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Faith In Brooklyn for March 13

March 13, 2015 By Francesca Norsen Tate, Religion Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro swears in Rev. Ann Kansfield as the first female chaplain in the history of the FDNY. The Bible is being held by Rev. Kansfield’s wife, the Rev. Jennifer Aull. Photo by Tom Martinez
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Pastor Ann Kansfield Appointed as First-Ever Female FDNY Chaplain

Fire Department Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro has appointed Pastor Ann Kansfield of the Greenpoint Reformed Church in Brooklyn as the first-ever female FDNY chaplain.

The appointment was made on Tuesday, March 3.

“I’m excited to have Pastor Ann Kansfield join our ranks and assume her important role in the FDNY — providing spiritual guidance and emotional support to our 15,000 uniformed and civilian employees,” Commissioner Nigro said. “She has demonstrated a strong commitment not only to the people of her parish, but of the entire Greenpoint community, by running a soup kitchen and coordinating various local programs promoting music, the arts and mental health. Through her work for and on behalf of others, she’s a natural fit for our department and our mission to protect and serve the people of our great city.”

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

FDNY chaplains fill a central role in the spiritual life of the department: opening and closing all FDNY ceremonies with invocations and benedictions at centennials, plaque dedications and other departmental events; assisting in arranging services for deceased members of the department; aiding FDNY, EMS and civilian families by providing solace and comfort and maintaining contact with the families of deceased members; responding to major fires and other emergencies where members are seriously injured; and visiting firehouses regularly to provide spiritual guidance and direction.

She is one of eight FDNY chaplains currently serving the agency.

The swearing-in ceremony for Pastor Kansfield was held at a ribbon-cutting event in Brooklyn, officially opening a new facility that will serve as EMS Station 59 and the Special Operations Command readiness deployment center. Joining Pastor Kansfield were her spouse, Rev. Jennifer Aull, and members of her community.

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‘Music of the Jewish Soul’ Comes to Plymouth Church

When the American Guild of Organists (AGO)-Brooklyn Chapter presents “Music of the Jewish Soul” this month, the concert will be the fruit of much interfaith and artistic collaboration.

Plymouth Church in Brooklyn Heights hosts “Music of the Jewish Soul” on Tuesday, March 24 at 7:30 p.m., featuring mezzo-soprano Monika Krajewska and pianist-organist Natasha Ulyanovsky.

“Every year, the Brooklyn Chapter of the AGO tries to present at least one ‘outreach’ type of program — something that will interest not only our chapter members, but also choir members and congregations of the religious institutions in Brooklyn,” Chapter Dean Ellen Wright told the Brooklyn Eagle. “[Board member] Eric Birk had asked Natalya Ulyanovsky to serve as a faculty member for his Pipe Organ Encounter [another educational outreach] and, in the process, had heard her perform a version of her program with her cantor Monika Krajewska and was very moved by it. I then heard a short version of it up at the Interchurch Center, where our Mother Ship is, and was also moved and inspired by it. The two of them have a kind of emotional immediacy to their work. Monika phrases exquisitely and Natasha’s keyboard arrangements are very inventive.”

Ulyanovsky and Krajewska — the Shir Hashalom Duo — are veterans of Carnegie Hall and have received acclaim from The New York Times. Their program at Plymouth will span liturgical music from the ancient Sabbath to the genres of Broadway and vaudeville. And these composers reached across interfaith lines with classics such as “Shall We Gather At the River” — Aaron Copland’s 1952 arrangement of the traditional Christian hymn (by Robert Lowry, 1864) — and Irving Berlin’s “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas” and “God Bless America.”

Tickets for the March 24 concert are $15 in advance and $20 at the door; student/senior tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door. For advance tickets,  mail a check, payable to Brooklyn Chapter AGO, 35 Prospect Park West, Apt. 12D, Brooklyn, NY 11215.

For questions, visit, or email Ellen Wright at [email protected]. Plymouth Church is at 57 Orange St., between Henry and Hicks streets.

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Piano Duo Presents Dance Music from Americas, Europe

Saint Charles Borromeo Church Music Director Sergio Sandí and pianist Ferran Cullell will present a two-piano concert dedicated to dances from the Americas and Europe.

The Sandí-Cullell Duo recently performed this program, which includes dance music from Spain, France, Argentina and Costa Rica, by composers such as Manuel de Falla, Camille Saint-Saëns, Astor Piazzolla, Gerard Pastor and Aaron Copland, at Carnegie Hall.

Their concert takes place on Saturday, March 28, at 7:30 p.m. at St Charles Borromeo Church. Tickets are $15 and will be sold at the door.

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Ensemble Companio Brings ‘Love’s Faces’ to Carroll Gardens

Ensemble Companio, a chamber choir with director Joseph Gregorio, brings its performance-themed “Love’s Faces” to St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Carroll Gardens.

The Brooklyn Sounds Concert Series sponsors and coordinates “Love’s Faces,” which features a commission by St. Paul’s Music Director Vince Peterson and works by Arcadelt, Passereau, Stainer, Duruflé, Lars-Erik Larsson, as well as arrangements of popular music by The Beatles, Billy Joel and Randy Newman and folk music from around the globe.

Ensemble Companio derives its name from a late Latin form of “companion,” the etymological meaning of which is “one with whom one shares bread.”

The name reflects the belief of the musicians that sharing in choral music is an essential, nourishing and healing endeavor akin to the sharing of food. Ensemble Companio’s mission is to build bridges between people through authentic, inspiring performances of the finest choral music.

Founded in 2011, Ensemble Companio is composed of 24 accomplished choral musicians and performs throughout the northeastern United States.  The concert begins at 8 p.m. on Saturday, March 21. Admission is $20 for the general public and $10 for students/seniors. 

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Expert on Hasidic Community Speaks at Next ‘Brunch and Book Talk’

Author and journalist Joseph Berger, guest speaker at Congregation Mount Sinai’s Brunch and Book Talk series this weekend, will share insights on a movement largely perceived as insular from his recent book “The Pious Ones: The World of Hasidim and Their Battles with America.”

Congregation Mount Sinai hosts the brunch and conversation with Berger, who is well known in Downtown Brooklyn, particularly within the academy community. His talk is on Sunday, March 15, at 11:30 a.m.

In “The Pious Ones: The World of Hasidim and Their Battles with America,” Berger “traces the origins of the Hasidic movement from 18th century eastern Europe to the present day, exploring their beliefs, lifestyle, secrets, complexities and paradoxes, and provides a nuanced and insightful portrayal of their faith,” according to a flyer for the event.

Berger’s book “also chronicles the ways in which Hasidic daily life is threatened by exposure to the wider world, and also by internal fissures within its growing population,” the flyer states. Berger points out that the internet is a major exposure.

Dr. James Goldman, a past officer of the Jewish Faculty and Staff Association at City Tech, told the Eagle that “Mr. Berger is well known to the Brooklyn Heights/Down-town community, having been twice hosted by the Distinguished Speakers Series at New York City College of Technology. Then-Times columnist Berger spoke  on ‘The World in a City’ in City Tech’s Atrium Amphitheater in November  2008.”

Copies will be available for purchase at the Congregation Mount Sinai event. The cost is $20, including brunch buffet. The RSVP deadline is Thursday, March 12, via phone at (718) 875-9124, or online at Congregation Mount Sinai is at 250 Cadman Plaza West in Brooklyn Heights.

(The Brooklyn Eagle learned on March 12 that, because of a last-minute conflict, Congregation Mount Sinai’s Brunch and Book Talk with Joseph Berger, scheduled for Sunday, March 15,  has been postponed.)

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In Memoriam

Bishop Orris G. Walker, Jr. Dies, Led Diocese of Long Island for 21 Years

Diocesan Memorial Service Scheduled for March 21

The Rev. Orris G. Walker Jr. (Ret.), who was bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island for 21 years, died Feb. 28 at age 72. He was the seventh diocesan bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island, serving from 1991 to 2009.

The diocese encompasses Brooklyn and Queens, as well as Nassau and Suffolk counties.

The Rev. Lawrence Provenzano (Ret.), Walker’s successor, who has led the diocese since 2009, posted an announcement on the diocesan website on Bishop Walker’s death and his legacy.

“Bishop Walker became the dishop diocesan of Long Island in 1991 after serving as bishop coadjutor from the time of his consecration and ordination in 1989. His episcopate [time as bishop] championed the cause of full inclusion of women in the ordained ministry of the diocese. He was the first to ordain women in the diocese and was responsible for facilitating the full inclusion and participation of women in all aspects of diocesan life,” wrote Bishop Provenzano. “He was also responsible for widening the participation and full representation of laity in the ministry of the diocese — especially their serving on diocesan boards and commissions.”

A native of Maryland, Walker held several earned and honorary degrees. He was ordained to the diaconate in 1968 and the priesthood in 1969.

As bishop of Long Island, Bishop Walker served as chairman of the Board of Managers of Episcopal Health Services and board chairman of the Interfaith Medical Center in Brooklyn. He was president of the Trustees of the Estate belonging to the Diocese of Long Island. In addition, he served as president of Episcopal Charities of Long Island and the George Mercer Memorial School of Theology. He taught Canon Law and Theology & Contemporary Society at the Mercer School and at the General Theological Seminary; he also served as president of the Cathedral Chapter of the Cathedral of the Incarnation.

After his retirement, he and his family relocated to Detroit, Mich.

A funeral was scheduled at Christ Church in Detroit for Saturday, March 7. The Diocese of Long Island announced that a memorial service for Bishop Walker will take place at the Cathedral of the Incarnation in Garden City on Saturday, March 21 at 11 a.m.

— From dispatches of the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island and Episcopal News Service


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