Chimes August 2017

The late summer issue

Reflecting on a busy summer and the new activities ahead this fall.


  • A Note from the Rector: Autumn Transitions by Father Joe Greene
  • Adult Education, Being Christian, Starts September 10
  • Adult Inquirer's Class, Sunday Afternoons, Starts September 17
  • Sunday School Starts & Backpack Blessing, September 10
  • Sunday School Starts, Parent Meeting, September 10
  • News from the Curate
  • Acolytes UPDATED!
  • High School Youth Group NEW!
  • Confirmation Class UPDATED!
  • Bell Tower Restoration
  • Nicaragua
  • St. John's Episcopal Church Women
  • Welcome Reception for the Rev. Alissa Anderson, September 10
  • Every One Counts Cafe, September 17
  • CRC Needs Your Help
  • Good News
"Autumn Transitions" A message from Father Joe Greene

The sand from Manor Beach (or any beach) is washed out of towels and blankets, new school supplies are purchased, traffic is picking back up, and calendars are once again filling up. We’ve come to the end of summer and the start of the new school year. This certainly changes the rhythm at St. John’s. I keep promising our new curate, who started in July, that the pews do fill up! I hope that as you adjust to a new routine, you’ll make worship and our other programs a priority. It’s easy to get lost in the business of life, but you have a respite and rescue from the fast pace of our reality right here at Fountain Square, as well as a number of ways to get involved, to serve others, and to be fed mentally, physically, and spiritually. This fall, we’ll be hearing in our lectionary from the great narrative arc of the Exodus. The stories of God’s deliverance of his children from the bondage of Egypt are beautiful, difficult, and part of our DNA as adopted sons and daughters through Jesus Christ. These stories are all about movement. Bob Marley nailed this with his song Exodus, where the refrain says “the movement of Jah (God’s) people”. We feel this naturally. With every grade passed, every game played, every day of work completed, we are constantly on the move. And part of that movement should be together, as a church. We share in the joys and hardships of the movement of time together. We find comfort and hope with each other – the comfort and hope that God shows us through participation in the sacramental life of the church. I look forward to seeing you all!

Adult Education-Being Christian

Starts September 10

Join Fr. Joe on Sunday mornings from 9:00AM to 9:50AM beginning on September 10th for an offering on the basics of Christianity. Looking at Rowan Williams’ Being Christian, we explore the former Archbishop of Canterbury’s idea that there are four basic elements of Christianity that occur throughout the history of our faith and across the spectrum of denominational traditions: baptism, the Eucharist, the bible, and prayer. We’ll spend a few weeks looking at these elements and sharing in our experiences of God through them. Classes are held in the Thorne Room.

Adult Inquirer's Class

Sunday Afternoons, Starts September 17, 5:00PM

New to the Episcopal Church? New to Christianity? An Inquirer’s class is a great way to learn about our faith tradition. No prior knowledge or experience is necessary in digging into the what, how, and why of the way we live out the Christian faith through the Anglican tradition. Join Fr. Joe starting September 17th at 5:00 PM in the Chapter Room at St. John’s. For any questions, email him at jgreene@stjohnslarchmont.org.

All students are invited to bring their backpacks to worship for a special blessing to begin the new school year surrounded in prayer. September 10, 10am service.

Sunday School Starts September 10

Sunday School classes for children ages 3 through 5th grade begin at 10am. Children are dropped off at their classrooms and are escorted into the service to rejoin their families in time to receive communion. New this year is the introduction of the curriculum "Living the Good News", a long established, relevant, Bible-based plan that follows the Episcopal traditions. Lessons coincide with the Scripture readings used in the Sunday worship service. Parents are asked to participate by teaching a minimum of two Sundays during the school year or by taking a leadership role in one of our fellowship or outreach options such as the Christmas Pageant, Children's Church, etc. NEW this year, please register your child for Sunday School through the church website. Please note that a Sunday School Parent Meeting will be held, September 10, in the Chapter Room (large conference room) after the 10:00 AM liturgy.

Dear St. John’s Community—thank you all for your wonderfully warm welcome. I am having a great time getting to know St. John’s and the Larchmont area. I’m also excited about the (rapidly approaching!) start of the program year at St. John’s, and wanted to give all some information on a few things that I’m looking forward to this fall.

The Guild of Acolytes

I will be coordinating the acolytes this year, and am currently recruiting volunteers. The addition of “Junior Acolytes” (grades 2-6) means that younger children will also have a chance to participate, but we’re happy for any and all volunteers. I’m waiting to schedule training and create a Rota and sign-ups until I have a more up-to-date roster of potential acolytes, so please don’t hesitate to contact me about this important ministry.

High School Youth Group

This year, on the first and third Sundays of the month (beginning with a kickoff on Sept. 17), high schoolers are invited to come together to enjoy each other’s company, ask hard (and easy) questions, explore what it means to make good decisions and become more fully our true selves, provide opportunity for listening and being heard, consider how best to share Jesus’ love with our world, and most importantly, cultivate space for encountering the living God. Stay tuned for more information, and mark your calendars for a fun kickoff event in late afternoon/early evening on Sunday, September 17.

Confirmation Class

Some of you are wondering about Confirmation Class—yes, it will be happening again this year, in the winter/spring, with a family orientation meeting later this fall. The Confirmations will again be at the Cathedral in late spring; I will be in touch as soon as I know the exact date. Something else to note right away is that regular attenders of high school youth group will have significantly reduced class attendance expectations. Ninth grade families can expect an email from me with more information.

I look forward to sharing more about these and other offerings as we move into the fall season together, and I look forward to getting to know all of you better. If you have any questions or concerns for me, or simply want to say hello, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Belltower & Roofing Project Underway!

Temporary Front Door

Water Testing

Bell Tower Inspection

Installing Probes to Detect Leaks

As Senior Warden Ryan O’Connell reported in his mid-year newsletter, a major project is underway to address water infiltration issues in the bell tower and two sections of our roofs. We realized that we had a major water infiltration problem on our hands when the front door was removed for maintenance just before Palm Sunday, and water trickled out steadily from between the walls!

Work is already underway by Superstructures (SSX), the architectural/engineering firm that we have retained to help us with this project. Phase 1 is the testing/investigation stage. By using probes, taking samples, and performing water testing, SSX will determine the cause of the water infiltration issues and will develop a plan to address those issues.

The photo shows the primary areas that are being addressed in this project. In addition, SSX will examine all the exteriors of our buildings, to see if there are other existing or developing issues.

We anticipate that SSX’s preliminary assessment will be available by the end of September and will keep you posted. Our very preliminary estimate is that the total cost of the renovation project may be up to $500,000. However, that estimate could change after SSX completes its assessment.

Workmen carefully remove a few of the bricks from the facade for water testing. Water jets blasting into compromised areas of brickwork. Engineer uses infrared technology to detect troubled pathways.

Nicaragua 2017

What did you do this summer? We built a house.

Pete Bennitt takes on the back breaking chore of forming a "volcano" to hold the water for the hand-mixed cement "mezxcla".

All hands on deck to make cement.

St. John’s Church Makes Its 11th Service Trip to Nicaragua with Bridges to Community

By Linnet Tse, Junior Warden

WHY? “It's easy for us to get set in our ways at home. To go out on mission means to encounter God in the lives of people whose living circumstances are dramatically different from ours. To serve alongside someone who doesn't have the creature comforts that we enjoy opens our eyes to our God-given privileges. Each time we serve through mission, we follow directly the mandate of Jesus to love one another.” Fr. Joe Greene

2017 marks the eleventh time that members of St. John’s Church have journeyed to Nicaragua with Ossining-based Bridges to Community (BTC) to build houses. Coincidentally this eleventh Nicaraguan mission trip included eleven hard working volunteers on the St. John’s team, several who have made the trek multiple times. Participants included parishioners Abby, Pete, and Tim Bennitt, Freya Cantwell, Frank Pierson, Axel Steinmetz and Linnet Tse.

BTC, is a non-for-profit community development and service learning organization that promotes cross-cultural partnerships and sustainable community development. The team spent an intense four days building a house in the very poor community of San Joaquin, located 45 minutes southeast of Managua where villagers live in tiny structures “built” with scavenged corrugated metal, sticks, plastic sheeting and cardboard. The St. John’s team performed the back breaking labor of sifting sand, mixing cement, digging holes for foundation footings, hauled wheel barrels laden with sand, lifting and assembling cinder blocks and securing them into place with mortar.

The community we worked in: San Joaquín, which is located about 45 minutes southeast of Managua, is rated one of the most economically disadvantaged communities in the region. Most of the homes there are “built” with scavenged material – scraps of corrugated metal, sticks, plastic sheeting, and cardboard – which provide little protection from the elements or from disease. St. John’s hopes to work with BTC in San Joaquín over the next several years.

This year’s beneficiary family consisted of a mother, Doña Maria, her husband Don Rafael, and their two young daughters, Liz (4) and Nicole (9). Their house had been destroyed in the rainy season forcing them to live in one-room corrugated tin structure.

What we got out of the experience: This eye-opening and life-changing experience not only broadens perspectives but also creates strong relationships with the families, community members, local masons and craftsmen. Members of the community, including the beneficiary family work alongside the St. John’s team to build the house.

Volunteers also gained insight into the struggles and challenges that Nicaraguans face daily. For first-time participant Abby Bennitt, a junior at Mamaroneck High School, “one of the main things that really hit home was the notion that the educational opportunities that I take for granted are considered by members of this Nicaraguan community to be a luxury. . . something that is very accessible here is nearly impossible for them. The community we were working in didn't have a high school, and the added expense of going to school in Nicaragua made it hard for many kids to receive any education beyond elementary school.”

College sophomore and third-time volunteer Axel Steinmetz maintains that he gets much more out of the experience than he contributes, and that keeps him going back year after year. For Axel, what stood out was “just how life-changing the service work we do there is and experiencing the Nicaraguan culture while interacting with the local people and children. When I see just how much I have changed one family’s life with just a week of work, I can’t help but want to go back."

SAVE THE DATE! Our 2018 trip to Nicaragua is scheduled for June 23-30. For more information, please contact Fr. Joe Greene, Linnet Tse, or Carla Berry.

Beneficiary family and hardworking St. John's team.
Engaging and connecting with the community. Thanks to an ECW grant which supplied plenty of "burbujas" bubbles.

Episcopal Church Women's Group

The ECW will be holding a morning coffee gathering in late September and a fall cocktail party with a light dinner in October. Dates TBD.

ECW Outreach co-chairs Jill Brennick and Polly Vanderwoude congratulate Madelin Alvarez the recipient of the 2017 St. John's ECW Scholarship Award at the Larchmont Mamaroneck Student Aid Fund Award Ceremony. Madelin is a first generation student, meaning first generation in her family to attend college. She will be attending Westchester Community College and plans to study accounting.

Please join us for a special welcome reception for the Rev. Alissa Anderson during coffee hour, Sunday, September 10

Submitted by The Stewardship Committee: co-chairs Robin Ingram, Liza Sheker and Dami Burckin, Justin Goh.

This year the stewardship committee is approaching its task in a different way. We want to work together as a community to expand what it is we do as individuals and as a congregation in terms of stewardship. What we hope to do is to help everyone better understand the definition of stewardship as it relates to St. John’s.

We want to think of stewardship in terms of the three Ts: Time, Talent and Treasure, but we can define this role and understand it to mean a variety of things. A steward may be defined as a legal surrogate who acts on behalf of another, a flight attendant who cares for passengers or a custodian who cares for another’s property. At St. John’s we are Christians who act on behalf of Christ and care for one another both within our congregation and within our broader community (as well as the physical building where we meet).

There are circumstances where our time is enough to fulfill this mission and other instances when it is our talents or treasure that is required. Through conversation and education (a Q&A format) we hope to motivate parishioners to pledge both deliberately and thoughtfully not only their treasure, both also their time and talents.

On Sunday, September 17th during coffee hour, we will host what we are calling the “Every One Counts Café.” We will not be asking for pledges at that time. Instead, there will be Q&A stations that will cover four topics: Church Finance, Opportunities for Time and Talent, Sunday School/Youth Ministry/Outreach & What I Wish For At St. John’s. We are modeling this format after the World Café that took place during our search for a new rector. We hope to offer insights as to how the Church currently operates as well as to receive feedback from the parish and collectively decide its future.

We’ve dubbed this event “Every One Counts” as a reminder that the individual participation of each and every member of our congregation counts. Every person, every dollar, every hour of service counts at St. John’s. No one person’s contribution is more important or more valuable than another’s; Every One Counts. It is our hope that every parishioner will pledge this year even if it is just one dollar or one hour. Participation is a commitment to our St. John’s community.

The Q&A topics will cover:

Church Finance 101: quite literally the ins and outs of the Church’s finances. If you’ve ever wondered where all the money goes, this is the Q&A to attend to find out.

Opportunities for Time and Talent will provide more information about ways in which to serve St. John’s. We’re a diverse congregation, but there are fulfilling roles and opportunities for everyone.

Sunday School/Youth Ministry/Outreach will review with parishioners the many opportunities for the younger members of our congregation to both live and learn about their Christian faith through education and service.

What I Wish For At St. John’s will review the results of our last parish survey (conducted three years ago during our rector search) and we will listen to your thoughts on what our congregation should focus on? ...or how our parish should evolve?...over the next three years.

We hope that you all will attend the Café. We will have babysitting available.

And please SAVE THE DATE for Sunday, October 15th 5pm – 7pm for an evening of fellowship at our CHILI POT-LUCK SOCIAL! At the dinner, we will share the Q&A results of the Every One Counts Café and we will officially launch our stewardship season.

The Stewardship Committee

Robin Ingram, Co-Chair

Liza Sheker, Co-Chair

Dami Burckin

Justin Goh

submitted by Dacey Hall, Vestry Member

Here are two opportunities for St. John’s parishioners to help adult students learn English at the Community Resource Center (CRC) in Mamaroneck this fall. Scheduling is flexible and you don't need to volunteer every week. Sign up as often as you like - every week, every other week, or monthly. Volunteer and serve with a friend as a team.

(1) Teacher’s aide in ESL classroom: Teacher will offer guidance to volunteer(s). Classes are held Monday mornings 10:00AM-12:00 NOON and Tuesday mornings 9:00AM-12:00 NOON. You may choose to participate in the full class or a portion of the class time.

(2) Conversation Group: Help lead informal conversation groups with adult students who are learning to speak English. Pick a topic such as preparing for a job interview, ordering food in a restaurant, etc. and let the conversation take off. CRD offers materials, instruction and ongoing support. Conversation classes are held Wednesday evenings, 8:00PM-9:00PM

Classes begin the week of September 11 and run through December 13. Please contact Dacey Hall at (914) 833-0438 or cekillam1@aol.com if you would like to participate.

Good News

by Amy Jaswal

Lisa Young’s son, Andrew Young, was married on June 17, 2017 in Northeast Harbor, Maine, to Caitlin Casey. Robby Kirkham was one of his groomsmen! A huge congratulations to Andrew, Caitlin, and the whole Young family!

Diana Hechler's son, Jeffrey Hechler, was married on August 12 in Traverse City, Michigan, to Sarah Bush. Congratulations to Jeffrey, Sarah and the entire Hechler family.

Girl Scout, Paige Gallaher, was featured in a photo in the August issue of Larchmont Living, helping out at the Larchmont Farmers Market Book Sale. The fundraiser, with a goal to make the Larchmont/Mamaroneck Girl Scout House handicap accessible, raised over $1,100, including matching funds from the Larchmont Lions.

Phil Oldham, Co-president of the Larchmont and Mamaroneck Lions, was also featured in the August issue of Larchmont Living. The Lions recently celebrated their 100th Anniversary with a full schedule of events, including the Farmers Market Book Sale, participating in the Larchmont and Mamaroneck Neighbors for Refugees at the WJC, raising $850 for the Guiding Eyes for the Blind, and hosting a afternoon Family Eye Health Day at the Larchmont Library. On June 11th, Phil Oldham and Co-president Anthony Craparo, were honored with Proclamation from the the Town of Mamaroneck in celebration of the Lions' centennial anniversary and appreciation for their many fundraising and support of local organizations.

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