Brooklyn Boro

Celebrating repairs to its sanctuary, St. Ann & the Holy Trinity Church honors two community leaders

October 26, 2017 By Francesca Norsen Tate, Religion Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Dr. Evelyn Castro thanks the parish of St. Ann & the Holy Trinity for the Spirit & Service Award. Standing with her are co-warden Léon Willis; and the Rev. John E. Denaro, the rector. Eagle photo by Francesca N. Tate
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St. Ann & the Holy Trinity Church honored two community leaders at its Second Annual New Heights gala. This year, the parish could again hold the benefit in its own sanctuary and parish hall after a long period of repairs and renovations to both. Last year’s event was held at the Brooklyn Historical Society, which was an apt venue, as the church has a long history in the neighborhood.

The program began with a short video with the parish’s rector the Rev. John E. Denaro and videographer Paul Kaup, in which Denaro expressed the angst that many clergy feel when having to balance the pastoral needs of their communities with the responsibility of maintaining large, aging buildings. This year’s event featured bluegrass music by Little Nora Jones and Friends, St. Ann’s organist Gregory D’Agostino, and Madhattan, a contemporary New York City barbershop quartet performing in several jazz, R&B, musical theatre, rock and pop numbers.

The recipients of this year’s Spirit & Service Award were Dr. Evelyn Castro, dean of the School of Professional and Community Development at Medgar Evers College; and Christopher Thomas, executive vice president and managing director of sales for Brooklyn at Brown Harris Stevens Real Estate.

St. Ann & the Holy Trinity Church and St. Augustine Church, where Castro is a third-generation member, share a bond. Denaro told her during the award presentation, “You know very well that St. Augustine’s was not always in its current location on Avenue D. The church in which the people of St. Augustine’s worshiped stood for generations in Bedford-Stuyvesant until a fire destroyed it in 1969. It took over a decade for your community to find a new home and right before you finally moved into your present church in late 1981, St. Augustine’s worshipped right here at St. Ann’s for just over a year.”

Calling Castro “first and foremost a child of God,” and commending her for living fully her vocation as an educator, Denaro presented the Spirit & Service Awardfor investing in the future of Brooklyn and beyond as an educator and community advocate, academic strategist and visionary leader and faithful servant to her church and the wider faith community.”

While presenting Thomas’ award, Denaro told the gathering that Thomas and Brown Harris Stevens had provided office space while the parish hall building at 157 Montague St. underwent renovations. Addressing Thomas, Denaro said, “Many others here and not far from here could tell similar stories of the concern and interest you expressed in them as neighbors, of some magnanimous act or other, and would speak to the integrity and goodwill with which you transact all of your professional, personal and community interaction. And, as we present this award to you, I wish for you to know that members here who have been entrusted with the treasured buildings think of you as a living landmark among us.”


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