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Christ Church Parishioners Participate in Outreach Sunday PDF Print Email

Apr. 16, 2014:  On Sunday morning, April 6, more was going on outside Christ Church Bronxville than in. This may sound a little unusual, but that's exactly what happened on Outreach Sunday.

Parishioners of Christ Church Bronxville faced both the elements and the glue gun to take on the needs of our community, from feeding the hungry to protecting the environment.

The day started early as CCB teens and their chaperones headed into New York City on a breakfast run, part of a program that helps feed the city's hungry, clothe them, and provide basic necessities.

The morning helpers returned back to Bronxville just in time for an abbreviated 10:00 am service just as the larger CCB congregation began its work. Church members took on a range of projects, including:

• Painting at Fessenden House, a transitional home for men offering help to those recovering from drug addiction or coping with mental health issues
• Spring cleaning for the Bronx River Parkway Reservation Conservancy--collecting trash that's accumulated around Bronxville Lake
• Supplying food for the Interfaith Food Bank, a warehouse and distribution center for other organizations that feed the homeless
• Cooking and preparing lunch for homeless men and women helped by the midnight run in Christ Church's Taylor Hall
• Putting needle to thread as part of Project Linus, which provides homemade blankets to seriously ill or traumatized children

The children of CCB were busy as well, making and decorating Easter baskets and favors both for the families of Thorpe Family Residence (which provides a protective shelter, programs, and services for homeless families in transition) and Sacred Heart Soup Kitchen.

Outreach Sunday is held twice a year, in the fall and the spring. As Father Michael Bird explained, "The tradition is significant to the life of the parish. While this day highlights the organizations to which we provide aid, it also reminds us that the call to offer a caring hand lasts more than just one Sunday."

Christ Church (Episcopal/Anglican) has served Bronxville and the rest of lower Westchester for over a century, and the church is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The church hosts four choirs and a bell choir, the Eliza Corwin Frost Child Center, and the widely known youth performance arts program Young at Arts. For church service times and a list of activities, visit

Pictured here: Christ Church parishioners participating in Outreach Sunday.

Photos by Michael Pollack

Team Chapel-Arts Completes NY Half Marathon for The Chapel School PDF Print Email

Apr. 2, 2014:  On March 16, Team Chapel-Arts ran the New York Road Runners (NYRR) Half Marathon in New York City to raise awareness for the art and drama programs of The Chapel School.

The team consisted of eight Chapel School, Village Lutheran Church, and Concordia College community members who served as ambassadors of the arts. 

The team raised $10,000 and is still accepting corporate sponsorships and private grants to support and strengthen the art and drama programs of The Chapel School. "The excitement and sense of accomplishment the runners experience is inspiring," said Kim Zwisdak, The Chapel School development office project manager. "We are very thankful for their commitment and dedication."

The team coach and senior pastor of the church and school, Rev. Dr. Robert Hartwell, helped form the charity run several years ago. Team Chapel runs in the New York City full marathon to raise money for scholarships, and Team Chapel Arts runs in the half marathon in support of The Chapel School art programs.

Speaking about the dedication of the runners, Rev. Hartwell said, "To commit to a marathon both physically and mentally is a testimony to their care for our school and students." According to James Dhyne, principal of The Chapel School, "Fine arts, music, and drama are important parts of every child's education. While many schools are eliminating programs, The Chapel School in Bronxville is dedicated to preserving and expanding their arts programs."

For more information on Team Chapel, contact The Chapel School at 914-337-3202 or online at

West Center Church to Host Raj Bhimani Concert 'Lisbon Calling' Sunday, April 6 PDF Print Email

Apr. 2, 2014: "Lisbon Calling," a concert at 2:00 pm on April 6 at West Center Congregational Church, features critically acclaimed pianist Raj Bhimani and two of Portugal's finest musicians, António Carrilho on recorders and Katharine Rawdon on flutes and traverso (a variation of the flute). Mr. Bhimani said, "Part of the fun for the audience will be to see them switch instruments." 

They will perform a program of solos, duos, and trios ranging from music of the Renaissance ("Our Father in Heaven" by Jacob van Eyck) to the present with the premiere of a new work (Lyrebird by Ivan Moody). They will also play "Lamentabile" by W. F. Bach, Sonata "Arpeggione" by Franz Schubert, Sonata for Flute and Piano by Francis Poulenc, "Oiseaux Tristes" by Maurice Ravel, and more.

Raj Bhimani performs a wide range of repertoire and has particular expertise in French piano literature; he is also a champion of new music. He worked closely with composers Henri Dutilleux and Thérèse Brenet. Ms. Brenet, moved by Mr. Bhimani's performance of her works, composed several pieces for him, including Three Preludes and To the West Wind. Mr. Bhimani performs regularly in the United States, Canada, Europe, and India. Recent performances in New York include Merkin Concert Hall, the 92nd Street Y, St. Paul's Chapel, and St. Peter's Church, where he plays frequently. He performs annually in the Atelier Concert Series at the American Church in Paris and this year celebrates his 30th anniversary of playing there. He has toured Portugal, Italy, and India and has played in the Bruno Walter Auditorium at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. Time Out New York notes that he is a "gifted and highly expressive pianist."

He has released two CDs on the Delatour label and a third has just been released in France. His recordings are available on iTunes, CD Baby, Amazon, and other sites. In addition to his performance career, Mr. Bhimani has an excellent reputation as an educator; he has a private teaching studio in Manhattan and teaches master classes across the country.

António Carrilho is well known for his energetic and virtuoso playing and performs regularly throughout the world in music festivals and concert halls as a soloist and chamber music player. His repertory spans the Middle Ages to the present. He has played with many orchestras, including Sinfónica Portuguesa, Lisbon Symphonietta, the Royal Conservatory of The Hague Orchestra, and the Baroque Orchestra of Haifa. Many composers have written chamber music and concertos for him, including Ivan Moody, whose piece is being performed at this concert. Mr. Carrilho has made a number of recordings of both old and contemporary music and is currently recording several Portuguese contemporary works for the recorder.

Katharine Rawdon has played as principal flute in the Portuguese Symphony since 1993 and is one of the most versatile flute players in Portugal. She performs concertos with various Portuguese orchestras with repertoire ranging from J. S. Bach to Pierre Boulez. She has performed as a soloist and with chamber groups in Portugal, Spain, France, England, Italy, Austria, and Germany. Ms. Rawdon plays on the extended family of flutes as a soloist with the Lisbon new music ensemble Orchestr Utópica and has premiered more than 100 commissioned works, many by prominent Portuguese composers. In the US, Ms. Rawdon performed in the Tanglewood Festival Orchestra under Leonard Bernstein and Kurt Masur and at Carnegie Hall in the National Orchestra of New York as principal flute.

While there is no admission charge, there is a suggested donation of $10. The sanctuary is accessible to wheelchairs and strollers, and there is parking available on the street. The church is located at 101 Pondfield Road West.

For further information, please call the church office in the morning at 914-337-3829, send an email to CLOAKING , or go to the church's website at        

Pictured here:  The front doors of West Center Congregational Church.

Photo by A. Warner

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

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