By Francesca Norsen Tate, Religion Editor
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Plymouth Church Bids Farewell To Senior Minister As He Retires
The congregation of Plymouth Church gathered this past weekend for a farewell celebration, taking the opportunity to honor the ministry of the Rev. Dr. David C. Fisher and the lasting influence and friendships that he and his wife Gloria leave behind. The Fishers, entering retirement, will be moving to Ohio this week. Dr. David Fisher concluded a distinguished 43-year career as a parish pastor.
The weekend’s events began with a festive outdoor party at the church’s Beecher Garden on Saturday evening, Sept. 21. The Plymouth congregation, friends and family gathered for dinner and a presentation of gifts to the Fishers, including a bound book of 31 of Rev. Fisher’s sermons that were favorites of the congregation, entitled “A Month of Sundays.” A proclamation from Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz was read to those assembled, in which Rev. Fisher was commended for his nine years at Plymouth and “an impressive growth of membership and programs, as well as a maturation and engagement in the church’s mission” during his tenure. The date of Sept. 21, 2013 was proclaimed “Reverend David Fisher Retirement Celebration Day” in further recognition of “his vision, fortitude and spiritual leadership, which has engaged and inspired so many in this community.”
During the following morning’s Sunday worship service, additional words of celebration and thanks were delivered to celebrate all the pastoral vocations in the Fisher family. Participating in the service were family members who serve in the ministry: Rev. Dr. Karen Fisher Younger, daughter of David and Gloria Fisher, and Professor of History at Waynesburg University in Pennsylvania; Rev. Dr. William Younger, son-in-law and Lead Pastor of Union Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh, PA; and the Rev. Paul Honaker and Rev. Robin Honaker, Gloria Fisher’s brothers and, respectively, retired Minister of Music at Bon Air Baptist Church in Richmond, Virginia, and Senior Minister of Pilgrim Community Church in Warren, Maine.
The Rev. Karen Fisher Younger delivered the sermon at the farewell service.
Afterwards, Plymouth hosted a special reception at the church. At its conclusion, a commissioned oil portrait of Rev. Fisher by Texas-based artist James Tennison was unveiled. The portrait will take its place in the church’s Arcade gallery at a later date.
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Dr. Fisher’s Ministry at Plymouth
The Rev. Dr. David C. Fisher, Plymouth Church’s 10th Settled Minister in its 166-year history, announced his retirement from the ministry this past April. His noteworthy tenure at Plymouth, the historic Congregational Church in Brooklyn Heights, began in August 2004, with his formal installation as Senior Minister on Jan. 10, 2005. Rev. Fisher has been a parish pastor for forty-three years, as well as a noted authority on the Jewish background of early Christianity, a teacher of pastoral ministry and preaching, and a frequent speaker at clergy and denominational gatherings. Prior to Plymouth, his vocation in the ministry has taken him from small congregations in rural America to the position of Senior Minister at two of the largest and most prestigious Congregational churches in the United States: Park Street Church in Boston, MA, and Colonial Church in Edina, MN.
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Interim Senior Minister Al Bunis Will Guide Plymouth through Transition
Effective immediately, the Rev. Al Bunis will serve as Plymouth’s Interim Senior Minister. Leading the congregation in its worship and ministry activities, he will also be guiding the church during this transitional time as it searches for a new Settled Minister. Rev. Bunis, a resident of Brooklyn Heights and member of Plymouth with his family since 1998, joined the church’s ministerial staff in 2010 as Assistant Minister. His ordination as minister and career in ministry are the culmination of a long journey of transition from a business career on Wall Street. A graduate of Harvard University with a degree in Economics, he received his Master of Divinity from the New York Theological Seminary. “It has been an honor to work so closely with David these past few years,” Rev. Bunis notes. “Under his leadership, Plymouth has thrived in so many ways, and set such a strong foundation for the future. We will all greatly miss David and Gloria.”
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St. Ann’s Church Begins New Chapter With Rector’s Upcoming Installation
St. Ann & the Holy Trinity Church prepares to install the Rev. John E. Denaro as its rector on Oct. 5. Fr. Denaro has served St. Ann’s as priest-in-charge since March, 2011. Fr. Denaro was named as rector in a July 14 announcement this summer.
The installation liturgy, more formally titled ‘Celebration of a New Ministry,’ in the Episcopal Church’s Book of Common Prayer, will take place on Saturday, Oct. 5 at 4 p.m. The Rt. Rev. Lawrence Provenzano, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island, will preside.
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Oktoberfest Tradition Continues At Zion German Lutheran Church
Celebrate German culture at a popular neighborhood tradition, Oktoberfest!
Zion German Evangelical Lutheran Church’s annual Oktoberfest, on the first Saturday of October, will feature great food, live music, dancing, a charity raffle, children’s games and activities. The dinner menu includes: bratwurst, sauerkraut, red cabbage, potato salad, beer and soda, dessert with tea and coffee.
The doors open at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 5; and dinner is served starting at 4 p.m. Advance meal reservations admission (by Oct. 1): Adults $20; students and seniors (age 62 and over) $15; children (12 and under) $12. Admission at the door: Adults $24; seniors $18; children $14. Students must show valid school ID. Oktoberfest runs until 8 p.m., rain or shine. Zion Church is at 125 Henry St. in Brooklyn Heights.
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Churches Honor St. Francis of Assisi With Neighborhood Pet Blessings
The St. Francis Blessing of the Animals is a beloved tradition at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Carroll Gardens. This special day has also become a neighborhood ecumenical tradition, with the participation of Sacred Hearts-St. Stephen’s Roman Catholic Church.
St. Francis of Assisi was a 12th century Italian born into a wealthy, privileged household. He rejected this heritage after several tests of vocation that he attributed to God. He embraced God, absolute poverty and a love of all creation. The Roman Catholic and Episcopal Churches both celebrate the life of St. Francis as a lover of animals.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn’s NET-TV has broadcast features about the Carroll Gardens neighborhood Pet Blessing.
This year’s Pet Blessing takes place on Sunday Oct. 6, at the front entrance of St. Paul’s Church on Clinton Street (corner of Carroll St.) This section of Clinton St. will be closed off to traffic during the ceremony to ensure safety for all. After the blessing there will be treats for the animals in our Parish Hall. Everyone in the community is invited to bring animal members of their family to be blessed.
Pet Blessings will also be held at Grace Church-Brooklyn Heights (254 Hicks St.) at 5 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 6.
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Brooklyn’s Franciscan community, including the college named for St. Francis, and the Friars, are celebrating the life of their patronal saint with a first-annual pet blessing and a lecture.
Fr. Brian Jordan, OFM, will do a Pet Blessing on the steps of St. Francis College on Brooklyn Heights. This ritual will take place on the actual feast day of St. Francis, Friday, Oct. 4 at 8 a.m.
St. Francis College presents its 10th Annual Franciscan Lecture on Wednesday, Oct. 3. Paul Moses (professor of journalism at Brooklyn College) will speak on The Saint and the Sultan: The Crusades, Islam and Francis of Assisi's Mission of Peace. This 12:30 p.m. program is held in Founders Hall. St. Francis College is at 180 Remsen St. in Brooklyn Heights.
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Catholic Charities Set to Open Msgr. Barretta Apartment Complex
A ribbon-cutting this Thursday will celebrate the opening of Catholic Charities Monsignor Anthony J. Barretta Apartments. This Affordable Housing is already being touted as a successful model in Brooklyn’s Ocean Hill neighborhood. The Catholic parish associated with this project, Our Lady of Loreto Church, actively serves the neighborhood.
Monsignor Anthony J. Barretta Apartments, a new $18 million development featuring 64 units of low-income housing, was developed as a partnership between CPCR and Catholic Charities. The apartments utilized CPCR’s highly successful “In-Fill Model” design to transform an underutilized, former school, rectory, and convent of Our Lady of Loreto Church into much-needed housing. The development is at 2365 Pacific Street. The architecture, designed by RKT&B, is inspired by New York City’s brownstone walk-ups and applies energy-efficient techniques.
Msgr. Anthony J. Barretta, who died in 2003 at age 81, was a Brooklyn native, according to a memorial web page set up on the Our Lady of Loreto parish site. A 1940 graduate of St. Michael’s Diocesan High School, he excelled in track. Later in his life, he would be inducted into the St. Michael’s Hall of Fame for his athletic achievements. And he readily incorporated his ability into his pastoral ministry, playing baseball with the boys of the parishes where he served and being available to them for help and advice.
Msgr. Barretta had served Our Lady of Loreto parish as one of his parochial assignments after his May 31, 1947 ordination to the priesthood. He served other Brooklyn parishes as well, including Most Holy Trinity, St. Michael-St. Edward, and Our Lady of Grace. He was appointed an assistant spiritual director at the St. Vincent de Paul Society in 1970.
According to a story published in The Tablet diocesan newspaper last week, Msgr. Barretta was a former board member of St. Vincent’s Hall, Brooklyn and pastor emeritus of St. Leo’s parish, Corona in Queens, where he had been appointed pastor starting in 1978. He was awarded Catholic Charities’ Ubi Caritas Award in 1975 for his work among the poor and needy.
Leading the ceremony, on Thursday, Sept. 26 at 10 a.m., will be Msgr. Alfred LoPinto, Catholic Charities’ Vicar for Human Services; the Most Rev. Nicholas DiMarzio, Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn; Thomas McGrath, Senior Vice President & Head of CPC Resources, Inc. (CPCR); Darryl C. Towns, Commissioner/CEO of NYS Homes and Community Renewal; Eric Enderlin, Deputy Commissioner of Development, NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD); William Traylor, President of Richman Housing Resources; and tenant/residents.