Etching of Christ Church by Bill Murphy

November, 2015

Interim Corner

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I am delighted to be able to introduce myself to you as your new Interim Pastor, effective October 27. I have been called to ministry at Christ Church with you until you call a new rector. My Letter of Agreement with you is for 18 months, which may be extended by mutual agreement. We will know if we need more time or not further into this transition and will work that out as is appropriate. In the meantime, we have the opportunity to be present to the life of Christ Church as it is right now and lay the groundwork for discerning the next steps in the life of the congregation and the community we serve.

Ministry during transitions is a powerful time of discernment and growth in God. It is rarely an easy time but it always is a good and holy time. It is an opportunity for the church to intentionally take stock of who Christ Church is being called to be in the New Brighton and wider area. We will identify which resources for mission currently exist or need to be found, some of us will let go of previous ministries so that we might answer the call to emerging ones, and together we will continue to usher in the reign of God and celebrate the gifts we have been given.  All to the glory of God! I honor God’s call to be your Interim Pastor with deep reverence and conviction. I look forward to serving with you and celebrating our ministry in Christ together.

In Christ,
Mother Tori

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Rite 13 Ceremony at Christ Church

Lisa Rhoades

(l-r): Amy Stambaugh; Fr. Simeon Johnson; Alayne Gilbert; Mariame Aghailas

On October 24 and 25 family, friends and the parish at large gathered to celebrate Mariame Aghailas, Alayne Charlotte Gilbert, and Amy Melissa Stambaugh and acknowledge the exciting journey they are embarking on toward adulthood.  From a rehearsal dinner, to their blessing at the Eucharist, special Coffee Hour reception, and by sharing our “life advice” in their Wisdom Books, we renewed our promise to them that we will support them, as Christ supports us. We love you, Mariame, Alayne, and Amy, and we are so proud of the young women you are, and are becoming!

Many people worked to make our second Rite 13 a success, especially Father Simeon who offered his loving support of our youth and of our church by serving as our guest Celebrant. Deacon Geri graciously assisted at and attended our parent planning meeting and rehearsal dinner. Nick Lettiere catered a feast for our party, and Nancy Reiersen-Scromo wrote the bios for the program that Cathy Romano beautifully published for us. John Watson donated the tastiest cake in the world, and our Wardens and Vestry encouraged us to continue moving forward with this program during this transitional time in our church. The Rite 13 students came to class ready to explore their faith together. Catherine Barnett’s steadfast love for this church and these young people inspires me daily. Thank you. Thank you.

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In Memorium: William A. Beveridge

Last month we bid farewell to Bill Beveridge, a treasured and long-time member of our parish. His dedication to Christ Church, especially to the choir, to his family and friends is something that will never be forgotten. His son, William, allowed us to share the wonderful eulogy he delivered at Bill’s funeral. It captures the heart and soul and the essence of this delightful gentleman.

William Beveridge
A Unique and Gifted Adventurer

His adventures began early. It could have gone either way for Dad, for his father wanted to leave Scotland to come to America and his mother wanted to stay.  As dad tells it his family was comfortable on the “other side”. I suppose he figured a house with no central heat, and Kale, Mutton and oats to eat, was comfortable. Sugar was way too expensive so he didn’t know what that was. Now we know what it was. We call it here in America “a blessing” that he didn’t know sugar. Unlike many immigrants’ families his was not starving or being persecuted. His father had a good job. He was the foreman of a book binding shop with 25 men under him. His dad bound the books for the King of England. So, why did his family move?  His family moved because his dad was bored with his life in Limekilns, Scotland and more importantly his sister who was already in America sent him a letter. In the letter she implored him to come to the US for the simple reason that the streets were paved with gold. I am telling you the truth.

Bill BeveridgeWith that, at the tender age of 7, he came to America. His family came here like all people did in those days, by ship. The name of his ship was the “Cameronia”.  In this adventure he found one of his first loves. He discovered that he loved the ocean and he discovered that he loved boats.  This love expanded to all bodies of water and all types of boats. You name it, lakes, ponds, oceans, rivers, streams or swimming pools. They were all his favorites.
According to dad, they came in 1928, landing the day the stock market crashed. His father got a job the same day because of his book binding skills. I am not sure how long that job lasted because one thing is for sure. In America my dad never saw any of that gold and for that matter neither did any of his new friends. They all had one thing in common, however. They were poor and they were broke. It was the great depression.
One day not long ago we drove through his old neighborhood. He pointed to this house and that stoop and showed me all the places on that street where his gang hung out.  He was so proud of the fact that every one of the guys in his gang “Made something of themselves”.

Of course he had stories of that time. All of these stories, in hindsight are endearing. 

The neighborhood ball: The neighborhood ball was lovingly wrapped and rewrapped with tape or anything else they could get their hands on to keep it alive. Never in its history was that ball new but one thing is for sure, whoever was in charge of holding on to it until the next day had better do a good job. It was the only one they had and it was loved.

The family car that with each use the radiator had to be filled with water repeatedly to make it to its destination. Quite often this destination was just a few blocks away.

His early experiences helped to form what became a lifelong personality trait. Some call it Scottish frugality.  Some call it other things but we will not get into the lesser more descriptive terms here.

Dad lived to the very end in our family home at 215 Prospect Ave.  When people asked about him living in that big old house I would say he was like an old ship captain and he had every intention of going down with the ship. Well, the ship is still standing……….. BARELY. To tell the truth he was able to stay in his home at his advanced age because of the loving care he received from my sisters Peg, Beth and Annie and my brother in law Chip. Peppered by regular visits from his beloved grandchildren. Sean, his grandson, lived with him on Prospect Avenue and checked on him regularly. The house did have its heyday while under Beveridge family domain. Trust me! When he bought the place he was a young man. It was a bit run down but he fixed it up. That house was his playground. He even had a playmate, slave, son named Billy. We spent the next many years working together to improve the place. He loved the work. Me? Sometimes. Every Saturday morning without fail I would come down the stairs to the kitchen and there was my father with his tool belt on. Actually I never saw him without that tool belt on. I thought he was born with that thing on.

How did he acquire such a place?

When he was 9 years old he already held 3 jobs. From the sound of things there were no child labor laws back then. One of his jobs was to shovel coal into the furnaces of rich clients in the neighborhood. I am not sure what the hours were for that job but I do know he started at 5:30 a.m. every day, before school. One of the houses he serviced was 215 Prospect. He loved the way that house looked and promised himself he would buy it someday.
He was a master recycler before recycling was even on the radar.  He found a use and reuse for everything, especially nails and wood. I can tell you that as his helper, I possess the Guinness book world record for removing old nails from old wood. Scottish Frugality at its best. To tell the truth I didn’t know there was such a thing as new lumber and new nails. Dad knew how to keep a secret. In his world there was always a new project to be tackled. We Beveridge children didn’t know there was such a thing as a licensed plumber or electrician either. We did the work ourselves or it wasn’t done.  Dad was proud of this fact. He did finally hire a carpenter and plumber. That was about 6 weeks ago.

I hear word from peers in his chosen profession, teaching, that he was good at it. Actually, he was more than good at it he was considered a master educator. Between diplomas and things of that nature on one of mom and dad’s walls I discovered a large plaque. I found and read it a couple of days ago. The award was from the principal, teachers, parents and students at PS 44 Mariners Harbor. He taught there for many years. The inscription read, “As a Master teacher you saw the good in every boy and girl. You developed their academic potential. You instilled the gifts of music, fun and laughter in the smallest of children.”  I am sure that each day was a new and exciting adventure for the students under Mr. Beveridge’s care. You did well there Dad.

Central to dad’s life was music. Not listening to it but playing it. At home, school or on the road traveling in his trailer, he found a way, each day, to play some music. His instrument was the piano and he was skilled at playing it. As a guest in his home if you took the time to sing around the piano with him you were a friend for life.
My father loved his wife, loved his children and loved his grandchildren. Family meant everything to him. He always went the extra mile at family gatherings to insure something unique and exciting was happening. This was especially true with the youngsters. Whether it was playing the piano for the grandchildren to dance to or building an impromptu racetrack on the front porch for pedal car races he was always thinking and creating on the spot.
His lake house was always the family’s ultimate destination point. The place could easily have been renamed his laboratory.  He spent most of his time there building fantastical docks for boats and any number of Bill Beveridge contraptions. They all had one thing in common. They looked crazy but worked.

This is from his eldest grandson Charlie. “Pop invented the zip-line. Before people were taking zip-line tours of Costa Rica and Hunter Mountain his grandkids were touring the back yard at Lake Mohawk on an old ski rope handle attached to an older rope and pulley. They'd climb to the top of a ladder and let loose. Never need for concern, the cushions from the lawn furniture were set to ease their landing.”

Bill Beveridge made it to the age of 93. As far as he was concerned he was still 25. I assure you at least his mind was that sharp.  Do not play Trivial Pursuit with that man. He was a master of history and the English language. He read voraciously, capable of reading a book in one evening. Not “War and Peace” I assure you but more on the lines of an Agatha Christie mystery. Never the less! He witnessed World War II as a soldier. He lived the great depression and saw countless other joys and sorrows. All who knew him held him in high regard.  A dear friend of mine sent me among other things one word to describe my dad; STALWART – An individual marked by an outstanding strength and vigor of body, mind and spirit.  He was resilient. I tell you that I nor any of my siblings ever heard him swear or curse. Not once in our lives. We, of course have made up for that.

During his final days at the hospital he endeared himself to all of his nurses and doctors. I am sure he realized how serious his predicament was but he never let on. Not one to complain he did the opposite. He made light of his situation, cracking jokes, and easing everyone else’s concern in the process. That took courage.

No amount of thought or clever phrasing can do William Beveridge justice. He was a one of a kind individual, a true gentleman.

Dad, I love you, we all love you. See you in heaven and until then I hope you run into some old friends and family, especially your wife. Did I mention her?

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Deacon's Corner

Deacon Geri Swanson

Deacon Geri SwansonSearching for Ritual

Over the years I have heard many friends and colleagues proudly proclaim," I am very spiritual, but am not religious."  I suspect that say this to me because they know that I am an ordained person who has a religious life that comes with spirituality grounded in the Christian faith and traditions. Some, I suspect, just want to see what my reaction is, while others seem to be mostly serious about their statements.

A week or so ago, I read an interview piece written about Oprah Winfrey who spoke about her religious life as it was influenced by her Baptist upbringing and her use of Buddhist inspired meditative techniques. I certainly have no quarrel with either of these and am happy to admit that I have learned quite a bit about calming my body and soul using breathing processes learned at a seminary while taking a course on cross-denominational meditation.  I even adapted some of these ideas in my teaching practices to help my students center their attention on learning and calming their post-lunchtime rambunctiousness.

And just personally spending time observing the social, political and corporate responses to events and causes, has resulted in a personal realization that our current social order is literally crying out for ritual with which to seek meaning out of events that speak to the very souls of those involved.  People are looking for appropriate ways to respond to both moments of elation and excitement and moments of disappointment and despair.

One way folks demonstrate their anger and frustration is to carry placards and hold marches to draw attention to their cause.  I, myself, have taken part in numerous marches and demonstrations for cases as diverse as reproductive rights for women to a sunset demonstration at the mayor's residence demanding higher wages for city workers.

Poppies became a symbol of support for the wounded veterans of the Great War. It began in1923 when the Veterans of Foreign Wars paid disabled veterans to make "Buddy Poppies" and then sold them to the public around Veteran's Day.  This was inspired by the poem by Major john McCrea, a Canadian physician who gave his life in World War I.  He wrote:

"In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,"

My Father, a disabled Veteran of World War II, always bought poppies from the VFW, and kept one always in his car on the sun visor. Nowadays, folks seek ritual in buying various colored ribbons in support of various causes: pink to support breast cancer awareness, puzzle piece ribbon to support those who are on the autism spectrum; red ribbon in support of AIDS research, violet ribbons support Hodgkin’s Lymphoma research, and green ribbons indicate several causes including supporting more research on Celiac's Disease, Lyme Disease, kidney cancer and Tourette's syndrome. I truly hope that all of the people I see with these various ribbons on have, in fact, make a financial donation in support of those who do the day to day laboratory work in fighting these diseases and syndromes.

Another favorite ritual among the at least the American public is "The Walk".  A participant collects money from friends and relations who pay them a certain amount of money for every lap, mile or circuit they walk.  In the past six months I have seen requests for participants raising money for breast cancer research, autism awareness, birth defects, and AIDS research. These events galvanize individuals around a worthy cause for a daylong event. They certainly make the participants feel good about themselves while raising much needed funds for these charities. They happen only one time in a year, and are often out of mind at other times.

Sometimes there will be a candlelight vigil.  This happens often as a remembrance of an unfortunate event, such as the violent death of an individual or the anniversary of a horrific natural disaster, both of which have happened in our community. People march along the shoreline or to the site of the incident carrying lighted candles and place them on the spot of remembrance. Again, this is usually a once a year event with no real follow-up or support for those left behind.

But ritual does not have to be that way. Ritual can have form, function and future.  It can come from a deeply rooted history of spiritual support and communal understanding. And we saw it in action the last Sunday in October at Christ Church in New Brighton at our second Rite 13 celebration. It is part of the Sunday School curriculum for Journey to Adulthood or J2A, as it is called. Three members of the congregation who have reached their thirteenth birthday or will before the year is up, are recognized for their eminent passage from childhood to young adulthood and are given a special blessing and a firm commitment from their families, friends and congregation members who promise to uphold them and support them during this transitional time in their lives. It does not replace Confirmation, one of the seven sacraments that confers adult responsibilities on members.  It is a step in the process of making a deliberate decision to become full participating members in the body of Christ with Confirmation at a later time when an adult decision can be made by the individual, not his or her parents or guardians. Here is a ritual that binds all members of this congregation together creating a support network for all of our young people supporting them in their maturing into adulthood and on their faith journey. It is, indeed, a serious responsibility for all.

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Serenade to Feature Thomas Hrynkiw
on Sunday, November 22

Valerie Quinlan

Thomas Hrynkiw
Serenade is delighted to present Ukrainian pianist Thomas Hrynkiw, who will perform a program that includes Franz Schubert’s Impromptus, Op. 90, and a selection of that composer’s dances. The second half of the program will feature Frederic Chopin’s exquisite Preludes, which includes an all-time favorite: The Raindrop Prelude.

The performance will take place at 3 p.m. on Sunday November 22 at Christ Church, 76 Franklin Avenue, Staten Island. Admission is free, though donations are accepted. A reception will follow the concert. All spaces are handicapped-accessible.

At age 19, Mr. Hrynkiw was awarded first prize for a performance of the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto with Leopold Stokowski. Since then he has won numerous awards and has performed in the major capitols of Europe. In the United States he has appeared at the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, Constitution Hall and the National Gallery of Art. George Shearing called him, “Mister Cantabile.”

For additional information please visit us at  or call 718-273-3668.

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In Memorium: William A Beveridge (1922-2015)

Tom Sarff, Organist & Choirmaster

Bill BeveridgeBeloved parishioner and choir member, Bill Beveridge, died on October 17 at the age of 93, surrounded by his family.  He is survived by his daughters Beth and Peggy, son Bill, sister Myra Smurlo, seven grandchildren, and a great-grandson.

Bill’s rich legacy to Christ Church began in 1929, after his family had emigrated to the U.S. from Limekiln, Scotland and settled in New Brighton.  Seven-year-old Bill promptly joined the Christ Church men and boys choir.  Bill has often recalled fond memories of those days and his camaraderie with fellow choristers while bowling in the parish hall after rehearsals.

As a young adult during World War II, Bill served in the U.S. Army, and upon discharge he completed undergraduate and graduate degrees and began his career in education.  He married the former Anne (Nancy) Aungier and together they raised four children:  Beth, Peggy, Billy, and Annie.

By then, Bill had long since taken his place in the tenor section of the choir, where he remained into the beginning of his 87th choral season a few weeks ago.  In recent years, his devotion to the choir may well have helped keep him going.

As far as can be determined, Bill was the longest-standing choir member in the history of Christ Church.  I suspect his record tenure stands among churches of any denomination. Bill’s dedication also was evident beyond the choir.  He served on the vestry and was a member of the organist search and organ restoration committees. Outside Christ Church, he served on the board of the Staten Island Zoo.

Young Bill BeveridgeHe also was well-known for his carpentry projects, including the grandfather clock and organ he built that grace his home.  As recently as last month, he was working on the dock at his summer house on Lake Mohawk, where he spent much of the summer, but dutifully returned for the choir’s new fall season. In his career as an educator and school principal, Bill guided thousands of students and inspired countless colleagues over the years.

A retired music teacher on the Island recently mentioned his gratitude for Bill’s wisdom and kindness to him during his first year of teaching.  Bill brightened the spirits of everyone around him, and it was a great pleasure to know him.

In a light-hearted postscript to these remarks, I’m amused to say that Bill and I sometimes shared the same philosophy regarding meal preparation:  fly by the seat of your pants and make up the recipe as you go along, inspired by whatever happens to be in the refrigerator.  That being said, I’m glad I never pressed him for details about that oatmeal soup he concocted a few years back….  Bon appétit, Bill!

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Stewardship 2016: Keeping the Faith

Andrea Morse-Raff

“For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have kept the faith.”
(2 Timothy 4:6-8)

As many of you are already aware, this year’s Stewardship Campaign was inspired by the life and ministry of  Fr. Chuck and our theme for this year summarizes best his love and dedication for Christ Church and the members of our parish family.

In order to balance the budget for 2016 our goal is to raise $192,000 in pledges. There is much to be done with the guidance of Mother Tori Duncan, our Interim Rector, as we move forward to call a new rector for Christ Church.

Our Stewardship speakers for the month of November include Eva Marie Black, Togba Porte, and Sam Williams. The committee will also be hosting the coffee hour on Sunday, November 22, which is the day pledge cards will be brought to the altar for a blessing from Mother Tori.

May God continue to bless us as we take on the work he has given us to do.

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From the Parish Register

Cathy Romano

November Birthdays
3—Laura Craig;  4 – Ellen Mazzucco, Hugo McIntosh, Jr; Larry Modzelewski; 5 – Paul Smith, Karlus Trapp; 12 – Grace Hazelwood, Lester Jean, 13 – Tamara Christopher, Marlene Elia, Samolu Freeman, Sheila Hewitt; 14 –Annalise Noel; 15 – Jack Elia; 16 – Jonathan Elia; 19 – Rita McGough; 22 – Varney Freeman, Sr.;  26 – John Szczepanik, Dorothy Thompson; 28 – Kim Davis Sorge; 30 – Christine Szczepanik, Mark Hewitt II.

November Anniversaries
16 – Ron and Ellen Mazzucco; 24 – Paul and Janet Schneider;   30 – Stephen & Christine Gross.

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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Welcome Mother Tori!

On Sunday, November 1 we celebrated the arrival of our Interim Rector, Mother Tori Duncan, and her husband, Shawn.

We are so pleased that you are with us and welcome your guidance and strength in this important time of transition at Christ Church.

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Christ Church Youth and Friends: Save the Dates!

November 8Leaf Raking
12 noon – 3 p.m., Meet at CCNB oval.
Youth will rake and clear the yards of several parishioners and follow up with cider and donuts back in the Parish Hall.  
November 18Holiday Basket Assembly
7 p.m.  CCNB Parish Hall.
Come help assemble Thanksgiving meal baskets to be distributed to the homebound and food insecure.
November 19 Holiday Basket Distribution
9 a.m. - Noon  CCNB Parish Hall.
November 22 - Building Bridges Interfaith Thanksgiving Service
7 p.m. Meet at CCNB Parish hall to travel together to this Island-wide event. ***Location and time to be confirmed***
November 25Thanksgiving Eve Service
7 p.m.  Christ Church

November 27St. Alban’s Movie Night Presents: THE MINIONS.  Free admission.

6:30 p.m. St. Alban’s Upper Parish Hall.

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Nominating Committee for Vestry
and Church Wardens Convening

As is the usual tradition, outgoing Senior Warden Kirstin Swanson is convening a committee to nominate Vestry members and candidate(s) for Junior Warden. The qualifications are as follows:
For vestryperson (three year term):

  • Aged 18 years or older
  • Baptized
  • Regular attendance at worship
  • Contributing member for at least 12 months prior to the annual meeting
  • Episcopalian

   Current vestrypersons finishing a full three-year term may not be elected as vestryperson until a year has passed between the end of their term and the next annual meeting. Current vestrypersons finishing a term of less than three years may be nominated for a three-year term.
For church warden (two year term):

  • Aged 18 years or older
  • Communicant in the Episcopal Church
  • Regular attendance at worship
  • Contributing member for at least 12 months prior to the annual meeting

   The senior warden may not run for either junior warden or vestry person until a year has passed between the end of her term and the next annual meeting.
Nomination forms for vestryperson or church warden are available in the church office.

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St. Nick's Holiday Fair

Christ Church
Saturday, December 5

9 a.m. to 3 p.m.


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The Holly Ball

The Holly Ball
A Staten Island Holiday Tradition
Cocktails, Dinner and Dancing
Saturday, December 12, 2015
6:00 to 11 p.m.
Christ Church New Brighton

Call 718-727-6100 for more information.


Around the Parish

Nancy Reiersen-Scromo

Good heavens! It’s November already and we’ve turned back the clocks. The parish activities calendar is overflowing with many activities and events as we prepare for Thanksgiving, Advent, and yes, Christmas!

Sunday, November 1 was a VERY busy day at Christ Church. We welcomed Mother Tori Duncan as our Interim Rector as she celebrated the Eucharist at 8 and 10 a.m. that day. We are blessed to have Mother Tori, and her husband, Shawn, in our midst, and we welcome them to the Christ Church family.  Members of the Sunday School began the 10 a.m. service with the Parade of Saints, proudly carrying the shield they had decorated for their assigned saint.

We also kicked off our Stewardship Campaign that day as Andrea Morse Raff, our Stewardship Chair, and spoke to the congregation about this year’s campaign theme, “Keeping the Faith” and its strong ties to Father Chuck.

If you’re available on Thursday, November 19 please plan to attend the installation ceremony for Father H. Dagnall Free, the new rector of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church on Castleton Avenue. The service begins at 6:30 p.m. with a reception to follow.

Our dear Georgia Howell is now in her senior year at Curtis High School and in addition to her participation in Track & Field activities she is also the editor of the Curtis Yearbook. Way to go, Georgia!

Congratulations to fellow parishioner, Ruth Ditoro, who was a participant, and the recipient of several awards, in the 2015 Beatrice Victor Senior Olympics which is sponsored by the Staten Island Advance.

Paul Smith, our Verger and resident thespian, is “treading the boards” once again – this time at the Manhattan Repertory Theatre. Paul is a member of the cast of “All-Italian Boy” and he does play a member of the family. However, you’ll need to see the play to find out exactly what we’re talking about.

Condolences to Valerie and Frank Quinlan on the passing of Frank’s brother Tim. You are all in our prayers.
That’s all for this issue but we promise to share even more news with you in December. If you have any news you’d like to share please be sure to leave a note in the Tower Chimes mailbox in the parish office or send an e-mail to with your news.

Best wishes for a blessed and Happy Thanksgiving.

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Veteran's Day Prayer

Dear Lord,
Today we honor our veterans,
worthy men and women
who gave their best
when they were called upon
to serve and protect their country.
We pray that you will bless them, Lord,
for their unselfish service
in the continual struggle
to preserve our freedoms, our safety,
and our country’s heritage, for all of us.
Bless them abundantly
for the hardships they faced,
for the sacrifices they made
for their many different contributions
to America’s victories
over tyranny and oppression.
We respect them, we thank them,
we honor them, we are proud of them,
and we pray that you will watch over
these special people
and bless them with peace and happiness.
In Jesus’ name we pray; Amen.

By Joanna Fuchs

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