News and Trends From Brooklyn’s Houses of Worship
Francesca Norsen Tate, editor
Assumption Church Honors
Kathleen Reynolds at Gala
Each year, Assumption Church honors a parishioner who has contributed significantly to community life, as part of the parish’s annual St. Patrick’s/St. Joseph’s Dinner Dance.
Celebrating the parish’s Irish and Italian heritages, last weekend Assumption Church saluted Kathleen Reynolds for her leadership and background work in several parish ministries.
“Kathy, much like St. Joseph, is always working behind the scene in her quiet, generous and loving spirit,” according to the salute published in Assumption’s new “green” online dinner journal.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, Kathy Reynolds attended St. Edmund’s Elementary School, Brendan’s High School, and Brooklyn College. Her father, Tom, was a fireman who, early in his career, was assigned to Ladder Company 118 on Middagh Street — all the way from Marine Park. During his twenty years at Ladder 118, he attended Mass at Assumption when working and would also recall many firehouse events that were held in the parish hall. His fond memories of Assumption Church gave Kathy an immediate connection to the parish and she enjoyed the welcoming spirit and sense of community.
Kathy moved from the Marine Park area to Brooklyn Heights in 1993 and joined Assumption Church, serving on the Parish Council and various committees, and participating in many parish events. For the past five years Kathy has coordinated Assumption’s Homeless Shelter Program, an important ministry that she finds both humbling and rewarding.
Kathy began her long career at the Brooklyn Public Library in 1963 as a part-timer on the Bookmobile. Her career at the Brooklyn Public Library then spanned almost four decades and her connection lasts into retirement. She worked at several neighborhood branches, served on many of their committees and held various positions. In 2002, she retired as Manager of Acquisitions. As a retiree, she maintains her bonds with the BPL as a volunteer tutor in the Adult Literacy Program and Co-President of Friends of Literacy.
Present with Kathy at the gala were her sister, Judy Slater and her niece, Christine, among other family members.
Recent years’ honorees have included Anne Killeen and Bob & Lizanne Buckholz.
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Iqra Mosque Expresses Solidarity
With Grieving Community
Plymouth Church’s large sanctuary was packed last Saturday for the funeral of Aaron Farooqi, a talented and sweet young man whose life should not have been cut short. And among the family and friends, fellow students, neighborhood clergy and community members paying their respects was an imam of Iqra Mosque in Midwood.
Imam Shair Abdul-Mani of Iqra Mosque, along with the senior imam (the word imam means spiritual/ prayer leader) had already established a bond with Plymouth Church, through interfaith discussion dinners. This bond between was strengthened as Imam Abdul-Mani stood with his new Plymouth friends during their time of grief.
Acknowledging the invitation from Plymouth’s Assistant Minister Al Bunis, Imam Abdul-Mani spoke of the dinner the two congregations, hosted at Plymouth, had shared last month, as well as the first dinner that Iqra Mosque hosted last fall.
Imam Shair spoke also of having been “in this place”; not a geographical location, but the situational “place” being the experience of grieving. He shared having lost his oldest daughter, and said that only those who have undergone such grief can understand it. He chanted verses from the Heifer and Angels Suras (Chapters) of the Quran, which covered the commandment, to be charitable with one’s goods to those in need, and which speak of Allah’s bringing back the earth and persons from the dead in a Resurrection.
“By chance,” said the imam, he sat in the pew marked as being the one where Abraham Lincoln had once worshiped.
Imam Shair, who gave his remarks immediately before soprano Alexis Lum sang “Amazing Grace,” remarked that this song has personal meaning for him; and that it had been sung, by request, at his own father’s funeral.
Plymouth Church Hosts
2nd Interfaith Dinner
With Iqra Mosque
Wendy Reitmeier, a member of Plymouth Church’s Interfaith Committee, shares the following account of Plymouth’s dinner with the imams of Iqra mosque.
Members of Plymouth Church recently welcomed some 30 visitors from Midwood’s Iqra Mosque for an interfaith fellowship dinner. The event, held in February, was reciprocal hospitality to the mosque, which in October 2011 hosted Plymouth members at its community dinner.
The Reverend Alvin Bunis, Plymouth’s Assistant Minister, remarked in his greetings to the Imam Khalil Abdur-Rashid and other guests from the Mosque, “We are so happy to have the chance to reciprocate your hospitality of last fall and look forward to getting to know each other better and to doing more events and activities together.”
Each dinner featured not only a shared meal, but also discussion of Christian and Islamic teachings and values, led by Rev. Bunis and Imam Khalil. Recognizing common traditions of service, the groups discussed how they might serve the community together.
The developing relationship of the two houses of worship was facilitated by the Muslim Consultative Network of New York, which is seeking to promote community exchanges between mosques and other houses of worship in New York City.
The dinner was also part of a continuing effort by Plymouth to promote interfaith understanding and neighborly connections among diverse religious groups in Brooklyn. Wendy Reitmeier, a Plymouth member and leader of its interfaith committee, said “a paradox of Brooklyn is that we live in one of the most diverse places in the world but often don’t know our neighbors of other traditions very well. When we do get to know each other, we can find shared values that enable us to be good neighbors, despite differences.”
— Contributed by Wendy Reitmeier
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Laetare Vespers and Compline
Provide Lenten Interludes
Laetare Sunday in the Christian tradition is traditionally a time to take a breather from the spiritual disciplines of Lent. The Fourth Sunday in Lent, “Laetare Sunday” takes its name from the Latin word for “rejoice” and in the Anglican Church is also celebrated as “Mothering Sunday,” complete with a simnel cake.
Assumption Church will mark Laetare Sunday with a Lenten Vespers service. Traditionally part of the monastic Liturgy of the Hours, which many laypersons also pray, Vespers is held in the late afternoon or early evening and offers the chance to pray, sing and reflect. Vespers will be held at Assumption on March 18 at 4 p.m.
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The following Sunday, St. Ann & the Holy Trinity Episcopal Church will offer a service of Compline. In addition to being the night prayer of the Church, Compline provides a contemplative bridge between Lent and Holy Week. A choir will sing the service with both plainsong and choral music after a half-hour organ meditation. The organ meditation begins at 8 p.m. The community is invited to join in this peaceful, meditative worship on Sunday, March 25.
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Our Lady of Refuge Church marks Lent with benefit fish fry events each Friday.
During Lent (Feb. 24 - Apr. 6) abstinence from meat on Fridays is obligatory for Catholics. Reviving the traditional fish fry, Our Lady of Refuge has been selling fish dinners every Friday, from 5 to 7 p.m., for $5/plate, in the rectory basement, since Feb. 24th. The entrance to the rectory basement is on E. 21st. For more information, call 718-434-2090, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
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Approaches For Community Seder
Progressive Temple Beth Ahavath Sholom in Borough Park invites all to join at a community Seder on the second night of Passover. Cantor Suzanne Bernstein will led the Seder on Saturday, April 7 at 6:30 p.m. Reservations must be received by March 23. Admission for Adults is $40, and for children over age five: $15. Contact the temple at 718-436-5082 to make reservations.
Cantor Bernstein is also leading an adult education course on “Modern Jewish Thought” at Progressive Temple Beth Ahavath Sholom.
The course meets on three Tuesday evenings: March 13, 20 and 27. Admission is $5 for temple members and $7 for guests. To RSVP, contact the temple via phone or email.
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Concerts Feature Classical
And New Sacred Music
Zion German Evangelical Lutheran Church hosts another Bach concert, featuring two of the Brandenburg Concerti and selections from the Magnificat and Easter Oratorio.
The Bach in the Heights Orchestra and Aria Group will present this concert on period instrument. Singers and instrumentalists are from the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra, Julliard, and the Manhattan School of Music. The Bach concert is at 3 p.m. this Sunday, March 18th.
Tickets are $10. Reservations can be made via phone: 718-935-1832 or at email@example.com. Tickets may also be purchased at the door the day of the event.
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When the choirs of Our Lady of Refuge Church presented its Annual Lenten Choir Concert last weekend, they featured the premiere of a 23rd Psalm setting by Michael Cook.
The Haitian Choir, directed by Bijoux, the Spanish Choir under Nidia Rivera’s direction, Instrumental Soloists featuring Glen Balck & Frantz Lafortune, The English Youth Choir, The English Adult Choir and the Parish Choirs performed renditions of Andrea Bocelli and a setting of the beloved 23rd Psalm. “The Lord Is My Shepherd.” Composer/arranger Michael Cook was expected to be in the audience.
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The Brooklyn-based Eugene Marlow Ensemble gives its next “We’ve Got Rhythms” concert featuring guest vocalist Rachel Kara Pérez.
“We’ve Got Rhythms” is an interactive musical performance of the Afro-Cuban and Brazilian rhythms underlying The Eugene Marlow Ensemble’s and Heritage Ensemble’s arrangements. They will play selections from their latest CDs “Celebrations” & “A Fresh Take” as well as their forthcoming (2012) CD “Obrigado Brasil!”
Eugene Marlow’s Heritage Ensemble’s music reflects a musical marriage of cultures. This imaginative and tight quintet churns out an intoxicating brew of in-the-pocket grooves and reverent soulful performances of original compositions and arrangements in various jazz, Afro-Cuban, Brazilian, and neo-classical styles. Their underlying purpose is to explore the commonalities among the various cultures from which all these musical cultures are inherited. This is part of the reason the word “heritage” is in the ensemble’s name. Taken together, their cultural and musical backgrounds add immeasurably to their performances and their approach of melding traditional Judaic melodies with rhythms from other cultures.
The ensemble gave a standing-ovation concert at Congregation Mount Sinai in December, and has performed sets regularly at the Nyorican Poets Café on the Lower East Side. Their next performance, on Thursday, March 22 at 9 p.m., features Rachel Kara Pérez, a Brooklyn-based and classically trained vocalist with a depth of range. Ms. Pérez sings musical theatre, jazz, Afro-Cuban jazz, and opera.
Her appearances/performances include: Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola at Jazz at Lincoln Center, Lincoln Center Out of Doors, Lincoln Center Celebrates The Bronx, The Richard Rodgers Theatre on Broadway, The Apollo Theatre, Nuyorican Poets’ Café, St. John The Divine, Verdi Square Festival of the Arts in New York, Good Morning America, NY1, and a National Tour for TheatreWorks USA.
Ms. Pérez has studied privately with Tony award winner Victoria Clark, Claudia Cummings of the New York City Opera, Hilda Harris of the New York City Opera, and the late Peggy Atkinson, Broadway singer/actress and former teacher at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She has trained under the direction of Carolyn Marlow, Broadway singer/actress, and the world-renowned American Soprano Catherine Malfitano. Coaches include Shane Schag and Nobuko Amemiya.
The Nyorican Poets Café is at 236 East 3rd Street (between Avenues B & C) in Manhattan.