Reaching Out a Helping Hand Through House Tour

Posted on 06 August 2009


Community outreach is central to the mission of St. Ann’s Episcopal Church in Bridgehampton. This year, the church has teamed up with The Peconic Land Trust for its 41st Annual House and Garden Tour – an annual fundraiser to support a diverse group of local charities including The Retreat in East Hampton, Habitat for Humanity of Peconic, the Eastern Farm Workers Association and the Bridgehampton Child Care Center, to name just a few.

The house and garden tour will be held today, Thursday, August 6 from 1 to 5 p.m.

Father Tim Lewis, the rector of St. Ann’s for the last eight years, also serves on the church’s outreach committee, which collectively determines which charities will receive proceeds from the house and garden tour. On Wednesday, he explained organizations like the Dominican Sisters Family Health Services, Habitat for Humanity and East End Hospice have annually received funding from St. Ann’s outreach program for many years. The Retreat and the Eastern Farm Workers Association are organizations the committee would also like to continue to support, he added.

“Every year we look at the charity monies we have available and ask our membership to bring us ideas,” he explained. “Looking back over the last eight years I have been here, how much money we raise has been very unpredictable.”

Father Lewis said during a good year, the committee can expect to raise just over $30,000, but on an off year it can be far less.

“We give every cent away,” said Martha Kelly, a member of St. Ann’s and organizer of the house and garden tour. “These days so many of the big benefits benefit national charities. We do try and keep it local.”

While organizations like the Dominican Sisters and East End Hospice have long received support from St. Ann’s, Father Lewis said on Wednesday as the committee finds local organizations serving those in need, the church does what it can to offer its support.

“We watched them and we see what they do, how they are supporting the community and giving their energy to support those in need in our community,” said Father Lewis of the Eastern Farm Workers Association, noting the group provides medical and legal coverage among other avenues of support to the agricultural industry in Suffolk County.

“I describe our committee as a work in progress,” added Father Lewis. “No two years are ever the same.”

Outside of the house and garden tour, Father Lewis said the outreach committee depends on private donations to continue its work.

This year’s house and garden tour features five homes and gardens in Bridgehampton and Water Mill, including an opportunity through a partnership with the Peconic Land Trust, for participants to view the rarely seen interior of the house at Bridge Gardens.

Architect Stephen Levine designed the residence, using local potato barns as his inspiration. The steel-framed, concrete and stucco structure boasts 148 windows, and is surrounded by five acres of garden, designed to create room-like spaces including a water garden, an ivy maze and a hidden bamboo room. Created by Harry Neyens and Jim Kilpatric, it was donated to the Peconic Land Trust last fall.

St. Ann’s 41st Annual House and Garden Tour will be held today, Thursday, August 6 from 1 to 5 p.m. rain or shine. The self-guided tour costs $50 in advance, $60 the day of the tour. Tickets can be purchased at the Candy Kitchen in Bridgehampton, at the Southampton Chamber of Commerce and at St. Ann’s Church office. For more information, call 537-1527.

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