December 2013
  1. Clergy Corner
  2. Parish Picnic September 7
  3. Recognizing Our Ushers
  4. Memorial Cross is Blessed
  5. Deacons' Corner
  6. Deacons in the Early CHurch and Today
  7. Godly Play
  8. Congratulations
  9. Journey to Adulthood: A Program of Spiritual Formation for Young People
  10. Vestry notes
  11. Minutes of the Special Meeting of the Vestry of Christ Church New Brighton
  12. WANTED: Coffee Hour Hosts & Hostesses
  13. Around the Parish
  14. From the Parish Register
  15. The Parish Prayer List

Clergy Corner

Fr. Charles H. Howell

The Rev. Charles H. Howell, Rector of Christ Church New BrightonI spent the first week of my recent vacation in a simple cabin on a little lake in central Michigan.  Our days were completely unstructured: We spent time swimming, kayaking, fishing, cooking, spending time with my sister and her family, building bonfires, and cooking s’mores.  One of the great things about the unstructured time of vacation is that it eliminates distractions, simplifies life, and helps you get back to basics.

 I spent the second week of my recent vacation by my dad’s bedside in the hospital.  Hospital days are also almost completely unstructured: We waited for the doctor to make rounds, for the nurse to change the IV, for test results to come back from the lab.  Time in the hospital also takes us back to basics.  On the second day of his hospitalization, his priest visited.  We all held hands, he prayed with us, and we said the Lord’s Prayer together.  I was reminded that this is what our faith is all about: To stand together before God, expressing our deepest concerns, and supporting one another.  Everything else we do in the church and in the world, important as those things are, is a response to faith.  I find that I’m often so immersed in those other things that I lose sight of the basics of our faith.  As sad as the circumstances were, I’m grateful to be reminded of the simple basics at the heart our faith.

Fr. Chuck

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Parish Picnic September 7

The Fundraising Committee would like you to join us for a FREE, FAMILY-FUN-FILLED, ALL YOU CAN EAT PICNIC on Sunday, September 7 immediately following the 10 a.m. service. The will activities for everyone, food from the grill, salads, desserts and much more!


From The Grill
Hot dogs and hamburgers with all the trimmings
Potato; 3-Bean; Cole Slaw;
Side Dishes
Mac & Cheese; Baked Beans
Watermelon; Cookies; Brownies; Cupcakes
Lemonade; Iced Tea; Coffee

This is a FREE event but any donations to help defray costs are most welcome. Please be sure to put your name on the Sign-Up sheets in the Parish Hall or complete the flier that you’ll find in your Sunday Bulletin.

Invite a friend or neighbor: this is a great way to introduce someone to Christ Church.

Please join us as we bid a fond farewell to summer and mark the start of the fall season.

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Recognizing Our Ushers

Catherine Barnett

On Sunday, September 14, there will be a recognition of Christ Church's ushers, to thank them for their volunteer efforts. This is a very important ministry since our ushers are the first faces that many visitors see when they come to our church. In addition, our ushers are always working “behind-the-scenes” handling any “emergency situations” that might occur during the service.

Immediately following the coffee hour that day there will also be a brief meeting for current ushers as well as those who are interested in serving in this important ministry for the coming year. For more information, please contact Connie Black, chairperson of the Ushers Guild.

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Memorial Cross is Blessed

Last month Fr. Chuck blessed a lovely cross which was designed and constructed to be placed in a memorial flower garden in memory of Andre Black, son of Willie and Shirley Black. Shown here is Andre’s brother “Buster” holding the cross that was blessed by Fr. Chuck at the 10 a.m. service.

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Deacon's Corner

The Rev. Dn. Geri Swanson

What do I like most about summer?  I love the beautiful summer sunrises and sunsets that I get to view from my apartment.  I love that I can walk so short a distance and relax at Lyons Pool in Tompkinsville. And I love the plethora of flowering plants that assail the senses of sight and scent as we pass by them.  But the thing I love most about summer is the ability to enjoy so many fresh fruits and vegetables in this season of plenteousness.

Melons, peaches, plums, nectarines, blackberries, tomatoes, peppers and summer squashes are all so much more flavorful in summertime. So many of our parishioners have wonderful home gardens .  Connie Black and Shelia Hewitt  also lovingly tend our own community gardens here at Christ Church.

But sometimes the home harvest can be overwhelming. A family member recently begged me to take home some more summer squash as the family’s garden was in overtime production.  I took two…how much squash can one person be expected to eat in a week?  I know how difficult it can be to give away that green zucchini in August when the whole neighborhood is awash in squash, but there is a solution.

Are you willing to share your bounty with local families who are food insecure?  There are plenty of folks waiting on lines at Food Pantries across this Island who would jump at the chance to get their hands on some fresh tomatoes, peppers, and even the ubiquitous zucchini to stretch their food budgets and offer healthy alternatives to their families.  You may not be aware, but here in New Brighton, we are in a food desert.  Not too many healthy choices in food selection can be made year round.

Our community garden here at Christ Church provides fresh produce for our Second Saturday program and sends excess to Richmond Senior Services for their choice food pantry.  Now there is another option.

Susan Fowler and I are members of  the  Give to Grow committee of the SI Hunger Task Force which sponsors a terrific program which matches home gardeners with nearby food pantries that would take your bumper crop and spread it around the neighborhood to folks who would appreciate benefiting from your bounty.  If you are interested in being a part of this important ministry let me know and I’ll get you hooked up with a group on the North Shore.

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Deacons in the Early Church and Today

The Rev. Dn. Novella Lawrence

Acts 6: Verses 2,3 and 5(NIV)  “Then the 12 gathered all of the disciples together and said, ‘It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the Word of God in order to wait on tables.  Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom.  We will turn this responsibility over to them.  This proposal pleased the whole group and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas and Nicolas.  They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid hands on them.’”

And so the first Deacons were established in the church.  The Diaconate Ministry is primarily a servant ministry.  It is our responsibility to provide care for those in the church and in the world.  As Deacon Geri continues to serve the world through her many ministries such as Soup Kitchens,Hurricane Sandy relief and more,  I have been called to serve  the sick, the elderly and the bereaved.  That has been my ministry ever since I first read the Book of Acts many years ago.  I was motivated by the accounts of the members of the early church and the way they cared for  each other. Acts:2 “As any had need.”

One may ask what our members need today that they cannot receive from other sources?   Those needs can be physical, material, emotional or spiritual support.  We need only to look at our burgeoning  prayer list to even imagine what those needs are. 

One of our Readings last month was from Romans 6: 4-8.  It said “For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.  We have different gifts, according to the grace given us.  If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith, if it is serving then serve; if it is teaching then teach; if it is encouragement  then give encouragement; if it is giving then give generously; if it is leading then lead, do it all diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.”

This is a parish with many  gifts and you can see Love in Action in the various ministries here.   Fr. Howell has asked me to share my gifts of  Pastoral Care.  I now ask you, to reflect on your spiritual gifts. Do you  have the gift of mercy, encouragement, serving others?  Do you feel so called?

As your Deacon for Pastoral Care, I will be seeking members who will walk alongside of me in this Servant Ministry  of visiting the sick, preparing emergency meals as needed, assisting  the bereaved, taking Holy Communion to shut-ins and various other needs.  Please join me for a special conversation as we discern what this ministry looks like and how you can become involved.  A date for this will be announced later this month.  If you wish to speak to me beforehand please feel free to do so after the Sunday service or you may contact me by phone or e-mail. 347 581-1082 and

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Godly Play

Mary Larimer

This fall we begin another year of Godly Play, the Montessori-based Sunday school program that we host each fall, winter, and spring at Christ Church. The program has grown with our congregation; we now have three classes to accommodate the number of children attending church these days. Our teachers this year include Marshall Green, Christine Gross, Liz Howell, David Nygard, Christina Noel and Sandra Cocks.

The Reverend Dr. Jerome W. Berryman writes in his book Teaching Godly Play, “The goal of Godly Play is for children to move through the spiral curriculum during early, middle and late childhood in such a way that they will enter adolescence with an inner working model of the classical Christian language system to root them deeply in the Tradition and at the same time allow them to be open to the future.”

This is what we, as teachers, strive to do through our classes, following Berryman’s six objectives to achieve our aim. We try to model how to wonder about the stories we are presenting—to demonstrate to our children how to think through some of the complex lessons they are learning. We strive to show our children how to create meaning, in the way we present the stories and through our wondering, silence, and play. We invite our children to process the stories through drawing, painting, and playing, providing them with a safe space to confront their existential and ethical questions.

We organize our classes around the structure of our religious service—we gather, listen to the scripture, respond to the lesson, share a feast, and end with a blessing. We support our children by challenging them to participate constructively. And, finally, we clarify the teachings to help children internalize the sacred stories, parables, liturgical action, and contemplative silence.

We look forward to gathering our children together again, and to continuing our commitment to mentor their spiritual development. Registration for Godly Play will take place on September 7; the first classes will begin on September 14. I am always happy to answer any questions or address any concerns about Godly Play (; (718) 285-4936). See you soon! —Mary Larimer, Godly Play Coordinator.

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Congratulations to Brian McLean (son of Beth and Chip McLean) and Cora Piselli who were married on August 16 at the historic landmark, Boscobel House and Gardens, in Garrison, NY.

His aunt, the Reverend Deacon Robin Beveridge, officiated at the ceremony.  The reception was held at the Hollow Brook Country Club in Cortlandt, NY.

Brian is a Doctor of Physical Therapy in Harrison, NY and Cora is a Physician's Assistant for an Orthopedic Surgeon in Yonkers, NY.

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Journey to Adulthood: A Program of Spiritual Formation for Young People

Lisa Rhoades

“Spiritual Formation” means learning by engaging in Christian practices and then reflecting on them afterwards. This “doing” and “reflecting” helps us to “form” young people in the faith. Instead of just talking about Christian service, we SERVE. Instead of teaching about prayer, we PRAY. Instead of sharing about Christian Community we actively and intentionally work to BUILD community. Instead of telling our young people how special they are we SHOW them thru special liturgical celebrations like Rite-13 Liturgy.

This fall our Journey to Adulthood program year begins with classes on September 14th followed that afternoon at 4 pm by a cookout at the home of class member Amy Stambaugh.   This is just the start of a busy year of church school, social and service activities.  Watch for our class to host a Coffee Hour this fall, head out to the movies after church on October 5, serve at the soup kitchen at Trinity Lutheran Church on Saturday, October 11, make our yearly pilgrimage to St. Andrew’s Fright Night later that month and MUCH MORE.

Parishioners are invited to be actively involved in Journey to Adulthood. From taking a turn or two in chaperoning special events to assisting in organizing fundraisers or serving as guest teachers, the opportunities abound. It is our sincerest hope that the entire parish experiences Journey to Adulthood as life giving, too, as they guide and nurture our children thru adolescence.

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Vestry Notes

Nick Dowen

The regularly scheduled meeting of the Vestry of Christ Church New Brighton took place on Monday, June 9. Following are highlights of what took place that evening.

Committee Reports
 Plant & Equipment

Christ Church Community Outreach

Fund-Raising Committee

Pastoral Care Committee

Evangelism Committee

Cub Scout Pack 76

Deacon’s Report

Rector’s Report

The Rector noted that the plans for a Soup Kitchen at Christ Church are going forward, one step at a time.

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Minutes of the Special Meeting of the Vestry of Christ Church New Brighton

Nick Dowen

A special meeting of the Vestry of Christ Church New Brighton took place on Sunday, July 27.

It was moved and seconded to spend $349,000 under contract to Seaboard Construction for the Tower restoration project. The exterior work will begin as soon as possible with the construction of outside scaffolding.  Interior work will come later.  The Rector noted that the Christ Church Capital Campaign will finance the work, as well as the Episcopal Diocese of New York and other grant-making sources.     

 Construction Oversight Committee

The Construction Oversight Committee is chaired by the Rector.  The committee members are Elizabeth McLean, Mark Gherzo, Marshall Green, Barnett Shepherd and Richard S. Whaley.

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WANTED: Coffee Hour Hosts & Hostesses

Sheila Hewitt

It’s that time of year again – the time we look for parishioners to host the Sunday coffee hour following the 10 a.m. service for the year 2014.

This is an important and rewarding ministry and many of our members truly feel that it is a continuation of the Sunday worship service.

Sign-up sheets will be posted on the bulletin board of the Parish House and I hope that you all will give some thought to being a Sunday host. For those of you who are unable to host the coffee hour, you still have the option of sponsoring the coffee hour and providing the food - arrangements will be made to serve the food that day.

This is also an opportunity for parishioners who wish to host their own special coffee hour to celebrate a special date or occasion.

Regardless of which date you choose please keep in mind that coffee hour is presented as seen through your eyes. Christ Church supplies the plastic tablecloth, sugar, sweeteners, and hot cups. cold cups, plates, napkins, coffee, tea, small plates, napkins, decaf coffee, decaf tea and cutlery.

There are still some dates available for 2014.   For more information Contact Sheila Hewitt 718-447-8049.

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Around the Parish

Nancy Reiersen

Welcome back, one and all! It has been a very  busy summer here at Christ Church.

The second season of Vacation Bible School took place in August and it was a rousing success. A big “thank you” to the teachers, helpers and support staff who made it all possible.

Best wishes for a speedy recovery to Sheila Swigert who is on the mend after surgery and a brief hospital stay last month.  And please continue to keep David Spitz in your prayers as he continues to recover from a rather extensive injury to his ankle.

Congratulations to Andrea Morse and Peter Raff on their August wedding. The happiness and joy were quite apparent to all who shared in their happy day.

A warm welcome to Deacon Novella Lawrence who joined us this summer. We are pleased to have her in our midst and are looking forward to the many new opportunities for pastoral care that she will be working on.

Sending out best wishes to Zahara, a frequent visitor to our Sunday worship services for a safe journey back to her homeland, Iran. Over the past few years Zahara and her granddaughter were familiar faces at our 10 a.m. service and they shall be missed.

It’s going to be a busy year at Christ Church and we’ll try to keep you updated each month on all of the “doings.”

If you do have something that you’d like to include in that issue please feel free to e-mail me at or leave a note in the Tower Chimes mailbox in the Parish Office.

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From the Parish Register

September Birthdays
2—Evelyn Zayzay; 3- Alayne Gilbert, 4 – Catherine Barnett, Ela Seeley; 9 –Karen Smith; 11 – Madalyn Samarisi; 13 – Samara Christopher, Kimara Jean-Mary; 15 – Linda Reiersen; 16 – Claire Kennedy; 18 – David Reiersen; 20 – Nancy Reiersen-Scromo; 21 – Mary Larimer; 22 – Matthew Devlin, Bonnie Franz;  25 - Shirley Black, Charles Forman Stephanie Sipp, Maya Modzelewski;  27 – Willie Black IV, Luke Smock.

September Anniversaries
2– Kirstin Swanson & Brian Basso; 9 – Garry & Nancy Scromo; 17 – Susan Fowler & Victor Stanwick.

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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The Parish Prayer List

It"s time once again to update the prayer list.  Please review the list below and call the parish office by Tuesday, September o if you would like a name to remain on the prayer list.  A name can be added to the prayer list at any time, but names which are not renewed will be removed.

Robin Beveridge, Shirley Black, Willie Black, Jr., Charles W. Blake, Gregory Brown, Patricia Brown-Prestia, Fr. Steve Challman, Jessie Cinelli, Gilbert Cocks, Inez Colborne, Laura Craig, Gerri DiFonzo, Ruth DiToro, Marlene Elia, Gary Ellengold, Billy Fowler, Amanda Freeman Taylor, Barbara Finnerty, Christina Gialombardo, Tina Grosick, Fr. Joseph Howell, William Johnson, Michelle Lane, Nancy LeClair-Mortimer, Robert Leverock, Jessie Luke, Joyce Mandel, William Marcus, Donna Marlak, Janet Massa, Sunitha Massey, Andrea McIntosh, Hugo McIntosh, Sr., Linda Messermer, Anthony Mobilia, Lynne Morishita, Juan Negron, Cecily Nordstrom, Linda Oppenheimer, Nicholas Panetta, Ryan Perrotta, Catherine Pupello, Jayme Robertson, Joyce Rowan, Meg Rowan, Phil Francis Scalcione, Ann Sohm, David Spitz, Edna Swanson, Evelyn Tuthill, Sophia Vazquez Pazos, Roberta Wagner, Robert Wandlaincourt, Laura Wyss, and Eileen Elliott Yates.

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