The Tower Chimes, monthly newsletter of Christ Church New Brighton
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In this issue:
Clergy Corner
Vestry Notes
Richmond County IPC Third Annual Picnic
The 10% Solution?
Ascension Day
There's No Such Thing as a Free Lunch?
Pentecost Day Festivities
Enhance the Legacy
Play Ball!
Great Valley Chamber Music Society to Perform at Christ Church
From the Parish Register
Energize and Empower Yourself with "Dancing for Birth"
Farmers for Christ Church
Family Dance
Camp Scholarships
Around the Parish
Clergy Corner
The Rev. Charles H. Howell, Rector of Christ Church New BrightonWhen we lived in Grand Rapids, Michigan, our neighbor across the street was an old man named Andy.  Andy appeared on his porch in mid-April and stayed there into the late fall when the cold and the snow drove him inside.  He would sit on his porch all day long and chat with the neighbors or whoever happened to be walking by.  Nothing – I mean NOTHING – happened on that block without Andy knowing about it.

Because Andy lived directly across the street from me we had plenty of opportunity to talk, and he never tired of telling me about how he sang in the men and boys choir in the 1930s at my church. After school he would take the trolley to choir practice and then walk home when it was over.  He was paid a nickel for each rehearsal and a quarter for each Sunday.  Andy was not an Episcopalian, as far as I know he had no church affiliation, but he recalled his days in the men and boys choir with fondness.  Clearly that experience was an important part of his  childhood, and, I like to think, helped form him as a man, a Korean War veteran, a husband, father, grandfather, and good neighbor.

I thought of Andy on Sunday, May 20 when our Christ Church Community Choir sang with the Richmond Choral Society Youth Chorus and the Clerkes of St. Alban at St. Alban’s Church.  The concert was wonderful and St. Alban’s organist and choirmaster, Kenneth Hamrick, spoke to the audience about the importance of a music education.  He said that a music education actually helps form children’s brains, making connections that are made no other way.    

Episcopal churches have long been involved in children’s music education not only because it’s good for the brain but also because it’s good for the soul.  The psalms speak of the beauty of holiness and children encounter the divine when they encounter our rich musical tradition.

As adults we have an obligation to support these young musicians.  Those of us who love our musical tradition have a strong motivation to welcome these young people in our midst because we realize that they are the next generation of Anglican musicians.  These are the people who will sing in our choirs be our organists long after we are gone.  But, even more important than planning for the future, is to realize that these children are among us here and now.  This is their childhood experience of the Church, and we want it to be a loving, welcoming experience, which they look back on with fondness like my old neighbor.  Singing in Community Youth Choir, or drumming with the Community Youth Drummers, is a way for children to experience God through the beauty of music which is an experience they will treasure throughout their lives. 

Faithfully Yours,  

Fr. Chuck

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Vestry Notes
The regularly scheduled meeting of the Vestry of Christ Church New Brighton took place on Monday, May 14, 2012. The following are highlights of what was discussed that evening:

Committee Reports

Plant & Equipment

  • Victor Stanwick’s newly installed replacement doors, with windows, in the Godly Play classrooms, are a success.
  • Concerns about the condition of a maple tree on the oval will be explored with County Tree Service.
  • Storm gutter drains need to be cleaned professionally. Repairs to the Sacristy roof seem to have stopped the leak into the organ pipe chamber and sacristy.


Elizabeth Gattullo reported that attendance at the Annual Spring Fair/Flea Market on May 5 was limited due to bad weather and the Fair raised only about $1,500.

Worship & Liturgy

  • There will be seven baptisms on Pentecost Sunday, May 27.
  • Confirmation by Bishop Dietsche will take place at the Church of the Ascension at 7:00 P.M. on Ascension Day, May 17. Two Christ Church parishioners will be confirmed and one parishioner will be received into the Episcopal Church.

Appointment of Standing Committee: Finance Committee

  • The Rector announced the names of the persons appointed to the Finance Committee, who are: Mark Gherzo, Chairman; Nick Lettiere; Beth McLean; Dorothy Thompson; Willie Black Jr.; Willie "Buster" Black III; Shirley Elfers; Nick Dowen; Barnett Shepherd; Ron Mazzucco; David Nygard, Vestry Representative; and Richard Zayzay.


The parish group Serendipity is defunct and has approximately $10,000 left in its bank account. It was agreed by consensus to apply the interest from this fund to the Scholarship Committee. The Clerk of the Vestry will compose a thank-you letter and send it to Colin Reed, Serendipity’s president.

Deacon’s Report

  • Deacon Geri Swanson reported that the Christ Church Community Steel Drummers will be performing at the International Dinner on May 19. The drumming program is a success, with two drummers deemed ready for international competition.
  •  Episcopal Charities has awarded Christ Church a $6,000 grant for the Holiday Food Baskets program.

Rector’s Report

  • As usual, the IPC Picnic will take place on Sunday, June 3, at All Saints’ Church, Willowbrook. Christ Church will again be in charge of games.
  • The ASPCA will be at Christ Church on June 16. They will be spaying and neutering feral cats (of which our neighborhood seems to have abundance) in the gym. This will be their first such event on Staten Island.
  • We are all praying for the speedy recovery of Mother Rhoda Treherne-Thomas, who was mugged upon returning to her home after making hospital visitations. She was hospitalized and her prognosis is good.
  • David Nygard thanked the Vestry for the gift of the fruit basket during his recent hospitalization
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Richmond County IPC Third Annual Picnic
The association of Episcopal parishes on Staten Island, the Inter Parish Council (IPC) is hosting its third annual picnic on Sunday, June 3 at All Saints’ Church. This is a good old fashioned church picnic featuring hamburgers, hot dogs, salads, desserts, games for adults and children, and lots and lots of fun in the fun. Christ Church is responsible for children’s games and salads. Please bring a salad to share and, if you would like to help with the games, please speak to Mark Gherzo, Charlotte Hewitt, or Fr. Chuck.
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The 10% Solution?
I chuckled at Father Chuck’s comment recorded in the Vestry Notes of May’s Tower Chimes. Remarking on the many fund-raisers that seem to be a Staten Island peculiarity, Fr. Chuck suggested that an increase in pledges would be an effective means of raising funds. This reminded me of a Dallas the POWER of ten percentnewspaper article many years ago. The city announced an expensive study on the abatement of loud music from rock concerts affecting a neighborhood. One elderly woman astutely asked, “Couldn’t they just turn down the volume?”

Sometimes a solution is quite simple, as both that woman and Father Chuck aptly observed. For 2011, Christ Church pledges were $144,609. Net proceeds from 15 fund-raisers totaled $15,831, which a 10% increase in pledges would almost cover. Many parishioners, like me, probably spend more than that on various dinners, fairs and other events over a year.

Think of the multitude of hours and manpower spent on these fund-raisers – talent that could be directed to other worthwhile projects. Several events, of course, would continue, as they go beyond mere fund-raising and incorporate the fellowship that is essential to parish life. Count me in on the simple solution.

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Ascension Day

On Ascension Day, at the Church of theAscension, Georgia Howell and Madison Marino were confirmed and Albert “Ali” Alfieri was received into the Episcopal Church.

Georgia Howell and Madison Marino were confirmed and Albert “Ali” Alfieri was received into the Episcopal Church.

Here you see them after the ceremony with Bishop Andrew Dietsche. Congratulations to you all.

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There's No Such Thing as a Free Lunch?
A small army of people gather every single Saturday, from noon until one o’clock, at the Trinity Lutheran soup kitchen on the corner of St. Paul’s Avenue and Beach Street, for a free lunch. When they arrive they will sign in at the door and be directed to sit at one of several long picnic-style tables.

There, depending upon which Saturday of the month it is, they will find a group from any one of five different religious organizations that take turns preparing and serving food to this small army of hungry people. Okay, maybe it’s not a small army, but it’s at least a couple of platoons from an army.

The second Saturday of each month is Christ Church’s turn to do the cooking and serving. Christ Church has been involved in this program since the mid-1980’s under the direction of Colin Reed. Susan Fowler and Victor Stanwick took over directing the program from Colin in 1994 when Colin was no longer able to keep up the frantic pace required to keep things moving.  

Hot chili!Maybe you’ve seen the schedule tacked up on the bulletin board in the parish house. There are two or three people assigned to cook a specific meal each month.  Historically we pretty much made macaroni and cheese every single month, but in the last ten years or so we have started to diversify the menu a bit. Nowadays we make cold pasta salads during the hot summer months and hot entrees like elbows and meat sauce and hot dogs and beans during the colder months.

  In May of this year, we had chili and rice and corn bread for the first time, and it was a tremendous hit.

  We ask people to prepare enough food to feed about 40 to 60 people. If we have three people cooking, that makes enough food for 120 to 180 people. I know it sounds like a lot of food, but we very rarely have anything left over. I know it also sounds like a lot of work to prepare that much food. I’ll be honest with you. It is a lot of work. But you can borrow the Christ Church kitchen and its utensils and appliances for the morning to do the cooking, and you will have all the help you think you’ll need in preparing the food. So it’s not all that bad. It’s actually kind of fun.

And it’s very certainly a worthwhile way to spend your time and effort. Believe it or not, there are 20,000 people here on Staten Island who fit into the category of “food insecure.” That means that their precarious financial situation has placed them in a position where they aren’t sure when their next meal will be. And yes, you read that right. Twenty THOUSAND people. Right here on Staten Island. That doesn’t even begin to include hungry people in the rest of the city, the state, or the world.

I have often said that there’s not a whole heck of a lot that I can do to solve the problems of the world. What I can do, however, is to try and help out my little part of Staten Island. If everyone decided to pay a little more attention to their own little area, the rest of the world will be taken care of.

I can afford to set aside a little time each month to help feed people who are less fortunate than me. The volunteers who work for the Second Saturday feeding program are not looking for any special notice or a slap on the back. Let me describe the best part of this program: There you are on a Saturday morning frantically piling food onto plates and sending them out through the service window. You’re harried and frazzled and probably sweating because it’s over a hundred degrees in the kitchen. And then, someone who has just finished their meal walks by on their way out the door and stops for a second, pokes their head into the kitchen and says “Thanks.”

You can be a part of this program. Call Susan or Victor at 718-720-1169 for more information. We can put you on the calendar during whatever month suits your schedule, we can provide all the help you need in cooking and we can make the kitchen at Christ Church available to make it easier on you. If you decide you want to help, let me just say “Thanks.”

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Pentecost Day Festivities

Pentecost Sunday is one of the traditional days in the church year when baptisms take place. This year, Christ Church took it one step further with a procession of handcrafted flames, doves and phoenixes by the Godly Play children during the 10 a.m. service. (Our thanks to their devoted teachers for organizing this wonderful event.)

Deacon Geri Swanson baptizes her grandson, Ian Matthew Basso.

Following Fr. Chuck’s wonderful sermon, seven baptismal candidates and their families and sponsors gathered around the historic wooden baptismal font. Pictures from the service can be found on our website (the pictures on the Home page) courtesy of Victor Stanwick. Congratulations to all of the baptismal candidates: Ian Basso, Christine Gross, Eva Gross, Cora Gross, Christy Nerline, Noah Modzelewski, and Sonja Parrish.

Immediately following the service a bounteous reception for the newly baptized and their families (in the Christ Church tradition) was hosted by Connie Black, Elizabeth Gattullo, Sheila Hewitt, and Christine Sczezepanick.

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Enhance the Legacy
The Enhance the Legacy capital campaign to restore and repair the main tower of the church is off and running.  Members of the capital campaign committee have been trained by the professionals of Ruotolo Associates to call on fellow parishioners and solicit their support for the campaign.  If a capital campaign committee member has not called on you yet, one soon will.

Our goal is $200,000 and we already have $67,000 pledged.  We’re off to a great start –thank you for your support!

Commitment Sunday is Sunday, June 10 – please try to have your pledge in by then, or bring it that Sunday.

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Play Ball!
Staten Island Yankees logoDon’t forget to mark your calendar for the third annual “Christ Church Day with the Staten Island Yankees” which is scheduled to take place this year on Sunday, June 24 beginning at 4 p.m. We’ve got seats all together and out of the sun, for the same price as last year – just $20 per person.

This is a wonderful afternoon of fun, fellowship and baseball – complete with all the hot dogs, soda, and other “stadium foods” that you can eat!

This event has grown in popularity since we introduced it a few years ago and we hope you’ll plan to join us this year. Tickets will be available for sale during the Sunday coffee hour, or you may contact the parish office to reserve a ticket.

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Great Valley Chamber Music Society
to Perform at Christ Church
BrahmsOn Sunday, June 3 at 3:00 P.M., Serenade at Historic Christ Church will feature the Great Valley Chamber Music Society. Works by Brahms, Schumann, Mendelssohn, Poulenc, Ravel and Saint-Säens will be performed.

The concert will be performed at Christ Church New Brighton, 76 Franklin Avenue. It is free to the public. For information call 718-273-3668 or visit Serenade’s web site:

Members of the Great Valley Chamber Music Society who will perform this concert include: Thomas Hrynkiw, piano, Edward Wargo, flute, Thomas Heinze, oboe, and Nick Driscoll, clarinet. Audience members will have a chance to chat with the musicians at a meet-the-artists reception which follows the concert.

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From the Parish Register
June Birthdays

4 – Christopher John Brown; 6 – Arryn Samarisi 8 – Richard Whaley; 9 – Kristin Parrish; 10 – Sean McLean; 11 - Kit Gerney;  12- Anne Beveridge; 13 – Peter Raff; 15 – Claire James, Charles McLean III, Richard Zayzay; 16 – Romeo Zayzay; 18 – Eleanor Larimer, Laila Modzelewski; 22 – Elizabeth Gattullo; 25 – Elizabeth Howell; 26 – Joyce Rowan; 28  Evelise Leila Hutton; 29 – Leslie Thompson, Gregory Brown; 30 – Togba Porte.

June Anniversaries

2 – Matro & Kristin Parrish; 8 – Joseph Ambroggi & Dorothy Thompson; 16 – Roxanne Ingoe & John Gerney; 17 – Peter & Dorothy Sipp; 17 – Richard & Yassah Zayzay;  20 – Robert & Christina Mantz; 23 – J.P. & Stephanie Sipp; 27 – Edward & Kim Davis Sorge.

July Birthdays

5 – Monette McIntosh;  8 – Isabella Rhea Massey; 9 – Sam Williams; 10 – Colin Reed, Williette Thompson; 13 – Brian McLean; 14 – Togba Porte II; 15 – Nick Lettiere, Bonnie Nygard; 16 – Carol Brown, Ryan Johnson; 17 – Marigold Daley Green, Gabriel Noel; 18 – Keith Eppinger; 19 – Sydney George; 21 –Sarah Kanner; 22 – Charlotte Hewitt; 23 – Sheila Swigert; 24 – Marie Mantz; 26 – Ann Sohm, Barnett Shepherd; 27 – Sydney McIntosh, Evelyn Hernandez;  29 – Thomas Eppinger; 30 – Titus Zayzay

July Anniversaries

30 – Constance & Willie Black III;

August Birthdays

2- Edward Schneider; 3- Joseph Ambroggi; 4 – Theresa Gilman, Edwin John, Anthony Williams; 5 – Jane Sharif, Victoria Noel; 8 – Kevin Larimer; 9 – Erin Swanson Basso;  10 – John Watson; 12 – Anne Devlin; 15 – Joseph Zayzay;  21 – Luke Larimer; 23 – Christina Mantz; 24 – Yassah Zayzay, Robert Hayes; 25 – Elizabeth McLean, Laura Mazzucco-Gambino; 28 – David Nygard;  30 – Troy Richards;

August Anniversaries

9 – Ed & Laura Craig; 15 – Charles & Elizabeth McLean, Jay & Ginny Spadaro; 20 – Nick & Nancy Lettiere; 22 – Martin & Christina Noel; 23 – Dick Riley & Marcia Clendenen;

30 – Clyve Hutton & Evelyn Hernandez; 31 – John & Christine Szczepanik

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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Energize and Empower Yourself with "Dancing for Birth"
Christ Church will be hosting a series of dance classes, Dancing for Birth, led by Christ Church parishioner  Dana Caulkins (Green.)

Global dance moves and childbirth wisdom come together in this dance class especially for pregnant women and those who have a babe in arms). Bring a sling or carrier to dance with baby and a hip scarf if your baby is still being carried inside.

No dance experience is necessary. Dana will show you traditional dances that will help you move through labor with grace, and regain your pre-pregnant body. Class meets on Monday nights June 4th, 11th and 18th at 7:15 - 8:30 pm in the Parish House.

Classes are $10-15 each but no one will be turned away for lack of funds. Dana has 15 years of experience as a labor coach, and works as a prenatal nurse on Staten Island.

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Farmers for Christ Church
Connie Black and Shiela Hewitt tending the Christ Church farm.The next time you’re exploring the lovely gardens and grounds of Christ Church be sure to stop by a small patch of land located on the Fillmore Street side of the church. There you’ll find the beginnings of a vegetable garden tended with love and devotion by Connie Black and Sheila Hewitt.

The vegetables from this garden will be donated to members of the Staten Island community through the City Harvest food program. If you’d like to find out more about this program, or would like to help out, please speak with Connie, Sheila or Father Chuck. 

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Family Dance
Yes it is that time of the year when our teens are dancing the night away.

So on June 23, 201 from 7 -11 p.m. The whole Family can dance the night away.

Family Dance graphicThat is right! Come to Christ Church First Family Dance is for the young and the young at heart; Come bring your Family and dance.  Fathers have your first Father’s Dance and Mothers have that first Dance lesson with your Son.

The tickets are fort a Family of four $35.00and  each additional member is $5.00, single Person $10.00.

There will be refreshments, Candy Bar and an Ice Cream Bar.

Come one Come All and Dance the Night Away or Until 11:00 p.m.

For more information you can contact Sheila Hewitt at 718-447-809 or Speak to Connie black or Debbie Lindsay.

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Camp Scholarship
Incarnation Camp logoThe Scholarship Committee is now accepting request for scholarship assistance for Summer Camp programs including Incarnation Camp.  You need to submit a completed summer camp application from the camp with the weeks your child(ren) will be attending and the total cost of the camp.

The request for scholarship assistance for all other Summer camp program should be submitted no later than June 27, 2012 for consideration. 

 For Camp Incarnation if you apply before June 10, 2012 the following discounts will be available through the camp and transportation to and from camp will be FREE.

Program Price
1st Time Campers Ages 7-9
4 weeks sessions starting 6/24/12 - 7/23/12

Campers Ages 10-11
2 weeks session 8/5/12 -8/18/12

Campers 14-15
4 Weeks session 7/22/12 -8/18/12


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Around the Parish
Summer is right around the corner and this will be our last column – at least until September! Here’s a brief update on what’s been going on at Christ Church lately.

In just the space of one just one month (May) Christ Church parishioners took part in and or supported our annual Spring Fair, International Tasting Dinner, Wine Tasting - in addition to confirmation and SEVEN baptisms. And let’s not forget the Serenade Concerts and performances by the Christ Church Community Youth Choir. There’s no question that many of us will need the entire summer to rest up for our fall and winter activities!

Congratulations to Mark Hewitt, the oldest son of Charlotte Hewitt who placed 7th overall in the NCAA Division 1 New England Decathalon. Mark currently attends the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and is majoring in Aeronautical Engineering. His brother, Tovin, who is attending Embry Riddle Aeronautics University in Daytona Beach, Florida, has been named to the Dean’s List. Tovin plans to enter the field of Air Traffic Control Management when he graduates next year.

And best wishes for a speedy recovery go out to Mother Rhoda Treherne-Thomas who was mugged on her way home from her chaplaincy assignment at Staten Island University Hospital. Mother Rhoda is currently recuperating at home.

Edward "Born to Raise Hamsters" FowlerCondolences to Susan Fowler and Victor Stanwick on the passing of Susan’s dad, Edward Fowler, last month. Our prayers are with you during this sad time.

Best wishes to our readers for a restful and enjoyable summer. See you all in September!

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