December 4, 2014
My dear brothers and sisters,
Last week, after months of waiting, the grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri failed or refused to indict the police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown. The days since have seen the shock, anger and heartbreak of millions of Americans given expression across our country. Yesterday, the grand jury on Staten Island failed or refused to indict the police officer who choked Eric Garner and took his life. Again people poured into the streets. Through the night, above our city was heard the sound of helicopters, and everywhere people came together to share their grief and join their voices in outrage.
With no presumption of what verdict might be reached at trial in any particular case, nothing could be clearer than that at a minimum the demands of justice require that any such killings be fully investigated and that everyone involved be held to account. The long and ongoing pattern of refusing to indict police officers who take the lives of people of color, especially black men, continues to communicate to everyone that the lives of these whom we know to be the beloved children of our God do not in fact matter, that they are expendable, that their killings raise no question, and that they can be taken at no cost. What this says to the hearts and spirits of children of color growing up in our cities should break every heart. It breaks mine. And it must be said as well that these non-indictments also cast a shadow across the faithful service of the very many police officers who do their work well and are respectful of the communities they serve. These have been very, very costly days for our country, and now our own city, and costly for those of us who love Jesus and have been made free and strong by the love of God for every single person which we have come to know through him.
Less than two weeks ago at our diocesan convention we passed a resolution calling on every parish to engage the police in their community in conversation to improve and strengthen the bonds of church and police and citizen, that we may find a way to live better and freer together, and in mutual respect and trust. I ask that every parish review that reasonable resolution and take positive steps toward implementing it where you are.
Eric Garner lived and died on Staten Island. The Diocese of New York has ten churches on the island, and we count among our own members men and women from every community on the island. Among them are faithful police officers. Among them are faithful people of every color. We eat together the bread of heaven. We drink from the same cup. I ask your prayers for the clergy and congregations of Christ Church, the Church of the Ascension, Saint Paul's, Saint Mary's, Saint Andrew's, All Saints, Saint Simon's, Saint John's, Saint Alban's and Saint Stephen's. May God grace them with wisdom and compassion for the days ahead. May God make them brave and strong and faithful for the work of justice-making and healing to come.
A general call has been voiced for people to come today at 5:30 to Foley Square, that we may be together in our frustration, anger and grief. People will gather for different reasons. I will be there to join again in the call for justice, to name before God our brother Eric Garner, and to recommit to the bonds of our shared humanity. Bonds of love. May we, in this hour, be graced to make the witness of our faith, and the love of God, before a city and a world and a people which so desperately needs to reclaim its hope.
The Rt. Rev. Andrew M. L. Dietsche
7:30 AM Morning Prayer
8 AM Holy Eucharist
10 AM Choral Eucharist
11:15 AM Service for Healing & Anointing
11 AM Holy Eucharist
On the 2nd & 4th Thursday of each month there is a service for healing & anointing after the 11 AM service.
Monday through Friday
7:45 AM Morning Prayer
The latest news and information, updated weekly (sometimes daily) from Christ Church New Brighton.
Stir up your power, O Lord, and with great might come among us; and, because we are sorely hindered by our sins, let your bountiful grace and mercy speedily help and deliver us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory, now and for ever. Amen.
This Sunday, December 14, is the Third Sunday of Advent. The liturgical color is violet, and the children will light the third candle on the Advent Wreath.
We are using Eucharistic Prayer B.
During Advent, we will use the Healy Willan service music Missa de Sancta Maria Magdalena: Kyrie (Lord Have Mercy Upon Us), S91; Sanctus (Holy, Holy, Holy), S114; Agnus Dei (O Lamb of God), S158.
Our child-friendly hymn is 56, O Come, O Come, Emmanuel (Veni, Veni, Emmanuel), using different verses each week.
Godly Play students (age 3 - 5th grade) should received Communion with their teachers immediately after the choir receives, and then accompany their teachers to the classrooms.
At 12:10 p.m. a Godly Play teacher will ring a bell on the first floor, indicating that parents should go to the Godly Play classrooms to pick up their children. Parents must sign their children out of Godly Play.
Rite 13 class meets at 11:30 in the J2A Room on the second floor of the parish house.
Christmas pageant rehearsal will be held in the church after Godly Play and Rite 13 classes.
Childcare begins at 9:45 a.m. in the nursery
|Roxanne Ingoe, Mary Larimer, Liz Howell|
|Server @ 8 a.m.:|
|Judy Davis, Ned Rogers, Charlotte Hewitt|
|Calvin Morse, Amy Stambaugh|
|Barnett Shepherd, Linda Reiersen, Sam Williams|
|Coffee Hour Host:|
Knitting Group, Thursday, December 11, 3:00 p.m. at Christ Church.
Christ Church Community Youth Choir rehearsal, Thursday, December 11, 6:00 p.m. at Christ Church.
Cub Scouts, Friday, December 12, 7:00 p.m. at Christ Church.
Holly Ball, Saturday, December 13, beginning at 6:00 p.m. at Christ Church.
Girl Scouts, Tuesday, December 16 at Christ Church.
Intercessory Prayer Group, Wednesday, December 17, 7:00 p.m. at Christ Church.
Nia Exercise Class, Thursday, December 18, 10:00 a.m. at Christ Church.
Assemble Christmas dinner baskets, Wednesday, December 17, 7:30 p.m. at Christ Church.
Distribute Christmas dinner baskets, Thursday, December 18, 9:00 a.m. to Noon, at Christ Church.
The following individuals have requested our prayers: Kelsey Allen, Roger Barrow, Robin Beveridge, Shirley Black, Willie Black, Jr., Gregory Brown, Patricia Brown-Prestia, Robert Burak, Fr. Steve Challman, Jessie Cinelli, Gilbert Cocks, Inez Colborne, Barbara Corrigan, Sophie Diaz, Marlene Elia, Garry Ellengold, Billy Fowler, Barbara Finnerty, Laura Glen, Tina Grosick, Leah Gunther, Michele Jaeger, Theodora Juliano, Michelle Lane, Alice LeClair, Robert Leverock, Jesse Luke, Karen Luke, Joyce Mandel, William Marcus, Janet Massa, Sunitha Massey, Peter Mazes, Andrea McIntosh, Hugo McIntosh, Sr., Anthony Mobilia, Lynne Morishita, Linda Oppenheimer, Jayme Robertson, Joyce Rowan, Meg Rowan, Sean Rowan Hanly, Kiattisak Rungrerngvanich, Ann Sohm, David Spitz, Sophia Vazquez Pazos, Robert Wandlaincourt, and Mary Wilder. For the people of Liberia and West Africa and all who are suffering from the Ebola vius that they may be relieved and protected. For the safety of the men working on our tower.
We give thanks to God for the following individuals who are celebrating their Birthdays this week: Ginny Spadaro (14), Oscar Hazelwood (15), Amy Mazziotti (15), Lester Blair (17), Willie Black, Jr. (18), Iris Brown (18), Sandra Cocks (18), Tovin Hewitt (18).
We pray for the repose of the souls of Albert D. Thompson, Adelaide E. Thompson, Joseph C. Thompson in whose loving memory the Altar Flowers are presented to the glory of God. We pray for the repose of the soul Robert Mathews and Jorpoi Sammy Zayzay.
In the Anglican Cycle of Prayer, we are asked to pray for the Episcopal Church of Kitgum, Uganda, The Rt. Rev. Benjamin Ojwang.
In the Diocese of New York, we pray for Katharine our Presiding Bishop, Andrew and Allen, our bishops, and and on the feast day of St. Andrew the Apostle we pray for creativity in introducing others to Christ.
We pray for the continued growth of the Carpenter's Kids Program.
When the Stewardship Committee was discussing potential speakers and subjects, I suggested that someone with children in the parish share their thoughts about how beneficial our Church community is for our young people and the importance of stewardship to maintain our youth programs. Everyone agreed and then looked at me expectantly. So here I am. I am a lifelong Episcopalian, and mother to a three year old. I want her to have the kind of church experience I did as a child; a warm, loving church full of kids her own age and older kids that she could look up to, and perhaps even more importantly, adults that made her feel welcome and treated her like she was an important part of her church.
When I first came to Christ Church last year, searching for a parish that could offer my daughter these things, I knew almost immediately that I had made the right choice for us, and started pledging after my second Sunday here.
The benefits of raising children with church as a strong part of their lives are numerous. Church provides them with a positive influence and helps counteract the many negative influences they receive in school, from the news of the world, and sometimes even at home. Church gives them special memories and helps them make lifelong friends. It helps them to make sense out of their lives. It teaches them to love and be kind to others. Most importantly, participation in church teaches them how to be effective leaders in the church as they grow older, and lays the foundation for an active adult life in the church. Of course, there are downsides to all of this participation. You have not felt judgment from others until your child is singing “Let us drink wine together on our knees” as you food shop.
Christ Church has been expanding its children’s offerings, and its outreach to the community, hoping to both serve the families we already have here and encourage more to join our congregation.
This summer we had over 30 kids at Vacation Bible School. There were over 100 kids at our Halloween party, many of whom were from the neighborhood. Our Godly Play classes are full each week, and the children are excited to learn new stories from the Bible and lessons from their teachers.
But of course these activities don’t fund themselves.
If you pledge already, a small increase over the course of a year can help purchase new art supplies for the Godly Play classrooms, or fund a Vacation Bible School scholarship for a child who otherwise wouldn’t be able to attend.
If you’re on the fence about pledging, and have children in the church who take part in our activities, I encourage you to reflect on everything that they receive from the church. Talk to them about what they did in Godly Play. Ask them what they think about during the liturgy. The answers may be surprisingly in depth and insightful. And then, ask yourself if you can make the commitment to be a pledging member of the church that is giving your child so much.
For those who don’t have children in the parish, please remember that your pledge isn’t just about art supplies and parties. The rate of people who identify as Episcopalians is declining in this country. Churches that once boasted robust congregations have dwindled significantly in numbers, and some have been forced to close. Each church will undoubtedly face hard financial times at some point in its existence, but with a strong congregation they can often persevere.
What we are doing now with the children of our parish is shaping the future of our church. We must continue to engage them, from the time they are small right up through their teenage and young adult years. It is crucial for our church to continue to thrive.
From spending time with them over the summer and from interacting with them in church each week, I can say we really have a great group of kids here. They’re kind and considerate, and most importantly, they love being here and being a part of our church community.
Some of them will hopefully remain parishioners and raise their families here. They will remember the unwavering support they had from the adults here, and will be the next generation of leaders for Christ Church, continuing to support the community and this parish, modeling their behavior our own.
As you prepare to make your pledges this stewardship season, please keep these thoughts in mind. An investment in our church now will reap great dividends in the future.
Well it’s been over two years since our family moved to New Jersey and this will be our third pledge to Christ Church since moving away. You know over the last fifty years I’ve seen allot of families move off Staten Island and leave the Parish. And it is an extra burden to get up early on Sunday and spend more time in the car in order to be here, but you know, this is where we want to be on Sunday. Here with all of you our Christ Church family and community. So I am truly happy to pledge again for another year of contributing to this wonderful home, away from home.
Now this year when I was asked to speak on stewardship, I was specifically asked to keep it short. I am not sure how much this aspect of the request is because today is a very full schedule and we have to keep things moving along and how much is a reaction to the eloquence of my previous stewardship talks. Nonetheless I will endeavor to be brief.
The theme this year is Cheerful Giving. So, I wasn’t sure what to talk about and wanted some inspiration so I googled what the Bible has to say about giving. Let me tell you; There is plenty.
Here’s a good one:
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. From the book of John.
So we should give because God has given us everything and everything we have, we have because God has given it to us.
So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth; they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. This sounds like instructions on “how to give” but I think it really speaks to the motivation for giving. We should not be motivated to give for the rewards of this life but for the supreme reward that God gives which is Love.
Remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive. Acts 20:35
So there are lots of reasons to give and there are rewards for giving but you know the best part about giving is really just how good it makes you feel. It is terrific!
The other day, Alice asked me what my favorite holiday is. Without hesitation I told her it is Christmas. Why? Sure there’s the bit about Jesus being born and all, but the real reason I love Christmas so much is all the presents. But I’m talking about all the presents I get to give. It is so great. It is the one time of year I get to really focus on giving to the people I love. I love it. In fact, Giving is so wonderful that I think there may be only one thing better in this life and that is Loving. And Loving and Giving go together so well.
So here at Christ Church we have a community based on love and supported by giving. So to all of you I pledge my love and ask and encourage you to please make your pledge and give as much as you can to support this growing loving community. Oh and do it cheerfully, because it feels so good.
I’m told that last year I gave a pretty good stewardship speech, so don’t laugh, I was rewarded by being made Chair of the Stewardship committee. I am an incurable optimist, so I do mean I was rewarded. It is a joy for me to talk about Stewardship.
The theme of this year’s stewardship campaign is “Cheerful Giving”, which comes from St. Paul’s Second letter to the Corinthians 9:7. “Each of you should give what you have decided on in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under any compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
Every year at Christmas I look forward to two movies. The first is “It’s A Wonderful Life.” George Bailey realizes, after a lot of heartache, that it is a wonderful life and that he is showered with so many blessings and has everything to live for.
But my favorite is “A Christmas Carol.” I love all the versions of it, the old black and white and all the new ones. I even like the Mister Magoo version. The best part of “A Christmas Carol” is where Ebenezer wakes up after the visit of the Ghost of Christmas Future and realizes that he’s still alive. He is ecstatic. He gives Mrs. Dilber a raise, he buys the prize turkey and gives an enormous tip to the intelligent boy, the remarkable boy, and when he runs into the men who had asked him for a donation for the poor at which he had previously sneered “Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses?”
Ebenezer is delighted to pledge and he says “Will you come and see me? Will you come and see me?” Of course he gives Bob Cratchit a raise and saves Tiny Tim and reconciles with nephew Fred. But for all the people he ends up helping, the happiest one of all is Ebenezer. Ebenezer becomes a happy, loving, generous man.
We here are so blessed and we have so much to be joyful and cheerful about, you and I, we live in America, in New York, in Staten Island, I love Staten Island! and especially we are so blessed to all be part of the Christ Church family and come here and hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
You will receive a packet in the mail with the pledge card and other information. Whether or not you pledge and the amount you pledge is confidential.
We need to know the amount of the pledges as early as possible so we can start the budget. The pledges provide the bulk of our income, and pay for Father Chuck, the lights, the heat (such as it is!), the cleaning. All of you who previously pledged, please continue. Father Chuck said I should ask you to prayerfully consider increasing your pledge. With all due respect I am telling you to increase your pledge. If you currently pledge $200, increasing your pledge to $220 won’t mean a hill of beans of difference in your own life, but it shows your commitment to Jesus Christ and to Christ Church. I personally have increased my own pledge by ten percent.
For those of you who haven’t pledged yet, I ask you to start this year, even if for a very small amount. I understand perfectly well the anxiety, what if I lose my job and can’t fulfill the pledge? What if my business drops? If that kind of worry is preventing you from pledging, then just make it a small amount that you know you can meet. I myself only started pledging a few years ago. You don’t run a marathon the first time you go running, you run around the block.
You can leave the pledge card in the collection plate, you can mail it in, hand it to Beth or to Father Chuck or leave it in the office.
Over the next few weeks, we will hear from other members about their stewardship journey. November 9 the stewardship committee is sponsoring coffee hour and I say, come hungry, because on that day we are going to really feed you abundantly, joyfully and cheerfully!
A year ago I was up here at the lectern talking about why I finally made the decision to pledge to ChristChurch.
This time around, I’m here to talk about why I chose to raise my pledge.
As you probably now by now, it’s Pledge season here at Christ Church. The biggest challenge for any organization -- be it Christ Church, Channel 13 or that overpriced university whose football team likes to embarrass itself on national TV -- is just getting people to make that FIRST pledge.
After all, even a $1 dollar pledge beats a zero.
But what about the people who have already committed a portion of their weekly budget to Christ Church? Who speaks for them? Or more correctly, who speaks to them. Who says, hey, thanks for the donation. Think you could do a little more this time?
Well, in the case of this organization’s pledge campaign, that person would be me.
Now before we start with the shakedown, I’d like to first talk a little about money.
Everybody has their own peculiar relationship with money. My own relationship can be summed up in a phrase: easy come, easy go.
Yes, there have been times when I felt like I had money, when I could buy organic fair trade coffee because it really did taste better. Then there were the other times. Times when I could barely believe I had enough money to make the rent. When spaghetti with meat sauce seemed like a crazy luxury. When the term “savings account” seemed ironic at best.
I’m not trying to exaggerate my circumstances or garner sympathy. I just think I speak for a lot of people in this room when I say that it doesn’t take much to go from one situation to the next and that, while we all make a hundred choices a day on how apportion our scarce supply of material wealth, lately, it seems like most of those choices are already made before you even get the money to spend on them.
Long story short, I have learned two things when it comes to money: Worrying about it on a minute-by-minute basis doesn’t make it come any quicker. And sometimes you just have to flat out trick yourself into being a better steward of the money you do have.
What do I mean by “trick yourself?” I mean things like, throwing all the change from your daily coffee or soda purchase into that big giant glass jar by the front door -- that thing we in the Williams household call the Sam Williams Vacation Martini Fund. Or maybe, it’s pretending that the microscopic raise you just received at work never really happened and upping your pension or 401K allocation by an equal amount.
Or maybe it’s seeking out the ATM that dispenses $10 bills instead of $20, because, well, you know yourself and you know that the only thing that disappears quicker than a November weekend is a broken $20 in the wallet.
We all have tricks like that. Which is why, last year, when the pledge card came around, I made the bold decision to up my pledge by $5.
Now, before you all go celebrating me as hero, keep in mind that my first pledge was pretty low, so low that I was already over-contributing by $5 each Sunday. I was doing it just in case the waves started calling in the summer and I accidentally didn’t show up in the pews for a six week stretch. I didn’t want to find myself playing catch up at the end of the year when the real bills come due. I was tricking myself, in other words.
By upping my pledge by $5 I was really upping my own internal game of monetary hide and seek. I had the cash. But did I have the additional cash to fool myself into overpaying a touch, because, man, the Jersey Shore was looking especially welcoming after last year’s brutal winter.
As it turned out, I did have just enough. Which is why, this year, I plan to up my pledge by --- wait for it -- $5 dollars.
Now some of you might be thinking….isn’t the tenor of this speech diametrically opposed to the message from last Sunday’s sermon? The one where Father Chuck told us about the lady who prayed and reviewed her finances and re-examined her priorities until she found a way to meet the Biblical dictate of a 10 percent tithe.
Yes. Yes, it is.
As some of you may know, I’m not an ordained minister. I’m a math teacher by trade. That’s why before I wrap things up, I’d like to engage in a little mental math exercise.
Imagine a church with 100 pledging families. Imagine that each one of those families increases its pledge by $5 a week. For rounding purposes, we’ll assume 50 weeks in a calendar year. How much additional money does that church raise before the next pledge campaign?
C’mon. We’re just moving the decimal point, people.
On the other hand, if you’re thinking to yourself, oh great, I can barely afford to pledge $5 as it is and here Mr. Williams wants me to up that commitment by 100 percent, rest assured: we have the numbers, energy and optimism to spot your portion. Carry on at your current pledging rate.
As for everybody else, I think Father Chuck put it best two years ago when, up on this dais, he framed Christianity as a worldview that trades that ancient fear of scarcity, that draining worry of not having enough, for the uplifting promise of eternal abundance. Our supply of material wealth is, by definition, a finite supply. And yet, somehow, collectively, we find a way. We fill the pledge envelope. We buy a few books at the St. Nick’s fair. We buy a few extra cans for the food drive. We uncover a spare coat in the closet for the winter clothing drive.
It’s a game we play in our minds. It’s that game where we find ourselves saying: You know, I never have enough but, for some reason, I do have enough to give -- and give cheerfully, I might add -- to those with even less.
Well, take a look around. This church needs just as much Christian love as the homeless guy sleeping in the ferry terminal.
If you’re already giving in some way -- if you feel like you’re on the winning side of the game for a change -- I ask you to reward yourself for that fact and to increase your pledge by some amount this season.
Thank you very much.
Bob Matthews, a member of the Church of the Ascension, active in island-wide Episcopal events and in ecumenical work died on Sunday. Visitation will be at Harmon Funeral Home today (Thursday) 2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. - 9;00 p.m. His funeral will be at the Church of the Ascension, 1 Kingsley Avenue, at 11;00 a.m., Friday, December 11.
Jorpoi Sammy Zayzay, Richard Zayzay's brother, died on November 25 and his funeral was on Friday, December 5.
May their souls, and the souls of all the departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
Don't forget that 2015 is the Year of the Bible at Christ Church. Using the NRSV Daily Bible we will read the Bible together beginning January 1.
Next Sunday is the Fourth Sunday of Advent and the children will present the annual Christmas Pageant during the 10:00 service.
We will be making and distribution 230 Christmas dinners for food insure families on Staten Island and need your help!
We will assemble the baskets in the Guild Room on Wednesday, December 17 at 7:30 p.m.
We will distribute the baskets on Thursday, December 18 beginning at 9:00 a.m.
Saturday, December 13 at Christ Church
6 p.m. Hors d'oeuvres and drinks
7 p.m. Dinner and dancing
$65 per person - R.S.V.P.
Honorees: Lisa Rhoades and Richard Zayzay
This year's Holly Ball will have fabulous food from Vida Restaurant. Silva Popaz's tantalizing menu includes pan roasted pork loin in an apple brandy shallot sauce; eggplant rolls filled with goat cheese ricotta and spinach, draped with marinara sauce and mozzarella; and chicken with a lemon parsley sauce - topped off with homemade desserts via the Wood twins.
You can follow Christ Church on Twitter, @ChristChurchSI and receive reminders of meetings and events at Christ Church and in the diocese and community.
Christ Church Intercessory Prayer Group.
Led by Deacon Novella Lawrence & Mr. Edward (Ned) Rogers.
Every Wednesday beginning Dec. 3, 2014 at 7:00 p.m. (Vestry Room). All are welcome. Please join us for a time of inspiration and fellowship.
Flower Fund Envelopes will be found in the pews during the month of December. Those who would like to contribute to the memorial flowers for Christmas should list names of those to be remembered on the front of the envelope and place your envelope with donation in the offering plate on Sunday morning. Checks should be drawn to Christ Church New Brighton. All names must be received NO LATER than Wednesday, December 17 to be listed in the Christmas bulletin.
Our annual stewardship campaign is drawing to a close. Many thanks to Andrea Raff and the stewardship committee, to our stewardship speakers -- Andrea, Marshall Green, Paige Gunther, and Sam Williams -- and to you for your support of Christ Church.
We are wrapping up our stewardship campaign, so if you have not yet pledge please do so now.
We need to raise $180,000 in pledges to balance our operating budget.
On Sunday, December 14, 2014 at 3 p.m. there will be a free concert at the Springer Concert Hall at the College of Staten Island conducted by Mr. Mineta and his orchestra which includes Eva-Marie Black. Selections from Disney's Frozen to Vivaldi's Concerto for 4 violins are some of the pieces that will be performed.
St. Paul's Episcopal Church presents its annual service of Lessons and Carols on Sunday, December 21 at 4:00 p.m. Admission is $25 and $15 for children under twelve. A reception follows the service.
St. Paul's is located at 225 St. Paul's Avenue.
Anne Devlin will be collecting current magazines for the SI Care Center. This will be an on-going collection. You can leave donations in the parish office for pick up or contact Anne directly.