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Faith In Brooklyn for May 29

May 29, 2015 By Francesca Norsen Tate, Religion Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Left to right: Honoree Michael Connors, Esq., Bishop DiMarzio, Beth Connors, and Paul Stanton (in rear). Eagle Photo by Francesca Norsen Tate
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Catholic Committee on Scouting Honors Adult and Youth Leaders

Michael Connors, Esq. and his wife, Beth Connors, were honored with the Bishop’s Good Scout Award at the Catholic Committee on Scouting’s annual dinner on Wednesday, May 20 at El Caribe. Beth Connors, her voice expressing poignancy and love, spoke of her family’s commitment to Scouting.

She said, “I am very blessed to have been touched by all the lives and different personalities” of the Scouts with whom she has worked.

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Michael Connors said that this country greatly needs the values and leadership skills that the Scouting programs instill in young men and women. State Sen. Martin Golden was present and greeted the several other honorees and members of the Boy Scout Troop 99 Color Guard. Among the other honorees were: Most Rev. Bishop Raymond Chappetto, auxiliary bishop of Brooklyn; Monsignor John J. Bracken and William R. Guarinello, president and CEO of HeartShare Human Services.

Paul Stanton, chairman Diocese of Brooklyn Catholic Committee on Scouting, told the gathering, “For more than a century, the Diocese of Brooklyn has sponsored Boy and Girl Scout units, which meet at our local parishes and schools, in Brooklyn and Queens. Today, the Diocese of Brooklyn is the largest charter partner of Scouting in the city of New York, with several hundred sponsored units. This partnership endures because the diocese and its clergy recognize that Scouting values strongly reinforce the teachings of our Catholic faith.”

Saying that the diocese considers Scouting to be a youth ministry, Stanton pointed out that the Catholic Scouting participants and their leaders live by the 12th point of the Scout Law in their daily disciplines: “A Scout is Reverent.” They are reminded of their obligation to attend weekly mass and are encouraged to be altar servers, earn religious emblems and support their respective parishes and schools.

The Diocese of Brooklyn has two Eagle Scout chaplains who serve as advocates for this program, Fr. Thomas Vassolotti and Fr. Joseph Zwosta.

Some of the highlights of the past year have been Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio’s visit to the Ten Mile River Scout Camp last summer and the rededication of the Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Chapel at Camp Keowa. Moreover, nearly 100 Scouts earned their religious emblems, which the chaplains presented at the awards convocation last month. Dozens of Scouts also earned the Eagle Scout or Silver Award this year, after having planned and led a major community service project.

On Memorial Day, hundreds of Scouts and leaders marched in Memorial Day parades. The committee’s Annual Peace Light from Bethlehem Arrival event at Our Lady of the Skies Chapel at JFK Airport grows as the Scouts and the leaders help distribute the live “Peace Light Flame” across the United States. This event happens each December, between the Christian seasons of Advent and Easter.

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Brooklynites Celebrate Their Faith and Heritage

Church Groups With Scandinavian Roots March in Norwegian Day Parade

“Celebrating 1,000 Years of Christianity” was the theme of the 63rd Annual 17th of May Parade, held this past Sunday on Third Avenue in Bay Ridge. Indeed, several churches with historically major Norwegian congregations marched in this year’s parade along Third Avenue, as they have for several years.

This year’s official line of march included six church groups: Bethlehem Lutheran Church, 59th Street Lutheran Brethren Church, First Evangelical Free Church, Zion Lutheran Church of Staten Island, Trinity Lutheran Church and the Norwegian Seamen’s Church. First Evangelical Free Church was indeed founded to serve Norwegian immigrant communities. The church, which sits adjacent to Leif Ericson Park, was established in 1897 and marked its 110th anniversary in 2007 with a major exhibit focused on the history of Brooklyn’s Norwegian community.

This parade customarily takes place on the Sunday closest to Norwegian Constitution Day, which is the 17th of May, and it commemorates the anniversary of the signing of Norway’s Constitution in 1814.

The parade takes place along Third Avenue, running from 80th to 69th streets, then up 69th Street to Fifth Avenue, then along Fifth Avenue to 67th Street and up 67th Street to the above-mentioned Leif Ericson Park. A ceremony takes place at the reviewing stand in the park. This year, the 17th of May actually fell on Sunday, adding to the excitement. There were plenty of marchers wearing Viking helmets, floats that resembled Viking ships and scores of participants waving Norwegian flags in the parade. Besides the church groups, marchers included members of civic and political organizations, Sons of Norway lodges, cops, firefighters and bagpipe bands. The Norwegian-American 17th of May Committee of Greater New York sponsored the event.

Reporting by Paula Katinas, with additional information from the Bilstad/Tate family

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‘Celebrate the Flavor of Lebanon’ This Weekend

Festival Brings Lebanese Cuisine, Culture and Dance to the Public

By Salma Vahdat, Parish Contributor

Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Cathedral will again host its outdoor festival, “Celebrate the Flavor of Lebanon” on Saturday, May 30, from noon to 9 p.m. This year the festival will be a one-day event.

The most popular highlights are the Lebanese food and desserts of every kind, as well as entertainment, music, folkloric dance by young adults and a children’s troupe. The festival takes place — rain or shine — on Remsen Street, between Henry and Clinton streets in Brooklyn Heights.

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East Flatbush Community Rallies To End Gun Violence, More Tragedies

Contributed by members of Maranatha Seventh-Day Adventist Church

Churches, community groups and government leaders joined forces earlier this month in East Flatbush for a rally against gun violence in a community that has been rocked by shootings over the past few months.

The “Bridging the Gap Between Church and Community” rally kicked off with a march through East Flatbush. Hundreds of youth and adults from churches throughout Brooklyn, as well as Staten Island, marched with handmade signs, drum corps and chants of “Stop the violence.” As the crowd snaked through the streets, curious bystanders came out of buildings or stopped on the sidewalk to see what was going on, or just to dance along to the drum line.

The crowd returned to the schoolyard at I.S. 232 on Winthrop Street for the rest of the rally. After Pastor Shane Vidal, of the host congregation Maranatha Seventh-Day Adventist Church, welcomed those gathered, U.S. Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-NY Ninth District) gave heartfelt opening remarks about gun violence, prefacing with the story of the recent arrest of a 14-year-old in a shooting death.

“What is happening in the home, the family, the community, on the block, where a child will pick up a weapon and use it to … take someone’s life?” Clarke asked, imploring those gathered to show love to youth in their communities.

Students from Winthrop Beacon’s after-school program shared poems about their hopes for the day when violence will end.

“It’s time to put down the guns and throw away the knives, and stop shedding the blood of so many innocent lives,” one student read.

A panel followed featuring U.S. Rep. Clarke, U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY 8th District), Central Brooklyn Community Liaison for the New York City Comptroller’s Office Cory Provost, Director of Urban Mission for the General Conference of Seventh-Day Adventists Gaspar Colon, Assistant District Attorney for the Brooklyn District Attorney Joe Alexis and Director of the Brownsville Community Justice Center James Brodick. The invited speakers discussed how faith-based organizations, government and the community could address the dangerous and nebulous problem of violence and proliferation of guns in the community.

Alexis, agreeing that many partners are needed to face this challenge, said the church “has always been at the forefront of social justice for many years.”

Colon said churches need to “reclaim our identity as instruments of peace and transforming influence” by working with youth and providing services.

Brodick, who is also director of the Red Hook Community Justice Center, said all sectors needed to take a step back when approaching the issue.

“When crisis happens, we need to address the underlying causes for what got them there in the first place. We can’t continue to arrest our way out of this issue … [or] continue to put people in jail because, they call it corrections, but I don’t see many people corrected when they come out,” he said.

He added that the community has to do a better job of supporting people who get into trouble early on in their lives.

“That will eliminate gun violence because people will have value in their lives, something to live for. When you have that, you’re less likely to shoot someone else, to mess up your life,” he said.

The two-hour rally was peppered with performances from local gospel artists and a steel pan orchestra. There were also community service booths offering referrals to New York City Food Bank and blood pressure monitoring. An estimated 600 people participated in the march and the rally.

Earlier in the day, during services at the Maranatha Seventh-Day Adventist church, leadership honored U.S. Rep. Jeffries, Councilmember Jumaane Williams and Kamille Patrick Bennett, director of the Sesame Flyers International Winthrop Beacon, located at I.S. 232, for their work on behalf of the community.

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Antioch Baptist Church Hosts First Annual Senior Resource Fair

Are you a senior, caregiver, or a person who likes to plan for the future? Antioch Baptist Church hosts its first Senior Resource Fair for this purpose.

The Senior Resource Fair takes place will be held on Saturday, May 30, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.  Informative seminars will cover Medicare and Medicaid eligibility and planning, home care services, identity theft, hospice care, medication management, reverse mortgages, guardianships, estate planning and signs of mental illness.  

There will be also be free screenings for memory, cholesterol and blood pressure and free legal assistance with completing healthcare proxies. Among the agencies, nonprofit groups and vendors expected to provide services are: AARP, Lighthouse Guild, City Meals on Wheels, the Visiting Nurse Serving of NY, New York City Department of Aging and the Kings County District Attorney’s Office.

Antioch Baptist Church is at 828 Greene Ave. at Lewis Avenue. Partners for this event include U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, New York State Sen. Velmanette Montgomery, and New York State Assemblymember Annette Robinson.

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Temple Beth Emeth Hosts Stand-Up Comedy Night

Comedy is alive and well in Ditmas Park.

On Saturday, June 6, Temple Beth Emeth will host “Ditmas Snark,” a laugh-filled evening of stand-up. The comedy night opens with headliner Sheba Mason and features a dozen New York City-area comics from Gotham, the Broadway Comedy Club, Stand Up NY and Caroline’s.

Doors open at 8:30 p.m. A $25 contribution covers admission and complimentary wine (ID required), soda and refreshments.

Temple Beth Emeth v’Ohr Progressive Shaari Zedek is at 83 Marlborough Rd. (corner of Church Avenue), near the Church Avenue Q train.

Tickets may be purchased online. Go to or

For more information, call 718-282-1596.

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Milestone In Faith

Temple Beth Emeth Marks 104 Years During May

This is an anniversary month for Temple Beth Emeth v’Ohr Progressive Shaari Zedek, which was founded on May 17, 1911. The sanctuary was dedicated in 1914, according to the temple’s history web page. Although the product of merged congregations, Temple Beth Emeth has been at its present location since its conception.

The original members were primarily German Jews who emigrated to the U.S. during the late 1800s and early 1900s. Today, the German Jew heritage is rich, including one nonagenarian who escaped Nazi Germany in 1938.

Today’s membership ranges from young parents with children, to middle-aged members and seniors. A significant number of current members have roots in Germany and Poland.

The congregation celebrated its centennial in 2011 and made some new history with the hiring of its first female rabbi, Rabbi Heidi Hoover. She was officially installed as rabbi in January 2012.  She is the successor to Rabbi William Kloner, who served this congregation faithfully for more than 30 years while continuing his responsibilities as a naval chaplain and Rear Admiral in the National Guard.

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