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The First Estate: March 7, 2012

Expert on Interfaith Relations

Will Deliver Annual Khatib Lecture

Rabbi Gary Bretton-Granatoor, a noted expert in interfaith relations, will speak at St. Joseph’s College, for the school’s Dr. Reza Khatib and Georgianna Clifford Khatib Chair in Comparative Religion Fourth Annual Lecture.

Rabbi Bretton-Granatoor will give his presentation, “Catholic-Jewish Relations: 46 Years From Vatican II When Everything Changed — Or Did It?” at the college’s two campuses, an evening talk and lunchtime talk, respectively: Tuesday, March 13 at 7:30 p.m. on the Patchogue (Suffolk County) Campus and Tuesday, March 27 at 12:30 p.m. on the Brooklyn Campus in Clinton Hill. Both lectures are free and open to the public.

A well-known lecturer, author of numerous articles and editor of two books, Rabbi Bretton-Granatoor is the vice president of philanthropy at the World Union for Progressive Judaism which serves, nurtures and supports more than 1,200 reform/progressive/liberal Jewish congregations and more than 1.7 million members around the world. He has also served as director of the education division and as director of interfaith affairs at the Anti-Defamation League. He served as senior rabbi at Stephen Wise Free Synagogue in Manhattan for eight years.

Dr. Reza Khatib and Mrs. Georgianna Clifford Khatib ’52 have funded this speaking chair, with the purpose of promoting interfaith dialogue, with the study of Islam being an integral part of the initiative. Each spring, through the generosity of Dr. and Mrs. Khatib, the College hosts a noted scholar who lectures, leads faculty discussions and teaches a course to students from both campuses.

* * *
Winning NY Teams Invites

Talk on ‘Theology of Sports’

The Giants’ Super Bowl win, the Rangers being in first place and the Knicks finally finding a point guard, all raise the question: Maybe God is really a New York sports team fan?”

This question is at the heart of the next program in St. Charles Borromeo Church’s “Theology on Tap” series, held at Eammon’s on Montague St. The theme for the March 13 program is Theology of Sport. By popular demand, “Theology on Tap” will continue through the spring, on three Tuesdays: March 13, April 17 and May 15.

For more information on start time, contact the St. Charles rectory at 718-625-1177.

* * *
Lenten Study Groups Explore

Parables, Sunday Lectionary

Science fiction novelist George Orwell once referred to Jesus’ parables as “traps for contemplation.”

First Presbyterian Church this week starts hosting a program on the Parables of Jesus, for its Lenten dinner and discussion series. A description of the program reads, “Deceptive in their simplicity, parables can expand our understanding of God. Revisit Jesus’ parables, considering their historical context.”

This Lenten series runs during the Wednesdays in March (7, 14, 21, and 28) in the church’s upstairs Elliott Room. For more information, contact First Presbyterian Church of Brooklyn at 718-624-3770.

* * *

Plymouth Church’s 2012 Lenten theme, “Back to Basics,” focuses on the Lenten lectionary, the assigned scripture lessons for each Sunday. Plymouth’s ministers, the Revs. David Fisher and Al Bunis lead a series, “Preparing for Sunday” Lenten Bible Study. This study meets on four Monday evenings to discuss the lectionary with an eye towards preparing each person’s thoughts and responses for that next Sunday’s sermons.)

“Preparing for Sunday” (convening on Mondays at 7 p.m. on March 5, 12, 26 and April 2) is designed for participants at every level, whether beginner or advanced, and requires no special preparation. Each meeting is a stand-alone class; one can attend as is feasible Participation is free of charge. Call Plymouth Church (718-624-4743) for more information, as supper is also provided.

* * *
Novel Presents Riveting Love Story

Against Backdrop of Holocaust

Congregation Mount Sinai invites the community to take part in a book discussion of The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer.

Even if this weren’t her first novel, Julie Orringer’s Invisible Bridge would be a marvelous achievement. Orringer makes a 600-page story of love in the midst of war and genocide riveting even at its most grim. Building vivid worlds in effortless phrases, she immerses the reader in 1930s Budapest just as a young Hungarian Jew, Andras Lévi, departs for the École Spéciale d’Architecture in Paris. Lévi hones his talent for design, works backstage in a theater, and allies with other Jewish students in defiance of rising Nazi influence. And then he meets Klara, a captivating Hungarian ballet instructor, nine years his senior with a painful past and a willful teenage daughter. Against Klara’s better judgment, love engulfs them, drowning out the rumblings of war for a time. But inevitably, Nazi aggression drives them back to Hungary, where life for the Jews goes from hardship to horror. As in Dr. Zhivago, these lovers can’t escape history’s merciless machinery, but love gives them the courage to endure. This novel was named Amazon Best Books of the Month, May 2010. The discussion takes place on Wednesday, March 14, at 7:30 p.m. Congregation Mount Sinai is at 250 Cadman Plaza West.

* * *
Outreach Awareness

Food Drives Help Stock

Pantries in Brooklyn

Two churches in different neighborhoods are helping stock a much-utilized food pantry.

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Carroll Gardens has organized a Lenten Food Drive to help stock the food pantry of First Presbyterian Church in Brooklyn Heights. First Presbyterian Church distributes food to more than 100 families on a weekly basis.

Food Bank for New York estimates that over 3 million New York residents experience difficulty in affording food. Moreover, all socio-economic classes—the college educated and middle class—have, in recent months.

The St. Paul’s Food Drive focuses on having donors bring in a different non-perishable food item each week. For the remaining Sundays in Lent, the schedule is: 3rd Sunday in Lent (March 11) 1 lb. bags of rice; 4th Sunday in Lent (March 18) dried beans; 5th Sunday in Lent (March 25) cereal; and Palm Sunday (April 1) canned protein, such as tuna or mackerel, chili, chicken. This announcement was received after the 2nd Sunday in Lent, with soup and canned vegetables having been requested for Feb. 26 and March 4. However, any donations are warmly welcomed whatever the item. Boxes will be located at the entrance to the church, near St. Anthony’s Poor Box. Donations can be dropped off on Thursday nights from 6 to 8 p.m., Saturday afternoons from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and on Sundays after the 11 a.m. Mass.

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church is at the corner of Clinton and Carroll streets.

* * *

Plymouth Church directed its Sunday Communion Offering last week to benefit the Greenpoint Food Pantry and Soup Kitchen. Greenpoint Reformed Church’s Hunger Program serves a hot meal to between 50 and 60 individuals each Wednesday, and operates a food pantry to provide free groceries to between 500 and 600 people each Thursday. Other services include outreach work to help people apply for food stamps, and donations of fresh fruits and vegetables from local CSAs and community gardens (plus nutrition and cooking counseling) to help neighbors eat healthy. More information is available through at the Greenpoint Food Pantry and Soup Kitchen’s Facebook page.

* * *

Oratorians Spearhead Linens Drive

For Nazareth Housing Clients

Candidates for the Sacrament of Confirmation at the Brooklyn Oratory at St. Boniface Church are holding a linen drive for people who have acquired a new place to live through the work of Nazareth Housing.

The confirmation class asks members of the Oratory to bring bedding: (sheets, pillow cases pillows, towels and blankets to a special collection through mid-April. These goods will be brought to a Nazareth Housing facility, where the Confirmation candidates will pack and prepare them for distribution.

* * *
Gaining Widespread Support,

Organ Restoration Makes Progress

Thanks to hundreds of people who sponsored pipes in the instrument, the Kilgen Pipe Organ restoration at Our Lady of Refuge Roman Catholic Church in Flatbush has made great progress, reports the project’s chairperson, Joseph Vitacco.A clarinet pipe receives detailed surgical attention.

The scope of this project has stretched far beyond the parish’s geographical boundaries, with benefit concerts being performed around Brooklyn and the United States. Major donors have also come forward from a wide geographical area.

Quimby Pipe Organs in Missouri and A.R. Schopp’s Sons in Ohio have cleaned the pipe work. The craftsmen at A. R. Schopp’s Sons began removing from storage three of the five ranks of reeds to clean them. The ranks received cleaning and “surgery” include the Clarinet, Oboe and Vox Humana. Moreover, the Oboe ranks are getting new spotted metal tuning scrolls.

The Kilgen Organ’s Facebook page also provides a link allowing visitors to download Stephen Tharp’s complete two-hour organ recital at Grace Church-Brooklyn Heights performed last November.

* * *
Bay Ridge Churches Worship Together

As Part of Ecumenical Lenten Vespers

Bay Ridge United Church has joined forces this Lent with other area churches for Vespers/Evening Prayer.

Visitation Monastery on Ridge Blvd. will host Vespers at 3:30 p.m. on the Third Sunday in Lent, March 11. St. John’s Episcopal Church (9818 Ft. Hamilton Parkway) hosts Vespers on March 18, the Fourth Sunday in Lent. Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church (414 80th Street) hosts Lent Vespers on Sunday March 25, with a soup supper the next night (Monday, March 26.)

* * *
World at Large

Networking Event Brings

Together Catholic Alumni

Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens hosts the Third NYC Catholic Alumni Networking Reception, bringing together hundreds of Catholic alumni from across the nation.

This professional and social networking event is open to all Catholic alumni, and is an opportunity to share common values and goals. With a cover charge of $25, guests will have access to an open bar and unlimited hors d’oeuvres. The Networking Reception takes place Monday, March 19, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the New York Athletic Club.

Catholic Charities shares a common mission and commitment to social justice with alumni societies of many Catholic colleges and universities. Through each NYC Catholic Alumni Networking Reception, Catholic Charities hopes to build upon its legacy and increase support of our services by connecting with others who share a common Catholic identity.

This event is open to all Catholic alumni regardless of graduation year. More than 30 Catholic colleges, universities and Newman Centers will be in attendance, including: St. Francis College, St. John’s University, Fordham University, Boston College, Georgetown University, College of the Holy Cross, Notre Dame, Ohio State University, Penn State University, The University of Scranton.

To register, please contact Martin Haggerty at 718-722-6099 or Mhaggerty@ccbq.org.

* * *

Episcopal Church

Expands Online Resources

Sermons That Work, the popular and heavily utilized offering for clergy and lay leaders from the Office of Communication, has expanded to provide additional services.

Launched on Ash Wednesday, the expanded Sermons That Work will continue to offer ready-to-preach sermons and weekly Bible study, while now providing book reviews, special reports on church leadership, preaching tips and other key elements.

Sermons That Work: http://sermonsthatwork-rcl.com

“The idea of supplying congregations with sermons or homilies dates back to the English Reformation,” noted Anne Rudig, Director of Communication. “Carrying on that tradition, the Episcopal Church has been offering Sermons That Work online since 1995. Now, with additional content, our clergy and lay leadership have additional tools to assist them with their preaching and spiritual responsibilities.”

 Originally designed to assist small congregations and missions without full-time clergy, Sermons That Work supplies fresh sermons in English and Spanish each week for lay readers based on the Revised Common Lectionary readings for Sundays and selected feast days.

“Sermons That Work allows those who preach regularly and lead worship to use the comprehensive, lectionary-based archives for research projects, sermons, presentations and small groups,” noted Sarah Johnson, editor of Sermons That Work. “Now, clergy and laity will have additional information from which to choose.”

Upcoming special reports on Sermons That Work include: Vacation Bible Schools That Work; Newcomers and Converts; Transforming Churches (Season 2); The Digital Parish.

Recognizing the value of Sermons That Work as a source of inspiration for preaching, the Episcopal Church offers all these sermons up into the public domain, free from any copyright considerations, with only the request that proper credit is given to the sermon writers for the use of their ideas and words.

Sermons That Work, along with Episcopal News Service and Wayfarer, is part of the Episcopal Digital Network, a digital publication network that delivers news and feature stories to church leaders, members and general audiences.

March 7, 2012 - 1:42pm


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