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Bishop Gene Robinson, First Openly Gay Bishop in Anglican Church, Visits Christ Church Bronxville PDF Print Email

Mar. 26, 2014:  On Sunday, March 9, Christ Church Bronxville was honored by a visit from Bishop V. Gene Robinson, retired bishop of New Hampshire. Bishop Robinson is the first openly gay person to become a bishop in the Anglican Communion.

Following the service, Christ Church Bronxville's LGBT & Friends Fellowship group hosted a festive brunch, after which Bishop Robinson addressed members and visitors about his journey in the Episcopal Church.

Gene Robinson was elected bishop of the Episcopal diocese of New Hampshire on June 7, 2003, having served as Canon to the Ordinary (assistant to the Bishop) for nearly 18 years. A 1969 graduate of the Sewanee: The University of the South, he holds a BA in American studies/history. In 1973, he completed the MDiv degree at The General Theological Seminary in New York City and was ordained deacon, then priest, before being consecrated as a bishop on All Saints' Sunday, November 2, 2003.

When Bishop Robinson was consecrated in 2003, the story made the front page of newspapers across the world. In his reflection at Christ Church, Robinson spoke about the remarkable changes that have taken place in America during the past 10 years for the LGBT community. In 2010, Mary Douglas Glasspool was ordained and consecrated, becoming the second openly gay bishop, and there was barely a mention in our national newspapers. The Episcopal Church has led the way in civil rights for LGBT people and risked much to stand up for what it believes in.

The bishop encouraged his audience at Christ Church Bronxville to love every person, explaining that together we can overcome oppression that still exists. It is a crime to live as an openly gay person in 80 countries around the world, and despite the acceptance of the LGBT community on the East Coast, many young Americans feel their life is not worth living.

Bishop Robinson charged his audience with treating everyone as a child of God, regardless of how they themselves have been treated. Bishop Robinson is known for saying, "The opposite of love is not hate, but fear," explaining that we should not respond to hate with hate, but with love. Bishop Robinson suggests that we all work together regardless of our race, gender, sexual orientation, and religious beliefs and that we realize that we are stronger when we stand together.

In his address at Christ Church, Bishop Robinson shared his thoughts on not being invited to the 2008 Lambeth Conference and on having breakfast with the new Archbishop of Canterbury, and he shared his opinion on Pope Francis. The bishop also regaled the audience with stories such as praying backstage with U2, giving the invocation at the opening ceremonies for President Obama's inauguration in 2009, and sharing a waiting room with Tiger Woods. Afterward, he made time to answer parishioners' personal concerns and gave advice, prayer, and support.

The bishop was introduced by a representative of the LGBT & Friends Fellowship group, Michael Pollack, and was welcomed by the rector of Christ Church Bronxville, Fr. Michael Bird.

After Bishop Robinson's address to parishioners, Matthew Behrens, a senior at Bronxville High School and leader of Christ Church's Episcopal Youth Committee, thanked the bishop for his visit and presented him with a gift from the Taizé monastery.

The afternoon concluded with a short response from Melanie Wadkins, a committee member of the LGBT & Friends Fellowship group. She called Christ Church Bronxville a beacon of light in the community. She explained that not only does Christ Church Bronxville draw many people in who might not be accepted elsewhere, but it shines a light on oppression and helps lead us to take action against what is unjust.

Pictured here: Bishop Gene Robinson (R) with Fr. Michael Bird, rector of Christ Church Bronxville.

Photo by Michael Pollack

'A Night at the Opera' at The Reformed Church Saturday, March 29 PDF Print Email

Mar. 26, 2014:  On Saturday, March 29, at 7:30 pm, a salon-style concert of opera arias, duets, and ensemble pieces will be performed at The Reformed Church of Bronxville.

The performance, titled "A Night at the Opera," features six of The Reformed Church's professional Chancel Choir section leaders, all veterans of regional opera companies and music festivals.

The artists--Laura Green, Christopher Lucier, Robert Mobsby, Kyle Oliver, Timothy O'Connor, and Jenny Ribeiro--chose their favorite repertoire, so the concert will have a particularly personal touch.

Dr. Sándor Szabó, minister of music, will accompany on piano.

The performance is free and will be followed by a reception to which all are invited.

Pictured here:  The Reformed Church of Bronxville in the snow.

Photo by A. Warner

Christ Church Students Spend Week at Monastery in France PDF Print Email

Mar. 19, 2014:  Every year in February, the Episcopal Youth Community of Christ Church in Bronxville travels to the monastery at Taizé, France. This year is no exception. The monastery is an international community to which Christians of all ages go to encounter a unique blend of worship, communal living, and silence.  

This year, Christ Church's EYC traveled first to Paris to tour the city and then to the monastery, where they spent a week. At the monastery, the teenagers ate mass-produced meals of varied taste, slept in institutional bunk beds, and cleaned toilets. They also helped the community prepare for thousands of visitors by erecting tents used for food distribution and meetings.

EYC members from Bronxville, Mount Vernon, and New Rochelle met students from Paris, Germany, Sweden, and Australia. When asked, most students responded that the singing and silence of the monastery helped restore their sense of self and of God's constant presence.

Brother Roger Schutz founded the monastic community in the Burgundy region of France in 1940. Known for his hospitality and belief in reconciliation, Brother Roger began sheltering refugees and orphans during World War II. Today, the community hosts over 100,000 annual visitors who come to join the brothers in prayer. Daily life at Taizé includes three church services, morning, midday, and evening prayer, three meals, and group work sessions. 

Owen Jones, a senior at Bronxville High School, said about the trip: "Each year, friends ask why I want to spend my winter break in worship all day, not understanding the true meaning of Taizé. It's not a place where we devote an entire week only to God and cleaning bathrooms. Taizé is much more. It is a place where you can find yourself and learn more about who you are as a person. It's where you meet new people from all over the world. It's where you make long-lasting friendships that carry you through tough times in high school because, let's face it, we all have them. The insight and friendships I have made on this trip have helped to smooth the rocky road of high school and make me a better friend and family member." 

Pictured here:  The group that traveled to Taizé.

Photo by Katherine Gojkovich

Annual Winter Clothing and Tag Sale at Reformed Church on Saturday, February 1 PDF Print Email

Jan. 22, 2014: The Reformed Church of Bronxville will hold its annual winter clothing and tag sale on Saturday, February 1, between 9:00 am and 2:00 pm in its congregational hall.

On sale will be men's, women's, and children's clothing, china and glassware, books, jewelry, and bric-a-brac.
All proceeds will benefit the church's midnight run and a summer program for Westhab children.

For additional information, call Lee Corbett at 914-337-6776.

Photo by N. Bower

99th Bronxville Village Christmas Pageant Performed: See Photos of Participants PDF Print Email

Dec. 31, 2013:  The Bronxville Village Christmas Pageant was performed without a hitch on the hillside of the Reformed Church of Bronxville. It was the 99th time it had been performed in Bronxville.

Christmas pageants don't just happen, of course. Susanne Shoemaker, longtime chair of the Bronxville Village Christmas Pageant Committee, along with her committee spent many hours preparing for the pageant, including finding the players, mending the costumes, coordinating the ministers who spoke and the songs that were sung, and, very important, procuring the livestock and making sure they behaved.

Click on this link to see photos of the participants:  Bronxville Village Christmas Pageant 2013.

Susanne and her committee are now preparing for a special celebration in 2014 of the 100th year of the pageant. Citizens from the community are urged to help. "We are thinking," Susanne said, "about designing an ornament; creating stationery/Christmas cards depicting scenes from the pageant over the years; creating a memorial book with memories and photos of past participants; and, on Christmas Eve 2014, following the old tradition of processing to the pageant in groups of carolers from four areas in Bronxville."

Pictured here:  The angels gathered near the manger in the 2013 Bronxville Village Christmas Pageant.

Photo by Neely Bower

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