Etching of Christ Church By Bill Murphy


Clergy Corner

The Rev. Charles H. Howell, Rector of Christ Church New BrightonThe Rev. Charles H. Howell, Rector of Christ Church New Brighton

Over the last few weeks I‘ve had the opportunity to have significant interactions with our youth, and it’s been wonderful.

On April 18 Christ Church hosted a youth rally for the Episcopal youth of Staten Island. As it turned out, we were also joined by youth from two Lutheran churches and St. John’s Episcopal Church in Kingston. This youth rally had been in the planning for months and was the fruit of ongoing discussions among the clergy and wardens of our Staten Island parishes about ways we can work together. Doing island-wide youth events allows youth from parishes with youth groups to participate in large events and to meet new people, and island-wide events also allow youth in parishes without youth groups to have a youth group experience.

I thought the youth conference was a big success. We started with get-to-know- you games and singing, both organized and led by the leaders of the diocesan youth conference – these people know what they’re doing. When each person arrived, they were given a colored bracelet. At lunch we gathered in the oval in groups corresponding to the colored bracelets and brainstormed about what we would like to do next as an island-wide youth group. In the afternoon we had a question and answer session in which the youth could ask members of the clergy anything they wanted. That was followed by a liturgical fashion show, complete with pounding music and vestment-wearing models and a closing Eucharist.

My favorite part of the day was the question and answer session. Many of the questions the youth asked were serious and insightful, stimulating free-ranging conversation. There’s a lot going on in the heads of our youth. They are serious and questioning, trying, as we all are, to make sense of the world and their places in it. They are trying to see how the faith they have been taught as children applies to their adult lives. They are passionate and want their lives to have meaning that transcends daily concerns.

My second significant recent interaction with our youth was teaching the Rite 13 class last week. Our assignment was to study the Lord’s Prayer. I printed out each phrase of the Lord’s Prayer and, after discussing each phrase, asked each student to write their interpretation. Again, I was impressed by the students’ sensitivity and insight. I was particularly impressed by how they handled the difficult line “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” They wrote things like “Help us to resist temptation, but because we are flawed bring us back if we relapse” and “Give us obstacles, but help us through them” and “Lead us not into the wrong but protect us from it” and Lead us not into evil but forgive us when we stray” and “Help us overcome obstacles by resisting temptations, and guide us out if we have been tempted.”

We often say that the youth are the future of the Church, and that is true in a kind of self-serving way, as if the only point of caring for the youth is to ensure the future of the institution. The truth is that the youth are the Church right now, and they have unique needs that must be addressed. The teen years, as we all remember, are a time of thinking and questioning. Teens are influenced by many things – their families, their friends, their school, and the culture – and the Church should be one of those influences as well. Adults who are committed Christians often made their decision during their tumultuous teen years. As we plan for the future of Christ Church and imagine where we’d like to be five or ten years from now, we must prioritize the needs of our children and youth, expending both human and financial resources.

Faithfully yours,
Fr. Chuck

Deacon's Corner

The Rev. Deacon Novella LawrenceThe Rev. Deacon Novella Lawrence

Four of the Sunday readings for the month of April are taken from the Book of Acts and quite appropriately so because it shows what happened after the Resurrection of Jesus and the birth of the Church. This Book traces the development of the church from the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost and is said to cover the first two years.

One of the things we learn about the early church was the extraordinary way the Christians took care of one another. “There was not a needy person among them.” (Acts 4:34a) That is where the model of Pastoral Care in the church was derived. They were following the command and examples of Christ. Today most churches have some type of Pastoral Care, and here at Christ Church I am learning more and more about the various types of Pastoral Care that are being carried out by our parishioners. This is in addition to the clergy and Licensed Eucharistic Visitor, Lisa Rhoades, from whom this is expected and regularly attended to.

These are some of the current offerings: There are twelve people who send out Birthday Cards to Parishioners for each of month of the year and nine people who provide meals when needed in emergency situations. Some of you also reach out to the sick and to the bereaved. I have heard of some of your responses in emergency situations. Linda Reiersen. coordinates meals as needed for such situations. Alleida Mitchell coordinates car service arrangements to and from the church for parishioners as needed.

All of the above is done to the Glory of God within the parish family. This is Pastoral Care at it’s best. Outside of the parish family we have all of the Outreach activities, led by Deacon Geri Swanson and the many who are involved in that ministry.

I have learned that Anne Devlin has a ministry to The Staten Island Care Center, a Nursing Home on Lafayette Avenue. She has been going in for several years, providing magazines and stimulating conversation for and with residents who may not often have an opportunity to do so. She has asked if we could also provide some type of spiritual care for the residents. We would like to develop a ministry there, once a month, which would include a one hour service of Prayer, Scripture, Homily and Hymns for a group of the residents. We are looking for people who feel called to provide this type of Pastoral Care, which Anne says is desired.

Ms. Utopia Mennoh is the Vestry Member who is responsible for giving the Pastoral Care Report at the meetings. She has expressed a great interest in this ministry and she would like to learn more about it. In future issues of the Tower Chimes, I would like to highlight (with your permission) other areas of pastoral care that you may be interested in or are doing already.

“Come Holy Spirit, enkindle in us the fire of your love, so that we may renew the face of the earth.”

In Christ’s Love,
Deacon Novella Lawrence

Vestry Notes

Rita McGough

The regularly scheduled meeting of the Vestry of Christ Church New Brighton took place on Monday, April 13, 2015. The following are highlights of what was discussed that evening:

Committee Reports

Plant & Equipment

  • Termites were found in doors and woodwork – problem being addressed
  • A room is being built for the shelter cots to make space for a thrift shop.
  • Looking for bids for railings for steps in chancel leading to the altar.
  • Looking into auctioning off the RV which is currently housed in the back parking lot.


  • Tower Budget Report: Waiting for the last bill from Seaboard and money from grants. We are currently $300,000 over budget and a determination needs to be made as to how to secure the additional funding.


  • Catherine Barnett will be helping with Rite 13 in the fall.


  • Easter Food Baskets were put together and distributed.
  • The ukulele group will be starting Monday, May 4th at 6pm at the church.
  • May 28th at 7pm the Children’s choir, steel drum group, and the ukulele group will be having at concert at Christ Church.


  • $492 was made at the Irish Brunch.
  • A bus trip is planned to Sight & Sound Theater/Lancaster on 10/3. The show is “Joseph”. It is a whole day event. The price is $103/adult and $61/child (12 and under). The price includes the bus and tickets. More info to follow.

Pastoral Care

  • Meals were delivered to families who had individuals who came home from the hospital.


  • Bring a Friend to Church Sunday brought lots of visitors. Feedback is needed about the event.
  • People are using the Friendship Tablets. Next meeting will be a joint meeting with the Prayer Group.

Old Business

  • Facebook page has been established and maintained by Paige Gunther.
  • Vestry Retreat is being planned for June 11th-12th.

New Business

  • Department of Health would like to implement a blood pressure monitoring program at Christ Church. More information to follow once additional details are provided.

Wardens’ Report

  • Training for counters on Sunday, April 26 after the 10 a.m. service.

Deacons’ Report

Deacon Novella

  • In Pastoral Care 25 visits were made over the past 2 months. The visitors assess the needs of individuals and try to obtain what is necessary. Additional volunteers are needed to take part in this visitation ministry.
  • A prayer group led by Deacon Novella and Ned Rogers meet on Wednesday nights at 7pm.

Deacon Geri

  • 307 Easter Food baskets were assembled and delivered.
  • After school program paperwork will be completed for next year. Looking for an African Drum Teacher for the afterschool program.

Rector’s Report

  • Island-wide Youth Conference, April 18th
  • Youth Choir/Steel Drum/Ukulele concert on Thursday, May 28th, 7pm at Christ Church.
  • Soup Cook-Off, April 19th

pastoral carePastoral Care Meeting

When? Sunday May 17 at 12:30 p.m.

Where? In the Vestry Room

Who? For everyone involved or interested in this Ministry re: cards, meals, phone calls, visits to the sick, bereaved, SI Care Ctr. Outreach and in arranging for transportation to church.

Why? (1) To determine a way to include these activities into a comprehensive Monthly Report to be given at Vestry meetings.
(2) To help us to become a more cohesive group in prayer and action in this caring ministry of love in Christ Church.

Your thoughts and ideas on how we can accomplish this are greatly needed. Please RSVP by phone or e-mail to Deacon Novella Lawrence ( or call at 347 581-1082.

From the Parish Office

May Birthdays
1 – Lindsay Kennedy; Carolyn Hodnik (9), Jessica Szczepanik; 9 – Victoria Gilbert; 11 – Shirley Elfers, Etta Johnson; 13 – Chloe Lee; 14 – Tara Mazzucco-Smock; 16 – Connie Black; 17 – Kelly Collins; 18 – David Holt, Richard Jackson; 19 – Agnes Thompson; 22 – Natalie Wynter; 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; 22 – Kevin & Paige Gunther; 26 - Scott & Arryn Samarisi; 28 – Leighton & Marsha Wynter.

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

Musical OfferingsMusical Offerings

This month, and next, there are some wonderful opportunities to enjoy great music here on Staten Island and to support members of Christ Church as well.

Come out and join Christ Church choir members Hal and Linda Reiersen, David Seeley and Nancy Reiersen-Scromo as they perform with members of the Richmond Choral Society on Saturday, May 16 at St. Peter’s Church on Stuyvesant Place. For ticket info please call 718-448-3656.

Save the Date

Christ Church Community Youth Choir & Drummers Spring Concert, Thursday, May 28, 7:00 p.m. at Christ Church.

Flea Market & White Elephan Sale, Saturday, June 6, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. at Christ Church.

House Tour, Saturday, June 27.

Vacation Bible School, Monday through Friday, August 17 - 21, at Christ Church.

Voyces logoVoyces

Staten Island's premiere early music ensemble, Voyces, will present their spring concert on June 2 at 7:30 p.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church, 309 St. Paul's Avenue. Christ Church hosts Voyces' rehearsal each week in the Guild Room and includes several CCNB members. The concert will feature works by Claudio Monteverdi including excerpts from L'Orfeo, which is considered by many to be the very first opera. For ticket information send an email.

Soup Sunday

Bonnie Franz & Deborah Lindsay

Our first-ever Christ Church Soup Sunday was a big success! We were hoping for a morning of good fellowship and we had both. We also raised $172 to be used for members of our congregation with food emergencies.

Congratulations to our winner, Anne Devlin, who has graciously provided us with a copy of her prize-winning Croatian Bean Soup recipe to share with you. The competition was extremely close and every soup entered had fans.

Thanks to everyone who was involved in this project: the soup makers who did an amazing job; Connie Black and Sheila Hewitt who helped in every way; to the volunteers who helped to clean up and serve; to everyone who tasted the soups and cast a vote; and thanks to Maureen Franz who donated the bowls and spoons.

We hope everyone will join us for our next Soup Sunday sometime in the fall. Start practicing your recipes now!

Grandma Stenglein's Croatian Bean SoupGrandma Stenglein’s Croatian Bean Soup
Yields 3 ½ Quarts
Serves Eight

2 cans kidney or pinto beans
8 cups filtered water
2 ham hocks or meaty ham bone
¼ freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 bay leaves
3 ribs celery, chopped
4 carrots, chopped
1 medium turnip, chopped
Optional: ½ pound smoked fully-cooked Kielbasa casing removed, cut into ¼-inch rounds
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
½ cup finely chopped onion
1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
½ cup finely chopped parsley
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons white balsamic or apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons Hungarian sweet paprika

Combine beans, ham hocks or bone, 8 cups water, black pepper and bay leaves in stock pot. Bring to boil and simmer for 1 hour.

Add celery, carrots and turnips. Simmer 45 minutes. Remove ham bone or hocks from pot. Cut meat from bones and cube. Return to pot. Add sausage.

In small saucepan melt butter. Add four; blend well. Add onion, garlic, parsley, Worcestsire sauce, vinegar and paprika; mix well. Cook about 3 minutes. Add to beans, stirring well. Simmer 15 minutes. Correct seasonings.

Serve with open-face rye bread and grilled cheese sandwiches and Zinfandel.

NOTE: When reheating add more water and paprika.

Bill BrownIn Memoriam: Bill Brown

Last month, Christ Church lost a dear and treasured member of our parish with the passing of Bill Brown.

Bill was a faithful member of the Christ Church choir for 58 years as a member of the bass/baritone section and also served as a member of the Vestry and other important church committees.

His devotion to his church, his choir, and most of all, his family, will always be remembered by those of us who were fortunate to have known this quiet, strong and loving gentlemen.

Rest in peace, dear Bill as you now sing with the heavenly choirs of angels and archangels.

Christ Church Bus Outing, Saturday, October 3, 2015

The Sight and Sound Theatre and Kettle Village, Lancaster PA

This will be a fun filled day for everyone as we attend the Epic Production of "Joseph." Experience the Spectacular Sight and Sound Theatre with its surround stage, amazing special effects, live animals, action, adventure and song.

In addition to the show you’ll have a chance to do some shopping at the Outlet stores and the Amish Food and Craft stores and get to meet some of the Amish neighbors. There are also many fast food chains for those who prefer a simpler fare.

The bus will leave from Christ Church at 8 a.m. that morning and will depart from Lancaster at 6 p.m.
Price: $104 per adult; $61 per child (12 and under.)
Price Includes: Round Trip Coach Fare.
Sight & Sound Theatre & Kettle Village (an Amish Marketplace)
To Reserve: Call the Parish Office 718 727-6100 Non-Refundable Deposit due May 30 - $21 per Adult $12 per Child.
Installment Payments Accepted: 1st Installment due July 15, $41 per Adult $24 per Child 2nd Installment due August 15 $42 per Adult $25 per Child. You may also pay in full. Reserve early as seats are sold out months in advance.
For Info: Mrs. Alleida Mitchell 917 514-2407 Deacon Novella Lawrence 347 581-1082.

flea market and white elephant sale
Flea Market & White Elephant Sale

Alleida Mitchell

Join us on Saturday, June 6 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for a Flea Market and White Elephant Sale. A delicious lunch of hamburgers and hot dogs will be available.

Donations for the white elephant sale are needed. Please bring your donations on Sundays or from Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Richmond Interparish Council logo
IPC Picnic

The Staten Island IPC (Inter Parish Council) is hosting its annual picnic on Sunday, June 7, at noon at All Saints' Church, 2329 Victory Boulevard.

Christ Church is responsible for organizing the games. If you are interested in helping with this, please speak to Fr. Chuck.

The IPC picnic grows in number and enthusiasm every year and is a great way to get to know Episcopalians from across the Island.

Sacred Sites Open House

Again this year Christ Church has been asked to participate in The New York Landmarks Conservancy's Sacred Sites Open House Weekend. Our church will be open on Saturday, May 16, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. for anyone who would like to stop in to see our historic church. We will have available literature about the stained glass windows and parish programs and activities.

Christ Church received a $30,000 grant from Landmarks Conservancy for our Tower Restoration project. We need people to act as docents during the day. If you are able to help, please speak to Fr. Howell.

ukuleleUkulele Group at Christ Church

Paige Gunther

Following the success of our Community Youth Choir and our steel drumming group, Christ Church is creating a ukulele group for children ages 7-12.

The group will meet on Monday nights at 6 p.m. for instruction beginning on May 4th. NO MUSICAL EXPERIENCE IS NECESSARY. Participation is free of charge, and instruments will be supplied.

If your child is interested in joining, please contact the parish office at 718-727-6100 and leave a message for Deacon Geri Swanson.

Around the Parish

Nancy Reiersen-Scromo

Spring is finally here! The lawns and gardens that surround our lovely church are alive with color and fragrance. Special thanks to our “secret gardeners” Barnett Shepherdand Nick Dowen who can often be found planting, raking and pruning early on a Saturday morning.

As you read through this issue of the Tower Chimes you’ll see announcements for many of the upcoming events taking place at Christ Church over the coming months. Although we won’t be hosting our Spring Fair this year please come out and support the Flea Market and White Elephant Sale that takes place on Saturday, June 6.

Babies are us: Congratulations to Christina and Martin Noel on the birth of their adorable daughter, Dawn-Elizabeth, last month. We’re sure she’ll be getting plenty of love and attention from her brother, Gabriel, and her big sisters, Victoria and Annalise.

And congratulations to Beth and Chip McLean on the birth of their first grandchild, Charles Kenneth McLean, and of course to his great-grandfather, Bill Beveridge. Charlie is the son of Charles and Sarah McLean.

If you happen to find yourself in Disneyland this summer keep an eye out for Alexandra Hanley, granddaughter of Joyce Rowan. Alexandra was selected to be Disney’s “leading princess” at the amusement park and you’ll probably find her on the grounds with the rest of the cast from “Frozen.”

We have a Facebook page! Thanks to the efforts of Paige Gunther, Christ Church is now on Facebook. Whenever anything happens at Christ Church, Paige is on top of the story with pictures and details. Check it out!

If there’s something you’d like to share in the June issue – graduations, announcements, etc. – please leave me a note in the Tower Chimes mailbox in the parish office or you can send me an email.