December 2013
  1. Clergy Corner
  2. Deacon's Corner
  3. Vestry Notes
  4. Serenade Concert
  5. Annual Wine Tasting
  6. Twelve Paintings of Christ
  7. Fr. John Walsted
  8. From the Parish Register
  9. Senior Recital
  10. NIA Fitness Classes
  11. Baptism
  12. Episcopal Charities Sunday
  13. IPC Picnic
  14. Multi-Faith Journey to Auschwitz
  15. Around the Parish
  16. Save the Date

Clergy Corner

Fr. Charles H. Howell

The Rev. Charles H. Howell, Rector of Christ Church New BrightonThe big news at Christ Church is that soon we will begin work on our tower restoration project.

Where we are now

Our architect, Barry Donaldson of Lichten Craig Donaldson, has completed a set of drawings, which are being used to solicit construction bids.  In addition to being highly technical, these drawings are also works of art.  They will soon be posted in the parish hall so everyone can see exactly what’s going to be done.  Currently Barry is soliciting bids from three general contractors, and he will soon make a recommendation to the vestry.  The vestry has final authority over the tower restoration project, but the day-to-day work is being handled by a construction oversight committee:  Marshall Green, Mark Gherzo, Beth McLean, Barnett Shepherd, Rich Whaley, and the Rector.

Where we have been

In 2012 we began the Enhance the Legacy Capital Campaign under the leadership of Barnett Shepherd, chairperson, and Shirley Elfers, Mark Gherzo, and Hudeline Webb, co-chairpersons.  Our pledge goal was $200,000, and we exceeded that with pledges of $206,000.  To date we have received $127,000 in pledges.  Thank you, Christ Church for your generosity and dedication to our parish.

If you are new to Christ Church or were somehow missed during the solicitation phase of the capital campaign and would like to pledge now, please speak to Barnett or me.

In addition to the money we have raised internally, Christ Church was awarded a $150,000 grant, payable over three years, by the Property Support Committee of the Diocese of New York.  We continue to pursue other grant opportunities through state and local sources and are hopeful that our requests will be granted.

Where we going next

If everything goes according to plan, work will begin in the late spring or early summer.  Work will begin first on the outside, removing mortar, rebuilding the top portion of tower, and repairing masonry.  Work will then move inside; the mortar will be removed but not until after the summer weddings and until the organ is properly protected from dust.  Because of the dust and scaffolding, we will be unable to use the church during all or part of August and will worship either in the Guild Room (air conditioning!) or the auditorium.  After the mortar is removed from the inside of the tower, it will be left out for a year to allow the stones to dry thoroughly.  Next spring work will resume and the interior of the tower will be repointed.

At the same time that the work on the interior of the tower is taking place, we will at long last install a fire detection system to ensure the safety of our historic church and of the people who worship in it.  This work is made possible thanks to a generous donation from The Isabel G. Thompson Charitable Remainder Trust, which was established by Leslie Thompson’s parents Arthur and Diddy Thompson.

So … Here we go.  Our buildings are not the church, we are, but they are the locus of our community and our identity.  Our ancestors in the faith left us a magnificent legacy, and we are fortunate that we are now in a position to do our part to enable them to continue to serve God’s people.

Faithfully yours,

Fr. Chuck

Top of Page

Deacon's Corner

The Rev. Deacon Geri Swanson

Don't "dis" the Magdalene

On Good Friday afternoon, before the three hour service at St Mary's and the traditional Good Friday service in the evening at my parish of Christ Church, I got into a "Facebook" tussle with a "friend" of one of my online "friends".  And, in the words of John Lennon, " I should have known better..."

This guy...that is how I have decided to refer to him...made a flippant remark about how Jesus dined with "women of ill repute" (he did not exactly put it that way) at the Last Supper, and by way of twisted analogy, it was perfectly acceptable for his online "pal" to take his daughter to Outback Steakhouse on Good Friday for lunch. 

Now, both of these visual images left me somewhat "gob smacked", as the Brits often say, but I was more distressed about his implication about who was present at the last Supper and the kind of career choices they had made.

In response to this post I inquired if he was referring to Mary Magdalene, to which he responded in the positive.  That set me off.

And I let myself be drawn into a counterproductive Facebook back-and- forth in which I was accused of having no sense of humor. I usually do, but not when I encounter faulty theology. I pointed out that the most recent Biblical research contends that this is not the case, and suggested he also take at look at a non-canonical text called "The Gospel of Mary".  I indicated that the Eastern Church has always referred to Mary as "The Disciple to the Disciples", and hold her in high regard.

I know that Dan Brown in his novel and resulting movie "The DaVinci Code" implied a more familial relationship between Jesus and Mary Magdalene, but I consider that just a good read, and not necessarily good theology. ( Yes, one can enjoy fiction for what it is...fiction)

Just to set the record straight, Mary Magdalene is mentioned about a dozen times in the four Gospels: she is named as one of the women who financially supported Jesus' mission, she was present at the Crucifixion, and she is a witness to the risen Christ. Her name implies that she is from Magdala, a town on the Sea of Galilee that was known for the production of salted important part of the diet of the residents of Israel.  She is often confused with Mary the sister of Martha and Lazarus, or the woman about to be stoned for adultery or, finally,  the repentant sinner who washed Jesus' feet with expensive ointment and her tears.  The Roman Catholic Church declared in 1969 that the Magdalene is NOT the repentant sinner...a giant step forward in re-establishing her as an important figure in the story of Jesus and his earthly work.

So, did all this  new information persuade this guy that he needed to take a refresher course in "Christianity 101"?...I suspect not, but at least I got to share a small piece of Church History with several folks on Facebook who might not know who the Magdalene really was.

Top of Page

Vestry Notes

Nick Dowen

The regularly scheduled meeting of the Vestry of Christ Church New Brighton took place on Monday, April 14, 2014. The following are highlights of what was discussed that evening:

Plant & Equipment

Nominating Committee

Christ Church Community Outreach


Pastoral Care

Youth Acolytes

Financial Secretary’s Report

Rector’s Report

Fr. Howell reported  that the last Indaba gathering at St. Augustine’s Church and environs, Manhattan, was a wonderful event.

Top of Page

Serenade Concert on Sunday, May 4th

The Omni Piano Quartet
Valerie Quinlan

The Omni Piano Quartet will perform works by Mozart and Faure on Sunday, May 4 at 3 p.m. at Christ Church. The concert is free to the public and a meet-the-artists reception follows the concert in the Parish House.
The Mozart work is his one of his most famous, the piano quartet in G Minor, K478. The Faure quintet in C Minor, Opus 15, is one of the most popular works in the chamber music repertoire. For info call 718-273-3668 or visit Serenade’s web site:

We are very pleased to present this ensemble, which thrilled Serenade’s audience in 2011. The artists are, Susan Ornstein, violin; Ronald Carbone, viola; David Heiss, cello; and Thomas Schmidt, piano.

The Omni Piano Quartet has delighted audiences at the Canaan Chamber Music Festival, the Red Bank Chamber Music Society, CUNY/Staten Island, and other venues. Drawn from the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Composers String Quartet and Arden Trio, its members explore the wide variety of music in their medium with all its combinations and expressive possibilities.

Top of Page

Annual Wine Tasting

Thoughtfully selected wines from Old & New World
Plus Cheeses, Fruit & Desserts
Friday, May 2 at 6:00 p.m.
Hosted by Billie and Carl Ludders
124 Tysen Street
Presented by Lori Honor of
36 Bay Street in St. George
718.954.0452 –
Honor Wines is the Island’s only “green” wine shop, supporting both old world and new world growers specializing in smaller yield, beautifully crafted natural, organic and sustainable wines that are delicious and speak of “place.”
$50 per person benefiting Christ Church outreach
Reservation deadline: April 28
Further info: David or Daniel Wood 718-816-5831.

Top of Page

Twelve Paintings of Christ
in the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Barnett Shepherd

A Seminar and Guided Tour led by Barnett Shepherd

Barnett Shepherd
The Seminar
Wednesday, May 7, 7:30 p.m.
 at Christ Church

The Guided Tour
Saturday, May 10, 8:30 a.m. departure from Christ Church to Metropolitan Museum
This program will show how eleven fine artists conveyed their understanding of Christ and the church's message.  We will so explore the meaning of Christ's life for us.  Can these images of Christ enrich our understanding and devotional life today?  By looking at these pictures, do we feel closer to the historical Christ?  Are personal religion and an emotional response to Christ's life needed for effective ministry in the world?

Participants may choose one or both sessions.  The first session is free.  Arrangements for the second session to visit the Metropolitan Museum will be discussed further at the close of the first session.

Reservations: Telephone Christ Church at 718.727.6100.

Top of Page

Fr. John Walsted

Fr. Chhuck

As many of you already know, Fr. John Walsted, our Rector Emeritus, recently had a MRI, which showed lesions on the brain. He underwent successful surgery at Staten Island University Hospital, which, as planned, removed the largest mass.

I know I don't need to ask; please keep Fr. John in your prayers.

Top of Page

From the Parish Register

Cathy Romano

1 – Lindsay Kennedy; Jessica Szczepanik; 6 – Carolyn Hodnick; 9 – Victoria Gilbert; 11 – Shirley Elfers, Etta Johnson; 13 – Chloe Lee; 14 – Tara Smock; 16 – Connie Black;  17 – Kelly Collins; 18 – David Holt, Richard Jackson; 19 – Agnes Thompson; 23 – Tracy Williams; 28- Roxanne Ingoe, Fidel Zayzay;  30 – Jay Szczepanik; 31 – Cesar Gardiner, Dick Riley

May Anniversaries
2 – Daniel Mackta & Adrienne Abbate; 5 – David Nygard & Lisa Rhoades; 9 – Lester Blair & Hueldine Webb; 11 – Sam & Tracy Williams; 12 -  Hugo & Andrea McIntosh; 26 -  Scott & Arryn Samarisi.

If your special day is not in our records, call the Parish Office at 727-6100 so it can be added.

Top of Page

Senior Recital

Katherine Liu

Katherine Liu will be giving her Senior Violin Recital on Monday, May 5 at a 6:30 p.m. at Campus Hall, Performance Center at Wagner College.

Katherine, who grew up at Christ Church, is a dual major in Childhood Education and Music at Wagner College.  She has been accepted at Julliard School of Music for 2014 where she will be pursing her Master of Music degree.

Top of Page

Fitness Classes at Christ Church

Christ Church is hosting fitness classes on Thursdays from 10 -11 a.m. and also from 6:45 – 7:45 p.m.

The program, “Nia: Joyful Movement for Body & Soul” is a combination of martial arts, dance arts and yoga that encourages people to find the joy that lives in their body.

Cost  is $10 per class; subscribe to 10 classes and get one free. For further info please contact the Parish Office at 718-727-6100 or you can call the class instructor, Toni, at 917-324-5025.

Top of Page


The next occasion for Holy Baptism is Pentecost Day, June 8 at the 10:00 a.m. Eucharist.  If you or someone in your family is interested in arranging a baptism, please speak to the Rector.

Top of Page

Episcopal Charities Sunday

May 11 is Episcopal Charities Sunday (it is also Mother’s Day and the Christ Church Community Youth Choir will sing at the 10:00 a.m. Eucharist).  Episcopal Charities is the outreach arm of the Diocese of New York and provides funding for parish-based programs, which serve children and adults in need on a non-sectarian basis.

Christ Church receives two grants from Episcopal Charities: One for our after school arts enrichment program (the Christ Church Community Youth Choir and the Christ Church Community Youth Drummers) and one for our Holiday Basket Program and to provide subsidized shares for Staten Island Community Supported Agriculture.

The money collected on Sunday is designated exclusively for the 45 parish-based feeding programs in the Diocese of New York.

Top of Page

IPC Picnic

The Inter Parish Council (the association of the ten Episcopal Churches on Staten Island) will have its annual spring picnic on Sunday, June 1 at All Saints' Church, 2329 Victory Blvd.

Top of Page

Multi-Faith Journey to Auschwitz

The Building Bridges Coalition is sponsoring a multi-faith journey to Auschwitz and other sacred sites.  The trip will be July 6 - 13 and cost $2350 plus airfare.  The cost includes night accommodations, 6 breakfasts, 6 packed lunches and dinners, guides, and admissions.

For more information, see the poster in the parish hall or speak to Fr. Howell.

Top of Page

Around the Parish

Nancy Reiersen-Scromo

The calendar tells us that spring has arrived -  here’s hoping that Mother Nature has gotten the message!  While we wait, here’s a little update on what’s been going on at Christ Church.

   Please keep fellow parishioner David Spitz in your prayers as he slowly recuperates from a compound fracture of his ankle. Get well wishes also go out to our Treasurer, Dorothy Thompson, who is recuperating from a broken wrist. Continued prayers for recovery also go out to our good friend, Bp. Don Taylor as he continues to recuperate from a stroke.

Congratulations to Deacon Geri Swanson on the marriage of her son, Robert,  to Stephanie Prucha on April 4.

Best of luck to parishioner Stephon Lynch as he begins Basic Training at Great Lakes Naval Base. Last month Stephon was presented with the  Episcopal Service Cross during our Sunday worship service.

Condolences to the family of long-time parishioner John Lehman who passed away in his home in Florida last month.

Congratulations to Nick Lettiere who received the Mason of the Year award from the Richmond Masonic Association.                                                         

If you have some news you’d like to add please drop me a line at or leave me a note in the Tower Chimes mailbox.

Top of Page

Save the Date

Sunday, June 1
Annual IPC Spring Picnic at All Saints Church

Saturday, June 7
Christ Church Spring/Antiques Fair

Top of Page