Faith In Brooklyn for March 21
Organists’ Guild Chapter Awards Scholarships to Promising Students
Competition Named for Longtime Beloved Dean, George Mathison
Three young organists pursuing their master’s degrees won scholarships last weekend. The American Guild of Organists-Brooklyn Chapter’s 2018 George Mathison Memorial Scholarship Competition, held at Grace Church-Brooklyn Heights, awarded the first-place prize to Austin Philemon, a student at Manhattan School of Music and assistant organist at St. John Nepomucene Roman Catholic Church in Manhattan. Philemon is pursuing his degree at the Manhattan School of Music.
Winning second and third prize were Evan Currie and Roshan Chakane, who are both pursuing degrees at Rutgers. They have a connection the Brooklyn Chapter dean, John A. Wolfe, Ph.D.
Dr. Wolfe explained that each contestant had to perform a group of works that included a piece by J.S. Bach, selections of the contestant’s choice, and an organ improvisation of a well-known hymn.
The judges were Eric Plutz, dean of the American Guild of Organists’ Central New Jersey Chapel and University Organist at Princeton; Bill Randolph Jr., director of music and organist at Church of the Intercession (Episcopal) in Manhattan; and Mark Pacoe, director of music at St. John Nepomucene Church in Manhattan. Both are active in the New York Chapter as well.
The scholarship competition is named for the late George Mathison, longtime beloved dean of the Brooklyn Chapter. Born on Oct. 26, 1953 in Minnesota, he was graduated from Augsburg University, majoring in music with a focus on organ. He also took classes at Macalester College in Minnesota. During his years at Augsburg, Mathison also did audio-visual work, particularly in an electronic music studio and semi-professional audio and video studios. His hymn tune to the poem “Jesus, the Very Thought of Thee,” attributed to St. Bernard of Clairvaux, was published in AMSI’S “New Hymns-I” anthology in 1975.
He moved to Brooklyn in 1984 and played or served as substitute organists at many area churches.
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‘Critical Grace’ Book Signing Is Special Part of Homecoming Sunday
When Overseer Alicia Collins of Gates of Praise Tabernacle hosted “Homecoming Sunday,” recently, she welcomed many pastors and friends connected with Brooklyn churches in the earliest days of their ministries.
Homecoming Sunday was also the occasion for Pastor LeeAndrew Wright to sign copies of his popular book, “Critical Grace: “Living on God’s Life Support.”
Published in 2016, “Critical Grace” is an anthology of devotional reflections and fictional short stories, geared to boost the faith of people who have withstood many kinds of adversities. Eagle senior editor John Alexander reviewed “Critical Grace” that autumn. Wright and “Critical Grace” also made an appearance at that year’s Brooklyn Book Festival. It is available through Outskirts Press and Barnes & Noble’s website.
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On This Day in Faith History: March 21, 1929
The Brooklyn Sunday School Parade tradition was so famous that even U.S. presidents attended. The front page of the March 21, 1929 Brooklyn Eagle reported on an invitation that former Sen. William M. Calder sent to President Herbert Hoover to attend the anniversary Parade of the Brooklyn Sunday School Union, slated for June 6 of that year. In the past, Calder, during his years in Congress, had gotten Presidents William McKinley and William Howard Taft to attend the Sunday School Union Parade. Calvin Coolidge, while he was vice president, also attended. President Hoover responded that, even though it was doubtful he could attend, he would give the parade thoughtful consideration. The Sunday School Union parade was held each year on the first Thursday in June, except in those years when Memorial Day fell in the same week. In those cases, the parade was moved to the second Thursday in June. The parade was still taking place as recently as five years ago, but with a smaller group of children participating, according to articles published in The New York Times and other area newspapers.
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