Faith In Brooklyn for November 20

November 20, 2013 By Francesca Norsen-Tate, Religion Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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Clinton Hill Churches Celebrate Their Solidarity

The Church of St. Luke and St. Matthew joins with sister congregation, Brown Memorial Baptist Church, to celebrate the re-opening of a sanctuary and to commemorate World AIDS Day.

The Episcopal parish of St. Luke & St. Matthew was a victim of arson just before Christmas last year, on Sunday, Dec. 23, 2012. Their sister congregation in Brooklyn’s Clinton Hill neighborhood, Brown Memorial Baptist Church, opened its doors to St. Luke and St. Matthew parishioners while they were in need. Therefore, in partnership with Brown Memorial Baptist Church, The Church of St. Luke and St. Matthew will be celebrating the reopening of its church interior.

News for those who live, work and play in Brooklyn and beyond

World AIDS Day is commemorated each year on Dec. 1. The two congregations will jointly observe World AIDS Day at a 3:30 p.m. service that day, the Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend. The choirs of both churches will sing, with the reception for Episcopal Response to AIDS to follow. Grant monies will be disbursed to Episcopal charities who minister those living with HIV/AIDS.

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Cristo Rey Brooklyn High School Dedicates New Building

Cristo Rey Brooklyn High School dedicated its new building at 710 East 37th Street in East Flatbush last week on Wednesday, Nov. 13. Members of the extended Cristo Rey Brooklyn family and the larger community joined forces for the celebration.


Cristo Rey Brooklyn, which was established five years ago, is a member of the nationally recognized network of 26 high schools designed to provide a quality, Catholic, college preparatory education to young people of all faiths who live in urban communities and have limited educational options. Its name, derived from the Spanish language, means Christ the King.

Students, faculty and staff welcomed board members, sponsors, benefactors and friends into the school’s new home. Students led guests on tours of the increased instructional space and resources that had been previously lacking: the auditorium, commercial kitchen and cafeteria, gymnasium, library, chapel, science and technology labs. Cristo Rey President Bill Henson introduced speakers, including Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, CRBHS Board Chair, Bob Catell; BHGHNY Board Chair, John J. Halleron III; Sister Pat Vetrano, President of the Mid-Atlantic Community of the Sisters of Mercy, Fr. Joe Parkes from the Cristo Rey Network; and seniors, Jeffrey Lopez and Glody Omasombo. Monsignor Kieran Harrington of the Brooklyn Diocese prayed a blessing upon the school’s new home.

Two new partnerships were announced during the presentation with Boys Hope Girls Hope New York (BHGHNY) and the Mid-Atlantic Community of the Sisters of Mercy. BHGHNY offers and manages a boarding program for young women on the new Cristo Rey Brooklyn campus, in which all their scholars in residence attend Cristo Rey Brooklyn High School. The Mid-Atlantic Community of the Sisters of Mercy is now an official religious endorser of Cristo Rey Brooklyn High School, and they own the property and building. Cristo Rey High School leaders said “the alignment of our three missions could not be stronger and we are more than pleased to have the opportunity to be able to work together to help our students succeed.”

The school’s motto is “A School Learns, Works, Serves, Dreams, and Grows in Brooklyn!”

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Monastery’s Mother Superior Relates Syrian Conflict As Seen From the Ground

The question arises among the Syrian and international communities: “What is really happening in Syria today?”

St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral hosts a talk with Mother Agnes-Mariam of the Cross, who will tell her story, which religious leaders believe is in contrast with what people read in the Western press.

Mother Agnes-Mariam is Mother Superior at the Monastery and Convent of St. James the Mutilated in Qara, Syria. Gunmen attacked her vehicle this past May. Much of the population in the towns surrounding the monastery have become refugees. Mother Agnes-Mariam has spoken in Ireland and Australia, and has organized an international delegation led by Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire to visit Syria. She’s also one of the main organizers of Mussalaha (“Reconciliation”), a popular movement in Syria that mediates disputes and organizes ceasefires between opposing forces.

St. Nicholas Cathedral welcomes Mother Agnes-Mariam in cooperation with the Syria Solidarity Movement on Friday Dec. 6 at 7 p.m. A light tea service will be provided. The Cathedral is at 355 State St., near Bond St., in Boerum Hill.

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Episcopal Bishop of Long Island Calls For Parishes to Refrain from Gambling

The Rt. Rev. Lawrence C. Provenzano, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island, expressed his disapproval of the gambling referendum’s passage on Election Day. Delivering his address during the Eucharist at the 147th Diocesan Convention last weekend, Bishop Provenzano also called on all parishes in the diocese, which includes Brooklyn, to refrain from gambling as a form of raising funds.

Prior to Election Day, Bishop Provenzano had also published a statement opposing the gambling referendum. Voters passed this constitutional amendment passed on Nov. 5 with a 57-43 margin, according to informal polls reported.

Also prior to the election, The New York Times, apparently unaware of any religiously progressive faith leaders opposing the referendum, had published a story, “Critics Wage Quiet Fight Against Ballot Measure on Adding Casinos.” According to that Oct. 21 story, “The opposition is a ragtag array of religious conservatives who associate gambling with social ills, liberal intellectuals who see gambling as a form of regressive taxation, and skeptics who believe that Mr. Cuomo has overstated the economic promise of his casino plan.” Yet, the Episcopal Diocese’s Bishop Provenzano, who opposed the measure, is known as a progressive leader on many front and social justice issues, including on the ordination of women.

During his Convention Address on Nov. 16, Bishop Provenzano said, “On Election Day the people of the State of New York voted in favor of casino gambling as a means of supporting a much needed state-wide program. In my opinion, it is a misguided and unfortunate choice that has been made. Experience has proven that the funds raised by gambling are unfortunately a trade off with the increased services needed, and social and moral ills are created by these efforts across the country. All that being said, the State of New York will proceed; but as we hear Jesus tell his disciples in the tenth chapter of Mark, ‘it must not be that way with you…’ My sisters and brothers, I am calling upon you, and all the people of this diocese, to refrain from the use of games of chance, casino nights, raffles, card games and 50/50 programs as a way of raising funds for ministry or programs in our churches and institutions. These efforts to raise funds are counter to the teaching of faithful stewardship in the church. Stated very plainly and simply, if people have the money to engage in these activities, they should be taught and encouraged to practice good and holy stewardship – we should not have to entertain them, feed them or coerce the funds from their wallets to support the ministry of the church and fulfill their calling as members of the church. Further, I would like to encourage parishes to open their buildings to the 12-step program called ‘Gamblers Anonymous’ as a simple, but very visible expression of our care and concern for those who fall victim to gambling in our communities.”

During the same address, Bishop Provenzano also asked each congregation in his diocese to nurture interfaith partnerships and ministries.

“Today, I am asking each congregation to seek partnerships across ecumenical and inter-faith divides. I am aware that many congregations have fruitful, on-going relationships with ecumenical and inter-faith groups. Let’s keep that work going strong and re-new those efforts. But where there are none, I ask that we begin again to foster such relationships. The week of Prayer for Christian Unity between the Feasts of the Confession of St. Peter and the Conversion of St. Paul in January is an excellent time to nurture relationships with ecumenical partners and utilize that opportunity to encourage interfaith dialogue and work. I believe it is time, once again, for the Episcopal Church to serve the needs of God’s people as a bridge to unity in Christ and unity as the children of God.”

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St. Ann’s Church Salutes Gregory Eaton For His Work in Restoring Skinner Organ

Director of Music Gregory Eaton received flowers from the Rev. John E. Denaro following a standing-ovation concert at St. Ann & the Holy Trinity Church last Sunday. The concert commemorated Eaton’s 20th anniversary with the parish. Co-warden Frank Kain remarked that God gave Eaton specifically to this church “because he is one of the few people who know how this instrument works.” Speaking of the Louis Vierne Carillon piece that Eaton had just played as a request-encore, Kain recalled, “When Gregory auditioned for us just over 20 years ago, he played the Vierne Carillon. At the time, only about only 2/3 of the organ was playing. So tonight was so much better,” he said, referring to the instrument’s sound.

Both Kain and Eaton talked about further repair and restoration work that must be done that involves removing the entire organ and cleaning and repairing and refurbishing the tower where much of the instrument is contained. The goals of this work are to protect the tower and organ from storm/rainwater damage and from pigeons, to complete the organ restoration, and to make possible to removal of the protective scaffolding at the church’s Clinton St. entrance.
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The Boy Scouts of Downtown Brooklyn have organized a food drive to benefit a popular charity, Christian Help in Park Slope, also known affectionately as CHIPS.

Cub and Boy Scout Troop 815, which has members from Grace Church and other Brooklyn Heights congregations, holds its annual CHIPS Food Drive at Trader Joe’s on Atlantic Avenue and Court Street from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. this Saturday, Nov. 23. Donors will able to purchase and donate foodstuffs directly to CHIPS and, at the same time, to help Troop 815 learn more about community service. The Scouts will provide each participating shopper with a “wish list” so that donors will know exactly what foods will be most helpful to give.

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As part of the parish’s “Connecting to Need” outreach program, St. Ann & the Holy Trinity is calling all bakers in the parish and the community to donate their finest homemade treats to a bake sale this Sunday.

Proceeds will be given to two charities that feed hundreds of people each month: CHIPS (Christian Help in Park Slope) and the Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen in Manhattan. The sale will start in the Parish Hall (157 Montague Street) at 10 a.m. am, after Early Church, on Sunday, Nov. 24, and will continue through the Coffee Hour after the later service.

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Chanukah Markets and Fairs

Congregation Beth Elohim in Park Slope is hosting a free Hanukkah Craft & Social Justice Market. It will take place just days before Hanukkah and Thanksgiving, which coincide.

The Market is open this Sunday, Nov. 24, from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. and will feature include dozens of vendors selling fine and fun handcrafted products, all made in Brooklyn. Information will be available on innovative social justice projects. Supervised kids’ activities will be offered.

One will even be able to buy the Menurkey, which has been featured in the NY Times and Wall Street Journal. The fair is free and open to the public.

Also that day, at 4 pm, families are invited to attend a concert by The Dirty Sock Funtime Band, a wild, technicolor musical adventure where anything is possible! The Dirty Socks have been featured on Nick Jr. and recently released the Menurkey Song to celebrate the Hanukkah-Thanksgiving. Tickets available online through CBE’s website.


The Brooklyn Heights Synagogue Pre-School’s Book Fair, also on Sunday, Nov. 24, runs from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Book readings and signings are a special part of this Fair. Melissa Guion will read “Baby Penguins Everywhere” (11 a.m.). Lisa Greenwald will read a young-adult book, “My Summer of Pink and Green” (12:15 p.m.). Melanie Hope Greenberg will read “Mermaids on Parade (1 p.m.). Fairgoers will find raffles, face painting, arts and crafts and a bake sale.

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