Faith In Brooklyn for July 20
East Brooklyn Congregations Assembly Celebrates Victories, Urges More Push
East Brooklyn Congregations’ standing-room-capacity assembly on Sunday, July 15, celebrated key victories with New York City and the courts on senior housing and repairs at NYCHA housing.
EBC, founded in 1979, is an affiliate of the Industrial Areas Foundation and a non-partisan organization composed of dues-paying member institutions: congregations, schools and homeowners associations.
EBC has deep membership bases in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brownsville/Ocean-Hill, Bushwick, Crown Heights and East New York that focus on organizing and fighting to improve their communities, in areas such as senior housing, public safety, education, recreation and parks.
At least a dozen clergy and lay speakers organized their remarks along several strategy points: Victories for a Better City, Implementing Our Victories Successfully, Holding Everyone Accountable, Growing Our Power and A More Just City for Everyone.
Joanne Kennedy, representing Our Lady of Sorrows Church, described the court fight against NYCHA, notably then-U.S attorney Preet Bharara’s agreeing to open an investigation into NYCHA and the mayor’s refusal to do urgent repairs.
“We took the U.S Attorney’s office on tours of NYCHA buildings here in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Bronx and all over the city so they could see for themselves what families have to live with,” said Kennedy.
The Rev. David Brawley, a longtime EBC leader, reminded the crowd that the funds they won from the city is “a down payment. We want—and require—more to save the soul of our city. We are requesting of our city $2 billion, as an investment in the salvation of the soul of New York City. What does that mean? That means with that money we can literally change the lives of 65,000 New Yorkers,” he said to extended applause.
The Rev. Steven Carter of Mt. Ararat Baptist Church, said, “We are going to show [elected leaders] that we are tired of our people living in rat-infested housing, while other communities live in rich invested condos. We are going to show them that if you want our votes in the polls then you must get our victories…When you leave here this afternoon, depart with a new attitude. Pick up the phone and call your elected officials. Hold meetings in your homes for others that are concerned about their conditions. Send emails and use social media to get the word out.”
An impassioned Trina Scotland of St. Paul Community Baptist Church gave an update on EBC’s latest Nehemiah Housing building projects. “East Brooklyn Congregations just won a big $500 million fund but we are not waiting around for the city to start building! We are people of action, and if you are angry or tired of something, organize a house meeting. No one is going to listen until you have some power. Do one-on-ones with your neighbors, and see what their concerns are. Develop a solution and then take some action.”
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BrooklynONE Productions Presents Godspell July 27-29
“Godspell,” one of the most successful musicals in history, is the latest brooklynONE productions show, running next weekend. The musical was the brainchild of John-Michael Tebelak and Stephen Schwartz, and was originally conceived as a way to enliven worship and ministry.
Based on the Gospel according to St. Matthew, “Godspell” follows Jesus and his followers and disciples as they reenact parables and scenes from Jesus’ life with great energy and playfulness. The players often interact with the audience.
The BrooklynONE production of “Godspell” will run the last weekend of July at Redeemer St. John Church, 939 83rd St., in Dyker Heights. Performances are at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, July 27 and 28. Matinees are offered on Saturday, July 28 at 3 p.m. and Sunday, July 29 at 4 p.m.
“Godspell” is presented through special arrangement with Theatre Maximus. All authorized performance materials are also supplied by Theatre Maximus.
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Grace Parishioner Describes National Convention As Respectful and Loving
Grace Church parishioner Kathy Page is very active in the ministries of her parish in Brooklyn Heights. Earlier this month, she also had the opportunity to participate in the wider Episcopal Church’s triennial gathering, the General Convention, in Austin, Texas.
Page experienced the legislative process firsthand as an alternate deputy, which meant being attentive and prepared for any moment in which she would have to stand in for a regular voting deputy. She sat down with INBrooklyn to share her experiences and observations.
“It was a great honor to be there and very inspiring,” said Page. “I came back with a t-shirt that says, ‘Think and imagine a world in which love is the way.’ This is actually a quote from our presiding bishop, Michael Curry, from his sermon at the royal wedding. That was—for me—the theme of the convention: Finding a way through differences in which love is the way.
“There were a lot of issues coming up at the general convention that were controversial in a certain way,” she added. “People held strong opinions on both sides. But somehow through that time we managed to come to a middle ground and compromise, so that there were no winners and losers. Everyone got part of what they advocated for, and were able to concede part of what they were hoping for, which I really feel would be a good model for our current government—in Washington and our state government too, which seems to have a hard time with compromise.
“For the first time this year,” Page went on, “the House of Bishops joined with the House of Deputies, in what they call ‘TEConversations.’ The focus was on the three main pillars of the Jesus Movement. Those three main focus points for the next three years are: Creating Beloved Community, which is really about racial justice and reconciliation, creation care, and evangelism. Sometimes Episcopalians get a little nervous when they hear about evangelism, but it doesn’t have to be preaching doomsday in the streets. It can also be sharing your stories which your friends and neighbors.”
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