By Francesca Norsen Tate, Religion Editor
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Muslim Advocacy Group Praises Mayor For Closing Schools on Major Islamic Feasts
The Muslim community applauds New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s announcement last week that New York City Schools will be closed for the holidays of Eid ul-Adha and Eid ul Fitr.
The New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY) praised Mayor de Blasio for plans to move forward in closing schools for these holidays, which are key parts of the Muslim faith and family life.
“The NYC Muslim community looks forward to finally having the Eid holidays recognized in our public schools, said CAIR-NY Executive Board Member Zead Ramadan. It will be gratifying to know that Muslim children will soon no longer have to choose between honoring and celebrating their faith or missing class. We applaud Mayor de Blasio on his plans to soon make this a reality.”
During his election campaign in October, the mayor announced his promise to recognize Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, which take place at the end of the month-long fast of Ramadan, and following the annual pilgrimage to Mecca respectively. “The origins of this nation (are) people of many different faiths coming together. That's why we have to respect Muslim faiths by providing the Eid school holidays for children in our school system,” said de Blasio.
CAIR offers a booklet, called "An Educator's Guide to Islamic Religious Practices," designed to help school officials provide a positive learning environment for Muslim students.
CAIR-NY is a chapter of America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
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Brooklyn Priest Is Appointed As Tenth Bishop of Albany
Pope Francis I has appointed the Reverend Monsignor Edward Scharfenberger as the
Tenth Bishop of the Diocese of Albany, New York. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn made the announcement on Tuesday, Feb. 11.
Monsignor Scharfenberger was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Brooklyn by Bishop James Hickey on July 2, 1973, at St. Peter’s Basilica. (Hickey would then go on to become Cardinal Archbishop of Washington, D.C.).
Msgr. Scharfenberger has served in a number of pastoral and administrative positions. Most recently he served as Episcopal Vicar for Queens. In addition, he recently served as pastor of Saint Matthias Church in the Ridgewood section of Queens and also as Vicar for Strategic
“First and foremost, Monsignor Scharfenberger is a good priest,” said the Most Reverend Nicholas DiMarzio, Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn. “He is primarily concerned about people and is untiring in finding new ways to proclaim the message of redemption which is at the heart of the Gospel.”
“Monsignor Scharfenberger has been a close collaborator and friend. He has vast pastoral and administrative experience. I offer my prayers for Monsignor Scharfenberger as he undertakes his Episcopal ministry,” added Bishop DiMarzio, referring here to the office of bishop. “I also extend my congratulations to his mother and father, Elaine and Edward, who are both blessed to see this joyful day, for raising sucha fine Christian gentleman, for giving the Diocese of Brooklyn a great priest and for giving the Church a holy bishop.”
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OASIS Ministry Helps Christian Singles Meet Friends Who Share Faith, Values
Contributed By Cindy Galdal-Ruperto, Church contributor
It’s hard enough to find the right soul mate or at least a safe group of friends. Add to that finding a future spouse who shares the same religious values.
First Evangelical Free Church in Bay Ridge understands this challenge, and hosts its next Christ-centered OASIS singles event on Valentine’s Day weekend. Hundreds of singles of all ages from different denominations and from all walks of life, and from throughout the tri-state area attend, a film and dinner at the church, at 6501 Sixth Avenue, near Leif Erickson Park.
For those who are tired of the singles scene, OASIS promises a refreshing change. Organizers say, “There is no excuse to stay home. Come on out! This Valentine’s you’ve got a date with hundreds of Christian singles who are living for God and enjoying their inseparable union in Him. His eternal, un-shakeable love is worth celebrating and sharing!”
The goal of the OASIS Singles Ministry is to provide uplifting and fun events for singles with a focus on strengthening their faith and teaching them how to enjoy this season of their lives however long it lasts. OASIS is a wonderful way for Christians to meet like-minded people who share their values. Not everyone who comes is looking for a spouse. Many just want to form new friendships because many of their friends have married and are busy with their own lives.
First Evangelical Free Church has been hosting Christ-centered singles events for more than 16 years, with about three events each year. The largest single event is, of course, the Valentine’s Day program. This year the focus will not just be on the God who is Author of Love, but on how we can share His love with others.
This special evening will begin at 6 p.m. with a meal. People are urged to arrive at 5:30 p.m. because tickets cannot be reserved in advance. Singles are used to eating alone, so it is wonderful to be able to enjoy a meal with fellowship. The dinner will be a catered Italian buffet with two choices of entrée: rigatoni with meat sauce, salad and bread; or baked ziti, salad and bread.
A cozy café atmosphere with low lighting and lots of greenery makes it the perfect place for making new friends. Come with friends or by yourself. Many singles come by themselves and travel a long distance to do so. Friendly greeters will make everyone feel right at home from the moment you arrive until the close. Church singles groups are welcome.
When was the last time you saw a film so riveting it kept you on the edge of your seat? The guest speaker will be Martin Aschner from Calvary Baptist Church in Manhattan. He is committed to the love ethic of Jesus. As such he is enthusiastic about sharing the Gospel with others. His presentation will include a short film and practical tips for reaching out in love to anyone you know. There will also be a time of interaction with other singles, with small breakout groups to discuss the film.
Fellowship and dessert will complete this uplifting evening. There will be plenty of time to meet everyone who attends this event. We have a special way of helping you do that! OASIS is a very friendly place. We will also be presenting a new game room for everyone who wants to join in an activity as a group. This is a great way for singles to make new friends in an informal, fun way.
Admission is $15 at the door. Tickets cannot be reserved a head of time. Attire is casual, but neat. If you would like to volunteer to help out as we set up and decorate before the event or to help out at the event as a greeter, food server, or as part of the clean-up crew please call 718-836-0029 or send an email to Cindy@CompleteinChrist.com. Volunteers need to arrive at 4 p.m. that day. For directions visit: www.CompleteinChrist.com. Free parking is available in the church parking lot. Or take the R train to 69th Street and 4th Ave, Bay Ridge Avenue.
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Church Concerts around Brooklyn: St. George’s Church Presents Music of the Baroque Era
John Wolfe and ensemble, who are students at the Aaron Copland School of Music, Queens College, present a concert at St. George’s Episcopal Church in Bedford-Stuyvesant, on March 2.
The performers will be cellist Erik Andersen, violinist Kate Goddard, Tod Hedrick on viola da gamba, soprano Candace Lynn Matthews and John Wolfe on piano and organ. Their ensemble is an outgrowth of the larger Queens College Baroque Ensemble. Moreover, Wolfe has played service and given other performances at St. George’s. He is also a board member of the American Guild of Organists-Brooklyn Chapter.
The March 2 concert will focus on music of the Baroque period, with works by the composers Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber, John Coprario, Francesco Saverio Geminiani and George Frideric Handel.
The concert, which is free and open to the public, begins at 4 p.m. St. George’s Episcopal Church is at 800 Marcy Avenue.
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Church Concerts around Brooklyn: Cerddorion Presents ‘Language of the Birds’ With Face the Music’s Pannonia Quartet
Another concert on the first weekend in March celebrates the Language of the Birds.
Cerddorion Vocal Ensemble, (Artistic Director James John) will present the New York premiere of Veronika Krausas’s Language of the Birds at 8 p.m., Saturday, March 1 at St. Paul’s Church, 199 Carroll Street in Carroll Gardens.
“Language of the Birds” (2010), for chorus and string quartet, is a setting of five poems by Lawrence Ferlinghetti, inspired by San Francisco artist Brian Goggin’s sculptural installation illuminating a translucent flock of 23 suspended open books, simulating birds in flight. Accompanying Cerddorion will be guest artists, the Pannonia Quartet from Face the Music, New York City’s only teenage alt-classical ensemble. Jennifer Undercofler is the director.
World premieres by the winners of Cerddorion’s 2014 Emerging Composers Competition will also be featured on the program, selected from 26 entries from across the United States, Canada, Mexico and Europe: Steven Serpa’s “Of Birds,” a pair of pieces on texts compiled from Medieval bestiaries; Joshua Fishbein’s “Sleep Softly Now,” a setting of an anonymous 14th-century text; and Theo Popov’s “March,” a setting of a Goethe poem. Complementing these works will be additional “bird-themed” compositions by Copland, Janequin, Mendelssohn, Stanford and Vaughan Williams.
The program will be repeated on Sunday, March 8 at St. Michael’s Church 225 West 99th Street in Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Tickets for both performances are $20 in advance or $25 at the door ($10 and $15 for students and seniors). Advance tickets can be purchased at www.cerddorion.org.
Cerddorion’s 2013-2014 season will conclude with The Food of Love (in June), a program of Shakespeare settings that will include readings from the Bard’s plays and poetry, presented in collaboration with the Shakespeare Society of New York.
Cerddorion (the name, pronounced kehr-DOHR-ee-on, Welsh for “Musicians”) is one of New York City’s premiere chamber vocal ensembles. Now in its 19th season, the group performs music of all periods and is particularly committed to nurturing choral music as a living art. Cerddorion has commissioned works from a dozen composers, among them Pulitzer Prize–winner Paul Moravec; Lisa Bielawa; Robert Dennis; David Lang; Elliot Z. Levine; and David Schober. Cerddorion is an Ensemble in Residence at St. Ignatius of Antioch on Manhattan’s Upper West Side and is a member of the New York Choral Consortium.
James John is in his fourth season as Artistic Director of the Cerddorion. He is also Associate Professor and Director of Choral Activities at the Aaron Copland School of Music, Queens College-CUNY, where under his leadership the choral program has become recognized as one of the finest collegiate programs in the region. Dr. John’s dissertation on Brahms won the Julius Herford Prize from the American Choral Directors Association and will be published soon in revised form as a book by Edwin Mellen Press. He currently serves as editor of American Choral Review, a biannual scholarly journal published by Chorus America.
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Church Concerts around Brooklyn: Cabaret Proclaims, ‘Fate Is Kind’
A third concert on the weekend of March 1-2 is a cabaret titled “Fate is Kind” at Christ Church-Bay Ridge.
The church’s minister of music, Mark Janas, presents this cabaret. He and award- winning vocalist and recording artist, Julie Reyburn, along with her long time musical director bring their acclaimed cabaret show, “Fate is Kind” to Christ Church for one night only to open this season of Music on the Ridge.
“Fate is Kind” brings out the kid in all of us. Contemporary and Broadway standards create a backdrop against two beloved childrens’ books, The Velveteen Rabbit and Goodnight Moon, taking the audience on a wonderful heartfelt journey.
The cabaret begins at 7:30 p.m. Ticket price: $15 per person and $30 per family. Call 718-745-3698 for reservations and directions, or purchase tickets online at Christchurchbayridge@live.com.
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Two Bible Studies, And One Talks Back!
“Talking Back to the Bible,” a new adult education program at First Presbyterian Church of Brooklyn, has started.
Being dubbed as “not your grandmother's Bible Study,” this series, which meets on Wednesday nights, focuses on asking thoughtful and often astute questions about puzzling or troubling Bible passages. The Rev. Nadine Hundertmark, interim pastor at First Presbyterian Church, writes, “as a pastor, I have long experience in leading Bible Study groups—the edgier, more honest and open, the better.” Also leading the study are Eric Thomas, the church’s director of Christian Education, and Ph.D. student in New Testament; Samantha Gonzalez-Block, a seminary student.
They ask: “How are we to understand the following teachings?” Some of these verses include: “Women, be obedient to your husbands” (Ephesians 5:22); “Why is there so much fighting and large-scale killing in the Old Testament at the order of God?”; “How do we deal with the homophobia of the Bible? (Sodom, Gomorrah, etc.)”; “Why does God let good people suffer?”; “Problem verse: Hebrews 6:4-6 – unforgivable sins?”
These questions will continue to provoke lively conversation. The study takes place along with a light supper starting at 6:30 p.m., followed by discussion from 7-8:30 p.m.
Participants and newcomers are invited to consider: “What have you always wondered about? What word or phrase in the Bible mystifies or troubles you? How are thoughtful Presbyterians supposed to read this book? Some of us are new to the study of Scripture and some are more experienced, but we all come with curious, critical and open hearts and minds.”
Those who attend the church, at 124 Henry Street, on Sundays at 11 a.m. are also invited to write down questions on the orange cards in the pews and place them in the offering plate.
Another bible study series is underway at St. Ann & the Holy Trinity Church on Sundays at 12:45 p.m., examining “Beginnings” in the scriptures. The Rev. Sarah Kooperkamp, Associate Rector, leads this series; the first meeting with a consideration of the first two chapters of Genesis. Upcoming classes will address beginnings of each of the Gospels and how they set up the reader’s expectations of what follows. Rev. Sarah’s easy approach engages participants in a fresh and lively way in scripture study. The first two chapters of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John will be explored on Feb. 9, 16, 23 and March 2, respectively. The church is at Clinton and Montague streets in Brooklyn Heights.