Brooklyn Boro

Faith In Brooklyn for March 13

March 13, 2018 By Francesca Norsen Tate, Religion Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The Belarusian Autocephalus Cathedral church building will host Thursday’s town hall about the nearby Brooklyn House of Detention. Autocephalus means that the church does not report to a higher-ranked governing authority. Eagle file photo by Josh Ross
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Brooklyn Heights Church Active in Campaigning to Close Rikers Island

Social Action Committee, Local Politicians and Civic Groups Will Take Part in Thursday’s Town Hall

First Presbyterian Church is actively involved in the campaign to close Rikers Island and to expand the Brooklyn House of Detention on Atlantic Avenue near Downtown Brooklyn.

The congregation, long focused on social justice issues, is among many local organizations participating in a House of Detention Town Hall this Thursday, March 15. The meeting, which was announced via email on Tuesday, March 13, and is open to the public, will be held at the Belarusian Church at 401 Atlantic Ave., corner of Bond Street in Boerum Hill. The Town Hall runs from 6:30 to 9 p.m.

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

Jane Ehlke, co-chair of First Church’s Social Action Committee, has been closely involved in the Close Rikers Campaign. She told the Brooklyn Eagle on Tuesday via email, “It is an important opportunity for our extended neighborhood residents to gain greater understanding of the need to expand the Atlantic Avenue Correctional Facility as an integral part of the process necessary to closing down Rikers Jail facilities, and to air any concerns they might have.”

The town hall’s purpose is to help the downtown Brooklyn neighborhoods gain more understanding and have questions answered around the proposed plans leading up to closing Rikers. Neighborhood and business organizations are listed among the town hall’s co-hosts, including: the Brooklyn Heights Association, the Boerum Hill Association, Community Board 2, the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, the Atlantic Avenue Business Improvement District, and the Atlantic Avenue Local Development Corp.

Elected leaders (as of press time) include City Councilmember Stephen Levin, Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon, state Sens. Velmanette Montgomery and Brian Kavanagh; and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.

The Independent Commission on Criminal Justice and Incarceration Reform (Lippman Commission) will be present to speak on their report, and we will be hearing concerns and taking questions from the community.

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Chanticleer Returns to Brooklyn Oratory, Singing About the “Heart of A Soldier”


Chanticleer, the acclaimed men’s a cappella ensemble, returns by popular demand to the Brooklyn Oratory, in MetroTech.

The Breukelein Institute presents Chanticleer in its fifth performance at the Oratory, and the group will perform a concert themed “Heart of a Soldier.” It will be the group’s only Brooklyn performance this year.

Chanticleer’s mission is to present choral music at the highest level of excellence and to encourage worldwide appreciation for the art of ensemble singing through live performances, education, recording and the creation of new choral work.

The Grammy Award-winning Chanticleer made its debut on June 27, 1978 before a capacity audience at San Francisco’s historic Old Mission Dolores, according to the ensemble’s website. Its name is derived from the “clear singing” rooster in “The Nun’s Priest’s Tale,” a poem by Geoffrey Chaucer. The poet had in turn borrowed that word from the earlier French tale, “Renard the Fox.”

“Chanticleer” is a combination of the French words chanter (“to sing”) and clair (“clear”). The group has male sopranos and countertenors, as well as the more familiar male vocal ranges of tenor, baritone and bass.

Chanticleer has collaborated with other artists. For example, in close collaboration with musicologist Craig Russell, Chanticleer has performed and recorded three programs of unknown works by 18th-century Mexican composers Manuel de Zumaya and Ignacio de Jerusalem with a period-instrument orchestra (Mexican Baroque, Matins for the Virgin of Guadalupe, and Mission Road).

Chanticleer has also commissioned more than 70 composers who have written over 90 pieces premiered by the group.

Chanticleer presented a fully staged opera by Benjamin Britten, “Curlew River,” to critical acclaim; a musical play about Hildegard Von Bingen, and dramatic work by Sir John Tavener entitled “Lamentations and Praises.” The ensemble has performed with Frederica Von Stade, Al Jarreau, Garrison Keillor, and the Shanghai Quartet, as well as the New York, San Francisco and St. Paul orchestras.

The Brooklyn Oratory performance will take place Friday, April 27 at 7:30 p.m. Intimate open seating, all non-reserved seats are available online at EVENBRITE website:

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Self-Defense Class Offered At First Presbyterian Church

The First Presbyterian Church is holding a women’s self-defense class that this Friday, March 16, at 7 p.m. While the fee is $10, nobody will be turned away for lack of funds. All ages are welcome. The church is at 124 Henry St., just south of Clark Street.

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First Presbyterian Church Offers Meditative Holy Week Services

Holy Week at First Presbyterian Church begins with a rite of music, palms and procession in the church garden, remembering that the Gospel of John was unique of the four evangelists in his garden symbolism. According to a description of the service, “We honor actual bodies in need this week as we bring our material gifts and walk with the God who became flesh and dwelt among us.” This service begins at 11 a.m.

First Presbyterian Church’s Maundy Thursday service of Shadow and Light, starting at 7 p.m., commemorates the Last Supper and the commandment that Christians believe that Jesus gave to love one another. The word “Maundy” is a variation of the word commandment.” This meditative service, incorporating music for cello and piano, will offer reflections on the Seven Last Words of Jesus.

The Good Friday service is designed to “engage the senses as we consider death and darkness.” The liturgy will incorporate song and dance as participants are invited to interact with several “roadside shrines.” Worshipers are invited into a new relationship with dying and letting go. This service is themed “Were You There?” and begins at 7 p.m.

Holy Saturday, this year on March 31, is usually commemorated as the Sabbath that Jesus spent in the tomb before his resurrection from the dead before the next dawn. First Presbyterian Church will ring its bells at noon, and the sanctuary will be available for prayer and meditation from noon to 1 p.m.

First Presbyterian Church will celebrate the Resurrection with the theme, “You Thought I Was to Die For.” The Easter Sunrise Worship on Sunday, April 1, will take place on the Brooklyn Heights Promenade at 6:30 a.m. The main worship in the sanctuary will take place at 11 a.m.

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Milestones in Faith: Anniversary Memorial to Henry Ward Beecher

The Brooklyn Eagle of Monday, March 12 extensively covered “Beecher Day,” the anniversary service that Plymouth Church held to commemorate the previous year’s death of its founder, abolitionist preacher Henry Ward Beecher.

Dr. Lyman Abbott, who served after Beecher’s death and later was unanimously named pastor, spoke of Beecher’s boyhood and his legacy, during the morning service. That day, Plymouth Church held two additional services to commemorate Beecher, who had died earlier that month. Plymouth Church’s Sunday School children helped lead an afternoon service that packed the meeting house. Professor R.W. Raymond spoke at the evenings service, focusing on Beecher’s influence on shaping young men into adulthood.



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