Faith In Brooklyn for September 12
Bishop Provenzano of Episcopal Diocese Dedicates Newly Built St. Stephen-St. Martin Church
New Building is Designed for Many Functions And to be a Beacon for the Neighborhood
Joy and fanfare filled the streets of Bedford-Stuyvesant on Saturday and the rain held off until after the procession, as the congregation of St. Stephen-St. Martin Episcopal Church in Bedford-Stuyvesant, complete with marching band, officially moved from another congregation hosting them to their own brand-new home.
Varick A.M.E. Zion Church on Quincy St. had hosted the St. Stephen-St. Martin parish for several years while its church was being constructed. The old St. Stephen’s Church had stood at the corner of Patchen and Jefferson Avenues for 147 years before it was demolished, in a condition beyond repair. The procession headed from Quincy St. to the new site, about six blocks away. Leading them was the Elite Marching Band of Queens.
The new church, which is the brainchild of architect Shaneekua Henry and her husband Andrew, is described as “a beacon of the message of a resurrected church who meets us at all the intersections of our lives,” according to a brochure.
It is also the first Episcopal church building to be constructed during the bishopric of the Rt. Rev. Lawrence Provenzano, bishop of the Diocese of Long Island.
While other women clergy were pioneers in becoming the first Episcopal clergy and bishops, Henry is the first African-American woman to design a church in the diocese.
The project was developed in partnership with Pericles Notias of Notias Construction of Flushing, N.Y. Henry is a partner in the African-American owned SLM Architecture.
The Rev. Canon Audley Donaldson, rector of St. Stephen-St. Martin Church, said, “It is significant that parishioners decided to rebuild the church in Bedford-Stuyvesant, where it has served as a beacon of hope, and succeeded in rebuilding during a difficult economic climate. It is a remarkable achievement by the entire parish.” During the consecration service, Donaldson publicly thanked and honored several staff and parishioners.
“This historic service will celebrate this achievement and the commitment to ministry that the St. Stephen and St. Martin’s community has to the neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant. Their dedication serves as an inspiration to us all as we anticipate a bright future in this exciting and demographically diverse community,” said Provenzano.
The new St. Stephen and St. Martin’s Episcopal Church building, located at 789 Jefferson Ave., has a modern theatrical lighting and sound system to enhance the worship experience. A columbarium and garden, and a cry room were built into the structure.
The purpose of a cry room is a safe-space for worshipers who may find themselves weeping during the liturgy. In many churches, tears are an integral part of healing and restoration.
The entire church is “built and consecrated as a multi-functional, multi-cultural, multi-generational sacred space.” Members of the parish are charged to “be in tune with what ails and troubles those on the outside.” The parish’s mission is to minister to the wider community as well.
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Coalition of Synagogues Sponsors Annual Intro to Judaism Course
Each year, the synagogues around Brooklyn participate in the Introduction to Judaism Course taught by Rabbi Sue Oren.
The 20-session course is designed as an exploration for curious adults to discover Judaism from an adult perspective, to become more conﬁdent parents of Jewish children and to explore longstanding questions they haven’t yet asked.
NightShul at East Midwood Jewish Center will incorporate the Introduction to Judaism course into its regular seasonal offerings. A weekly class is offered in two sections from 7:30-9:30 p.m. on Wednesdays.
The course will also be offered on Sundays at the Park Slope Jewish Center.
The first session for all participants will take place at East Midwood Jewish Center on Wednesday, Oct. 10. Advance registration is required.
For more information, registration and course fee contact Oren at [email protected] or 917-539-1334.
Course co-sponsors include Beloved, Brooklyn Heights Synagogue, B’ShERT (Beth Shalom v’Emeth Reform Temple), Congregation Mount Sinai, East Midwood Jewish Center, Flatbush Jewish Center, Kane Street Synagogue,
Kolot Chayeinu/Voices of Our Lives, Park Slope Jewish Center and Union Temple.