Brooklyn Boro

Faith In Brooklyn for October 23

October 23, 2013 By Francesca Norsen Tate, Religion Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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Inaugural PathMakers to Peace Awards Honors Brooklyn Leaders and Groups

People who work for freedom, justice and peace often affirm that these three values are interdependent. Last Sunday, Brooklyn for Peace held its inaugural PathMakers to Peace honoree reception at the Brooklyn Historical Society.

Four Brooklynites and a Brooklyn organization working for racial and economic equality all received the PathMakers to Peace awards: Pulitzer-Award winning playwright Lynn Nottage; Rabbi Ellen Lippmann, co-founder of the Children of Abraham Peace Walk; Dr. Ahmad Jaber, who is active in several Arab American organizations, the Islamic Mission of America (Dawood Mosque and the Brooklyn Heights Clergy Association and Brooklyn Congregations United; Nancy Romer of the Brooklyn Food Coalition and Brooklyn College Community Partnership; and FUREE (Families United for Racial and Economic Equality).

Brooklyn for Peace had its roots in a group of parents who sought a viable response to the United States’ invasion of Grenada. BFP marks the 30th anniversary of its conception this month. By the spring of 1984 the group, then called Brooklyn Parents for Peace, becoming part of a wider coalition seeking to limit militarism, and creating a society based on justice and racial equality. As it continues to grow, Brooklyn for Peace has several committees that focus on various peace and justice efforts, from resolving conflict in Israel-Palestine, counter-recruitment to limit what they believe is aggressive militarism in the U.S. and climate protection to outreach and culture. Moreover, special task forces focus on areas such as Darfur/Africa, Latin America, international law, water and food safety and autonomy for independent farms and eliminating the threat of nuclear warfare and energy disasters. Brooklyn for Peace tackles these issues on both a local and global scope.

During the event, Charlotte Phillips, M.D., chairperson of Brooklyn for Peace, was also recognized.

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Plymouth Church Book Signing Celebrates a ‘Ministry of Freedom’

Frank Decker and Lois Rosebrooks signed copies of their new book, Brooklyn’s Plymouth Church in the Civil War Era: A Ministry of Freedom last Friday at the landmark Brooklyn Heights Plymouth Meeting House. Pictured, from left, are Frank Decker, Lois Rosebrooks, Scott Moyers of Penguin Press. All are Plymouth members.

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St. Charles Borromeo Church Presents Program of Spanish-Language Songs

St. Charles Borromeo Church presents a concert of love songs by composers from Mexico and Spain in November.

Sergio Sandí, music director of St. Charles Borromeo Church, will perform with prominent Mexican composer and tenor Juan Pablo Contreras. The program of Spanish-language love songs, in Spanish, will feature four works by Contreras.

Contreras has appeared in concert with the CalArts Orchestra, Bedford Chamber Orchestra, North/South Chamber Orchestra, Riverside Church Choir, Inauthentica Ensemble and the Formalist Quartet, performing repertoire ranging from Bach’s St. Matthew Passion to Jolivet’s Suite Liturgique. He has also performed as a soloist in venues such as the Detroit Institute of the Arts in Detroit, Paraninfo Enrique Díaz de León and the Club Hacienda San Javier in Guadalajara, the Eagle Rock Center for the Arts in Los Angeles and the Roy O. Disney Music Hall in Valencia. He has also sung principal roles in operas such as Ravel’s L’Enfant et les Sortileges, Rameau’s Platee and Purcell’s Dido & Aeneas with the CalArts Opera. Contreras received his Master’s degree from the Manhattan School of Music and his BFA from the California Institute of the Arts. His most influential voice teachers include Niel Rosenshein and Maria Fortuna-Dean.

A native of Limón, Costa Rica, Sandí began piano studies with Dr. Alexandr Sklioutovski and M. M. Ludmila Melzer at the Superior Institute of Arts in Costa Rica from 1998 until 2003. In 2003, Sandí emigrated to the U.S> to attend the Manhattan School of Music; he obtained his bachelors and master’s degree and is currently working on his doctoral of musical arts degree, under the guidance of professor Arkady Aronov. He’s also been studying privately with renowned pianist and pedagogue Seymour Bernstein for the past four years. During his career he has participated in numerous concerts, recitals and other presentations at Costa Rica’s principal venues, and also in the Unites States, Italy, France, Lithuania and Guatemala. Among his many awards, Sandi was given the Costa Rican National Prize in Music as best solo performer, the highest award through Costa Rica’s Ministry of Culture.

Their concert takes place on Saturday, Nov. 2 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $15 and are available through the parish’s website, after each Mass on Sunday, Oct. 27 and at the door the evening of the concert.

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‘Women and Subterfuge’ in Bible Is Theme of Yearlong Series

The Bible may seem to be patriarchal in its narration, but women played a key “underground” role.

“Women and Subterfuge in Biblical Texts” is the topic of a class that the Brooklyn Heights Synagogue offers starting this week.

Rabbi Molly Kane and Rabbi Hara Person will lead this series, with the focus on stories of women who worked behind the scenes to make things happen. Since women have little official authority in biblical text, they often have to resort to subterfuge to get the results they want. We will look at the methods they use, the sources of their power despite their lack of authority, and the way the text tells their stories. We’ll look at the stories of Yael, Delilah (whose stories unfold in the Book of Judges) and Abigail and Michal, and two of King David’s wives, whose stories unfold in the Books of Samuel. No prior knowledge is required.  

The class runs Thursdays, from 7-8:30 p.m. on Oct. 24, Dec. 5, Jan. 23, Feb. 20, March 27 and May 8.
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Area Restaurants Join Forces To Raise Money for CHIPS

Christian Help in Park Slope (affectionately known as CHIPS), is holding The Good Night Out, a Brooklyn neighborhood restaurant event, on Tuesday, Oct. 29. Dozens of participating restaurants have agreed to donate 15 percent of their evening’s dinner checks. Enjoy a great meal and make a difference for the good! As of press time, more than 20 restaurants in Park Slope, Prospect/Lefferts Gardens, Prospect Heights and Gowanus are participating. They represent a wide array of cuisines, from Italian and Sicilian, Mediterranean/Greek, Middle Eastern and bistros. Visit the CHIPS website for a list of restaurants and updated information:
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Bay Ridge Churches Honor Pastors; Joint Service Creates New Bonds

Bay Ridge United Church recently recognized its Pastor, Jane Donnelly, and Pastor David Aja-Sigmon of the Fourth Avenue Presbyterian Church at a joint worship service. Bay Ridge United hosted the liturgy with the mission of acquainting the members of the two churches as part of an ongoing process to discern their uniting as one congregation.   

The worship service was followed by a pot luck lunch which demonstrated an old adage of “feed them and they will come.”

The joint service was held earlier this month; October has been designated Clergy Appreciation Month (CAM) and in celebrating the congregations’ 17th year at Focus on the Family. This year, a struggling economy is putting more demands on pastors than ever before. Individuals and congregations are encouraged to use CAM as an opportunity to offer support and appreciation to their pastors and church leaders in the midst of trying times. Today’s pastors accomplish invaluable work within their churches and communities, but they often face very real hardships in their own families, financial situations and daily responsibilities.

A recent Focus survey of over 2,000 pastors showed that the majority of respondents work over 50 hours per week and have difficulty building close, accountable relationships. In light of this, CAM serves as a time for church members to find creative, helpful ways to lift up their pastors and show them they are loved, valued and needed.

Bay Ridge United Church (636 Bay Ridge Parkway) is a joint congregation of the Reformed Church of America (RCA) and the Presbyterian Church of the USA (PCUSA). Worship is Sunday at 11 a.m. with Bible Study at 10 a.m.

Fourth Avenue Presbyterian Church (6753 4th Ave.) is a congregation of the Presbyterian Church of the USA (PCUSA). The Pastor is Rev. David Aja-Sigmon. Worship is Sunday at 11 a.m.

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Bay Ridge United Church Awards Scholarships

Bay Ridge United Church awarded its first Jim Gillies Memorial Scholarships recently. The scholarships were presented to Gabriel Benitez and Anthony Maguire at the above-mentioned joint worship service with Fourth Avenue Presbyterian Church. Benitez is studying nursing at Kingsborough Community College and Maguire is studying at Brooklyn College to teach special education.

The fund was established from memorial donations in the name of longtime member Jim Gillies, who died in 2011. The Bay Ridge United Sunday School, which manages the fund, presented the checks.

In his letter requesting the scholarship, Benitez had said the scholarship would help him “concentrate on obtaining the knowledge I seek to help me advance doing what the Lord wants me to do.” Maguire hopes to “be better suited to teaching in the changing classroom of today’s schools.” Both Benitez and Maguire are ordained Elders and have served on the Church Board. 

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Heritage Ensemble Performs At Nyorican Poets Cafe

Eugene Marlow’s Heritage Ensemble, which has received an accolade of reviews for its concerts and recordings, is described as “an imaginative and tight quintet that churns out its unique brand of entrancing world music with infectious danceable rhythms in various jazz, Afro-Caribbean and Brazilian styles.” The Heritage Ensemble performs at the Nyorican Poets Café this Friday, Oct. 25, with one set at 9 p.m.

The Nyorican Poets Café is at 236 East 3rd Street (Between Aves. B & C) on the Lower East Side. Ticket prices are: $15; $7 Students with valid school ID.

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Organ Ovation At Our Lady

Joseph Vitacco III received an extended standing ovation at last Friday’s sold-out organ dedication recital at Our Lady of Refuge Church in Midwood. The successful fundraising and restoration campaign culminated in this event, featuring guest artist Olivier Latry, titular organist at the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris, and Professor at the Paris Conservatory.

“This is a project would not have happened unless Mrs. Vitacco and Mr. Vitacco had a little boy named Joseph who had a big dream to restore this organ,” said Fr. Michael Perry, pastor of Our Lady of Refuge Church, in presenting the surprise award. “I’m going to ask that DiMarzio read the inscription on the plaque that will go also in the organ so that every generation will know just what happened here. And no one can imagine just what happened here except for Joe, because he coordinated the whole thing.”

Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn, who gave the blessing, read the plaque, written in Latin.

The Midwood parish also honored two companies responsible for the restoration and cleaning of the Kilgen Organ: A.R. Schopp’s Sons, Alliance, Ohio; and Quimby Pipe Organs, Inc. in Warrensburg, Missouri. According to the Organ Dedication program booklet, A.R. Schopp’s Sons repaired and restored the windchests, reeds and most of the wood pipes. David Schopp thoroughly checked and performed corrective revoicing as necessary on all of the reed ranks.  Quimby Pipe Organs worked on the remaining components of the instrument—structure, windlines, console and the remaining pipes. These were all cleaned, repaired and restored.

Fr. Rony Mendes, the parochial vicar at OLOR, received the Brooklyn caps from Fr. Perry to give to Olivier Latry and Michael Barone, host and producer of the radio program Pipedreams, on American Public Media.

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Milestones in Faith: Our Lady of Refuge Church’s Organ Marks Its 80th Year

The parish (congregation) of Our Lady of Refuge Church was founded in 1911, according to histories published in the Kilgen Organ Dedication booklet and the OLOR website.

The original building was dedicated 100 years ago, in September 1913. Less than 20 years later, it was clear that the membership had outgrown the small frame-structure building. The pastor who oversaw the fundraising and building of a new church was Monsignor Francis P. Connelly, well-respected for this accomplishment. He served Our Lady of Refuge Church for 35 years.

Ground for the present building was broken at the site, on the southeast corner of Foster and Ocean avenues in 1933, and the construction was finished the following year at a cost of $400,000. The website history points out, “By that time, the congregants’ generosity left the parish free of any debt, one of very few in the United States to achieve such a goal upon the completion of a new church and rectory.”

The sanctuary seats 1,000. The first Mass was celebrated in this new space on June 16, 1934. Then-Bishop Thomas E. Molloy, S.T.D (Doctor of Sacred Theology) presided at the dedication liturgy the next day.

The 2013 dedication booklet gives a 1933 date for the Kilgen Organ, Opus 5163. In the instrument’s 80th year, repair and restoration has been completed, under the leadership Rev. Michael Perry, of Our Lady of Refuge Church’s pastor since 1999; and Joseph A. Vitacco III, chair of the Organ Restoration Committee. (See related story, above).

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