Congregations find creative ways to organize outreach and relief to victims of Superstorm Sandy

November 13, 2012 By Francesca Norsen Tate Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Congregations throw benefit concert for Sandy victims
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Several generous musicians have signed on to perform for a benefit concert at The Church of St. Ann & the Holy Trinity this Friday.

Artists performing include, as of press time for this column: Lori Goldston, Nick Balaban, Dan Blake, Shelly Hirsch and Margaret Glaspy. Seattle-based cellist Lori Goldston was scheduled to perform a solo show at St. Ann & the Holy Trinity before the October 29 storm. After Hurricane Sandy hit New York City and the region leaving many scars, Goldston decided she wanted to do something to relieve the storm-caused suffering of so many. She determined to transform her small-scale event into a huge benefit to support the hurricane victims and the volunteers assisting them.

Fr. John Denaro, priest-in-charge, is also credited as being instrumental in organizing this event on very short notice.

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Admission is $15/person. All funds raised at the Friday, November 16 concert will be donated to the Occupy Sandy Relief Center at St. Luke & St. Matthew Episcopal Church in Clinton Hill, which is offering unquantifiable support to many thousands affected by Hurricane Sandy. This site is training volunteers to collect and distribute donated food, clothing and other goods, and preparing and delivering hot meals.

The concert begins at 8 p.m. The church is at Montague and Clinton streets in Brooklyn Heights.


Depression, anxiety and stress are especially prevalent in the wake of a natural disaster, where entire neighborhoods around the New York metropolitan area have gone without electricity, heat and water for more than two weeks following Superstorm Sandy. A coalition of synagogues and Jewish philanthropic organizations sponsors a Community Forum on how to reach out to one another.

The Community Forum, free and open to all, will include a panel discussion and breakout sessions on stress causes and triggers, and ways in which they can be addressed.

The Kane Street Synagogue (236 Kane St., just west of Court St.) sponsors this event on Sunday, November 18 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Co-sponsors, as of press time are, in addition to the Kane St. Synagogue: the Brooklyn Heights Synagogue, Congregation Mount Sinai, Congregation Beth Elohim, Congregation Kolot Chayeinu, the East Midwood Jewish Center,Park Slope Jewish Center, Temple Beth Emeth, Union Temple of Brooklyn, the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services, and the UJA-Federation of New York’s Partners in Caring.


 The Recovery House of Worship-Brooklyn, (making its home at The Baptist Temple, 360 Schermerhorn Street, Cor. 3rd Ave.), began offering relief in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. A group of congregants offered help to a church member whose home was severely damaged in the flooding. There, the volunteers quickly realized the scope of the damage and people needing help.

Assistant Pastor Gus Rodriguez reported in an email to the community that, “As a result, our volunteer efforts have snowballed. We are now a drop-off location for donations of all kinds.” Moreover, RHOW-Brooklyn has hosted volunteer groups from out of town and has collaborated with another organization, Hope for New York. Last weekend, 70 volunteers distributed more than 1,000 sandwiches to stricken residents and aid workers, and clothing to the storm victims. RHOW-Brooklyn reports that at present, volunteers and financial donors are especially welcome. Clothing is not needed, but non-perishable foods, batteries, flashlights, cleaning supplies, and baby formula, diapers and wipes are especially needed. Donations are being accepted (360 Schermerhorn St., near Third Ave. in Boerum Hill) Mondays-Fridays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.


Partners in Thanksgiving offering autumn produce

Outreach and solidarity continue for a church that suffered extensive damage in an earlier storm this year. Christ Church-Cobble Hill, which was struck by lightning in a July 26 storm and is still closed during structural repairs to its tower. A sister Episcopal parish in the Deanery, St. Ann & the Holy Trinity, opened its doors to the Cobble Hill Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) project which was displaced from Christ Church because of the damage.

The CSA and its partner farmers have offered to make a special (and substantial) donation of sweet potatoes, carrots and apples to benefit folks in need this Thanksgiving. The parishes are currently identifying who might need the support with a delivery of these raw items or food.


Moreover, the Choir of Christ Church-Cobble Hill is joining forces with a namesake parish in Riverdale, to present a benefit Evensong this weekend.

Christ Church Riverdale will join with her sister parish, Christ Church Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, for a beautiful service of Evensong featuring their choirs under the direction of Timothy Brumfield and Donald Barnum. Music selections will include the Canticles in E- minor by Leo Sowerby, Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence by Edward Bairstow, Evening Hymn by Balfour Gardiner, and Pilgrim’s Hymn by Stephen Paulus. The Responses will be sung to a musical setting composed by co-director Timothy Brumfield.

While liturgical services such as the beloved Evensong tradition do not have admission charges, free-will offerings are often collected. This event, on Sunday, November 18, will provide the opportunity for a free-will offering to offset the extreme costs of repair and restoration. This special Evensong is being presented as a way for Christ Church Riverdale to say, “We are with you and are here to help.” The Very Reverend Ronald T. Lau, Rector, Christ Church Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, and Dean of St. Mark’s Deanery, Brooklyn, will be the homilist. He is expected to update the gathering on the progress being made in bringing Christ Church back to life.  A social hour follows the service.

The Evensong will be hosted at Christ Church-Riverdale, according to that church’s website, at 4 p.m. on November 18. For directions and other information, readers can visit that website at


Plymouth Church co-hosts Danish Seamen’s Church Fair

The Danish Seamen’s Church in Brooklyn Heights (102 Willow Street) is hosting its annual Traditional Danish Christmas Fair this weekend. Plymouth Church, a couple of blocks away, will co-host the fair luncheon—beloved for its Scandinavian open-faced sandwiches—on Saturday.

The pastor of the Danish Seamen’s Church, Julie Sløk, writes, “You may have heard about delicious Danish open-faced sandwiches with their lavish combinations of fish and seafood, cheese, cold cuts and vegetables, garnished with fresh herbs, but have you ever tasted them?”

Christmas-shoppers will also be able to find some traditional gifts—elves, angels, candles, Christmas crafts. The Danish Seamen’s Church is open both days of the Fair—November 17-18. Plymouth Church (75 Henry St.) is only open on Saturday the 17th of November from 11am to 5 p.m. and will provide the open-faced sandwiches and beer. The gift shop and courtyard bar serving hotdogs, Danish beer, warm pastries and mulled wine will be served at the Danish Seamen’s Church. Fair hours are: Saturday, November 17, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday, November 18, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. For more information, visit the Danish Seamen’s Church bilingual website,


Milestones in Faith: The Danish Seamen’s Church

The Danish Seamen’s Church in the U.S. dates back to the great emigration to America in the late 19th century (ca. 1878) and has evolved with the changes that have happened in the Danish shipping industry and the life in America. The Danish Seamen’s Church is a private church under The Danish Seamen’s Churches Abroad and the Copenhagen Bishop Peter Skov-Jakobsen in ecclesiastical matters. The church offers religious services according to the State Church of Denmark (Lutheran). Moreover, the church is a social and cultural hub for all for all people with bonds to Denmark.

The church has made its home in a Brooklyn Heights brownstone at 102 Willow St. for 55 years, since 1957.



Plymouth’s own Yankee Fair raised funds for hurricane relief

Saturday’s balmy weather was perfect for Plymouth Church’s 2012 Yankee Fair, with pony rides and bouncy castles on Orange Street, holiday gifts and crafts, entertainment, books hot lunch in Hillis Hall, and continued outreach to hurricane victims.

The annual holiday fair raised funds for building restoration, school scholarships, and the St. John’s Bread and Life mobile soup kitchen, which has taken on special importance in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Attendees also dropped off donations for Red Hook Initiative, the organization helping Hurricane Sandy victims in Red Hook.

“It was a lovely community day at Plymouth, and the weather was perfect,” reports Kathleen Wolf, a member of the Plymouth Church School committee. “We raised a lot of money for the Hurricane Sandy victims, and people dropped off lots of donations.”

Chairing the Yankee Fair committee was Beth Fleisher. Rebecca Yaggy served as volunteer coordinator; Kris Dugan organized handmade crafts. Mary Lou Wells and Kate Kincaid organized the Country Kitchen.

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