Brooklyn Boro

Faith In Brooklyn for Aug. 18

August 18, 2015 By Francesca Norsen Tate, Religion Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Caption: An aerial view of St. Ann & the Holy Trinity Church at Clinton and Montague streets. The landmark church will soon begin its fourth year of the Forum @ St. Ann’s.  Heights Press photo by Francesca N. Tate

Forum @ St. Ann’s Launches $12,500 Indiegogo Campaign

Ambitious Season Will Bring Exhibits, Readings and Forums

The Forum @ St. Ann’s has kicked off a $12,500 Indiegogo campaign to fund an ambitious season of arts and culture events. So far, it has raised one-third of its goal.

The 2015-16 season of the Forum @ St. Ann’s begins with an installation of glasswork by Emma Stein on Sept. 13, followed in the fall by a book reading and music cabaret series. The upcoming program builds on the success of 19 previous well-received events mounted since the Forum began in 2012. The season will also incorporate exhibitions, film screenings, poetry and book readings, panel discussions and concerts.

So that the upcoming season is funded, the public is urged to visit “The Forum at St. Ann’s Arts & Culture Series 2015-16” campaign on Indiegogo.com to help raise the $12,500 for the upcoming program year. The campaign ends at midnight on Monday, Sept. 14, so time is short and momentum is important. A successful campaign will fund four art exhibitions, with support for materials as well as artist talks and receptions; six literary events, including book and poetry readings; three forums addressing critical cultural topics; two film screenings; and two dance, performance art or musical events.

The Forum is an initiative of St. Ann & the Holy Trinity Church, the innovative events of which have served as a catalyst in transforming the historic Brooklyn Heights landmark church into a community commons for engaging the arts, ideas and civic life.

Previous events have included “Back to Life: Resurrection Reimagined,” an art exhibition with the New York Foundation for the Arts; a poetry reading with Brooklyn poets titled “A Branch Grows in Brooklyn;” “Brooklyn Housing Matters: Tackling Affordability,” a community forum on housing issues; and “Old Love, New Love: Songs of Romance through the Ages,” a concert featuring renowned vocalist Michael Winther.

Every dollar raised through the Indiegogo campaign will go directly to programming and expenses for 2015-16 events.

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Bridge Street AWME Church Receives Landmarks Conservancy Grant

The Bridge Street African Wesleyan Methodist Episcopal (AWME) Church in Bedford-Stuyvesant has been awarded a $1,500 grant to help fund restoration of its entrance doors.

The church is on Hancock Street near Stuyvesant Avenue.

This grant is one of the New York Landmarks Conservancy’s 23 Sacred Site Grants, totaling more than $240,000 awarded to historic religious properties throughout New York state.

“Religious institutions are often the most beautiful and complex buildings in their communities. We are pleased to be able to help preserve these important institutions for their architecture, history and community service,” said Peg Breen, president of the New York Landmarks Conservancy.

Founded in 1818, the AWME Church was the first Methodist church solely serving African-Americans in Brooklyn and was a participant in the Underground Railroad during the Civil War.

The present site was purchased in 1938 and was formerly known as the Grace Presbyterian Church. The oldest portion of the building, a simple gable-roofed chapel seating 600, dates from 1890, and was the first commission of 22-year-old New York architect Arthur Longyear. The cornerstone was laid in 1890, but within a few months of dedication, the building was reported to be in structural failure, with the south façade bulging so steel ties were added to support the heavy roof.

But the congregation’s growth would necessitate a new building anyhow. Within 10 years, the congregation had outgrown the chapel and began fundraising for its replacement.  The present church, constructed in 1907-1908, was designed by Brooklyn architects Woodruff Leeming and Chester Hughes Kirk. It incorporated the earlier chapel in the new, larger building, with a new buff brick and limestone facade. Leeming attended MIT and the École des Beaux Arts, and worked as a draftsman for Heins & LaFarge before opening his Brooklyn office.

Bridge Street AWME Church sponsors community meetings that address social, economic, educational and health needs and concerns of the members of the church and the Bedford-Stuyvesant community.  

The Conservancy’s Sacred Sites Program is the only statewide program in the country providing financial and technical assistance for the restoration of culturally significant religious properties. Since 1986, the program has disbursed grants of more than $8 million to more than 700 congregations, regardless of denomination.

The New York Landmarks Conservancy has led the effort to preserve and protect New York City’s architectural legacy for more than 40 years.

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Bach to Brooklyn Tour Celebrates Borough’s Churches and Their Organs

Saturday, Sept. 12 promises to be rich for lovers of organ music, history and architecture. The American Guild of Organists’ Brooklyn Chapter will sponsor its annual Bach to Brooklyn Organ Tour, this year focusing on Carroll Gardens and Park Slope.

Tour guide Andrew Dolkart, author of “Landmarks of New York City,” will speak on points of architectural interest in the featured churches as well as in the neighborhoods surrounding them. A chapter organist or the resident organist will showcase the instrument at each church.

According to a flyer for Bach to Brooklyn, the tour begins at 9 a.m. at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Carroll Gardens, with breakfast and a lecture and demo of the church’s Austin organ, Opus 479-A. The instrument, originally Opus 479, dating back to 1914, was restored as of 2005. Dolkart will then take the group to nearby St. Mary Star of the Sea Roman Catholic Church, for a lecture and demonstration. Other churches on the itinerary are the recently restored Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph in Prospect Heights, St. John’s Episcopal Church in Park Slope, and St. Francis Xavier and St. Augustine churches, both on Sixth Avenue in Park Slope.

For reservations and payment, contact chapter dean Ellen Wright at [email protected], or visit the American Guild of Organists-Brooklyn website, www.brooklynago.org. 

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Brooklyn Hospital Offers Upcoming Volunteer Pastoral Training Program

The Brooklyn Hospital Pastoral Care Volunteer Training will offer its next training program for pastoral care volunteers, beginning in September.

The volunteer training consists of 30 hours of education (20 hours in classroom and 10 hours of supervised patient visiting). All religious denominations are invited to participate. Registration is from Sept. 1-11. The training will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on six consecutive Saturdays: Sept. 19 and 26; Oct. 3, 10, 17 and 24.

The training will take place at the hospital, at 121 DeKalb Ave. at Ashland Place. Register via email to Chaplain Sarah Spieldenner ([email protected]), the Brooklyn Hospital Center’s director of pastoral care, or call 718-250-8572, although email contact is preferred.