.
The Rector thanked parishioners for helping out and cleaning up after Hurricane Irene, in particular Nick Lettiere and Mark Gherzo for pumping the water out of the Choir Room with a sump pump.
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Fundraising Comittee to Meet on October 26
Alleida Mitchell

penniesThe Fundraising Committee will be meeting on Wednesday, October 26 at 7:30 p.m. to start the process of scheduling events for next year.

A list of recommended activities will be presented to Vestry for approval at its meeting December 12th meeting. Parishioners and friends wishing to organize events should submit their proposal(s) to the FRC for scheduling.

The suggested format for submission is as follows: Type of event; Preferred date and time; purpose; anticipated income.
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Food Pantry Needs Your Help!
Deacon Geri Swanson

Over the past year we have seen a decided rise in the need for food support on Staten Island. The Soup Kitchen and Pantry at Trinity Lutheran Church where I serve as Coordinator of Volunteers has seen a 250% rise in the numbers of guests over the past years.  In 2006 we averaged 53 guests per week, this year we are seeing an average of 134 guests per week; last week, the first week in September we fed 148 people.  The food pantry there has seen a rise in its numbers from an average of 84 households a month to over 226 per month in that same time period.

The pantry at Richmond Senior Services has also seen an unusually high increase in those seeking its services, and is no longer able to supply food for families of four. They are rationing their distribution to families of two. Over the last year Federal funding has declined by 30% and with current restrictions, T-FAP food grants, which is dependent on farm subsidies and such, is in jeopardy of losing funding and support.

With this in mind, and the knowledge that Episcopal Feeding Ministry, as a legal entity, is no longer in existence, I am asking that each parish in the IPC consider a limited item food drive to help re-stock the shelves of these two pantries which have an connection to the Episcopal Church on Staten Island.  The pantry at Richmond Senior Services is overseen by Deacon Neuhaus as part of her secular employment.  Several Episcopal parishes have prepared meals for the Soup Kitchen at Trinity Lutheran: Christ Church, St Andrew's and on occasion, Ascension.

The list below includes some very basic items that would help restock the shelves and are basic staples for either pantry.  I am asking parishes to donate only one or two of these items, perhaps pairing them together i.e. a box of mac and cheese mix and a can of mixed vegetables.

Because the need is so great, I am hoping to run this IPC drive beginning Sunday, October 2nd through Sunday October 9th.  I will be happy to pick up any donations and distribute them to the two sites by the 13th of October.

List of needed items:
Elbow Macaroni
Tomato Sauce (small jarred sauce)
Macaroni and cheese mix
6 oz. cans of chunk light tuna
tin canCondensed soups: Chicken Noodle or Tomato
Canned mixed vegetables
Canned mixed fruit
Peanut Butter (smooth)
Small jar of mayonnaise
Graham Crackers
Saltine Crackers
Powdered milk
1lb. box or bag of rice
8oz can of black beans
Toilet tissue
Individual tissue packets
Small liquid dish detergent
Personal-sized soap bars
Trinity Lutheran is also in need of dog and cat food.

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Date Change
Cathy Romano

British foodThe British Luncheon, originally scheduled for Sunday, October 23 has been RESCHEDULED. The new date is now Sunday, November 13

Please be sure to mark your calendars – this is a culinary event that you won’t want to miss!
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Journey to Adulthood Class and Activity Schedule
Denise Rompilla
Sunday, 10/9 Centers:  School, Stuff, Friends, Parents, Etc.
Sunday, 10/16 Principle-Centered
Sunday, 10/23 Be Pro-Active:  The Personal Bank Account
Sunday, 10/30 Pro-Active or Reactive: The Choice is Yours
Sunday, 11/6 Service Project #1:  Homeless Shelter
Sunday, 11/13 Begin with the End in Mind
Sunday, 11/20 Getting Started on Your Mission Statement: 
     The Great Discovery
Sunday, 11/27 Writing Your Mission Statement
Sunday, 12/4 Put First Things First; Handout Service Project #2
Sunday, 12/11 Service Project # 2:
      Ornaments for Seaview Nursing Home
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Around the Parish
Nancy Reiersen-Scromo

It’s October and Christ Church activities are in full swing. Our September Blueberry Festival and Sunday Italian Lunch were quite popular and well-attended. Kudos to all of the hard-working folks who organized these events.

Earlier this month Fr. Chuck and Deacon Geri blessed a variety of “non-human” family members at our annual Pet Blessing and a great time was had by all. And the following day, Sunday, October 2, we celebrated Father Chuck’s 5th Anniversary as the Rector of Christ Church. It was a joyful celebration, and I’m sure you’ll be seeing photos on our website and on the Parish House bulletin board.

Glad to report that Frank Quinlan is home and recuperating nicely from his recent knee surgery. And it’s surely good to have John Watson back with us again after his recent Transatlantic cruise to Norway.

Don’t forget to mark your calendars for the annual Christ Church Holly Ball – a spectacular cocktail hour, dinner, dancing and loads of holiday fun. This year’s honorees are Hal and Linda Reiersen and Nancy Reiersen-Scromo.

Many of you may not be aware that Claire Kennedy, daughter of Laura and Henry Kennedy, has been serving in the Peace Corps for the past year. Claire has been working in western Africa for the past two years and has not seen her family since she left. Her parents are looking forward to their trip to Africa in November and will have many wonderful stories to share upon their return.

Condolences to Janet Schneider and her family on the passing of her mother-in-law, Betty Schneider, last month.

That’s all for now…bundle up and keep warm. See you all in November!

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Serving Our Country

Alexander RaffAlexander (“Xander”) Raff, son of Peter Raff, is currently serving in a combat mission in Iraq. He has been assigned to several Forward Operating Bases (FOBs) and at least one has come under enemy mortar fire.

In June 2010, Xander graduated from Tottenville High School. He was captain of the Varsity wrestling team and won the PSAL wrestling championship for his weight class. He also won the Mayor’s Cup and was ranked in NY State in the 215 weight class.

Please keep Xander in your prayers as he continues to serve our country in this important assignment.
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From the Parish Register
Cathy Romano

October Birthdays
1—Julia Kennedy; 2 – Judith Davis; 3- Dylan Scire; 5 – William Sherman, Ronald pumpkinMassey; 6 – Susan Fowler; 7 – Julian Hall-Belluscio; 8 - Jeremiah Zayzay, Andrea McIntosh; 9 – Christina Noel; 10 – Ines Colbourne; 11 – Eva Black, Katashhi George, Jaime Szczepanik; 12 – Olisha James, Charles McLean, Jr.; 18 – John Hayes, Katherine Liu; 21 – Nathaniel Seeley Laraine Holt; 22- John Gerney; 23 – Christopher James, Deborah Lindsay, Peter Liu; 24 – Edward Craig; 26 – Hueldine Webb; 27 – Catherine McGough; 29 – Amber James, Virginia Peel; 30 – Hugo McIntosh, Sr.; 31- Marcia Clendenen.

October Anniversaries
1– Fr. Chuck & Liz Howell; 13 – Thomas & Irene Eppinger.

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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