Brooklyn Boro

Faith In Brooklyn for July 31

July 31, 2018 By Francesca Norsen Tate, Religion Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The First Unitarian Church. Photo courtesy of the New York Landmarks Conservancy
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Four Brooklyn Churches Receive Sacred Sites Grants

The majestic houses of worship throughout Brooklyn and all of New York State have strong histories of the people who built their faith and lives here.

But with many of them approaching the bicentennial mark—and some much older—these buildings need repair. The New York Landmarks Conservancy has led the effort to preserve and protect New York City’s architectural legacy for 45 years.

The Conservancy and its Sacred Sites program have saved more than 1,000 buildings, protecting New York’s distinctive architectural heritage.

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

Four Brooklyn churches are among those awarded funding in the latest set of Sacred Sites Grants totaling $226,000 to historic religious properties throughout the state.

The Bridge Street African Wesleyan Methodist Episcopal Church was awarded a $25,000 grant to help fund window restoration.

The church was the first Methodist church with an African-American congregation in Brooklyn and was a participant in the underground railroad during the Civil War. Bridge Street AWME Church has a significant community presence with a wide range of social and cultural programs reaching over 13,000 people a year.

The Reformed Protestant Dutch Church of Flatbush, founded in 1654, received a $25,000 grant to help finance new roofs, steeple and gutter replacement, masonry work and restoration to the sanctuary exterior.

The building, completed in 1798, is the third church to occupy the site. The Federal style building, distinguished by its elegant clock tower and steeple, is considered a rare example of New York City’s 18th-century architecture. It serves about 3,000 people in this West Indian neighborhood through a wide range of community activities.

Flatbush-Tompkins Congregational Church in Ditmas Park received a $10,000 grant towards funding window restoration in the sanctuary. The building is considered to be the finest Colonial Revival style church in New York City and serves about 900 people a year through community programs.

First Unitarian Congregational Society in Brooklyn Heights was awarded a $10,000 grant towards funding exterior accessibility and entryway restoration.  Constructed from 1842-1844, its church was inspired by the King’s College Chapel in Cambridge, England. First Unitarian Church reaches about 7,000 people a year through community activities.

Since its founding in 1986, the Conservancy’s Sacred Sites program has assisted more than 750 congregations across New York State with grants totaling over $12 million.  

“Religious buildings are key to a community’s history and sense of place,” said Peg Breen, President, The New York Landmarks Conservancy, “and many offer vital cultural and social service programs. Preserving them benefits us all.”

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Summer Sings at Grace Church Beckon Hymn-Lovers in Brooklyn

How many readers have come across the hymn considered the cure for those with phone trouble?

Titled “The Royal Telephone,” this hymn, assuring the faithful that there’s a steady lifeline to God, has become a perennial favorite at the Grace Church Summer Sings, which start on August 7.

The Summer Sings, held on Tuesdays in August, provide the chance to sing and learn more about beloved hymns, and to explore some of the humorous aspects of hymnody.

Each week will feature a presentation from clergy and musicians. The Rev. Dr. Allen Robinson, rector of Grace Church, will give the first presentation, on August 7. Pam McAllister, director of music at the Park Slope United Methodist Church, presents on August 14. Grace Church’s organist-choirmaster Paul Richard Olson gives his talk on August 21; and longtime Grace chorister and hymnologist Patricia Woodard will give her presentation on August 28.

The Summer Sings run from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in the air-conditioned McKittrick Choir Room. All are welcome.

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Film Draws Its Inspiration From the Poetry of Orphans

St. Ann & the Holy Trinity Church will host a free screening of “Voices Beyond the Wall: Twelve Love Poems from the Murder Capital of the World.”

“Voices Beyond the Wall” (director Brad Coley and executive producer James Franco) is inspired by the writings of girls living at Our Little Roses, an Episcopal orphanage in San Pedro Sula, Honduras.

Fr. Spencer Reece, an Episcopal priest and award-winning poet, spent two years at Our Little Roses helping residents find their voices through poetry, to help heal the trauma of their pasts and prepare to transition to an uncertain future beyond the walls of the orphanage.

He collaborated with Luis J. Rodriguez to edit and publish the girls’ poems in a volume titled, “Counting Time Like People Count Stars” (copyright 2017 by Northwestern University Press).

Fr. Reece will preach at the 11:15 a.m. Holy Eucharist at St. Ann’s on Sunday, August 5, and will be present for the screening, which begins at 1:30 p.m.

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Operation Backpack Provides School Supplies for Homeless Kids

St. Ann’s is conducting its sixth annual drive to collect school supplies for homeless children in support of the Volunteers of America Operation Backpack.

New school supplies and backpacks can be dropped off in the parish hall beginning this month and will be collected until Sunday, August 5. Further details for how to support the effort will be shared throughout the summer.

Forms with the lists of supplies for each age group are available online also. The forms should be completed and returned with the donation. There is a particular need this year for supplies for the ninth to 12th grade group due to an increase in the shelter population among teens, particularly LGBTQ+.




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