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In this issue:
Clergy Corner
Susan Fowler to be Honored at the Staten Island Council of Churches Dinner
Confirmation Class
Annual Parish Meeting was Held on Jan 22
"Take Out Lunch" Program for Seniors Needs Volunteers
Episcopal Consecration
Holy Week and Easter Services
IPC Lenten Event
Diversity Sunday at Christ Church
From the Parish Register
Stations of the Cross
Around the Parish
Clergy Corner
The Rev. Charles H. Howell, Rector of Christ Church New BrightonLent will soon be upon us, Ash Wednesday is February 22, so it’s time to think about how we will spend this season of special devotion in preparation for Easter.  There are many, many ways one can observe Lent on one’s own – giving up something for Lent, spending extra time in prayer, giving generously to the poor, fasting, Bible reading – but here are some ways Christ Church makes available.

Our Lenten observance begins on Shrove Tuesday, February 21, with a Pancake Supper at 6:00 p.m. in the parish house.  At the end of the supper, we will go outside and burn the palms from Palm Sunday to make ashes for our Ash Wednesday services – a huge fire!  Fun for the whole family!  During the weeks before Shrove Tuesday, bring your old palms to the parish office.

Ash Wednesday, February 22, formally begins Lent.  We will celebrate the Holy Eucharist at 12:15 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. with the Imposition of Ashes at both services.

On the First Sunday of Lent, February 26, we will bless and distribute pocket crosses.  The pocket cross is meant to be a devotional aid to enrich your prayer life during Lent.  The idea is to think of a person you’d like to pray for during Lent and then keep the cross with you during the day –in a pocket, or purse, or on a cord around your neck – as a reminder to pray for that person.  At Easter time, when Lent is ended, you may want to give your cross to the person you’ve been praying for.

Wednesday nights in Lent begin on February 29 and will run until March 28.The evenings will begin at 7:00 p.m. with a service of the Stations of the Cross (see below), followed by a potluck supper at 7:30 p.m.  At 8:00 p.m. the study portion of the evening begins and will end promptly at 9:00 p.m.

For our Lenten study this year, we will read and discuss Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion by Gregory Boyle.    Here is a description of the book from the publisher’s website:

“As a pastor working in a neighborhood with the highest concentration of murderous gang activity in Los Angeles, Gregory Boyle created an organization to provide jobs, job training, and encouragement so that young people could work together and learn the mutual respect that comes from collaboration. Tattoos on the Heart is a breathtaking series of parables distilled from his twenty years in the barrio. Arranged by theme and filled with sparkling humor and glowing generosity, these essays offer a stirring look at how full our lives could be if we could find the joy in loving others and in being loved unconditionally.

From giant, tattooed Cesar, shopping at JC Penney fresh out of prison, we learn how to feel worthy of God’s love. From ten-year-old Lula we learn the importance of being known and acknowledged. From Pedro we understand the kind of patience necessary to rescue someone from the darkness. In each chapter we benefit from Boyle’s wonderful, hard-earned wisdom. Inspired by faith but applicable to anyone trying to be good, these personal, unflinching stories are full of surprising revelations and observations of the community in which Boyle works and of the many lives he has helped save.

“Erudite, down-to-earth, and utterly heartening, these essays about universal kinship and redemption are moving examples of the power of unconditional love in difficult times and the importance of fighting despair. With Gregory Boyle’s guidance, we can recognize our own wounds in the broken lives and daunting struggles of the men and women in these parables and learn to find joy in all of the people around us. Tattoos on the Heart reminds us that no life is less valuable than another.

I read Tattoos on the Heart this summer and was absolutely blown away by it and knew we had to use it for our Lenten study.  Copies of Tattoos on the Heart are available in the parish office for $10.

I hope you’ll take advantage of these and other opportunities to keep a Holy Lent.

Faithfully yours,

Fr. Chuck

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Susan Fowler to be Honored at the Staten Island
Council of Churches Dinner
Susan L. FowlerThe Staten Island Council of Churches 17th Annual Awards Dinner will be held on Thursday, February 2 at 6:00 p.m. at the Old Bermuda Inn. At the Awards Dinner an honoree from each member church is recognized.

Christ Church's honoree this year is Susan Fowler in recognition of her 11 years as chairperson of the Plant and Equipment Committee and her commitment to the feeding ministries of Christ Church.

The cost of the dinner is $45 and reservations must soon be turned in. Please speak to Fr. Chuck as soon as possible if you are interested in attending. 

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Confirmation Class
holy ghostConfirmation class began on Sunday, January 29, but it’s not too late to join.  We will be meeting for ten weeks on Sundays at 11:30 a.m. in the rectory and will be studying and discussing the catechism and the Gospel of Mark.

Confirmation is the laying on of hands by the bishop for those who after a period of prayer and study are ready to take responsibility for the baptismal vows made on their behalf by their godparents. This class is also appropriate for those who were confirmed or made a mature profession of faith in another tradition and now would like to be received into the Episcopal Church.   

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Annual Parish Meeting was Held on January 22nd
As those who attended our Annual Parish Meeting on January 22 were quick to find out, it wasn’t just the New York Giants who had a winning game that Sunday.

At that time, four new Vestry members and a new Warden were elected:

Warden for two years:
Willie Black, Jr.
Vestryperson for three years:
Tony Colucci
Nick Dowen
Linda Reiersen
Sheila Swigert

Father Chuck acknowledged our outgoing Vestrypersons, Willie Black, Jr., Togba Porte, Peter Raff and Hueldine Webb, thanking them for their dedicated service and also presented our outgoing Warden Mark Gherzo, who was presented with a lovely etching of Christ Church by the noted Staten Island artist, Bill Murphy to thank him for his generosity, time, love and support for Christ Church.

Our Treasurer, Dorothy Thompson, noted that 2011 was a historic year for us - it was the first time in several years that we ended the year without a budget deficit!

Barry Donaldson, Artchitect at Lichten CraigBarry Donaldson of Lichten Craig Associates gave a very interesting pictorial presentation of the renovations that are being done in the church and parish house to protect and maintain our lovely and historic buildings.

This was followed by a very informative presentation by Milissa Else of Ruotolo Associates, the fund raising consultants who have been contracted to conduct a feasibility study for our anticipated Capital Campaign.

For those who were unable to attend this important meeting, a copy of the Annual Parish Meeting Report is available in the Parish Office.

One of the highlights of this meeting was a heartfelt chorus of “Happy Birthday” to Fr. Chuck on the occasion of his 50th Birthday, who noted that this was the sixth Annual Meeting over which he had presided. Our best wishes to him as we look ahead to another year of successes and challenges under his loving care and guidance.

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"Take Out Lunch" Program for Seniors Needs Volunteers
The Rev. Deacon Geri SwansonThere is a new Feeding Ministry on Staten Island which is both unique and grounded in the Episcopal churches here. Christ Church, in conjunction with St John's and All Saints', is lending support to a "Take Out" lunch and dinner program established by the Rev. Beverly Neuhaus as part of her secular position as head of Richmond Senior Services. Deacon Neuhaus, along with a faith-based board of directors, including Deacon Swanson, has received funding and from local foundations and support from elected officials to establish a feeding ministry on Staten Island's North Shore with a special eye to seniors.

Twice a week, Wednesday afternoons and Thursday evenings, Deacon Neuhaus and her staff are distributing "take out" meals to hungry North Shore residents. The afternoon meal consists of a vegetarian, chicken or tuna wrap sandwich, a piece of fruit, a small salad and a juice box. The dinner is a hot serving of pasta, poultry or casserole with salad, juice and dessert. If you are available even one Wednesday afternoon or Thursday evening a month and are interested in helping out, please see Deacon Swanson or send her an email.

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Episcopal Consecration
The Rev. Canon Andy DietscheThe Rev. Canon Andrew Dietsche, our Bishop Coadjutor-elect, will be consecrated bishop on March 10 at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. The Richmond Inter Parish Council (IPC) has reserved two buses to take Staten Islanders to the consecration. The buses will leave from Christ Church promptly at 8:00 a.m., and we are requesting that everyone arrive by 7:45 a.m. The cost is $15, which includes the gratuity. Funds are available to defray the cost of the bus if needed, please speak to Fr. Chuck.

Bus reservation forms are available in the parish office, or they can be “downloaded” from our website ( Please fill out the form and return it to Fr. Chuck.

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Surely you’ve noticed the new system in the church and the new chair lift to the second floor auditorium.  Both of these items were paid for by a generous grant of $21,000 from the Northfield Bank Foundation.  The grant was given to improved handicap accessibility, both for those with hearing and those with physical limitations, for our parishioners and the many groups who use our facilities.

Thanks are due also to Barnett Shepherd who wrote the grant, to JD Sound Systems, and to Mobility Elevator.

If you have occasion to do business with Northfield Bank or encounter their employees, please make sure to thank them for their generosity.

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Holy Week and Easter Services at Christ Church
Maundy Thursday - April 5
7:30 p.m. Holy Eucharist & Foot Washing
8:30 p.m. Lamb Supper
9:30 p.m. Compline in the chapel
Vigil at the Altar of Repose in the chapel
Good Friday - April 6
4 p.m. Family Service
7:30 p.m. Good Friday Liturgy
Easter Day - April 8
Holy Eucharist 8:00 a.m. & 10:00 a.m.
An Easter egg hunt follows the 10:00 a.m. service on Easter Day
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IPC Lenten Event
Brother Daniel P. Horan, OFMThis year’s IPC (InterParish Council) Lenten Event will be held on March 18 at 4:00 p.m. at Hemsley Hall of St. Andrew’s Church.  The speaker will be Brother Daniel P. Horan, OFM, author of Dating God, Live and Love in the way of St. Francis.  His topic at the Lenten event will be: The Place of the Franciscan tradition in Our Everyday Lives.  A supper will follow the lecture.  
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Diversity Sunday at Christ Church
Celebrating Diversity through Worship, Love, and Service. Diversity Sunday will be celebrated at Christ Church on February 5, 2012.  As usual, this is expected to be a gala affair and every member of the parish is invited to participate.  After the 10:00 AM service, we will adjourn to the auditorium for Ethnic Food Tasting and entertainment.

If you are interested in being part of the entertainment portion of the program please speak to Willie or Buster Black; if you’d like to contribute a dish for the luncheon please contact Shirley or Connie Black.

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From the Parish Register
February Birthdays
2 – Andrew Schneider; 5 – Ali Alfieri, Fr. John Walsted; 8 – Wolde Archer; 11 – Hal Reiersen, Peter Sipp; 13 – Lisa Rhoades; 14 – Erik Eppinger, Bruce Liozzi; 17 – Malik Archer; 20 – Gene McGough; 22 – Marguerite Bruce, Joseph Gilman, Alleida Mitchell, Martin Noel; 24 – Trevor Mills; 26 – Nicholas Lettiere, Alexia Richards, Alyssa Richards; 28 – Jayne Lamarche

February Anniversaries
4 – Kevin & Mary Larimer; 15 – Nathaniel and Ela Seeley

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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Stations of the Cross
The Stations of the Cross is a local adaptation of a devotion begun in Jerusalem.  In the 4th century a Gallic nun named Egeria made a three year pilgrimage to the Holy Land, and in a letter she wrote home she describes the liturgical practices of the Church in Jerusalem.       

She describes how on Maundy Thursday pilgrims in Jerusalem would walk from the Garden Hebrew, Arabic and Latin - Via Dolorosa, or "the way of suffering"of Gethsemane to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, stopping for appropriate prayers and devotions along the way. For those who could not go to Jerusalem, it became the custom to erect pictorial representations of the events associated with the way to the cross and either out-of-doors or around the walls of the church.

Those praying the Stations of the Cross move from station to station offering appropriate prayers and uniting spiritually with the journey to the cross taken by Jesus.  The number of Stations has varied from seven to thirty but the traditional number is fourteen.

For at least the last five years our supper and study on Wednesday nights in Lent have been preceded by a simple celebration the Holy Eucharist.  Attendance at the Eucharist has been slowly falling so, as the Eucharist is available twice on Sunday and on Thursday morning, exploring a different type of worship may deepen our experience of Lent.  

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Around the Parish
Welcome back to all of our readers. We did take a brief hiatus at the beginning of the year to publish our Annual Meeting edition of the Tower Chimes in January, but we’re back to update you “what’s happening” at Christ Church these days.

The “Voyces” vocal ensemble, under the direction of Beth Johanning held their first concert in December. Kudos to Beth and the singers (including Fr. Chuck, Fr. John Walsted, Fr. Jerry Keucher and Leslie Thompson) for a wonderful evening of song.

Thanks to Marshall Green and Paul Smith who coordinated the Sunday School Christmas Pageant in December. As always, those who participated in the Pageant did an incredible job of bringing the Nativity Story to life on the chancel steps of our church.

In January we celebrated Bill Beveridge’s 90th birthday with a special blessing by Fr. Chuck, a rousing chorus of “Happy Birthday” led by members of the Choir, and a birthday celebration afterwards featuring Bill’s grandson, Sean McLean on the bagpipes. Congratulations, Bill, and best wishes for many more wonderful celebrations ahead.

Speaking of birthdays, we would be remiss in not mentioning Fr. Howell’s 50th Birthday celebration which took place during our January Annual Parish Meeting.

Glad to report that David Seeley is recovering nicely from cardiac problems that he suffered in January. We are glad to have him back with us again on Sunday mornings – members of the choir are especially thankful for his presence.

Sadly, there were some passings of those near and dear to us in the months of December and January. Condolences to Tom Sarff and his family on the passing of his dad, Eric; to Lisa Rhoades on the passing of her grandmother; to the family of Laura Patrick; and to Sheila Swigert on the passing of her partner, Phyllis Fichtenholz

We were also sad to learn of the death of Fr. James Manning, who served as an assistant priest at Christ Church from 1990-1994 when Fr. John Walsted was our rector. Fr. James will be remembered for his beautiful voice, his sermons, his warmth and his outgoing personality.

That’s all for this edition, but there will be more to share with throughout the coming year. If there is news that you’d like to include please feel free to leave a note in the Tower Chimes mail box or send an e-mail to

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