First Estate: February 8, 2012

By Francesca Norsen Tate

Worship Service Focuses
On Wide Range of Artistic Gifts

Plymouth Church’s Worship and Arts committee offers special lay-led service that focuses on the arts, on Sunday, February 11.

This liturgy will build upon the well-received worship service that congregants organized and led last August. The theme of this 11 a.m. “Arts in Worship” service” is “Differing Gifts,” based on Romans 12:4-8. Participants will use their God-given gifts in a service of worship.

One of the organizers, Jacque Jones, explains that, “From Romans 12:6 ‘We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us....’ participants will use those gifts as an act of worship. The presentation incorporates instrumental and vocal music, textile art (an altar cloth by Amy Talcott), dance, poetry reading, original poetry in the form of a new hymn (sung by the congregation) written by Jacque Jones titled Here Within this Congregation (Gifts that Differ), and the presentation of children’s art by the Discoveryland Sunday School program. The organizers of the service, in addition to Jacque Jones, are Robin Osborne Mooney and Minister of Music Bruce Oelschlager.

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Brooklyn Independent
 TV Report Focuses
On Churches Needing Repairs

One Sanctuary Set
To Reopen This Past Weekend

Brooklyn Independent Television’s recent broadcast report about historic churches in need of structural repairs featured two local congregations. BIT’s Brooklyn Review program aired “Crumbling Churches,” a report on Old First Reformed Church in Park Slope and Brown Memorial Baptist Church, which is in Clinton Hill.

Brown Memorial Baptist Church, which is wrapping up years of renovation, invited the commun
ity for a weekend of Rededication Services.

The celebration was to begin on February 3 with Prayer and Praise, with the Rededication Service on February 4.  Sunday was Friends & Family Day.  

The guest preacher for Rededication Service was scheduled to be the Reverend Dr. David L. Kelly, III, Pastor of Christ Fellowship Baptist Church (reception to follow). Moreover, a Congregation & Community March was to precede the service.

Brown Memorial Baptist Church, which had been worshiping in a separate facility, launched a successful capital campaign centered in faith and commitment. Congregant Kim A. Williams, Esq., interviewed in the report, says that Brown Memorial Baptist Church has persevered for a hundred years and continues to be vibrant.

This column published a story last month about Borough President Marty Markowitz’s support of Old First Reformed Church, following the landmark sanctuary’s ceiling collapse in the midst of Rosh Hashanah Services that Old First Reformed was hosting for neighboring Congregation Beth Elohim. (Ironically, the Temple had also suffered a collapsed roof.)  Old First Reformed Church is still in the fundraising stage but continues to receive offers of support. Senior Pastor Daniel Meeter, in the broadcast interview, shared his faith that the $800,000 needed to make ceiling repairs will be met; and he described an encounter with a local professional who offered help.  Pastor Meeter and the congregation are now strategizing how to raise the funds and proceed with the repairs.

“This church is designed on what is called the ‘central plan,’” explained Pastor Meeter. “Instead of being a long, long, long church like St. Patrick’s…it’s designed to rise up into the middle.”

The video can be viewed in its entirety at

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FPC Church Choir Continues
Tradition of Singing
For Derrick Bell Lecture Series

The First Presbyterian Church Choir was featured as a part of the annual Derrick Bell Lecture at NYU Law School. Even though Professor Bell died late last year, the lecture series, named for him, continues Interspersed with narration by Janet Bell and Jim Johnson, the choir sang from the repertoire of African-American spirituals and other church music, weaving a story of God’s support and guidance in getting through a law school education.  First Presbyterian Church was well-represented in the audience, on a rainy winter night. Joining the FPC choir was the choir from Valley Stream High School

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Heights Synagogue
Hosts Blood Drive

The Brooklyn Heights Synagogue and the New York Blood Center co-sponsor the next Blood Drive, Tuesday, February 21, from 2 to 8 p.m.
The Blood Drive will be hosted at the Brooklyn Heights Synagogue, 131 Remsen St. Donors will be given free cookies, courtesy of  Lassen & Hennigs delicatessen.

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Maronites Set to Honor
Adult and Youth Leaders

Our Lady of Lebanon Cathedral’s 87th Annual St. Maron Day banquet takes place next weekend at the Rex Manor Catering Facility.

The feast of St. Maron honors the founder of the Maronite Rite (Eastern Rite Catholic). The celebration features cocktails, dinner and entertainment by Eddie Osama. The lay organization, The National Apostolate of Maronites, sponsors this event where the honorees of the Massabki and Youth of the Mountain awards are announced to an adult and youth, respectively. The honorees must have distinguished themselves in the service of their church and community. The event is also sponsored by the Parish Pastoral Council of the Cathedral.

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Organist Bart Ferguson Harris, 85, Once Held Church
Post in Brooklyn

The organist community mourns Bart Ferguson Harris, 85, who died last month. Harris, who studied music at the University of Mississippi (his home state), the Julliard School of Music in Manhattan, and McGill University in Montreal, enjoyed a career as church organist and choir director, and traveled worldwide, giving organ recitals and accompanying concert artists and ensembles. He was briefly church organist at Bethlehem Lutheran Church on Ovington Avenue in Bay Ridge, according to a spokesperson for that parish, and an obituary published online last month by Van Tassel Chickene - Arthur K. Brown Funeral Home in New Jersey. Harris was also a member of the American Guild of Organists.

Don Barnum, a member of the American Guild of Organists-Brooklyn Chapter, recalls that during his own time as music director at St. Charles Borromeo Church during the 1990s, Bart Harris presented an organ recital that “was very well received.”

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Lay Leaders Speak at
Oratory’s Lenten Vespers

The Brooklyn Oratory at St. Boniface Church continues its 33-year tradition of Sung Vespers, with lay preachers, on the Sundays during Lent.
The theme for this year’s Vespers, which begins on February 26 (the first Sunday in Lent) is from the Hebrew prophet Jeremiah, Chapter 31 (renewal of the covenant):“I will place my law within them and write it upon their hearts.”

All services begin at 4 p.m. The speakers are lay members of the Oratory parish. Christine Giangreco, Associate Director, Family Services, Catholic Charities, Brooklyn, speaks on February 26. Mark Hilan, news anchor at 1010 WINS Radio , speaks on March 4 - Educator Maria Wilson, The New York Public School System, (retired) speaks on March 11. Peter Bartholomaus, Development Associate, National Dance Institute, speaks on March 18
Peg Horan, Elder Abuse Unit Coordinator at the Kings County District Attorney’s Office, speaks at the concluding Vespers on April 1 (Palm Sunday.) The speaker for March 25 is TBA, but as of press time for this column, the service will take place.

February 8, 2012 - 12:56pm



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